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Winning Around the World

Pam Sornson

Posted on October 3, 2019 17:10

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"Winning" in this day and age isn't restricted to just to the U.S. Around the world, countries are making great efforts to reduce their national carbon footprints, guided by enlightened and intelligent people who see a thriving planet as an asset for ALL of its citizens.

 

GreatGreenWall.org

Winning the climate change battle will be the result of reducing carbon emissions while increasing carbon offsets. Transitioning away from high-carbon fossil fuels is one step in the direction of success; removing CO2 from the planet's atmosphere is another, and both will result in cleaner air and a healthier global population. These two projects show how thoughtful partnerships combine to enhance the value of both endeavors.

Scotland's Offshore 'Wind'-fall

As a member of the United Kingdom (UK), Scotland is already a world leader in clean energy generation. Along with its three brethren UK countries (Ireland, England, and Wales), each dedicated to reducing CO2 emissions from its national electricity generation fuel source, in May 2019, Scotland and the UK enjoyed a full week of coal-free energy generation for the first time since 1882. Utilizing a gridded network of natural gas* (45%), nuclear (21%), wind (11%), and a mix of other renewable resources (biomass, solar, hydro, and imports), the foursome ran their industries and communities coal-free for 167 hours. The UK's goal is to be completely coal-free by 2025.    

As part of that success, Scotland is employing both on- and offshore wind resources as its primary forms of residential energy supply. The country's innovative wind industry sector can now produce up to twice as much residential energy as it consumes. In the first half of 2019, wind power alone generated 9.8 million megawatt-hours (MWh), which could supply 4.47 million homes with all the electricity they need. Remarkably, Scotland has only 2.6 million homes within its borders; the surplus energy could have also powered all the homes in Northern England, too.

The Scots are well on their way to becoming 100% renewable energy driven by 2020, just on today's technology. That capacity will improve and gain stability as the technology involved in battery storage capacities catches up.   

* Natural gas emits half the CO2 as coal

 Africa's Great Green Wall

Removing CO2 from the atmosphere also reduces the impact of global warming, which is the goal of the 21 African countries now busy planting that continent's Great Green Wall. Heavy grazing, deforestation, and prolonged droughts have eroded the Sahel region just south of the Sahara Desert. Consequently, that Desert has been slowly overtaking the Sahel and now threatens its communities and economies. 

In response to the threat, national governments from Senegal in the West to Djibouti and Ethiopia in the East have invested in the planting of millions of trees along the Sahara's southern edge. The Wall will extend almost 5,000 miles (4830), cross 11 countries, and act as a barrier to further desert encroachment. Although only 15% complete, the combined efforts of Senegal, Nigeria, and Ethiopia have already reclaimed 49 million acres and planted millions of trees since the project 2007 inception. When complete (the goal is by 2030), the Wall is expected to absorb 250 million tons of CO2.

Both projects demonstrate how multiple partnerships can combine to solve the singular global problem. 

Pam Sornson

Posted on October 3, 2019 17:10

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