2021 Climate Change Report – How Solar Energy Can Help Combat Global Warming
Solar panels are one of the best resources that we have available to fight climate change. They are not contaminating, their energy resource is renewable and inexhaustible, they can be recycled, and every kWh of energy coming from solar panels is a kWh of energy that is not generated in contaminating facility plants that expel greenhouse gases.
All of these contributions made by solar power plants are valuable in our fight against climate change, but what is climate change and how is it affecting our planet?
There are thousands of planets in the universe, some with characteristics suitable for the existence of life and others so hot, so cold, or so toxic, that the existence of life as we know it may seem impossible. However, besides its ideal position with respect to the Sun, there is an extra component that makes planet Earth unique in our galaxy: the existence of the ozone shield.
This ozone layer is composed of the so-called Greenhouse Gases (GHG) that include water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and carbon dioxide (CO2). The accumulation of GHG creates a layer that reflects the UV radiation and concentrates the incoming heat from solar radiation in the atmosphere of the planet. This allows planet Earth to keep its temperature levels within ranges suitable for living, that would otherwise be too cold for the existence of life.
This is a natural process called Greenhouse Effect, and it has occurred over millions of years. However, increasing the amount of GHG above normal values has a negative effect on Earth’s temperature because the layer becomes thicker than what it should be and heat increases radically, leading to high-temperature values with bad consequences for the planet.
Are we responsible?
Carbon dioxide levels have oscillated around the 200 parts per million in our planet, historically reaching a maximum of 280 parts per million. However, since the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide levels have increased to astronomic values close to 400 parts per million.
There are a few possible causes for this radical change and we can see them as follows:
• Solar irradiance fluctuations
• Volcanic eruptions
• Tiny pollution particles (aerosols)
• Changes in the available amount of land and trees.
• Increases in greenhouse gas emissions.