Energy transition is key to fight climate crisis

16/08/2021

Summer 2021 will be sadly remembered for the wildfires swept all over the world, from Siberia, to Australia, to the Mediterranean. In Turkey, fires blazed with intensity and in unprecedented ways, destroying the forest 15 times faster than in the past. In Greece, over eighty fires have indeed put the capital city Athens under siege.

During this time, Italy was also badly affected by wildfires. In our country, twelve incidents involving fires have been registered every day since the beginning of the year, according to the fire department. It’s a phenomenon which is constantly escalating, due to rising temperatures and to longer hot seasons. Because of this, 55,000 and 36,000 acres of land were destroyed in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

Deliberate human acts remain tragically significant, with six fires out of ten started intentionally by arsonists and criminals, but it’s doubtful whether climate crisis is contributing to worsen the consequences of these inconsiderate acts.

Some rumors have been put forward regarding the potential desire to set lands on fire to build solar plants afterwards, particularly in Sicily and Sardinia. However, these suggestions were proved wrong by reliable sources such as Legambiente, who pointed out that Law 353 of 2000, endorsed in both islands, forbids to build in areas ten years after these were set on fire.

In addition, phenomena related to bad weather counterbalance the fires – since the beginning of the summer, almost four hundred hailstorms affected cities and rural areas of the peninsula, a figure increasing each year.

The connection between the increase in global temperatures and CO2 emissions is a proven fact and was documented by scientific studies. Nevertheless, last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global CO2 emissions decreased by 5.8% on a yearly basis, according to IEA. In the second half of 2020, a retrieval of the emissions rate was recorded, following the loosening of the restrictions.

The time frame to intervene before the consequences of global warming become irretrievable is increasingly tight. According to IPCC, only if we act now in order to dramatically reduce the emissions by the next decade, it will be possible to limit the rise of the average global temperature below 2° C as compared to the average pre-industrial temperature, which is the goal set by the Paris Climate Agreement.

The main area of intervention to reduce CO2 emissions is the energy sector, which is responsible for over three quarters of the energy produced globally due to the persistent use of fossil fuels such as carbon, oil, and gas.

The report “Net Zero by 2050 – A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector”, recently published by IEA, anticipates that the “net-zero” power generation (complete emissions balance) will be reached by 2040, with energy transition to renewable sources, mainly solar, wind and  hydro power, finally completed.

In order to meet this target though, it will be necessary to invest three times as much in clean energy, which should reach 4 trillion dollars by 2030. By 2050, solar power should thus become the primary source of energy in the world. A change bound to create millions of new jobs, other than protect the environment.

Thanks to PNIEC 2030, PNRR and the plan “Strategia nazionale di lungo termine sulla riduzione delle emissioni di gas a effetto serra”, Italy also adopted a policy for energetic and environmental sustainability. In order to meet the prefixed target for renewable energy production, around 70 GW of new capacity should be installed over the next ten years, with therefore 7GW per year. Also in this case, the largest proportion pertains to solar power, which should reach a 73,1 TWh production.

Administrative hurdles, misinformation and lack of proper incentives are nevertheless slowing down this virtuous path – in 2020, barely 0,8 of the necessary 7 GW were installed. Today, Italy has 21 GW of solar power capacity for a 24 TWh production. As it was stated by trade associations and business operations, a change of pace is necessary to make the new installations easier and faster.

Chiron Energy is committed to actively contribute to energy transition through the development, design, and management of projects for the production, storage and distribution of renewable energy.

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