Aarushi Uboweja1, Amit Singh1, Gaurav Lamba1, Isha Singh1, Nitish Bhasin1, Dr. Raju Sarkar 2 1 2
Undergraduate Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept., Delhi Technological University, Delhi Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept., Delhi Technological University, Delhi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the modern day fulminating world, climate change has become a great cause of concern along with other anthropogenic problems such as terrorism, poverty, social unrest etc. Renewable energy technology if used to its potential will stabilize green house gas (GHG) emissions, free the world economy from the volatile fluctuations in the fossil fuel space, create employment opportunities for the developing world, reduce the cost of energy supply and create energy efficiency. We shall explore the symbiotic relationship between climate change and sustainable development in this paper. We shall be looking at alternative renewable sources of energy, their potential, their viability. We shall also look at the cost of mitigation in the context that renewable energy technologies generally require large initial capital and typically have a long gestation period. However, the benefits outweigh the costs by far.
The predominance of fossil fuels in the energy scenario has had a disastrous impact on the environment. We need to take necessary steps to mitigate climate change lest the consequences shift from being disastrous to catastrophic. Sustainable and inclusive development is the need of the hour, not only from an environmental point of view, but, also from a socioeconomic point of view. Unmitigated climate change would make it difficult for the natural, managed and human systems to adapt to the changes in the long run. It is noteworthy that we require mitigation and not adaptation alone as this could eventually lead to a magnitude of climate change to which effective adaptation would not be possible without socioeconomic costs. Sustainable development has been defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development in the report Our Common Future as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ Sustainable development looks at the conjunction between potentially conflicting interactions of economic development and the environment. There is a growing gap between the demand and supply of non-renewable energy sources that are still dominant in the energy generation mix. Climate change has had varied ramifications on the ecosystem ranging from a greater incidence of natural disasters such as floods, tsunamis, snowstorms, tornadoes etc to a higher infrared activity giving rise to pathogenic proliferation resulting in a higher mortality and a lower life expectancy. It has also had disastrous impacts on the biodiversity and agricultural productivity. Millions of people living in coastal areas have been exposed to increasing risks due to increasing sea levels. Renewable energy sources are significant not only because they are plentiful and non-depleting, but, because they are capable of bringing about a sea of change in the socio-economic fabric of a country. This is especially important for developing nations. Most of the investment on renewable energies is on their raw materials and technology rather than expensive imports as in the case of crude oil. This creates local jobs and boosts the economy. Examples of renewable energy are solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, biomass energy, ocean energy, hydrogen energy, hydropower energy. It is interesting to note that all other sources of renewable energy are derivatives of solar energy. For example, the sun’s heat creates a gradient in pressure in the atmosphere which causes wind to blow from areas of high pressure to those of low pressure. The water cycle is a direct result of the...