Topic: Renewable Energy
The need for renewable energy, in developing as well as developed nations, is growing steadily along with climate change and the demand for access to cheap and efficient sources of energy. The burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, directly leading to a steady rise in the average global temperature which leads to rising sea levels as glacial and polar ice melts. According to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), from 1880 to 2012, the global temperature has risen by 0.85 °C (1.53 °F), which, according to NASA, is causing Arctic ice to melt at a rate of 12.85% per decade, based on trends from 1981 to 2010. This has lead to the rise of sea levels. According to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, sea levels have risen 19cm (7.5 inches) from 1901 to 2010. Renewable energy helps minimize the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which is vitally important as these trends keep rising. Not only does renewable energy help slow climate change, but also provides access to energy quickly and at relatively low cost, which is extremely important in developing countries. Renewable energy also increases the reliability and resilience of the energy system, which helps prevent power shortages in large storms as well a scan help cities recover faster from natural disasters.
Previously, Qatar has demonstrated it support for renewable energy, quickly agreeing to many treaties regarding the topic, such as the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in 1996, the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, and the Paris Agreement in 2017. Additionally, Qatar has been the leading supplier of LNG (liquified natural gas) for over a decade, as liquified natural gas releases less than half of the carbon dioxide than coal and oil (although, if burned without caution, LNG can cause methane leakage, which is more detrimental to the environment than excess CO2). While LNG is not a renewable energy source and is not a permanent solution, it is a suitable intermediate step between nonrenewable energy sources and renewable energy sources. Qatar has also begun undertaking a massive project to construct a 500MW solar plant, and hopes to have the plant completed by 2020.
In order to diminish the exacerbation of climate change, Qatar believes that nations who rely heavily on coal and oil should switch to LNG, as long as they have the abilities to burn it with the assurance of minimal methane leakages. While this is not an everlasting fix to climate change, it will help nations as they transition into a variety of permanent renewable energy sources. With regard to renewable energy sources, Qatar believes that solar power is extremely important. With solar power being the leading source of energy in developing countries, having module prices drop by 90% since 2010, solar power is cheap, accessible, and efficient, and solar home systems are becoming more popular in developing nations with large gaps in energy access. However, as solar power is not as strong in all regions of the world and it is not plausible for most nations to solely rely on solar power. As a result, greater investments in the worldwide development of renewable energy technology should be made in order to reduce cost and increase the diversity and application of renewable energy.
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- Andrew Mojares