Renewable energy sources – including biomass, geothermal, ocean, solar, and wind energy, as well as hydropower – have a huge potential to provide energy services for the world. The renewable energy resource base is sufficient to meet several times the present world energy demand and potentially even 10 to 100 times this demand. This chapter includes an in-depth examination of technologies to convert these renewable energy sources to energy carriers that can be used to fulfill our energy needs, including their installed capacity, the amount of energy carriers they produced in 2009, the current state of market and technology development, their economic and financial feasibility in 2009 and in the near future, as well as major issues they may face relative to their sustainability or implementation.
Present uses of renewable energy
Since 1990 the energy provided from renewable sources worldwide has risen at an average rate of nearly 2% a year, but in recent years this rate has increased to about 5% annually (see Figure 11.1.) As a result, the global contribution of renewables has increased from about 74 EJ in 2005 to about 89 EJ in 2009 and represents now 17% of global primary energy supply (528 EJ, see Figure 11.2). Most of this renewable energy comes from the traditional use of biomass (about 39 EJ) and larger-scale hydropower (about 30 EJ), while other renewable technologies provided about 20 EJ.
This Summary for Policymakers presents key findings from the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). The SREX approaches the topic by assessing the scientific literature on issues that range from the relationship between climate change and extreme weather and climate events (‘climate extremes’) to the implications of these events for society and sustainable development. The assessment concerns the interaction of climatic, environmental, and human factors that can lead to impacts and disasters, options for managing the risks posed by impacts and disasters, and the important role that non-climatic factors play in determining impacts. Box SPM.1 defines concepts central to the SREX.
The character and severity of impacts from climate extremes depend not only on the extremes themselves but also on exposure and vulnerability. In this report, adverse impacts are considered disasters when they produce widespread damage and cause severe alterations in the normal functioning of communities or societies. Climate extremes, exposure, and vulnerability are influenced by a wide range of factors, including anthropogenic climate change, natural climate variability, and socioeconomic development (Figure SPM.1). Disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change focus on reducing exposure and vulnerability and increasing resilience to the potential adverse impacts of climate extremes, even though risks cannot fully be eliminated (Figure SPM.2). Although mitigation of climate change is not the focus of this report, adaptation and mitigation can complement each other and together can significantly reduce the risks of climate change. [SYR AR4, 5.3]
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