If we are going to cut carbon emissions we have to move away from fossil fuels fast.
What are the different options?
Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.
The sun's heat also drives the winds, whose energy, is captured with wind turbines. Then, the winds and the sun's heat cause water to evaporate. When this water vapor turns into rain or snow and flows downhill into rivers or streams, its energy can be captured using hydroelectric power.
Along with the rain and snow, sunlight causes plants to grow. The organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals. The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called bioenergy.
Hydrogen also can be found in many organic compounds, as well as water. It's the most abundant element on the Earth. But it doesn't occur naturally as a gas. It's always combined with other elements, such as with oxygen to make water. Once separated from another element, hydrogen can be burned as a fuel or converted into electricity.
Not all renewable energy resources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps the Earth's internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production, and the heating and cooling of buildings. And the energy of the ocean's tides come from the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun upon the Earth.
In fact, ocean energy comes from a number of sources. In addition to tidal energy, there's the energy of the ocean's waves, which are driven by both the tides and the winds. The sun also warms the surface of the ocean more than the ocean depths, creating a temperature difference that can be used as an energy source. All these forms of ocean energy can be used to produce electricity.
Nuclear energy is a controversial option because of the dangers and difficulties in disposing of waste materials. But its carbon footprint long-term has won it considerable support.
Have a look at Future Energy's Energy Strategy for the Solent area.
Campaign Against Climate Change have researched the jobs which could be created from introducing renewable energy.
The Energy Savings Trust has loads of good ideas for saving energy and investing in renewables.
One of PCAN’s aims is to get people aware of community energy projects Have a look at the Community Energy Coalition which had excellent links to lots of projects and support groups.
Another useful link is Low Carbon Communities.
Want a fairer, affordable, sustainable energy system? See Fuel Poverty Action’s Bill of Rights.