November 2016 was the second warmest November in 136 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
November 2016’s temperature was 0.07 degrees Celsius cooler than the warmest November in 2015. Last month was 0.95 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean November temperature from 1951-1980.
The top two November temperature anomalies have been the past two years. 2015 was the hottest on record, at 1.02 degrees Celsius warmer than the November mean temperature, followed by 2016.
The year 2016 is confirmed as the warmest year on the planet since record-keeping began according to Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. 2016 was 0.2 C warmer than 2015, which was previously the warmest year on record.
And the Copernicus centre’s analysis shows that global temperatures in 2016 were 1.3 C greater than in the mid-18th century, when the Industrial Revolution started.
Peak temperatures were reached in February 2016 when the global average temperature was 1.5 C greater than the mid-18th century.
It is widely accepted that one of the key drivers of global warming is the human civilization demand for energy. At present, most of this demand is met by burning fossil fuels which releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This leads to increase in global temperatures that we are seeing now.
What if there was an ample and plentiful source of energy that didn’t pollute the environment? It turns out there is one. It’s called solar energy. It literally dwarfs all other energy sources combined.
The vast amount of solar energy our planet receives far exceeds our current and projected energy needs. Best of all, you would probably call a solar energy spill just a nice day!
The average price per watt has dropped drastically for solar cells over the last few decades. While in 1977 prices for crystalline silicon cells were about $77 per watt, average spot prices in June 2014 were as low as $0.36 per watt or 200 times less than almost forty years ago.
Despite already low costs, the installed price of solar fell by 5 to 12 percent in 2015. Now, the latest data show that the continued decrease in solar prices is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, with total installed prices dropping by 5 percent for rooftop residential systems, and 12 percent for larger utility-scale solar farms.
With solar already achieving record-low prices, the cost decline observed in 2015 indicates that the coming years will likely see utility-scale solar become cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity generation.
If the fossil fuels are so bad for us, why are they so widely used? Huge subsidy is the simple answer. As the easiest to extract deposits of oil and gas are being depleted and the costs are shooting through the roof, the public is asked to shoulder the enormous spending extravaganza of the fossil fuel industry.
Energy subsidies are projected at US$5.3 trillion in 2015, or 6.5 percent of global GDP, according to a recent IMF study. Most of this arises from countries setting energy taxes below levels that fully reflect the environmental damage associated with energy consumption.
Energy subsidies are dramatically higher than previously thought. Estimates for global energy subsidies in 2011 have been revised to US$4.2 trillion, more than double the US$2.0 trillion previously reported in a 2013 IMF book, Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications.
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