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Natural Awakenings National

Wind Energy Can Be a Climate Change Hero

Wind power turbines with sun setting in background


Cornell University research published in the journal Climate indicates that advanced wind energy strategies could reduce atmospheric average temperatures of about 32 to 33 degrees Fahrenheit by 2199. Rebecca Barthelmie, a professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, says, “Early action will reap dividends. In terms of averting the worst of climate change, our work confirms that accelerating wind energy technology deployment is a logical and cost-effective part of the required strategy.” Waiting longer to avert environmental disaster will mean more greenhouse gas reduction scenarios will be needed.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I Sixth Assessment Report has determined that climate change is rapid and intensifying, and that Earth’s atmosphere could add 35 degrees Fahrenheit of average warming by 2040. Sara C. Pryor, a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and co-author of the research, says global wind resources exceed current electricity demand and the cost of energy from wind turbines has declined sharply. “It makes perfect sense to rapidly deploy wind energy as a key part of decarbonizing the electricity supply.” Wind turbines are now deployed in 90 countries, generating about 7 percent of global electricity.

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