In terms of total global energy production, there are three main components that modern humans employ. They are Heating, transport, and electricity.
Global electricity comes from a number of different sources. Renewable energy and nuclear energy account for nearly 37% of this amount, however overall only nearly 16%.
Electricity also comes from coal, oil, gas, hydropower, solar, and wind. Coal and gas are the largest sources of energy domestically and internationally.
Electricity is generally created in power stations or power plants. Electromechanical generators are responsible for bringing the electricity we need to us. This can be done in a myriad of different ways including combustion or fission heat engines, or via kinetic energy generated by water and wind.
Climate Change and Electrical Vehicles
Climate change goals aim to phase out coal and gas powered energy stations, or to reduce, eliminate or capture their greenhouse gas emissions. When too much CO2 is expended into the atmosphere, it is trapped within the ozone and has nowhere to go. These types of greenhouse gases trap heat within, which causes global temperatures to rise.
In nature, plants such as certain types of trees or algae are super efficient in absorbing greenhouses gases. Nature has a wonderful way of leveling things out, but the equation must remain balanced. We cannot overload our planet with more greenhouse gases than healthy plant life is available to absorb it. While it it tough to measure this relationship, a lot of human activities correlated to growth and expansion can damage habitats and plant life that are our greatest defense mechanisms to global warming.
As with many things in science, business and relationships, the hypothetical is almost always more promising than the actual practices. These green electrical energy generation methods can often be more harmful than good. For example, the waste and footprint created by global car manufacturers to produce hybrid batteries often counteracts the net positive of taking a fuel burning vehicle off the road. The mining and processing of precious metals to create these hybrid electrical vehicles is a taxing process on Mother Earth.
These batteries rely on lead-acid, which is carcinogenic and damaging to the environment. During the lead mining and manufacturing process, 70,000 metric tons of lead are released into the atmosphere each year! On top of that, these strip mining techniques leave literal holes in the Earth where they took place. Acid is often leaked into groundwater, contaminating and poising local residents. Ten times more sulfur oxide is released into the environment than a conventional gas vehicle.
In addition, plug-in hybrids such as the Nissan Leaf or Tesla must be plugged into a 120V power source. These electrical energy sources draw their energy in many cases from a predominantly fossil fuel burning source. Charging them burns energy. Even in state with predominantly green energy sources such as California. 45% of energy in this country is generated from burning coal, meaning that a plug-in hybrid over time will use more energy and leave a greater footprint than it’s gas counterpart.