Climate Change and Energy Systems

Impacts, Risks and Adaptation in the Nordic and Baltic countries

image of Climate Change and Energy Systems

Renewable energy sources contribute 16% of the global energy consumption and most nations are working to increase the share of renewables in their total energy budget, to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel sources. Most Nordic and Baltic countries have already surpassed the target set for EU countries by 2020, to produce 20% of energy use from renewables like hydropower, solar energy, wind power, bio-energy, ocean power and geothermal energy. This publication presents results from a comprehensive research project that investigated the effects of projected future climate change on hydropower, wind power and bioenergy in the Nordic and Baltic countries, with focus on the period 2020-2050. The research group investigated historical climate, runoff and forest growth data and produced climate scenarios for the region based on global circulation models. The scenarios were used as input in models forecasting changes in glacial meltwater production, basin-wide runoff, mean wind strength, extreme storm and flooding events and energy biomass production. Although the uncertainty in modelling results translates into increased risks for decision-making within the energy sector, the projected climate change is predicted to have a largely positive impact on energy production levels in the region, and energy systems modelling projects increased export of energy to continental Europe by 2020.



Renewable Energy in the Nordic and Baltic Countries

The burning of non-renewable fossil fuels and the resulting emissions of greenhouse gases is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing the world today. The buildup of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and various industrial gases, changes the radiative balance of the atmosphere and is believed to be the main cause of the 0.74°C rise in mean atmospheric temperature during the 100-year period 1906–2005. Rising surface temperatures lead to changes in precipitation, cloud cover and wind patterns and affect the global hydrological cycle. Enhanced melting of glaciers and ice caps has been observed on all continents, leading to rising sea levels, and impacts on marine and terrestrial ecosystems are already substantial (IPCC, 2007).


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