There are many green power alternatives available as well as new ones being researched into. However, there are disadvantages with many of them and they may not all be as green as they seem.
It would seem obvious that if we want to address climate change, that we should just switch all energy to green. It is not that easy though, with such a high demand for energy it is difficult to find the resources to provide green alternatives, particularly in the short term. It is worth remembering that many green sources of power are not constant. For example solar, wind and tidal energy is not being produced all of the time. This means that there needs to be an alternative for when there is no power being produced. Storing power to use when it is not being produced, sounds like an obvious solution, but there needs to be the resources to store it and the space to put these big storage batteries or whatever they may be.
Green energy solutions are also not that efficient at the moment. Look at solar panels, for example. If you cover a four bedroom house with eight panels, there will not be enough energy produced to cover half of the fuel bill. As the technology improves then this will become better and it is likely that eventually a home could easily get enough energy form a few panels. However, at the moment the technology is expensive and the money that you save in fuel, does not cover the cost of the panels, installation and maintenance. The UK fuel companies, led by the government, had been offering payments to people producing green energy to make it more worthwhile for them to produce it themselves but these payments are getting smaller. There is also the problem that solar panels contain chemicals which are not good for the environment and so when they reach the end of their life, they need to be very carefully destroyed.
There are also problems with getting permission to provide green energy. Many people do not like the look of solar or wind farms and so protest about them appearing on their local landscape. Some countries do not have the right weather in order to take advantage of these either.
There is also more work going into geothermal energy, to take advantage of heat below the earths crust. This is not economically viable at the moment but work is being done to try to make it so. Biomass is the burning of plant waste material to produce heat, but they produce poisonous gases which contribute to air pollution. Heat pumps are an efficient way to warm or cool air for homes and are more efficient than electric heaters and coolers therefore reducing the amount of power needed to fuel them. At the moment these are expensive.
These are just a few of the alternatives available to replace coal as an energy source. However, you can see that they all have disadvantage which mean that it is not easy to switch over to them. It is also worth remembering that as coal use reduces, the coal industry goes into decline and that has an impact on employment in areas that rely on mining as a big source of employment. We have seen this in the UK in the past and it will become more of a problem in the future.