The fossil fuel energy that we have been using since the last century has given us an abundance of necessaries and comforts, but these have come at an enormous cost. Based on comparison of human induced and natural climate drivers, the Union of Concerned Scientists have proven that the use of fossil fuels is a major cause of carbon emission which in turn is resulting in extreme weather conditions and global warning- undeniable signs of climate change. Equally important is the fact that fossil fuels have caused environmental pollution which has become a health hazard and in the long term, a threat to our survival.
There is evidence how this pollution will affect our health in the future. Let’s take a look at Beijing, where there are thick layers of smog leading to authorities having to declare national red alert for severe fog. It is not like there is no hope as in Los Angeles strict regulations did help decrease the amount of smog in the cities. There are people that would choose to ignore these facts but it is time we take them seriously and start making some changes in how energy is produced before things get as extreme as in Beijing.
The government has taken action in increasing the use of renewable energy and already by 2015, about 9.9 percent of all energy consumed in the United States was from renewable sources. The republican former-President George W. Bush, signed a law requiring the Pentagon to get 25 percent of the electricity for its buildings from renewable energy by 2025, which pushed the military towards alternative energy.
Renewable energy has proved to have lot more benefits compared to fossil fuels. Renewable energy, including solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, biomass, and hydrokinetic power, is in vast and inexhaustible supply so we do not have to worry about running out in the future, as we do with fossil fuels.
Renewable energy is the only solution to the problem of carbon saturation in the atmosphere. At present, electricity production accounts for more than one-third of U.S. global warming emissions, with the majority of it generated by coal-fired power plants.
Renewable energy will lead to improved public health by reducing premature mortality and lost workdays, as well as bringing down overall healthcare costs. This is due to the fact that the pollutants released by coal can cause breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks and cancer. Solar, wind and hydroelectric power do not generate any of these pollutants.
Renewable energy could also help the current government in its aim of creating more jobs as this industry is more labor intensive than the fossil fuel industry, which is more mechanized and capital intensive. In 2009, the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an analysis of the economic benefits of a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2025; they found that such a policy would create more than three times as many jobs as producing an equivalent amount of electricity from fossil fuels.
A major concern is that renewable energy cost much more than fossil fuel energy. The prices of renewable energy have been dropping and will continue to do so. The only problem is that it requires high upfront investments but the cost of running it is low. Also, renewable energy sources prices are relatively stable over time. Unlike fossil fuels, that has rapid fluctuations in its prices.
The military is also in support of renewable energy. The Department of Defense’s clean energy investments has increased 300 percent between 2006 and 2009. This is due to the fact that sun and wind can be found deep in the Afghani Mountains, in the Iraqi desert and on the high seas. When this is combined with brilliant new battery technologies that can store energy when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, our military has the energy and fuel it needs wherever it goes.
A comprehensive study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that it is possible for the United States to generate most of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050, in view of current technology. For this to be possible we need to put in place a long-term clean energy policy that includes the integration and funding for research and development in renewable energy.
The Paris agreement, 2016, brought all the world leaders together on the issue of combating climate change and dealing with its effects through development of renewable energy, so why can’t we? The issue of renewable energy is a global issue and we are very much a part of this global world and we must do our best to honor our commitment towards a cleaner, healthier future.