Clean Energy Solutions



In the coming decades, the biggest challenge we will face is global warming. It is no longer debatable: global temperatures are rising, and the Earth’s climate is changing. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising steadily over the last century, and is now reaching dangerous levels. Weather patterns are changing, coastlines are disappearing, and the polar ice caps are melting.

However, the situation is not as dire as it seems. The technology to reverse global warming already exists; it just needs to be implemented. There are clean energy solutions that could replace coal power, which is the number one source of carbon dioxide (1). These clean energy solutions include such things as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. However, no single form of clean energy can provide for all the world’s energy needs, since many locations lack sufficient wind, while others lack an adequate water source for hydroelectric power, and so on. Clean energy solutions work by pairing the proper mode of energy production with the location where it will be used (2).

There are also cleaner fuel sources on the horizon, such as hydrogen, ethanol, and biodiesel. These sources are not only cleaner, but also renewable, meaning they come from sources that can never be depleted, such as corn in the case of ethanol (3). In contrast, fossil fuels not only pollute, but they are also non-renewable; when the world’s supply of coal, natural gas, and gasoline is gone, it will be gone forever. This is because fossil fuels, as their name suggests, take millions of years to form underground.

But these clean energy solutions will not solve the problem of global warming overnight. It will also require a change in energy policy. Clean energy solutions already exist; they just aren’t being utilized. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 85% of all the energy consumed in the United States still comes from burning fossil fuels (4). The main obstacle facing clean energy solutions is not a lack of technology, but a lack of economic feasibility. Unfortunately, most countries in the developed world depend largely on fossil fuels to keep their economies running. The technology to stop global warming is already here, now it must be put into action.



Sources:
(1) www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/technology_and_impacts/energy_technologies/coal-power-in-a-warming-world.html
(2) www.nrel.gov/learning/re_basics.html
(3) www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/current.shtml
(4) www.energy.gov/energysources/fossilfuels.htm


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