Scientists are now in unanimous agreement: global temperatures are on the rise. Excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are
trapping energy from the sun, causing changes in Earthís temperature and weather patterns. Worse yet, this increase in greenhouse
gas is directly caused by human activity, and our dependence on fossil fuels.
Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are a normal part of Earthís atmosphere. However, when they rise above
natural levels, greenhouse gases cause global temperatures to rise. But where is this excess greenhouse gases coming from?
Automobiles are an obvious source of carbon dioxide, but most people would be shocked to know that coal-burning power plants
are the number one producers of carbon dioxide. We can see the smog our cars create, but we donít realize we are also creating
pollution when we use electricity in our homes. That is because almost two-thirds of our electricity still comes from burning
fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas.
However, there is a solution on the horizon. The use of fossil fuels for electricity is slowly being replaced by forms of
renewable energy. Renewable energy, such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass, comes from sources which
can never be depleted. Because they take millions of years to form underground, fossil fuels are a limited resource. But
renewable forms of energy come from forces of nature, which are readily available and everlasting.
Renewable forms of energy have another advantage over fossil fuels: they are much cleaner. With the exception of biomass,
renewable forms of energy require no combustion, and therefore donít produce carbon dioxide. However, the difficulty with
renewable forms of energy is their economic feasibility. Because renewable energy is an emerging technology, and because it
often requires new infrastructure to be built, renewable energy canít compete with the prices of fossil fuel energy.
The technology to reduce global warming already exists, now it must be used to replace outmoded forms of energy production.
In the United States, more than 50% of households have the choice of purchasing renewable energy instead of conventional
coal produced energy. Consumers can also purchase green energy certificates. The money spent on these certificates goes to
support renewable energy. Ultimately, the solution to global warming will come from consumers. By demanding renewable forms
of energy from utility providers, consumers can help renewable forms of energy compete with fossil fuel energy.
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