Making the Switch to Renewable Energy

Energy is a necessity in all of our lives. We depend on energy for almost everything from food production, to heating our homes in the winter time. Our main source of energy are fossil fuels. It has already been proven that fossil fuels are very harmful to the environment and our planet. Thankfully there are different and cheaper alternatives to fossil fuels. These alternatives have been known for years, but fossil fuels still persists to be the main source of energy. Fortunately, many countries around the world, United States included, are making huge strides in the switch to renewable energy. Of course, some countries are doing a lot better than the United States, China is one that immediately comes to mind, but we are somewhat on the right track. Some cities in the United States had made huge advancements in there switch to renewable. A lot of cities are setting goals, or at least talking about setting goals to make the switch to renewable energy. So far, three cities in the United States have made the switch to one hundred percent renewable energy. These three cities are Greensburg Kansas, Burlington Vermont, and Aspen Colorado(thinkprogress.org). This only took three years for these cities to make full switch to renewable energy. Based on this, it probably isn’t that hard to switch to renewable energy as some may claim. Despite this great progress, we are still years behind other main users of fossil fuels in the switch to renewable energy. Trump promises to put coal miners back to work while countries like China are moving in the opposite direction. China has 2.5 million people working in the solar power secret alone, compared to 260,000 people in the United States. China has pledged to invest 367 billion dollars in renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydro and nuclear by 2030. This will add about 10 million jobs to the sector(money.cnn.com). Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement because he believes that making the switch to clean energy is not feasible for the American worker as the fossil fuel industry is. Based on China, it would seem much better for our economy and provide a lot more jobs than the fossil fuel industry if we put more effort into making a switch to renewable energy. There are many simple ways for us to start making the switch to renewable as China has started doing. One way would be for us to stop subsidizing and incentivizing the use of fossil. We subsidize renewable energy too, but not as much as fossils. If we can get rid of these things that facilitate the use of fossil fuels and transfer them to renewables, many cities and companies will start to make the switch(huffpost.com). There are some arguments that renewable energy such as wind and solar is not very reliable because it isn’t always sunny or windy. This maybe true, but of course, there are simple ways of getting around this. It may not always be windy or sunny in one particular spot, but it will definitely be windy or sunny somewhere else in the country. That means that there would need to be a way to transfer energy from one place to another. Luckily, there are ways to transfer energy through generators and high voltage power lines. This is already being done in places like Vermont(smithsonianmag.com). It would be extremely beneficial for us to make a switch to renewable energy. It doesn’t have to even be fully renewable to start to see the positive effects of making the change to renewable. As of now, 66.9% of our energy is provided by the use of fossil fuels. Some believe that if we can cut that down to anywhere below 30%, we may see a decrease in carbon emissions from 33% to around 70 from our 1990 levels(instituteforenergyresearch.org). Some believe that our use of fossil fuels may rise in the near future. I don’t necessarily believed this to be true. With the current trends of huge fossil fuel using countries like China making the change to renewable, and the United States slow but steady change to renewable, is the reason why I believe that to be untrue. More people than ever are realizing the harmful effects of fossil fuels and are in support for renewable energy. There are even more politicians than ever supporting the use of renewable energy. This May be a bit of a stretch, but I am not joking when I say that I believe that it may be possible for 70% percent of all energy provided in the world to be renewable somewhere between the next ten to twenty years.
Sources
https://thinkprogress.org/what-will-it-take-for-america-to-go-100-percent-renewable-c2cf0c622bbf/
http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/18/technology/china-us-clean-energy-solar-farm/index.html
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-renewable-energy-will-replace-fossil-fuels_us_596cad4de4b022bb9372b313
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/us-could-switch-mostly-renewable-energy-no-batteries-needed-180957925/
http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/topics/encyclopedia/fossil-fuels/

By Jama Tasfay

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