Millie HennickSeptember 14, 20189040
Many ecologically minded people are wondering when politicians in the United States will wake up to the emerging climate crisis the world is facing. Instead of adopting common sense energy policies, the Trump administration continues to deny that global warming is a problem. The worldwide transition to solar power is not affecting the current administration's energy plans. Even in today’s world where news reports of climate change seem omnipresent, fossil fuels, continue to be the world’s number one source of energy. Fortunately, due to numerous progressive people, renewable energy is experiencing rapid growth. In several countries, renewable energy is the clear leader and rapidly overtaking fossil fuels as the prime energy source. Despite being a non-renewable source, there is still a fairly high demand for fossil fuels due to their affordability and reliability. From heating and lighting homes to fueling vehicles, fossil fuels play an important role in energy production and the global economy. But short-sighted and greedy individuals continue to press for expanded oil drilling in extremely sensitive areas, even though the need for this energy is being replaced by alternative energy sources.
In order to encourage the selection of renewable energy sources, governments have instituted tax credits for solar and wind energy, which until recently, were far more expensive than their fossil fuel equivalents. Thankfully, due to increased production, government subsidies and growing environmental anxieties, the costs of solar and wind production have decreased. In fact, some exchanges generate renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels. Currently, wind energy is mostly used for commercial functions, such as wind farms, but solar energy has both commercial and residential purposes.
Industry experts estimate that fossil fuels will be depleted within the next five or six decades. While sources of coal, natural gas, and crude oil continue to be exhausted, consumption of fossil fuels has not. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that fossil fuel production and consumption rose to 70 quadrillion and 80 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs) in 2014 from 62 quadrillions and 77 quadrillions respective BTUs in 2012. This represents a three percent rise in fossil fuel consumption over a two-year span. Considering all energy sources, fossil fuels trump alternative energy and nuclear power. In 2014, fossil fuels accounted for over 80% of the energy used while renewable energy consumed a mere ten percent. Not only are fossil fuels nonrenewable, they are also a cause of several extremely dangerous environmental effects. Burning fossil fuels is the leading producer of anthropogenic CO2, which has contributed greatly to climate change. Some of these effects include global warming, rapidly melting ice in the Arctic, rising sea levels and diminished crop yields. While the U.S. foolishly spends over $1 trillion annually on fossil fuels, the unhealthy effects from burning them continue to add to our economic woes. In 2009, it was estimated that the costs of burning fossil fuels in the U.S. were $120 billion a year in health costs largely due to air pollution. Research suggests air pollution in Europe is responsible for economic costs of $1.6 trillion a year in preventable diseases and premature deaths. Analyzing the combined expenditures on fossil fuels, health care costs, and environmental degradation, it is estimated the real cost of fossil fuels is $5.3 trillion a year globally.
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