Every day, an overwhelming 30 billion tons of CO2 is released. The world’s supply ofcoal and other major fossil fuels is predicted to be exhausted by 2088. Furthermore, fossil fuelsare non-renewable so they cannot be reproduced for an extremely long period of time. Therefore,it is imperative for governments to invest heavily in renewable energy in order to prepare forfuture energy needs, reduce the effects of global warming on the environment, and protect thehealth of citizens.One of the ways that converting to renewable sources would help us, is by helping usprepare for the future. We have a limited supply of non-renewable fossil fuels: “The world willrun out of fossil fuels by 2088” (Heinberg). At first, this does not seem like a big problem.
Butwhen one considers the fact that this means that over HALF of our main source of electricityright now will not be existing in 70 years, it becomes much more apparent why we must investheavily in renewable energy. Furthermore, the change will take a very long time: “It would takethirty to fifty years to completely change to depending on renewable sources” (ProCon.org). Aswe only have seventy years until our main source of electricity is depleted, and the change wouldtake thirty to fifty years, we must start changing as soon as possible. There are bound to bemultiple setbacks in a project of this magnitude, so the quicker we start, the safer we will be.In addition to this, switching to renewable energy can also help us combat globalwarming. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, switching to renewable energy canreduce carbon emissions created by producing the energy by up to 99%.
This would be veryeffective in stalling the skyrocketing carbon emissions in this industrial world. With that in mind,global warming is also further endangering the prosperity of our species and other species thatinhabit this earth. “Global warming is currently causing the Arctic sea ice to melt by 11.5%every ten years” (Rathi).
Considering the fact that already, almost 20% of the ice in the arctic seahas melted, this leaves us with a meager seven decades before all the ice in one of our largestreservoirs has melted. This would cause catastrophic changes in the temperature and the way thatwe lead out our daily lives. This melting could also cause the demise of much of this moderncivilization. Many of our economic hubs are, or near, coastal cities; Los Angeles, London, HongKong, Singapore, and Mumbai, to name a few.
Global warming is causing sea levels to rise, andat this rate, many of these big cities will be underwater within the next two centuries. This willcause chaos around the world. But, all of this can be avoided by simply converting to fossil fuels.If we convert, a major contributor of global warming will not exist. According to the WorldBank, energy production causes almost half of all the CO2 emissions caused by combustion.
Renewable energy sources do not use combustion or anything similar. So, if we were tocompletely switch over to renewable sources, a large chunk of the CO2 emissions will disappear,preventing such a disaster from happening.Furthermore, converting our main energy sources to renewable would also ensure moresafety for citizens of the world. In 2016, citizens of the US alone, spent 400-800 billion dollarssolely on treating illnesses caused by pollution (Rathi). To get a general idea of how much thisis, the whole agricultural industry earned less money than this.
But this magnitude of this issuecan be reduced greatly just by converting to renewable sources. Other than fossil fuels, we alsoget a large chunk of our energy from nuclear power plants. There are many nuclear power plantsaround the world. The only thing about them is that they create gigantic pools of nuclear waste.
This nuclear waste can take anywhere from 24,000 to 4 billion years to completely decay.Furthermore, these are also very prone to leakage and disaster. We saw it happen in 1986 withChernobyl, and then we saw history repeat itself in the form of the Fukushima disaster. Like thegreat philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not learn from the past are condemnedto repeat it”, and at this rate, these disasters will happen again.
Some people might say that the change would require too much money. But the reality is,it would actually benefit the economy. According to The Solar Foundation, the solar energysector in USA alone created 51,000 jobs – or 2% of all the jobs created – in 2016 and added 84billion USD to the US economy. Furthermore, to completely convert to renewable sources, itwould take an average of 29.04 trillion used – or 21% of the world’s GDP (Chang). This is a lotof money. But then when we look at the fossil fuels sector, this sum looks much morereasonable. Each year, the world spends 1.
22 trillion USD to create the energy using fossil fuels.This would mean that by 2088, while renewable energy would only have used 29.04 trillionUSD, fossil fuels would’ve used 85.4 trillion USD. That is almost three times the amount ofmoney! Therefore, switching to renewable sources would also help benefit the economy.Right now, converting renewable energy may seem like a big burden on governments.
Renewable energy also does not come cheap to the daily consumer. Furthermore, it would take avery long time to switch over: “It will take at least three decades to completely leave behindfossil fuels. But we can do it. And the first step is to start with the easy stuff.
” (Heinberg) Neitherwill this change be easy, nor will it be cheap. But it has to take place at some time and the besttime to start it is now. Our posterity must not suffer due to the problems that their previousgenerations have created.