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Renewable Energy: A Move Towards A Better World

Imagine a world without fossil fuels. There would be no cars. There would be no heat.

There would be no toothpaste. It would feel as though we were going back in time. To prevent

that setback, and go even further forward than where we are now, we need to stop relying on

fossil fuels and start relying on renewable energy. For many years, fossil fuels have been a part

of peoples everyday life; they are what make modern day life possible. Fossil fuels are

America's primary source of energy, accounting for 85 percent of current U.S. fuel use

(UCSUSA 2015). Fossil fuels are created from the remains of plants and animals that lived

millions of years ago and found in the Earths crust (IER 2015). Fossil fuels are used to fuel cars

and airplanes, power electricity plants, heat our homes, and make medicines. (NMOGA 2015).

However, many people do not know the risk we are taking using fossil fuels as our primary

source of energy. Fossil fuels cause a massive amount of damage to our planet. For instance, the

heavy use of fossil fuels causes global warming, air, water, land and thermal pollution. All of

these factors are atrocious to our environment. Even though some people believe switching from

fossil fuels to alternative fuels could damage the existing economy, the United States should

create greater incentives for the research of alternative fuels because they create more jobs, cause

less environmental impact and lessen the dependence on foreign oil.

Eliminating the use of fossil fuels can bring benefits to people around the world. For one,

using alternative energy creates numerous jobs. One of those jobs is in research. There are many

research positions that have to do with renewable energy. The Union of Concerned Scientists did

a study in 2009 that calculated how many more jobs there would be if 25 percent of the U.S.s

energy use was renewable by 2025 (UCS 2009). The study found that, such a policy would
create more than three times as many jobs as producing an equivalent amount of electricity from

fossil fuelsresulting in a benefit of 202,000 new jobs in 2025 (UCS 2009). Research is just

one of the many jobs that would be added to our workforce if the U.S. adopted renewable energy

as the norm.

Alternative energy also rejuvenates the car manufacturing industry as well as other

industries. In addition to the jobs directly created in the renewable energy industry, growth in

the renewable energy industry creates positive economic ripple effects. For example, industries

in the renewable energy supply chain will benefit (EPA 2010). One of those ripple effects is

the car manufacturing industry because more and more cars are being put on the road that rely on

energy other than oil. As these cars become more popular and a better option for Americans, jobs

are created in that field to design, manufacture and market the new vehicles.

Production jobs are another benefit of renewable energy. In 2011, the wind energy

industry employed more than 75,000 full-time employees in manufacturing, project

development, construction and turbine installation, operations and maintenance, transportation

and logistics, and financial, legal, and consulting services (AWEA 2012). In the course of three

years, approximately 355,200 people were employed by solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal

industries on a part-time or full-time basis (GEA 2010). Switching from fossil fuels to renewable

energy helped create thousands of jobs as well as helping diminish the unemployment rate.

Alternative energy create jobs that stimulate the economy, but in addition, it benefits our planet.

Fossil fuels cause tremendous harm to our environment and to the world's population. In

exchange, alternative energy has less of a costly environmental impact on our planet. There are

reduced emissions when renewable energy is being used. Electricity production accounts for

more than one-third of U.S. global warming emissions, with the majority generated by coal-fired
power plants, which produce approximately 25 percent of total U.S. global warming emissions;

natural gas-fired power plants produce 6 percent of total emissions. In contrast, most renewable

energy sources produce little to no global warming emissions. If the U.S. switches to alternative

fuels, we will significantly reduce global warming emissions (EPA 2012). As Figure 1 shows

below, 85% of the energy the U.S. is consuming comes from fossil fuels, and of that percentage,

only 6% of the energy is renewable.

Additionally, renewable energy cuts back on fracking, or drilling. Renewable energy

sources do not pollute water resources or strain supply by competing with agriculture, drinking

water systems, or other important water needs (UCS 2009). In contrast, fossil fuels have a

significant negative impact, for example, both coal mining and natural gas drilling can pollute

sources of drinking water. (UCS 2009). Fracking is awful for the environment, but renewable

energy does not require fracking as a practice. Wind and solar power can be cultivated without

drilling anything. Improved public health is yet another benefit of alternative energy. The air

and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked to breathing problems,

neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has
been found to reduce premature mortality and lost workdays, and it reduces overall healthcare

costs (Machol 2013). According to Machol, renewable energy reduces breathing problems,

neurological damage, heart attacks and cancer. Fossil fuel emissions are polluting the air and

water, which is damaging the health ofand even killingU.S. citizens.

In addition to reducing harmful chemicals and pollutants to the environment, investing in

renewable energies helps reduce the dependence the U.S. economy has on foreign entities. The

U.S. imported 61 percent of its foreign oil from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia in 2013, the

most in more than four decades, as overall crude oil imports fell according to the Energy

Information Administration (Cama 2014). Renewable energy makes the U.S less dependent on

foreign oil from other countries decreasing costs by the millions. It lowers the incentive for

involvement in foreign conflicts. Conflict over foreign oil and valuable energy supplies have

been existing for many years. Countries all over the world are fighting against each other for oil.

Consider these flash-points as signals that we are entering an era of intensified conflict over

energy (Klare 2012). From Sudan to China to Egypt to Argentina to the U.S. to Iran, countries

are literally at war over oil, which could all be avoided if we were less dependent on foreign oil

and more dependent on renewable energy in our own country (Klare 2012). Renewable energies

eliminate tensions over oil; therefore, stabilizing the prices of energies and ending wars with

foreign countries.

Alternative energy also reduces taxes on imports. Diversifying energy supply and

reducing dependence on imported fuels has financial incentives such as grants, loans, rebates

and reduced taxes (EPA 2010). In addition to other economic benefits, by not importing our

energy we are also not paying taxes on those imports. America is not buying oil from

Americans; instead we are importing it every day from other countries, which is helping them
but hurting us. We are importing an incredible amount of oil from other countries instead of

supporting our own economy.

Many people argue that renewable energy hurts our existing economy. Gas stations are

one of the businesses that would be damaged if the U.S. makes the switch to alternative energy.

If we no longer depended on oil for our energy, gas stations would go out of business, which

would put many people out of work among other things. However, gas stations would have the

option to adapt the new energy and provide services for wind, solar and electric power instead of

gasoline. This could create more jobs for people and help our economy progress.

Oil industries would also lose money and jobs over the change to renewable energy in the

U.S. Love em or hate em, oil and natural gas companies keep the world running, and will for

many years to come (Helman 2015). The oil industry is very powerful in the U.S., and if we do

not use oil, the oil industry goes away. Things change over time, just like the manufacturing

industry declined when the technology industry rose. As the oil industry lost power, the

sustainable energy industry would gain it. People and companies could adapt to keep up with the

change, just like many manufacturing companies have done with technology.

Many sources also argue that renewable energy is risky. We have not perfected it yet, or it

would already be the standard practice. For example, there cannot be solar power without the

sun. What would people do on cloudy, rainy or snowy days? What would certain parts of the

world do that have little sunshine throughout the year? Those parts of the country that receive

little sunshine could rely on a little something called the photovoltaic effect. The photovoltaic

effect is the process of taking light from the sun and converting it into electricity (SF 2010). This

process is best used when there is little to no sun present.

Ultimately, renewable energy is the ONLY option for future generations. As we continue
to deplete Earths remaining fossil fuels in our search for an alternate energy source is right in

front of us. Although skeptics believe the switch will hurt our economy, statistics show that

alternate energy industries could have a positive economic impact, as well as help lessen the

unemployment rate by bringing jobs back to America. Alternative resources are being used in

some parts of the nation, but they need to be used all over the world. Fossil fuels are slowly

deteriorating the environment in which we live and causing many conflicts with the world's

nations. Soon the oil we need to make energy will fade and there wont be any left for future

generations. Fossil fuels cause numerous amounts of illnesses for people worldwide. Asthma,

cardiovascular illness and chronic bronchitis are three main types of illnesses caused by fossil

fueled power plants. Both environmental and health issues arise from depending on fossil fuels.

The world needs alternative resources for energy. Depending on alternative energy will create

more jobs, decreasing unemployment rates. They will have less of a negative impact on our

environment and the United States will be a more independent country. Alternative energy

sources are just the beginning for a better way of life.

Works Cited

Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.

"Fossil Fuels - IER." IER. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.

"How Solar Energy Works." Union of Concerned Scientists. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.

"Renewable Energy." Renewable Energy. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.

"UCS Blog - Clean Energy (text Only) | UCSUSA." Union of Concerned Scientists. Web. 05 Jan.