Renewable Energy: Yes or No?

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Renewable Energy: Yes or No?
Joanna Fain
Eng. 122 English Composition II
April 15th, 2013

Although fossil fuels provide an inexpensive form of energy, they have been shown to pollute ecosystems, endanger animals and humans, are not sustainable, and cannot provide nearly the amount of energy that can be obtained from renewable sources.

Fossil fuels do provide an inexpensive form of energy, but in contrast, they also pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, thus contributing to climate change. Global warming is primarily due to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the single most important source of this carbon dioxide is the combustion of fossil fuels” (Bostrom, Read, & Morgan, 2010). Oil is the energy source of our time. We refine the crude, extracted oil into different products like gasoline, jet-fuel, diesel and even plastics. Fossil fuels have promoted global commerce and are behind many of the greatest technological and social innovations of our day.

“Fossil fuel is made up of, oxidized and decayed animal and vegetable materials, specifically coal, peat, lignite, petroleum and natural gas” (Sica, 2011). We retrieve these fuels from under the ground and under water and then use this for electricity. The problem with this method is the over spill into the oceans and above ground. Some of the major oil spills that have occurred that have affected our environment are: Ixtoc 1 Oil Spill, Atlantic Empress oil spill, Arabian Gulf/Kuwait, and the Gulf oil spill, to name a few. There are many more but, with just the ones mentioned in the above oil spills are equal to around 956 million gallons of oil spilled out into our oceans and land (Live Science article Top Ten Worst Oil Spills of Our Time). This alone kills all the animals and mammals living around it.

Not only is drilling for the oil dangerous, but burning the fuel is as well. Fossil fuels are bad for the environment because they create greenhouse gases, which go up in to the atmosphere, magnifying the sun's heat and can cause ice caps to melt. This is turn leads to the sea level rising, causing flooding, and if too much ice melts, animals in the Arctic could die. With the rate the glaciers are melting the earth will become warmer in this century. This warming will accelerate natural disasters with sea levels rising and causing coastal areas to flood. Other climactic changes will bring more natural disasters with stronger storms.

The environment is paying a serious price for our unbridled consumption of fossil fuels and our climate is warming at a rate that may cause irreversible consequences. Oil spills, ecological damage, pollution and human health risks are just some of the negative impacts of oil exploration, development and use. Water pollution, acid rain, and lung disease in humans are often found in industrialized areas. The overhang, or smog as we call it, is carbon monoxide gas created from fossil fuels. This gas is released into the environment, primarily from vehicles, and accumulates in the air (Kaufman & Cleveland, 2008). People breathe in the gas and it enters into the bloodstream through the lungs. When this happens, it prevents the blood from delivering enough oxygen to the body's tissues and organs. It can cause headaches, impaired vision and learning disabilities. It is particularly dangerous for individuals suffering from heart conditions and it can also cause lung disease.

While health impacts from fossil fuels are being seen in humans, fossil fuels are remaining to be the main source of energy worldwide. China and India, both of which have very large coal resources, now burn about half of all coal mined annually in the world (BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2011). Both of these countries plan to increase coal production greatly in the next few decades to fuel their rapidly growing economies. If so, we could have a run-away global climate change due to the enormous...
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