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Alternative Energy As A Guarantee

Alternative Energy as a Guarantee of Environmental Well-Being Introduction:

According to (Efstathios E. (Stathis) Michaelides (2012)) , The utilization of energy characterizes the start of human progress: when the ancient human comprehended the use of flame for household comfort and cooking, human development started and advanced to achieve the age of the trains, the nuclear power plant, the car, the plane, the PC and the internet. Energy is created and is being utilized in various structures: planes and cars use fluid hydrocarbon powers; electric power plants change over the energy in coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric into electricity; and a contemporary family unit utilizes power and common gas for household solace, excitement and the preparation of dinners. Although energy is being used in many fields, it has some drawbacks such as producing pollution, increasing global warming etc. Many experts suggest that the humanity should change the energy resources to be friendly to environment.

Nowadays, switching the energy resources to alternative energy is a quite debatable issue due to the costs needed for its production. At the same time, its role as a solution to the environmental crisis, which asserted itself yet in the last century, is evident. The key positive effects of the use of alternative energy are hidden in its ability to conserve natural resources, mitigate climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other negative effects of fossil fuels’ use on environmental health. Thus, the beneficial nature of alternative energy proves its power to contribute to solutions of numerous global environmental issues. This essay will show that investing into alternative energy is a guarantee of environmental well-being in the future, for alternative energy is able to slow (or even stop) further climate change, reduce greenhouse gas releases, minimize destructive effect of air, water and soil pollutants, and transform global energy industry into sustainable one via use of renewable resources for energy production.

Background Information:

The two types of Energy resources

According to Ferreira (2013) & BBC (2014), energy resources can be classified into 2 main categories/branches which are the renewable sources & nonrenewable sources. The renewable sources of energy are sources of power that quickly replenish themselves and can be used again and again such as are solar, wind, tidal etc., whereas the nonrenewable sources are defined as the source that cannot be replaced when it is used up such as petrol, oil, coal, natural gas etc.

Why do we need to change the energy resources?

The (BBC, 2014) has conducted a research and concluded that the time life for non-renewable energy resources is very short and will run out with time. As an example, the time left for fossil fuel such as oil, natural gas and coal are 50 years, 70 years and 250 years respectively. In addition, (BBC, 2014) stated that the UK government wants to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. It also wants to increase the amount of energy which comes from renewable sources. Similarly, by 2020 European Union targets state that 20% of energy must come from renewable sources. Each member state of the EU may have a different target, as 20% is an average figure for the EU.

Drawbacks of nonrenewable energy resources:

To begin with, one of the major disadvantages of using nonrenewable is it is an important factor in the increasing of global warming. According to Efstathios E. (Stathis) Michaelides (2012), it states that burning coal had produced huge changes in the worldwide environment. This activity was the main reason in the expansion of carbon dioxide concentration in air from 280 ppm in 1750 to more than 390 ppm in 2011. As a consequence, Climatologists predict that this will lead to an increase in global warming as well as regional and global and climatic changes. Therefore, based on the above evidence, it is undoubtedly certain that nonrenewable energy has a negative influence on earth’s climate.

Moreover, nonrenewable energy sources is the main cause of acid rain. Acid rain was observed to be primarily produced from discharges of SO2 and NO2 due to the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, to produce electricity. The sulfur & nitrogen produced can react very easily with oxygen and dissolve in water to create more acidic pollutants like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. As a result, this leads to a multiple number of damages in the globe. (Dincer, 2000), (Brimblecombe, 2007) & (Apismon, 2014) has indicated a number of these negative impacts on the environment which are, an increase in the rate of acidity in lakes, rivers causing creatures living in these regions to die. To add, it is very dangerous and toxic to plants as the soil gets more acidic which affects the growth and the structure of plants. It also brings harm to fish, sea-going life, woodlands and agricultural yields. Never the less, it causes weakening of materials like bridge structures leading to a destruction which really happened in 1967, the Ohio disaster, where the Ohio River Bridge in the United States had collapsed killing about 51 people and it had cost $10 million to repair the bridge. These evidences provided tends to suggest that non-renewable energy sources are conclusively an effective tool in harming the environment and switching to alternative energy sources.

Pros & cons of Renewable energy resources:

Alternative Energy as a Means to Mitigate Climate Change

Contribution to mitigation of climate change is the first beneficial action of alternative energy that makes it deserving investments. The environmental impacts of energy use as a whole and emissions into the atmosphere of pollutants and other substances resulted in the ecological turnover. It is the carbon dioxide climate change that is a consequence of the excessive use of fossil fuels as the main source of energy. The root of the problem of climate change is hidden in global warming as a response of the environment to greenhouse effect produced by such an anthropogenic factor as humans’ excessive consumption of energy and environmental pollution caused by it. For that matter, people suffer from natural disasters, and the problem of water supply, reduction in agricultural yields and other adverse effects of unlimited carbon emissions into the environment. The consequences of climate change in the result of humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels become obvious. Such a tendency casts doubts on the future of the Earth, which atmosphere is just liquidated under the influence of excessive burning of fossil fuels by people throughout the world. In this regard, Matas and Coca (2011) claim that climate change may be mitigated through the use of alternative energy sources. The latter is a great option for reduction of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, which influences surface temperature under the condition of its accumulation in the atmosphere and its retention of solar heat. Thus, Matas and Coca (2011) lay emphasis on the direct correlation between fossil fuels’ use and global warming that has a specific influence on the environment. Meanwhile, they see the solution to the climate problem in the use of every possible source of alternative energy, that is, wind, wave, and geothermal power, hydroelectricity, bioenergy, tidal and solar energy. All of them are indicative of alternative energy’s power to reduce greenhouse effect as a shaping factor of climate change.

The Role of Alternative Energy in Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Releases

The role of greenhouse gas releases in the problem of climate change (global warming) is unquestionable, while alternative energy justifies that positive changes are possible due to the use of renewable resources. Sustainable energy with its emission-free emphasis generates cleansing of the atmosphere in the aftermath of replacement of burning fossil fuels. In this view, Jaber (2013) states, “Renewable energy sources are desirable because of their contribution to greenhouse gas reduction and national security of energy supply without the complications of nuclear energy.” Hence, humanity receives an opportunity to continue its activities, however, without the negative effect on the environment, for people use emission-free energy and thus reduce greenhouse effect. As a result, positive processes are started due to the prevention of carbon dioxide emissions, and the environment does not suffer from the negative impact of greenhouse gas releases. In such a manner, alternative energy transforms into investing in the planet as a whole and its environmental well-being in particular, for it stops those irreversible processes that threaten ecological catastrophe and biodiversity loss under the condition of climate change continuation. Moreover, renewable energy adds to environmental health due to its ability to minimize destructive effect of air, water and soil pollutants.

Alternative Energy as a Reducer of Air, Water and Soil Pollutants and Improved Environment Health

Alternative energy sources are pollution-free, which significantly adds to the preservation of the environment and makes sustainable energy a great alternative fuel. In this context, the key point of benefits provided by alternative energy is seen in its power to downgrade pollutants in air, water and soils and thus minimize their adverse effects on environment condition. Those pollutants are a result of burning fossil fuels, whereas their appearance in the environment inevitably leads to their moving in the atmosphere driven by natural processes and their ultimate build-up in the air, soils or water. In any case, the concentration of pollutants results in environmental limitations. Herein, alternative energy asserts itself as a source that significantly adds to the reduction of any pollutants in the environment and, therefore, proves its ability to address global environmental issues. Panwar, Kaushik, and Kothari (2011) claim that alternative energy contributes to a reduction in environment pollution due to its being a clean energy, as opposed to burning fossil fuels and unlimited carbon dioxide emissions caused by the latter. In this connection, the researchers underline, “Renewable energy sources that meet domestic energy requirements have the potential to provide energy services with zero or almost zero emissions of both air pollutants and greenhouse gases.” Accordingly, alternative energy sources appear to be a remedy for global environmental problems triggered by ecological degradation, which is already determined by humanity’s dependence on burning fossil fuels as a power generator. Actually, excessive use of fossil fuels by people throughout the world is another acute issue that can be solved via use of alternative energy. Moreover, (Dell & Rand, 2004) argues that renewable energy sources can lead to enhanced public health and environmental quality. For an example , solar & wind energy sources require basically no water to work , as a consequence, it don’t dirty water assets or strain supply by contending with agriculture, drinking water frameworks, or other vital water needs.

Counter Arguments

However, not all research is indicative that switching to alternative energy sources is the preferred solution. Some have claimed that it very expensive to construct and implement a solar panel to generate clean energy. The (US Energy Information Administration, 2015), which is a governmental organization stated that the cost of building one panel is $20million, which is quite very high cost. One major opposing view of alternative energy is the possible threat of not producing the sufficient of energy.

Many experts has raised the concerns regarding the amount alternative energy will generate. For instance, the reason behind is the sources that create the energy is not present all time, as an example, the sun is not present for 24 hours so it will affect the amount of light and heat energy produced. According to (Assmann, 2006), amount of energy generated by renewable sources are 30% less than non-renewable sources. This clearly shows that alternative energy may not be as efficient as nonrenewable sources.

Refutations:

Recent professionals argued that constructing a solar panel is not expensive and its cost will drop significantly with few years.(Palmer, 2015) indicated that the price of building a solar panel will drop significantly within 20 years from now. Moreover, according to (Amory, 2014), the cost of constructing a solar panel will be 1/5 of its original cost. Experts had also proved that the amount of energy produced by alternative energy is very huge compared to non-renewable sources. (Bührke & Brewer, 2013) stated that for every fuel barrel used produces (6 GJ of energy), where as a solar panel can generate 1 MG of energy per day. This clearly demonstrates that alternative energy is not costly to build its panel as well as it generates a large amount of energy. Conclusion:

All things considered, alternative energy plays a pivotal role in the process of the environment preservation. Specifically, it addresses such global environmental issues as climate change and global warming as its aspect, unlimited carbon dioxide emissions (as a source of air, soil and water pollution), and depletion of natural resources caused by humanity’s excessive use of fossil fuels as a major source of energy. Hence, it is obvious that alternative energy with its emphasis on renewable resources has an extremely positive effect on global environmental problems.