Alternative Energy - Essay Example

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Is alternative energy the solution to dependence on oil? Essay and Number Date Submitted Introduction There has been growing concerns recently over the possible implications of overdependence on oil. Scientists predicted that the world has reached the peak of oil production, which suggests that oil reserves are near total exhaustion…
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Download file to see previous pages They do not believe that alternative energy is the solution to dependence on oil. This essay presents and analyzes both sides of the debate, and critically examines its implication for sustainability. Argument for Alternative Energy Sources Numerous factors have triggered the debate over the capacity of alternative energy sources to solve dependence on oil. Some scholars claim that there is an urgent need to use alternative and renewable energy sources. Most energy scholars have the same opinion that, in the future, the world will completely drain its limited supply of oil. Scholars have the same opinion about the availability of coal in the future; as reported by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), supply in the U.S. alone can meet present energy demands for two centuries (Smith & Taylor, 2008, 38). The remaining supply of natural gas and oil are a much more disputed subject. Scholars vary considerably in their estimates of the peak of oil reserves, also referred to as the ‘topping point’ (Smith & Taylor, 2008, 38-39). Oil’s topping point will occur when the world has used up precisely one-half of the total amount of remaining oil. This implies that the topping point of oil has been reached and that oil reserves will start to dwindle because oil is a nonrenewable energy source (Smith & Taylor, 2008, 39). The supply of natural gas, which is dependent on the availability of oil, is directly connected to this topping point (Podobnik, 2006). The United Nations (UN) made a decision to build the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1983. The name of the commission was eventually replaced with Brundtland Commission (Elliott, 2003, 7). Its objective was to look for sustainable environmental approaches. By raising awareness about the issues with nonrenewable, non-sustainable sources of energy, the Commission fueled and exposed the debate over the limited supply of fossil fuels and other justifications for the necessity of using alternative and renewable sources of energy. Energy issues have been at the center of economic, political, scientific, and environmental discourses from then on. Those supporting a rapid adoption of alternative and renewable sources of energy believe that the calculated dates for the peak of oil production are mostly immaterial (Elliott, 2003, 18). Environmental issues and the likelihood of tipping points imply that continuous dependence on oil may bring about permanent harm to the natural world. The worst possible damage is a global extermination of species, as well as human beings. Since fossil fuels have to be burned to produce energy, air pollution has been a problem since the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Air pollution has largely been the outcome of burning fossil fuels to produce electricity and supply energy to transportation. Hence, air pollution contains chemicals emitted from burning of fossil fuels (Schmidt, 2007). Air pollution does not only bring about a huge number of untimely deaths annually in developed countries, it also causes environmental destructions. Bodies of water can also be damaged by the use of fossil fuel not merely through acid rain, but through contamination of surface water as well. A case in point is the Exxon Valdez oil leakage. Valdez, the oil ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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