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So, the way to resolve this most challenging of all global environmental issues, is through the implementation of a very comprehensible and pragmatic four-fold plan of attack: a) begin a massive phase-in of an energy conservation program (insulating houses, teaching people to use less energy); b) launch a major federally-mandated private/public partnership push towards the installation of solar-powered technologies in homes and businesses; c) as new and renewable energy sources come online, and energy conservation reduced the need for additional energy sources, begin the inevitable phase out of existing centralized fossil-fuel energy generating plants; d) stop building new fossil-fuel plants, and re-train coal-and-oil-fired energy workers as retrofitters of energy-saving hardware - and solar technologies - for millions of American homes.
Yes, the people of the United States have a golden opportunity - if sufficient political pressure is place on elected leadership in all 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C. - to go solar, to conserve energy, creating a better future for our children and their children's children. America can and must reduce the amount of pollution going into the air, reduce the need for drilling for crude oil in remote, pristine places like Alaska, reduce our dependence on oil from the highly volatile and violent Middle East, and also dramatically reduce energy costs to the American consumer.
The significance of the necessary change from fossil fuel to clean, renewable energy:
The significance of changing America from an oil-dependent culture to a renewable, sun-based nation cannot be overstated. Although there are progressive communities where renewable energy is the norm - especially in the Sun Belt and in California - for the most part, the average U.S. voter/citizen still believes that "solar energy" is some futuristic concept that is light years away from taking hold or making economic sense. In America, it's all about oil, and coal.
And the real problem is that the prevailing attitude of most U.S. political officials down through the years since the first gusher - with the exception of the "energy crisis" in the late 1970s, when the oil cartel (OPEC) shut down supplies, causing panicked American drivers to wait in line for hours for a tank of petrol - has been to continue America's dependence on foreign (mostly Middle Eastern) oil supplies.
That stubbornness, that recalcitrance, is to some degree due to a lack of vision on the part of public servants (elected to promote the best interests of American citizens?); and its partly due to the huge army of big oil lobbyists marching into the offices of elected legislators, buying off votes with hefty campaign donations; and the recalcitrance to positive change is also due quite frankly to "a lack of political will" (Wicker, 2005), according to an article in the journal Power.
"Installations of new renewable energy facilities in the U.S. slowed significantly last year," Wicker writes. Compared with the European Union, "the U.S. has much less progressive renewable energy policies," the Power article points out. In the UK, for example, a "Renewables Obligation Policy" (ROP) is in effect, which "requires all licensed electricity suppliers in England and Wales to supply a specific and growing proportion of their sales" from wind, hydro or geothermal sources. That kind of policy would be extremely helpful, albeit not very likely to be approved in the U.S., given the pro-oil, pro-nuclear approach to energy policy taken by the current administration in the White House.
What will happen if leadership in Washington D.C. does not implement my plan?
There is a growing consensus among scientists, governments, and business on the seriousness of climate change: Business Week reported in August, 2004, that on July 21, 2004, "New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and lawyers from seven ot
Quotes talked about in this paper
- "The growing consensus among scientists and governments is that we can – and must – do something," Business Week investigative reporter John Carey writes. ...
- Carey explains, are: Flooding (seawaters could rise a full meter this century); Ocean Disruptions (plankton could suffer from carbon entering the sea, affecting the entire food chain); Shifting Storm Patterns; Reduced Farm Output ("each degree rise in the surface temperature brings a further drop in crop yields"); Animal Extinctions; and Droughts (whole sections of Africa turned to desert during the last period of climate change; "areas that are currently fertile could become barren and dry," ...
- "is likely to rise two feet along most of the U.S. coast" over the next century, the EPA contends. ...
- "Installations of new renewable energy facilities in the U.S. slowed significantly last year," Wicker writes. ...
- "…you need annual wind speeds averaging 8 to 9 mph," Popular Mechanics technical writer Joe Provey explains ...
- "If the property is wooded, you will have to mount your turbine on a tower that is at least 30 ft. above any obstruction," Provey continues. ...
- "today's windmills are entirely computerized, with sensors that allow them to turn into the wind"; an entire wind farm "can be controlled by a single laptop." The average wind turbine in 1991 was 120 feet tall; but today, new turbines are 300 to 400 feet tall (as high as a 30-story building), which is fortuitous because "winds at higher elevations are stronger and more reliable," writes Lester Brown ...
- "for a full year." In Europe, the world's leader in wind energy, wind farms now produce enough electricity to supply 40 million customers, Brown explains. ...
- "energy crisis" in the late 1970s, when the oil cartel (OPEC) shut down supplies, causing panicked American drivers to wait in line for hours for a tank of petrol – has been to continue ...
- "The new generation of windmills is going up on former rangeland, exhausted oil fields, reclaimed coal mines and old farms," Vogel explains. ...
Terminology referenced in this report
greenhouse gases, energy conservation, global warming, renewable energy sources, energy costs, energy sources, energy, wind turbines, higher energy costs, energy crisis, wind-generated electricity, oil cartel, electricity, oil supplies, free advertising,
Names mentioned in this term paper
John Carey, Wicker, Joe Provey, Donald Kennedy, Lester Brown, Eliot Spitzer, Vogel,
Organizations talked about in this research paper
Business Week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Popular Mechanics, government, European Union, Science, OPEC, Natural Resources Defense Council, federal government, BP,
Locations included in this term paper
United States, Washington, D.C., California, America, Arctic, Alaska, Middle East, UK, Japan, Africa, New York, Europe, China, England, Canada, Oregon,
Facility included in this term paper
Companies included in this research paper
Keywords mentioned in this research paper
climate changes, renewable energy, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, wind farms, wind turbine, fossil fuel, solar energy, energy conservation, Business Week, wind energy, global warming, wind power, renewable energy sources, explains, new renewable energy, Mother Earth News, farms, energy crisis, energy policy, surface temperature, energy market, energy development, middle class, greenhouse gas emissions, Popular Mechanics, Web site, natural resources, a single, New York Attorney General, Natural Resources Defense Council, concentrations, a better future, Science and technology, Solar power, NRDC, Mother Jones magazine, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Environmental Protection Agency, public service announcements, BP Solar, crude oil, Arctic, Renewables Obligation, grid power, oil supplies, government subsidies, big oil, investigative reporter, square feet,