If it's Thursday....
America must limit its use of fossil fuels. It seems almost nonsensical that we would be talking about this in 2018 because we have everything we need to reduce our carbon footprint by more than 80% within the next 10 to 15 years. By 2050, scientific research suggests America, in fact the world, could be 100% free from carbon-based fuel consumption.
Recently, I read an article that hit all too close to home. It wasn’t so much the scientific data as it was the world in which my generation will leave our children and grandchildren. It is not that we should transform the energy infrastructure to 100% clean renewable energy, it is the understanding that our lack of doing so jeopardizes the lives of billions of people—even those yet to be born.
Sadly, we have all the technology we need to make this happen. The costs are reasonable enough that we could power the entire planet on renewable energy for all purposes. We need to create a stable environment—we do not have a choice any longer. But, not only would renewable energy create the stable environment we need, it would reduce greenhouse emissions significantly and provide price stabilization at the same time creating good paying jobs in our communities.
I truly believe that the only thing in our way, the only thing that stops us from achieving renewable energy goals, is our political and social issues. Looking at Washington, DC and understanding how encapsulated policymakers are by being wrapped in a bubble, it is hard to see any political willpower to do anything except undo the progress made by the last administration.
Some countries such as France have embraced nuclear energy. It has proven to be a viable energy source. We have uranium resources to make the fuel rods to power the nuclear plants. Plus, it is clean energy with zero carbon. There are some drawbacks however. You need fossil fuels to run the equipment, the heavy machinery, to construct the nuclear power plant. Secondly, at what point do we run out of adequate containment facilities to store the nuclear waste? All we have to do is look at what is happened in some of our local communities with regard to Duke Energy and the storage of contaminated waste.
In a recent study, the majority of the voting population does not want more nuclear power plants. But, even if nuclear power was popular—to get one nuclear plant online would take 19 years based on current regulations, standards, and permits.
From a feasibility standpoint nuclear power is not readily obtainable. It would take 15,000 plants to power the world.
Perhaps, solar energy in conjunction with wind turbine is a feasible alternative and possible solution. We can move to a carbon free environment and every home in the United States could have 4 to 6 solar panels installed without having to navigate huge land areas to build solar farms.
But again, we need social and political willpower to make it happen. California has met with some success by passing laws that require new home construction to include affordable solar technology.
Needless to say, the world is going to be in serious trouble if we don’t start now. Since the Carter administration, we have kicked the can so far down the road that we have run out of road. In North Carolina, we have seen the General Assembly ignore scientific data relevant to our intracoastal waterways forcing coastal communities to deal with rising sea levels without adequate funding. Sea levels are becoming more acidic because of global warming. Literally, rising temperatures are killing our oceans and sea life.
Donald Trump enacted a 30% tariff on solar panel imports at the worst possible time. The effect canceled several projects and it continues the use of fossil fuels when we can least afford it. We need to stop electing anti-science politicians who jeopardize the future, and the health and welfare of our children and grandchildren.
Time will run out for all us if we don't act now.
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