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Nicolas Horton

Professor Bevill

ENGL 1301-PHS3

20 October 2017

Transitioning Energy Sources for Climate Change

Global warming, also termed Climate Change, is the heating of the earth and the change

in weather patterns and is the reason that chaotic weather happens such as frequent hurricanes

that are large scale like Harvey, Erma, and Maria in recent events. Global Warming is a natural

process, but over the years it has been accepted that humans are involved in speeding up Global

Warming because of the emissions of greenhouse gases by many manmade objects and activities.

Greenhouse gases are gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrous

oxide (Ananth). These gases contribute toward global warming because the more greenhouse

gases present in the atmosphere the more the climate begins to change as they block infrared

energy, which is heat energy, from escaping the earths atmosphere. The debate over converting

to different methods of energy for the sake of slowing climate change has become a prominent

issue because of the effects it may have on the economy and possibly the environment.

The move to clean energy has always been a big problem in the business prospective.

Clean energy investment such as geothermal and hydropower projects tend to be large, capital

intensive and with long repayment periods (Hilmarsson). An example of this would be how

Windmills can cost millions to build and maintain but they only have a durability of ten years

making the efforts to transition to clean energy seem pointless from the business prospective.

However, there are those that may argue otherwise. It is believed that public-private partnerships

can be an alternate way for funding these projects. A public-private partnership is where a public
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source, such as the government, sees the project gets done, while the private partner, such as

private business, funds the project with their own money (Hilmarsson). By doing this it is

thought to eliminate major cost for the government and therefore allow the building of clean

energy machinery, like windmills, without adding on to national debt.

Figure 1, constructed by Hilmar r Hilmarsson, illustrates how public-private

partnerships allow for a broad amount of people to contribute expressing that the cost of building

structures for clean energy can be reduced greatly.

While world leaders have tried to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with accords such as

the Kyoto Protocol, the United States Senate decided not to ratify it because of excessive cost
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(Ananth). This has aggravated both liberals and conservatives in America as it is thought that

America will prosper in the global market if they become the leaders of eco-friendly

technologies.

Although fossil fuels release greenhouse gases, people are reluctant to convert to a new

production of energy therefore the efficiency may not be as great. Fossil fuels dominate energy

consumption, with a market share of 87% while renewable energy currently accounts for only

2% of energy consumption globally (Energy). The cost of oil is sufficiently lower than that of

clean energy and so it would be unlikely for a business to switch if that means losing money.

Jobs in the fossil fuel industry are another reason people are dislike the switch to clean energy.

The oil field alone has over one million jobs have so far been created, with a further two million

expected by 2020 (Energy). The transition to clean energy can hurt those in fossil fuel as

those jobs diminished. While the clean energy will create new jobs to stimulate the economy

they may require different schooling therefore not allowing the workers to transition over from

one field to the next (Ananth). This can cause a reduction in spending and cause the economy

harm as money entering the economy is reduced because of a decrease in employment rates, as

oil is one of the top industries that supplies a large amount of jobs. This predicament is the

reason many believe that it is not possible to completely turn a blind eye on nonrenewable

energy.

Another alternative to fossil fuels emitting greenhouse gas emissions is to revitalize clean

nuclear energy (Ananth). Nuclear energy has been shut down before after failures such as

Chernobyl and Fukushima, and costs roughly twenty million dollars to build a plant (Miller).

Nuclear energy uses uranium core and can cause severe issues in the environment such as death

and birth defects if the core has a meltdown. The way nuclear energy creates energy is through
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nuclear fission, and in nuclear fission the uranium atoms are separated causing a reaction which

releases energy. Nuclear energy plants typically run about sixty years making it inefficient to

invest in as the cost to build a plant is high (Miller). As it stands nuclear energy at its current

level would be insufficient to use because its opportunity cost is too high as radiation creates a

sort of dead zone that is not safe to live in for numerous years. Many people believe nuclear

energy is the way to go but some in the end people are unsure because of how costly a slip up in

the power plant can be for the environment.

The change in energy sources can only be prolonged but never stopped entirely. As clean

energy methods improve businesses will most likely begin investing in them, because as

technology advances for clean energy the costs will go down. Those that are against transitioning

of energy sources that are better for the environment only have reasons that are temporary. A

study by the Pew Research Center in 2012 showed that more than two-thirds believed climate

change was actually taking place (Ananth). National laws such as the Kyoto protocol, signed by

about 180 countries and promising for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, have already

sprung the world into transition. People understand that climate change is happening and that

something should be done to help the outcome.


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Works Cited

Ananth, Mahesh. "Climate Change." Culture Wars in America: An Encyclopedia of Issues,

Viewpoints, and Voices, edited by Roger Chapman, and James Ciment, Routledge, 2nd

edition, 2013. Credo Reference, http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/

sharpecw/climate_change/0. Accessed 27 Sep 2017.

"Energy." QFinance: The Ultimate Resource, edited by Qatar Financial Center, and Qatar

Financial Center, A&C Black, 5th edition, 2014. Credo Reference, http://search.

credoreference.com/content/entry/qfinance/energy/0. Accessed 12 Oct 2017.

Hilmarsson, Hilmar r. "Public-Private Partnerships for Clean Energy Investment in

Developing and Emerging Economies: Allocating Risks and Sharing Rewards."

Theoretical & Applied Economics, vol. 24, no. 2, Summer2017, pp. 147-160.

EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=12355

3416&site=ehost-live.

Miller, Tyler G. and Scott E. Spoolman. Living in the Environment. Belmont: Yolanda Cossio,

2009. Print.