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“For decades, we’ve been
told that it doesn’t make economic sense to switch to renewable energy. Today,
that’s no longer true,” remarked former President Barack Obama. If the current
trend of global consumption of fossil fuels remains constant, the world’s available
fossil fuel reserves will be consumed by the early 22nd century. Since the
industrial age, mankind has depended on fossil fuels for our energy needs.

However, the use of fossil fuels has created a drastic problem due to its
mass-consumption and harmful environmental impacts. As a result, the shift to
renewable energy in the past few years has started to develop immensely, but
not fast enough. Renewable energy possesses the ability to replenish at the
same rate it is used and derives from natural powers—such as solar, wind,
geothermal, hydropower, bioenergy and ocean power. For the advantages of being
environmentally friendly, being both economically beneficial and stable, and
producing a multitude of job opportunities, the US government must play a
greater role in shifting energy dependency to renewable energy sources instead
of fossil fuels.

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To begin, the US government
must greater enforce the movement to renewable energy sources due to their
minor environmental impacts mainly in categories of carbon emissions, as well
as in air and water pollution—which concern public health. Compared to fossil
fuels, the quantity of carbon emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere from
renewable sources is certainly minimal. According to a 2012 report from the
International Panel on Climate Change, when fossil fuels—such as natural gas
and coal—are burned, between 0.6 to 3.6 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per
kilowatt-hour (CO2E/kWh) is emitted. On the contrary, renewable sources—such as
wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower—emit as low as 0.02 pounds of CO2E/kWh
and only as high as 0.5 pounds of CO2E/kWh. Even though, the difference of
these emissions may seem slight at a glimpse, when observing the
mass-production of energy over a period of time, the amount of carbon
definitely poses a threat to the environment. In 2017 only, nearly 36.8
gigatons worth of carbon dioxide was emitted into the atmosphere, and this was
just carbon emissions (Carbon Brief). Carbon along with numerous other global
warming emissions—such as methane and nitrous oxide—are a detriment as they
trap heat in the atmosphere; thus, resulting in temperature increase and other
impacts including stronger storms, drought, sea level rise, and even
extinction. Therefore, it stands to reason that fully initializing a movement
to renewables in a leading country, like the US, will not only significantly
reduce global warming emissions but will also be beneficial to human safety.

Another essential point,
the US government must veer to renewables for its continuous refinement in
production and installment costs. “The economic case for renewables as the
backbone of our global energy system is increasingly clear and proven. Offering
ever greater bang-for-buck, renewables are quite simply the cheapest way to generate
energy in an ever-growing number of countries,” stated Christiana Figueres, the
former UN Climate Chief, who delivered the Paris Agreement. To elaborate, a
record-breaking renewable energy capacity installed worldwide in 2016 carried
161 gigawatts, which was a 10% increase compared to 2015’s capacity. Costing
$242 billion, it was a 23% decline in investment compared to 2015. Despite
this, financial aids for renewables are still much lower compared to those for
fossil fuels. It is apparent that with the advancing technologies of this
generation, prices and capacities will only become cheaper. Subsequently, some
may argue that when including the costs of investments for renewables, its
values start to show its costliness; however, once installed, renewables
operate at very low costs that will still decline as the market grows.

Furthermore, it makes sense that investment costs will also decline as time
goes on. According to the 2017 Solar Market Insight Report, between 2010 and
2017, solar power installation costs declined more than 70%. To add on, the
cost of generating electricity from wind dropped 66% between 2009 and 2016 (
2016 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report). In comparison, fossil fuel
prices can sometimes be unpredictable due to varying energy demands. By
allowing more renewable energy, the people will also benefit as competition
with fossil fuels will lower costs and demand; as a result, people would be
able to rely on renewables if fossil fuels rise in price for any reason. For
that reason, in the long run, renewables will undoubtedly be beneficial to the
US.

Last but not least, it is a
responsibility for the US government to adjust to renewables for holding the
capacity to allow countless amounts of job opportunities. Between Quarter 2 of
2015 and Quarter 1 of 2016, there was an approximate 18% increase in renewable
energy jobs. In addition, through the clean energy industry, 3,384,834
Americans were directly employed. By comparison, during Quarter 1 of 2016, an
estimation reported that only 2,989,844 Americans were employed by the fossil
fuel industry—this covers power generation from coal, natural gas, and
petroleum and the manufacturing of vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel (US
Department of Energy). Renewable energy jobs are already outnumbering fossil
fuel jobs; as time goes on renewable jobs will continue to rise immensely.

Thus, through the reliance on renewable energy, people not only from the US but
internationally, will have the opportunity to pursue millions of new jobs for generations
to come. Jobs are important for the future because as the world’s population
continues to grow, it will only be harder for people to attain careers in order
to supply themselves and their family

Hence, it can be observed that for a successful global movement towards
a lasting world, it a necessity for governments of powerful countries, such as
the United States, to greater enforce the shift to renewable energy sources due
to their minuscule environmental impacts, improving economic advantages and
opportunities, as well as proven sustainability. The world, for too long, has
continued to diminish fossil fuels due to unfamiliarity with its impacts and
with the opposing benefits of renewables. Today, that is no longer true.

Numerable influential organizations and individuals have already shed light on
the importance of energy with minimized consequences; however, it is now time
for the world to take a collective effort. If the world persists to cling to
the consumption of detrimental fossil fuels, who knows when the world might
ultimately be destroyed in its already damaged condition.

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