Climate change has been an issue that affects people on many levels and can have long-term effects on the environment. The problem of climate change is particularly significant nowadays since scientists and experts have finally concluded how certain damaging aspects of industrialization lead to global warming. Since the subject is crucial for the planet’s future and its inhabitants, people are looking for ways to minimize the implications of human-induced damage. The primary source of global warming is the greenhouse effect. It occurs due to the emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. The damage can be minimized by opting for green energy and investing in new ethical sources of power.
The Effects of Climate Change
Many individuals are not entirely involved in combating the effects of climate change because they do not see the interference between global warming and their livelihoods right away. However, there are multiple implications caused by climate change on different levels, from personal to global. In terms of general issues, climate change leads to the raising of sea levels, hurricanes, typhoons, and other natural calamities. Kalmus claims that the climate disasters in the previous years made the population more aware of environmental issues. However, climate change is also connected to human health in various ways. According to researchers, eliminating coal-fired energy will cut down on premature deaths and benefit the health of children and infants since they are most affected by pollution in the air (Scott et al.). Based on the evidence, climate change harms humans and the environment as a whole.
Since the primary source of global warming is gas emission, switching to less offensive energy sources is crucial to mitigate its effects. Two of the most promising sources of green energy are solar and wind power. While burning fossil fuel is the least effective type of energy because of carbon dioxide and methane emissions, solar and wind power are seemingly beneficial for the environment. It is renewable, does not produce pollution, and is replenished naturally. However, some downsides suggest solar and wind power is unsustainable and less effective under certain circumstances, such as during the night or in areas that are not windy.
Solar energy can help reduce the carbon footprint and minimize the negative implications of gas emissions. It is, however, a relatively inefficient power source that is highly dependable on specific aspects such as the time of the day and the weather. Solar energy is completely useless during the night and about 10-20% efficient during cloudy days (Henderson 151). The sun is not always reliable, which is an inconvenience that makes it a doubtable source of energy. According to Henderson, there will always be a need for backup, which makes this solution redundant because the use of harmful power sources will be unavoidable (151). Based on the evidence, using the sun as a primary source is not reliable on a daily basis.
The fact that solar energy is not sustainable under certain circumstances is undeniable. However, one might argue that batteries are the answer. This means storing energy during peak time and using it later may combat the problem of unreliability. There is, however, a significant problem with this solution. Such methods of storing energy are costly, which means that few corporations and individuals would be willing to give up cheap energy for a more ethical solution. Also, this is entirely impossible for areas that are almost always cloudy. Some regions experience months of darkness at a time (Alaska, Norway). This discredits the counterargument and suggestions that solar energy is the most beneficial source of power.
Wind power is often referred to as an efficient way to minimize climate change. Nevertheless, there are downsides to this way of sourcing energy. Lomborg argues that Belgium has been implementing wind power, which ended up being highly pricey (77). Also, this is inefficient in regions that do not tend to be windy, making it impossible to use wind as a primary source of power. This being said, the wind is not the answer when it comes to cheap, effective, and reliable replacements for traditional sources of energy.
As for solar power, the counterargument for wind power can suggest storing the energy. However, this is costly and inefficient in places where there is little or no wind at all. Wild is an unreliable source of energy because it solely depends on climate and weather. While humans cannot influence these things, using wind may not be completely efficient and cost-effective in terms of a reliable source of power.
While solar and wind power are ethical yet not reliable sources of energy, fossil fuel is the opposite. The industrial revolution led to the extensive use of fossil fuel as a primary material. However, climate change is closely linked to emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Burning fossil fuel harms every ecosystem, which means that this source of power is damaging and harmful to the environment. Continuing such practices is not the answer when it comes to mitigating global warming.
One may argue that fossil fuel is not only effective and reliable but also economically efficient. However, using it as a primary source of energy will lead to further damages that will affect the future of the planet. There are other cheap ways of creating energy, such as nuclear power, so fossil fuel is not the only affordable option. When it comes to the reliability argument, it is not a renewable material. Sooner or later, there will be a shortage, which makes this source of energy reliable only as a short-term solution to a greater problem.
Since the sun and wind are unreliable, and burning fossil fuel is damaging and harmful, there is a dilemma regarding alternative energy. As argued before, solar panels are only helpful when it is sunny, and turbines rely entirely on wind, which is unstable. However, continuing to emit carbon dioxide in such massive amounts will have long-term effects on the environment and human health. Researchers suggest that opting for zero-emission power sources will not only be beneficial for the environment for also for the economy since it will decrease expenses for healthcare and energy (Polychroniou). This being said, there is a need for new alternatives that are going to be ethical, cost-effective, and reliable.
The Need for Innovations
The most important step towards green energy is investing in research and development. While the current situation is not ideal in terms of power with no carbon emissions, focusing resources on creating or improving new and existing energy sources will revolutionize climate change mitigation. Lomborg claims that the US and other rich countries are not spending enough on green innovation but focus all the economic power on inefficient policies (78). As mentioned before, solar and wind power are not the answers to the climate crisis. Since these are unreliable, much more attention needs to be addressed to innovations.
Aspects to Consider
Green energy is the solution that would mitigate global warming, but certain aspects have to be considered. As stated before, solar power is ethical but unstable during the night or on cloudy days. Furthermore, wind power is redundant in regions that are not windy. This is why innovative methods have to be based on liability. Another critical point is the cost of the new source of energy. Corporations are focused on profit, so opting for a more expensive power source is not a part of their agenda. The use of green energy on mass levels would only be possible if it were more cost-efficient than fossil fuel. This is why the cost is crucial for mass use and convenience.
One could argue that such research required substantial investments, which makes it unsustainable from an economic standpoint. However, most developed countries are already spending a lot of money on green power. The downside is that the green energy that is being invested in is unreliable (solar, wind power). If the resources were focused on research, the new or improved power source would be much more efficient than the alternatives. Furthermore, creating a cheap source of power will be beneficial for the economy, so it would cover all the previous expenses.
Climate change is a significant problem that affects the environment and human health. The primary source of global warming is gas emission, in particular carbon dioxide. This is why green energy is the answer when it comes to mitigating climate change. However, current green sources of energy are unreliable. Solar power is redundant at night and during cloudy days, while wind power is inefficient in areas that are not windy. This is why investing in research for green, affordable, reliable, and efficient sources of energy is the crucial solution to environmental problems.
Henderson, David R. “Going Dark: Rolling Electrical Blackouts Don’t Just Happen. The Result From Unwise Commitments to Solar and Wind Power.” Hoover Digest, no. 1, 2021, pp. 150-157.
Kalmus, Peter. “Quitting Fossil Fuels Will Help Avert Climate Disasters.” Gale, 2021.
Lomborg, Bjorn. “Green Power: The World Won’t Recycle Its Way Out of Climate Change. We Need New and Affordable Sources of Energy.” Hoover Digest, no. 1, 2021, pp. 75-78.
Polychroniou, C. J. “A Green New Deal Is Our Best Chance to Solve the Climate Crisis.” Gale, 2021.
Scott, Melissa, et al. “Improving Human Health in China Through Alternative Energy.” Frontiers in Public Health, 2021.