Energy Consumption Argumentative Essay Examples
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Failure to conserve energy and overreliance on non-renewable sources has resulted in global warming. Opting for recycling methods and renewable sources of energy can lower our dependency on fossil fuels and help preserve energy. Energy consumption is detrimental; energy conservation is beneficial to the economy and thwarts global warming. This forms the thesis statement of this paper and I will defend my stand with factual evidences. Energy conservation is possible by shifting priorities towards renewable sources that consumes less energy, while fossil fuels and modern lifestyle leads to excess energy consumption. There are persistent debates about the efficiency of renewable sources in coping up with the wrath of rapid industrialization worldwide. Also, critics argue that moral issues pertaining to energy consumption will hamper industrial development and technological discoveries. These opposing viewpoints are vividly discussed. Counter-arguments and rebuttals are presented in order to reach an unbiased conclusion.
Significance of energy conservation and renewable sources
Several countries are increasingly taking up measures to reduce waste of energy. Conservation of energy has two main benefits: it helps in boosting economy, and next, it reduces carbon emissions. According to Reuters (2015), China attempts to cut down on coal usage in order to reduce harmful pollution as well as slash the energy intensity of its economy, which is predicted to grow at its lowest rate in 25 years. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) aims to introduce policies targeted at lowering coal consumption and restricting the number of energy-intensive projects. The emphasis is on maintaining equilibrium between promoting a pollution-free environment and restraining from an economy that is over-influenced by energy intensive industries. Wind power capacity would be raised to 200 gigawatts (GW) and solar power will get a boost of around 100 GW by 2020. This would be a steep rise from the current 95.8 GW and 26.5 GW respectively. The Chinese government also aims to enhance natural gas output to more than 245 billion cubic meters every year by 2020. It plans to cap coal utility to below 65 percent of total primary energy consumption by 2017. Renewable sources would be pivotal in implementing these changes in policies (as cited in Reuters, 2015).
China is not the only country that has acknowledged the significance of energy conservation. Governments and NGOs are taking initiatives to ward off health hazards brought about by industrial emissions. Air pollution and energy bills are now a major concern for the general public. Children are getting affected and long-term diseases are obstructing their normal growth. An ailing society can do little to upgrade the national economy. Also, the Earth’s surface temperatures have already heated above the preindustrial temperatures, and this continuing trend would fail to sustain life on the Earth. Campaigns for energy conservation should start at the community level and is not limited to industrial energy exploitation. Minimal energy consumption should begin at home by choosing recycling methods and turning off electrical appliances when not in use. Water and paper should be saved; it is more of a practical requirement than theoretically supporting the cause. Few hotels and tourist departments have already started recycling. This cause needs to be supported universally.
Several countries have planned to meet energy demands by renewable sources in order to cut expenditure and adhere to air quality standards. According to the UK government (2011), renewable sources have potential to rake in huge economic profits and create thousands of jobs. The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP reassured the coalition government’s commitment to follow the EU’s renewable energy targets. The government officials aim to source 15% of all energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Investments worth £2.5billion would be made in renewable energy projects in the UK. It would also create12, 000 jobs across the country. Increase in wind generation and utility of biofuels in transportation has already kickstarted the involvement of renewable sources in catalyzing economical growth. Renewable energy multiplies energy security and decrease greenhouse emissions. It supports jobs and growth, and brought back traditional industrial practices in the country (as cited in GOV.UK, 2011).
Exploring the range and capacity of renewable sources would create a new sector of employment. Economic pressures upon the citizens would be lessened and a safe environment will be guaranteed. Flora and fauna would be protected and sustenance of ecological balance will be possible by reducing energy consumption. This transformation can make new discoveries in the research and education sector; thus, paving the way for an all round development. According to Johansson et al. (1993), renewables can play a significant role in the global energy economy. Renewable energy generation is anticipated to increase from 20% in 1985 to 60% in 2025. Contributions are expected to be made from hydropower, intermittent renewables like wind, solar power and biomass. Involvement of intermittent renewables would be as high as 30% by the middle of the next century. Increased penetration by intermittent renewables devoid of any electrical storage would be made possible by advanced natural gas-fired gas turbine power generation systems. This method would work at low capital costs, high thermodynamic efficiency and flexibility. Backing up intermittent renewables would be possible at a low cost with negligible requirement for energy storage (Johansson et al., 1993).
In a latest report, university students are also taking active initiatives in promoting a clean-air revolution. Students at the University of the West of England are now experimenting with human urine to convert it into electricity. Tagged as the "Pee-Power", this method explains that microbial fuel cells work by utilizing live microbes, which feed on urine (fuel) for growth and maintenance. The microbial fuel cells would tap a portion of that biochemical energy needed for microbial growth and convert into electricity. This “pee-power” or urine-tricity doesn’t require fossil fuels and it reestablishes the utility of recycling process. This is a highly reasonable technique, as creating one microbial fuel cell costs about £1, and the total unit would just need £600 to set up (as cited in Barrell, 2015).
According to Greenpeace USA (2014), renewable sources of energy can meet 96% of electricity and 98% of heating demands. On the contrary, fossil fuels contribute towards 80% of global warming pollution. Greenpeace, GWEC and EREC are now implementing several policy changes that emphasize on assuring energy security. Fundamental changes in the way energy is consumed and generated can bring about substantial results for both the economy and climatic conditions. Some of the significant policy changes deemed fit for this purpose is: phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy, internalizing the social and environmental costs of energy creation thorough ‘cap and trade’ emissions dealing. Prioritizing renewable power generation, mandating strict efficiency standards for energy consuming appliances and vehicles etc. are some other crucial features of the reformed policy planning (as cited in Greenpeace USA, 2014).
The US government has persistently prioritized the urgency of a clean air revolution. In an attempt to modify its utility of renewable sources of energy, it passed several laws and regulations. The Clean Air Act, which was passed by the Congress in 1970 and improvised latest in 1990 have reaped in economic benefits. According to Johnson (2011), a projected profit of $1.3 trillion in public health and environment was made for a cost of just $50 billion in 2010. Economic analysts foresee an astonishing growth of $2 trillion in profits, at a cost of $65 billion. The U.S. environmental technologies sustained 1.7 million jobs in 2008. Air pollution control equipments generated revenues worth over $18 billion in 2007 (as cited in Johnson, 2011). The United States Environmental Protection Agency (2014), stated the role of local governments in reducing energy consumption in their jurisdictions. It would assist homeowners in saving money with residential energy value policies and programs. Energy efficiency and effective products would help residents in lowering annual energy bills by an estimated average of $750. There are residential-sector efficiency programs that raise investment in local economies and offer jobs for skilled professionals. The residential sector contributes toward 17% of total greenhouse emissions in the US. This initiative can potentially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Local governments have the option of lowering the rate of producing energy efficient improvements in new or existing homes. Local governments may coordinate with electric and gas utilities, regional energy efficiency organizations or, trade groups in order to develop and promote local energy efficiency initiatives and policies (as cited in US EPA, 2014).
Discouraging the consumption of scarce and imported fuels has been promoted throughout the evolution of American governance. The 1973 oil-embargo was aimed towards enhancing self-sufficiency in energy. A nationwide drive towards energy conservation helps in attaining this goal. Industries consuming in excess of one million GJ/A (100) are obliged to report their energy consumption and conservation efforts to the Department of Energy. Incentives are also offered for expenditures on new capital plant, which are based on an alternative energy source to non-renewable sources. Federal legislation has approved the production of electricity by sawmills. There are greater efforts for utilizing residues as a source of energy (as cited in FAO, 2013).
Energy consumption is a bigger issue and it affects everyone equally. The citizens of developed countries are blessed to have the federal government’s plans and policies for safeguarding the population from the ill effects of global warming. But, the developing nations continue to struggle with several diseases that result out of harmful influences of global warming. Lack of information and resources make it difficult for state governments to plan ways of energy conservation. Energy is wasted than consumed properly. It is a totally different scenario in the developing nations that have no idea about the permanent damages caused by wasting energy. Polluted vehicles are rampant with extremely poor air quality standards. Apart from economic burden arising out of energy wastage, people continue to struggle with chronic diseases. Cardiovascular diseases, asthma, lung diseases etc. are very common in developing countries.
However, critics have their own stand. Some argue that renewable sources would fail to cope up with the rapid pace of industrialization across the world. They perceive the reduction in energy consumption as a backward step towards a deteriorating society. According to the International Energy Agency (2015), the rural areas in developing countries are heavily dependent upon biomass. An estimated 2.5 billion people rely on fuel wood, charcoal, agricultural waste and animal dung to meet their energy demands for cooking. In several countries, biomass contributes for over 90% of household energy consumption. Persistent reliance upon biomass obstructs enactment of new policies. Research predicts that the number of people depending on biomass will shoot up to over 2.6 billion by end of 2015 and to 2.7 billion by 2030. The move towards a cleaner and modern energy sources for cooking has reversed. Approximately, 1.3 million people (mainly including women and children) suffer premature deaths resulting out of susceptibility to indoor air pollution from biomass. Time and efforts are wasted in collection of fuels rather than on income generation. Overuse of biomass can result in land degradation and regional air pollution. Shifting towards modern electrical appliances is suggested in order to reverse the damages incurred by biomass. Switching to oil-based fuels is advised (as cited in International Energy Agency, 2015).
According to Conserve Energy Future (2015), there are many disadvantages of using renewable sources of energy. Renewable sources have unreliable supply owing to dependency on weather conditions. Inability to generate the required amount of energy would lower use of energy; thus, hampering industrial growth. It is impossible to generate them in large quantities. Coal powered plants are capable of producing large amounts. Renewables require mammoth capital costs. It requires large investments for building and maintaining renewable energy plants. In order to meet the large amounts of electricity produced by fossil fuels, vast number of solar panels and wind farms need to be designed. Abundant space is required for this purpose and is a huge expense (as cited in Conserve Energy Future, 2015).
After a thorough research, it can be concluded that reducing energy consumption can help sustain environmental balance. Societal and industrial progress is a continuing process and renewable sources can efficiently meet the required energy demands. The ultimate target should be to recycle residues into useful energy. Discoveries are made to implement renewable sources on a regular basis and reduce our dependency on non-renewable sources. However, it would take some time before these ideologies are successfully incorporated worldwide. Oppositions and scams are a part of business and society. Governments have to carefully augment national economies and balance it with environmental safety measures.
Barell, R. (2015, March 5). UWE Students Wee To Save The Planet By Turning Urine Into
Energy. The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/03/05/renewable-urine-energy_n_6807150.html.
Conserve Energy Future. What is Renewable Energy? Retrieved from: http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-renewable-energy.php.
FAO. (2013). Government energy conservation policies. Retrieved from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0269e/t0269e05.htm#3.4.5%20united%20states.
GOV. UK. (2011). Renewables bring £2.5bn boost to economy. Retrieved from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/renewables-bring-2-5bn-boost-to-economy.
Greenpeace USA. (2014). The energy revolution 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/energyrevolution/.
International Energy Agency. Energy for cooking in developing countries. Retrieved from: https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/cooking.pdf.
Johnson, L. (2011, March 3). The Clean Air Act’s incredible economic benefits. Retrieved from: http://grist.org/energy-policy/2011-03-02-gains-from-clean-air-act/.
Johansson et al. (1993). Renewable energy: sources for fuels and electricity. Island Press: USA.
Reuters. (2015, March 5). China tries to ditch its coal addiction, reduce energy intensity.
Retrieved from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/05/us-china-parliament-ndrc-idUSKBN0M108V20150305.
US EPA. (2014). Residential Energy Efficiency. Retrieved from: http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/local/topics/residential.html.
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