Renewable vs Nonrenewable Resources Essay

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Renewable vs Nonrenewable Resources


The United States has 4% of the world's people, but as a country consumes 25% of the world's oil. The U.S. and Western Europe are obsessed with a standard of living that is reliant on energy consumption maintained by the burning of fossil fuels. These nonrenewable resources continue to be depleted, despite the fact that solar power, wind power, hydropower, biomass, and many other renewable resources are available and accessible. The switch to these renewables would stop the extensive pumping of CO2 and other pollutants into the air we breathe. Acid rain, oil spills and global climate change and other environmental disasters might have a chance to abate.

In addition to the impact on our health
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Photovoltaic or solar energy is another burgeoning resource, right behind wind power, and has been increasing 16 percent each year throughout the 1990’s.1 This is an extremely tantalizing option in remote places such as the islands of Hawaii where it may cost as much as $66,000 per mile for grid extension of conventional electricity. It is evident that these wind and solar resources work and that they are feasible as well as reliable. It seems, also, that these ‘alternative’ resources are catching on…. but why so slowly?

Why are the polluting, finite fossil fuels still the overwhelmingly predominate choice in the United States? Part of the answer to this question is that they are cheaper, that is, however, for the time being. The price of a barrel of oil is based on the availability of above-ground oil. As we are currently at peak extraction, eventually the energy required for extraction will exceed the energy being extracted and this fossil fuel will be extinct as an energy source. Moreover, while initially more expensive, solar or wind power, in the long run will pay for its own cost. When pollution clean-up, environmental degradation and quality of life factors are added in, it seems that renewable energies are actually economically sensible. Why then, has the national focus not switched to these cleaner energy resources?

The Unites State Government and…