The UN is asking that the United States becomes a leader in promoting cleaner energies and tackling the problem of global warming. The UN is encouraged by the response to An Inconvenient Truth in that there is now growing awareness of the problem of global warming. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17401890/
Our local governor is supporting the exploration of biofuels as an alternative fuel source. Many people seem to think that alternative energies are the answer to all of our problems. Are alternative energies a solution?
Energy sources can be divided into renewable and nonrenewable.
Nonrenewable Renewable Oil sands, heavy oil Wood/other biomass Natural gas Hydro-electric power2 Coal Solar energy Shale oil Wind energy Gas hydrates Wave energy Nuclear fission Tidal power Geothermal1 Fusion Ocean thermal energy conversion
1. Renewable for space heating 2. Not renewable with reservoirs
There are many options for alternative energy, however most of them are not as cheap as oil. There are pluses and minuses for each possible energy source. Some do not store well, some cost more to gather and store than it would to use oil. Some, such a biofuels may cause other problems such as the increased cost of food.
CORN: FUEL OR FOOD ???
By Mike Meyers Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
February 8, 2007
"The number of hungry people worldwide could grow by more than 50% by 2020, as corn, sugar and other food staples are increasingly devoted to making fuel here and abroad, according to the projections by C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer.
The same trend would bring much higher food prices to the United States and the rest of the developed world, the economists predict. The sharp increase in world hunger isn't inevitable, however. The economists say increased conservation could do more to wean the United States from foreign oil than all the corn-based ethanol plants now online."
Scientists urge sweeping measures to save world
"The scientists called for dramatic actions ranging from carbon taxes and a ban on conventional coal-fired power plants to an end to all beachfront construction worldwide. The researchers were funded by the non-profit UN Foundation and the research society Sigma Xi.So, what is the answer? Perhaps combining technologies will help us. Perhaps using solar, wind, wave, and biomass in combination will help. I do not know. What I do believe, however, is that we need to change how we think about the energy we use. We need to realize that it will not "always be cheap and available." We need to think about how we can make personal changes in our lives to reduce the amount of energy we use. Does this mean trading in a gas guzzler for a more efficient vehicle? Does this mean that we should combine trips and use less gasoline? Should we unplug unused appliances? Should we replace our lightbulbs? The answer is ....
To meet the scientists' goal, global carbon dioxide emissions must level off by 2015 and then drop by two-thirds by 2100."
It is up to us. We should find ways to use less energy. Whatever that method is.
I am trying to look around my house and life and think about ways that I can personally reduce our gasoline and electric use - whether it is offset with wind or by buying carbon emissions, using less is better in the long run. I may not be able to trade my vehicle in for a smaller one, but I can choose to walk, bike, or combine trips. I can unplug the toaster when it is no longer in use and shut doors to bedrooms that are not used (why heat an unused room? ). Small actions can make a big change in our energy usage. Of course, any action can also reduce our carbon emissions....
It is up to us. What changes can you make to reduce your reliance on oil, natural gas, and electricity?