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writ50 policy paper - 1 Dealing with the Energy Crisis and...

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1 Dealing with the Energy Crisis and Climate Change Derek Pan Writing 50
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2 Abstract This paper challenges policies that aim to aid the energy crisis and global warming problem by depending on improving energy efficiency. It argues that due to the rebound effect, (in which improving energy efficiency lowers the cost of energy, leading to greater use) the actual benefits of improved efficiency are difficult to estimate. Alternately a clean, safe plan of action to help with the global warming problem as well as the energy crisis is proposed. The policy focuses on enforcing carbon taxes to lower emissions while encouraging the research and production of alternative, renewable energy sources.
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3 Population growth is inevitable and has brought on two problems that are linked hand in hand. The first is the energy crisis, in which the usage of energy is beginning to overcome the production of energy. Second, is the problem of global warming: since fossil fuels are currently the main source of energy used for transportation, CO2 emissions have steadily increased. This greenhouse gas traps sunlight in the atmosphere and brings about rising temperatures. Due to this, Americans are frantically searching for alternative energy sources to replace coal based power, especially with rising gas prices. Many proposed policies to help like the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill, for example, call for a shift to nuclear power as a renewable power source. (Lieberman, 2007) Renewable energy is part of the answer to the energy crisis, but nuclear power is not the way to go. Nuclear power has been focused on for research and development because it generates approximately 20% of all US electricity. In addition to this, nuclear power is a low-carbon source that works around the clock (as opposed to sunlight or wind). Unfortunately the costs and other drawbacks make nuclear power infeasible as an alternative energy source. The reasons for this will be delved into later. Still, the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill was a significant attempt towards a solution. (Lieberman, 2007) This marked a critical step for improvement and pushed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by relying on alternative sources, namely nuclear power.
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4 Many, who support the bill, see the benefits of reducing carbon dioxide as out weighing the costs. The plan would rely heavily on nuclear power. For example, as noted by the EPA, analysis concludes that economic growth would be minimally affected. Although this seems like a promising idea, the sheer scale of augmentation in nuclear power that is needed for this improvement is daunting. This analysis would be perfect assuming that a 150% increase in nuclear power can be obtained by the year 2050. Just meeting this demand would require considerable industrial work. Furthermore, the estimation could be faulty, since an EIA analysis suggests that in order to meet the requisites for the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill, the US must increase its nuclear capacity by 269 gigawatts by 2030. This is a 200% increase in less
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writ50 policy paper - 1 Dealing with the Energy Crisis and...

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