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(SCI275)final[1] - Running head SOLAR ENERGY AND THE UNITED...

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Running head: SOLAR ENERGY AND THE UNITED STATES ENERGY CRISIS 1 Solar Energy and the United States Energy Crisis Staci D. Queen Environmental Science / 275 May 16, 2010 Sandra Babuka
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SOLAR ENERGY AND THE UNITED STATES ENERGY CRISIS 2 Solar Energy and the United States Energy Crisis The United States dependence on nonrenewable resources, despite the dangers it presents, are not showing any signs of decrease. The United States, while trying to make some strides in converting to clean renewable energies such as wind farms and ethanol, is far behind other countries that are making much greater developments, like Germany. Currently, there is a minor- scale war between coal and oil as the main source of providing electricity and power. The rate at which the United States consumes a resource that is finite will come to a halt sooner than expected. If alternatives to nonrenewable fuels are not implemented soon, then we are in store for a future that could result in global-scale war between all industrialized nations fighting for the last drop of oil. This is not a message of doom for the far-off or unforeseeable future; it is a realistic warning for this century, perhaps even this decade. The Problem with Nonrenewable Resources – The Resource Nonrenewable resources, fossil fuels like coal and oil, are just that; resources that are not renewed ever, or in some cases, within a viable human time line. Many of the fossil fuels come from bio-matter beneath the earth's surface that has compressed organic life into natural gas, oil, and other materials which are then used by burning them off to create energy (Bortman, E. M., Brimblecombe, P., & Cunningham, M., 2003). In one year we burn up four centuries worth of carbon, the main compound in fossil fuels (Monbiot, 2006). These fuels were sustainable in their early discovery, but are currently beginning to run low. The United States second largest consumption is oil. The United States consumption of oil is three times that of our production. In 2008, United States crude oil production was almost 5,000,000 barrels a day. This same time our import of crude oil was 9,800,000 barrels a day. The U.S. consumption rate that year was 19,500,000 barrels a day. The world consumption is
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SOLAR ENERGY AND THE UNITED STATES ENERGY CRISIS 3 also higher than the rate which it is produced. Per country, the United States is the number one consumer of oil and the largest importer, most of it coming from non-allied foreign countries, like Iraq and Saudi Arabia (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2008). The United States consumes more fossil fuel than South Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Spain, India, Venezuela, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, France, Australia, Iran, Italy, Britain, Mexico, Germany, Russia, Canada, China, and Japan combined (Economist, 2007). The environmental impact that all fossil fuels have are almost immeasurable. The United Nations reported that if 3,000 of the world's largest companies were forced to pay for their environmental damage, it would total $2.2 trillion dollars, a figure bigger than the national economy of all but seven countries in the world (Jowit, 2010).
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