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Renewable Energy and America

As each year passes, climate change grows worse. This trend will continue as long as large influxes in greenhouse gas emissions are not restricted, and soon we'll face many environmental and economic issues as a result. These include a decline in biodiversity, shortage of food and water and infrastructural damage. Climate change is a byproduct of human activity, meaning humans can prevent further escalation of climate change.

A major source of green gas emission is fossil fuels, consisting of oil, coal and gas. To prevent the overuse of fossil fuels, governments around the world have turned to renewable energy, which relies on natural energy such as wind, water and sunlight. Renewable energy doesn’t add to greenhouse gas emissions and as some studies have pointed out, it costs less than fossil energy, especially in the long run. In an Oxford study, they found that the world could save 12 trillion dollars by 2050 if they switched to renewable energy. 

In December 2023, 200 countries came together for the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It concluded with the nations declaring the end of reliance on fossil fuels by the end of the decade. By 2030, they also want to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

Biden’s administration has made some attempts at renewable energy, though they have faced setbacks. The Willow Oil Project, a new petroleum site planned in Alaska, has been criticized for its potential to add 268 million worth of greenhouse gas emissions within 30 years. Snow-reliant wildlife in the area would also be affected due to temperature changes. 

Even though 54% of Americans agree climate change is a major crisis and 67% agree that America should pursue renewable energy, there are still conflicts about whether renewable energy should be prioritized over oil. This division is visible over climate change in federal laws. The Inflation Reduction Act, for example, has a built-in solution for climate issues, with plans to create a 73-76% clean grid by 2030 across the U.S. Even though it is a federal law, the majority of land where renewable energy could be developed is private. Local communities opposed to renewable energy can block permits for wind and solar energy development. These ordinances have been organic at times but it is also common for fossil fuel-tied individuals and companies to advertise and persuade local communities to block permits. 

Much of these blockades come from myths about climate change and misinformation about calling renewable energy expensive. These myths predominantly float from organizations that support fossil fuels and want to keep this form of capital going; there are signs it will hurt more than it helps in the long run. 

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