The Degree to Which the US Should be Dependent on Fossil Fuel
The notion that renders fossil fuel an irreplaceable source of energy on the American soil continues to reverberate across the nation, rendering renewable sources as ‘boutique’ products, only achievable otherworldly. This proposition is; however, punctuated with lots of inevitability cum regrets.
Consequently, this promptly drives us to the thesis of this paper which strives to establish the degree to which fossil fuel is an option in the US. Upon establishment, the next dilemma to be resolved would be to establish the degree to which the US is dependent on the same. These queries have been triggered by scientific researches, and the experiences witnessed in other nations that have managed considerable cutbacks in fossil fuel consumption. According to a research, thirteen states, which were at par with the US in terms of fossil fuel consumption two decades ago, had resorted to renewable energy, which eventually contributed to at least 30 percent of their respective total energy needs by 2011.
Saint Leo University Core-values with respect to Energy Utilization
At the backdrop of this quandary, there are graduates from Saint Leo University, equipped with values-designed education vital in transforming the world to be a better place to live. According to Dr. Kirks’s reflection, the university’s mission, which is coined from his six core values including “excellence, respect, responsible stewardship, personal development, community, and integrity” (Govoni, Wright & Wubbenhorst, 2005), is what fosters value-based unity, and is devoted to a “student-centered teaching mission” (Govoni, Wright & Wubbenhorst, 2005). Central to this paper are the core values including responsible stewardship and integrity. In a nutshell, in addition to aforementioned thesis, this paper will focus on these two values with respect to how they are related to the subject matter- energy.
So stubborn is the American people’s mindset that they believe that their energy requirements revolve around fossil fuel. As a matter of fact, they anticipate a supply of the same from Canada via a Keystone XL pipeline network. The shocking revelation to many would be that their prospective supplier’s electric needs is largely dependent on ‘renewables’ (63.4 versus 12.3 percent as at 2011 for Canada and the US respectively). Nevertheless, some pundits believe that this step, meant to curtail carbon footprint, is a sham. For instance, Alex Klein, a director of a consultancy firm on recyclable energy, acknowledges the potential that rests on the American soil with respect to renewable energy (wind and solar); however, he notes that they are apparently variable sources. He says that, “the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow” (Rosenthal, 2013). He underscores this by suggesting that, for an industrial economy, the energy requirement ought to be consistent; and hence, for a paradigm shift, it would take a while (several decades).
Dr. Fatih Birol, a CEO working with a twenty-eight member International Energy Agency, has reservations to US’s exploration of renewable energy sources citing associated initial costs, and affordability of the same as principle drawbacks. He feels that the successes in other nations cannot be emulated in the US since most of them had no choice in terms fossil fuel reservoirs initially. He further argues that their successes are owed to environmental-based lobbyist groups.
Nevertheless, Dr. Birol interjects by claiming that there would be a reversed trend in the cost for both ‘renewables’ and ‘non-renewables’ sources until parity is attained within the next 8 years. He notes that some States including South Dakota and Iowa are virtually living within the achievable limits of 25%. He further notes that the overexploitation of fossil fuel could be curtailed courtesy of a synergistic effect derived from the use of ‘renewables’ and fuel-efficient engines.
As responsible stewards, Dr. Kirks acknowledges the vast resources at our disposal that has been made available to us by the Creator. Our responsibility is to apply our intellect resourcefully so as to optimize on the best combinations that would engender a safe environment for the survival of flora and fauna. By embracing renewable energy, as opposed to fossil fuels, we will be living St. Leo University’s mission; leaving the world better than we found it. On the other hand, the University requires that its graduates uphold integrity in order to live its mission. In a nutshell, this core value requires one to “be honest, just, and consistent in word and deed” (Govoni, Wright & Wubbenhorst, 2005). With the knowledge about the dangers of fossil fuels, and the potential alternative sources that don our lands, a choice to embrace renewable sources underscores an effort to uphold integrity. As such, the University’s mission will be upheld.
Reconnaissance studies fronted by Dr. Jacobson et al. portray the United States as having a host of potential to harness wind and solar energy requirements. This untapped potential surpasses what Europe offers since it (US) boasts vast empty spaces favorable for wind and solar plants. In his blueprint, Dr. Jacobson reflects that an eco-friendly fuel is achievable with a “10 percent land-based wind, 40 percent offshore wind, 20 percent solar power plants and 18 percent solar panels on rooftops” (Rosenthal, 2013). This would be supplemented by a paltry supply of fossil fuel, accounting for a 0.2% of the total time supplied by ‘renewables.’ This is envisioned to create employment for a whooping 58,000 people in the State of New York, ensuring energy security and fair electricity bill ultimately. This is projected to have even massive success in Arizona; a sunny State (Magnus, 2011).
Conclusively, the above literature is a manifestation of how the US is rich in ‘renewables’ at the backdrop of a society that embraces fossil fuels. This mindset can be changed thanks to the core-value related education taught in St. Leo University.