Final Project Description
At the end, the fight for the global climate preservation comes to the ways how we generate and use the energy. The energy consumption and production is mostly responsible for the excessive greenhouse gas emissions that alter the climate. Our society is addicted and totally depended on cheap uninterrupted access to energy. Living even a few hours without electricity and gasoline nowadays feels to be a tough ordeal. We can’t even imagine how people lived without the instant and cheap sources of energy for thousands of years before. On the other hand, nobody wants to see new power plants or fracking rigs coming in their backyards. And, of course, everybody wants to breeze clean air and drink clean water, while not paying a penny for investments into the cleaner energy sources. The recent attempt by French Government in 2018 to impose new fuel taxes to fund developments of new energy sources resulted in Yellow Vest protest movement. So, there is no easy solution to reconcile our immediate need for cheap accessible energy and long term goal of preserving the environment.
The two diagrams below show the overall distribution of energy sources globally, as well as the breakdown of renewable sources of energy.
Overall distribution of generated energy worldwide among all of the sources
Energy distributions among the low-carbon emission sources
Source: International Energy Agency, “Nuclear Power in a Clean System, 2019”
As it appears, the contribution of renewable sources of energy, albeit on a slow rise, constitutes only c.a. 12% of the total energy production output (even though some countries and states are way above the average). Even the electric energy that many people consider is a clean source of energy in fact is not unless made from renewables. Clearly we have a big push to make as a society to bring the contributions from renewable sources to the levels, when they can compete and ultimately phase out traditional fossil fuels-based sources.
In your final project proposal (as well as in the final project), imagine yourself a local, state or federal politician who needs to find a way to reconcile the immediate needs for cheap energy for the long term need to preserve the climate. The goal is to increase energy production from renewable sources either without raising taxes and/or fees, and not derailing the local/state/country economy by higher energy prices; or clearly explaining and obtaining the public support for increased taxation and/or energy costs for the course. Please, think of your own plan how you would do it. Be bold; think outside the box, don’t be afraid to propose revolutionary ideas: everything will work for the scope of the final project. Please evaluate your proposal based upon: 1) its cost to implement, 2) political and economic factors supporting or prohibiting its success, 3) calculations of anticipated carbon emission reductions, 4) public acceptance, and 5) whether it is replicable at other levels of government.
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