Dear Future President of the United States:
Whether or not you believe in Global Warming, the environment’s health is still an issue that needs to be addressed promptly. One key, contributing factor of the environment’s decline is America’s use of fossil fuels.
America needs to increase the rate at which it transitions away from fossil fuels. There are many draw backs to fossil fuels, such as the high levels of pollution they create and the fact that they are non-renewable. Fossil fuels create many problems for the environment and America is hurt when it has to spend time and money on restoration. Coal, oil, and natural gas, all categorized as fossil fuels, release pollutants into our air and waterways. Unhealthy emissions from the combustion of these fuels dramatically increase levels of pollutants in the air, especially Carbon. The effects of these emission are felt world-wide and affect every living thing on Earth from humans to plants and animals.
Burning coal causes a wide variety of problems for a majority of organisms. Firstly, a large byproduct from burning coal is the release of Carbon into the atmosphere. These increasing Carbon levels attribute to rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and can trigger asthma for people affected by the ailment. In Dublin, there was a coal ban and pollution levels were recorded before and after the ban. Overall from 1984-1996, there was an average decrease of air pollution by 35.6 micrograms per cubic meters (Logan). Cars and power plants are some of the leading emission releasers in America and many of the pollutants they release can be hazardous to human health. Chemicals such as Carbon monoxide, Sulphur dioxide, Lead, and Nitrogen dioxide are all released by power plants and cars, and can lead to respiratory issues, impaired nervous systems, and even brain damage (Seitz and Plepys).
The technique hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, results in many negative consequences. A dangerous mix of chemicals are used in fracking and are pumped deep into the ground. When the process is complete, the fluid is left in the ground and the holes are sealed (Kurzgesagt). This fluid is so toxic that it cannot be cleaned by water treatment plants. Imagine what it can do to Americans’ fresh water supply. Along with the threat posed by fracking fluid, Carbon is released and some natural gas escapes as well. Fracking may be providing energy for America, but at what cost?
Oil is another popular fossil fuel, nevertheless, it is detrimental to the environment. The sinking of the Deepwater Horizon was the largest oil spill in United States history. At one point during the spill, scientists estimated that one million barrels of oil were released a day (Gale). The consequences of the spill were extensive and felt by many. As a result, oil washed up on the beaches of Louisiana. 80,000 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico were shut down and even after they were reopened a year later dolphin, shrimp, and crab populations had decreased severely. (source)
Proposed solutions to help fix problems of, and relating to, fossil fuels are renewable energies, nuclear energy, and offering substitutes. Many say renewable energy sources are a preferable solution. Examples of these energy sources are geothermal, solar, wind, hydraulic, biofuel, and tidal power, all of which are renewable sources of energy that are much cleaner that fossil fuels. Another way to promote environmental friendly power and business practices is to offer subsidies to companies that are environmentally friendly. Finally, nuclear power is another option. Nuclear is considered renewable and can create large amounts of energy with small amounts of initial resources. If maintained properly, nuclear energy could be a quality substitute for fossil fuels. There are a variety of ways to reduce the United States’ use of fossil fuels, they just need to be implemented more often.
As President, it is your duty to look out for the U.S. and whether that happens by protecting its people or environmental health, it is important you make changes for the benefit of this nation.