Forgiving Fossil Fuels

Why Non-Renewable Has to Stay 

Luke Russell

Opposing Opinions

Photo: The Conversation

Switching to Solar

The Pros of Renewable Energy

Jacob Mangas

June 17th, 2017

Non-renewable resources are the best option for present demands. Currently, most are easily accessible and readily plentiful. They provide income for two million people in the United States. For these people, the impact on the health of the world is worth it if they can feed their children.


There have been, and still are, many jobs in non-renewable energy, and while these jobs are slowly getting depleted, it would be devastating for entire communities to lose these jobs all at once. The effects of job loss can already be seen in parts of Kentucky and West Virginia. In small communities, it is already devastating, and it is spreading through larger communities like a cancer.


The nation’s dependencies on coal are nothing to tune out. The International Energy Administration reports that 41% of energy production (4 trillion kilowatt-hours) is coal-fueled. At 12.2¢ per Kilowatt-hour from solar and 11.5¢ per Kilowatt-hour from coal, it would cost upwards of 39 quadrillion dollars to convert all coal energy production to solar energy, in just the U.S. alone. This is almost fifteen times more than the total value of everything the human race has done.


Transportation contributes to the burning of a large amount of fossil fuels. 93% of transportation is powered by petroleum and its byproducts, amounting to 72% of the uses of these materials across the U.S. This is because it is easier to pump gas in your car than to wait for it to charge in your garage. It is cheaper for most urban people to pay for gas than to go full electric, but even with electric, they still burn coal to make power.


The non-renewable resources that people worry about are only the environment-damaging ones. However, other non-renewable resources are being used with other detrimental effects. For example, sand is a non-renewable resource used for engineering. Helium is used for rocketry, but nobody talks about these. Some entire economies depend on unstable and nonrenewable resources; any reduction in production could spell disaster for these communities. This could be a tremendous, immediate problem for them, but they are still ignored.


I’m not saying we should keep the fossil fuel industries if they are failing. I’m saying that we shouldn’t outright kill them, as that would negatively impact the surrounding economies in an extreme way. It’s still a necessary part of American life, and if you claim otherwise, then try living with 59% of your power, no car, no steel, and no computers.

Solar energy, in my mind, is the very future of the world. A solar panel works by converting energy from sunlight into electricity. Unlike most forms of energy, solar energy is renewable. Non-renewable forms of energy are crude and harmful to the environment.


Non-renewable energy leaves very harmful waste that can have negative effects on the Earth and organisms. The burning of coal leaves carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide causes something called the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is basically the amplification of heat being trapped by the gases in the atmosphere. Due to this, things like the polar ice caps are melting. Solar energy, on the other hand, leaves no harmful products, and is a renewable source of energy.


Coal and nuclear energy are not renewable and will eventually run out on Earth if we continue to use them. Because solar energy is renewable, not much work is required to keep everything intact; maybe a maintenance check to make sure everything is functioning properly every month or so.


Another benefit to solar energy is the fact that we don’t have to search and find it. When it comes to coal, we have to look underground and search until we find a patch. With solar energy, the panels are on the surface and can gain energy from just sitting there. 


On the topic of environmental safety, there is also the fact that global warming is happening. Plenty of people in the U.S. today, especially certain politicians, try to convince people that global warming is fake and is not happening. But studies from NASA and plenty of other research laboratories show that it is. It is the burning of coal and other non-renewable energy sources that are causing this. Because solar energy does not leave harmful waste, it is therefore a logical approach to stopping global warming. Solar energy does not release carbon dioxide like the burning of coal. 


Solar energy also provides for a more reliable future. Because solar energy comes directly from the sun, we won’t ever run out of it during our lifetime. And while the sun will eventually die, it will not for a few million years. Solar energy can also be used to power homes and manufacturing plants on their own. This means no electricity bill if you have your own solar panels on your roof. Some houses are already completely powered by solar energy. Renewable energy, like solar energy, is the future.