Election Concludes – Will This be an Era of Alternative Energy?

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The U.S Presidential Elections have finally come to a close as a victorious Barack Obama gets another four years as President of the United States. A lot of people still have hope that with his re-election, things will change for the better. As a citizen who values the environment, what exactly can we expect from the newly re-elected president?

While checking the Internet a few weeks before the election day, I chanced on an article talking about both Presidential candidate’s energy policies. These were what both candidates were planning to about the energy crisis should they become the President:

Mitt Romney

- Wants North American Energy Independence and wants more energy imports from Canada.

- Wants to take away the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide, which is labelled by the said agency as a “greenhouse gas”.

- Give the ability to issue drilling permits to the state instead of the Interior Department.

- Eliminate tax credits for wind projects and keep the tax breaks and incentives for oil and gas drilling, amounting to $4 billion per year.

Barack Obama

-Wants a “win-win” strategy and wants the United States to be independent from foreign oil.

-Wants to develop more strategies on harvesting natural gas, which he says is abundant in the United States

-Raise federal standards on fuel efficient cars and trucks

-Letting EPA keep its ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions

-Maintain incentives for renewable energy

Well, now that Obama’s won, I guess the energy policies listed above are most likely to happen during the next four years. Now let’s take a few minutes of our time to check what exactly are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these policies?

Let’s talk about the United States being dependent from oil. President Obama wants everyone to realize that there are alternative sources of energy asides from fuel deposits. There’s solar power, wind power, natural gas and all other kinds of renewable and alternate energy sources. The only problem that I see is that these giant petroleum companies would most likely do everything in their power to not make this a reality. Think about it; there’s been hundreds of inventions linked to the efficiency of solar power and yet, the past governments have not done anything to support the technology. Yeah, sure, solar power might not be reliable right now, but with research, we will find a way to make solar power available to everyone.

That is probably the reason why the newly re-elected President wants to maintain the incentives for renewable energy; in order to persuade local scientists to keep on researching about alternate energy.

Raising federal standards on fuel efficient cars and trucks is a good idea. With fossil fuels so scarce, cars and trucks that were designed to run on less fuel should be introduced to the general public. In fact, in Japan and some countries in Asia, they use bicycles in order to save fuel and save money from buying gasoline for their vehicles. Fuel efficient cars are the best solution to maintaining sufficient petroleum for everyone to use. Not to mention, it also helps the environment because of clean air!

Lastly, we have President Obama’s desire to use natural gas as America’s solution to the energy crisis. Natural gas is cleaner than petroleum and all other forms of fossil fuel. However, the big “BUT” here is the way natural gas is being harvested. Hydraulic fracturing is used to get more natural gas but it pumps in hazardous chemicals within the earth. This will most likely harm the water reservoir hidden underneath the ground. Not only that, the chemicals used are poisonous to humans and contact with the said chemicals have caused health problems. Here’s hoping that President Obama will realize its harmful effects and do something about it.

Article by Jessica Greenberg is an avid green blogger from San Diego, California. When she’s not researching about natural gas and it’s advantages for home use, she’s helping the community in a nearby community centre.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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