The earth’s environment is engendered with a number of serious problems. From the toxic spills, and mining waste, to acid rain, deforestation and species extinction, the global environment has been severely crippled by man’s thoughtlessness and exploitation for generations. While it is arguably clear that there are a myriad of problems currently facing the global environment, of central focus to many researchers and scientists is the effect that the burning of fossil fuels is having on the global climate.
When it comes to the concern over the burning of fossil fuels scientists note that the issue is of paramount concern because the process of utilizing fossil fuel for energy is damaging the environment. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide (CO2), are produced primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, natural gas and gasoline. When these gases are emitted into the atmosphere, they trap solar energy and cause a gradual but steady increase in the earth’s temperature: a phenomenon known as global warming. In addition to global warming, some scientists speculate that the burning of fossil fuels is also responsible for global climate change. While global warming causes the temperature of the earth to gradually rise, global climate change refers to such dramatic changes as multiple threats of rising sea levels, a disruption of agricultural patterns, increased weather-related disasters and the spread of infectious diseases.
Due to the problems associated with the burning of fossil fuels for energy and the fact that fossil fuel resources are finite, scientists have reached out to the community as a whole to aid in the search for a cleaner and more renewable source of energy that will help clean up the environment while still providing the same conveniences as fossil fuel use.
In brief, solar energy takes energy emitted from the sun and transforms it into electricity. Solar energy is a renewable source of energy that can help save the environment. Despite its numerous benefits, however, the utilization of this form of energy has been met with a considerable amount of opposition in the United States and around the globe.
With all of the benefits associated with solar energy, one begins to wonder what caused its demise. According to an author , the election of Ronald Reagan and his drastic cuts in solar energy research tabled the advancements that had been made up until that point in time. Reagan rationalized that because oil process had plummeted, there was no need for alternative energy sources. Therefore Reagan eliminated tax credits for solar energy and removed the solar panels from the White House roof. Federal research-and-development funding for solar power fell from $557 million in 1980 to $81 million in 1990 .
The benefits of solar energy are undeniable: a renewable energy source that is safe for the environment. While these benefits are quite clear, what may be not quite as apparent are the social benefits of utilizing solar energy as a primary source of electricity.