Should Government Subsidize Renewable Energy Sources Such As Wind, Solar And Ethanol

The response of human society to the challenges of climate change and environmental crisis does not befit the status of the most evolved species on this planet. In a way, it also exposes the vulnerability of intelligence to self-destruct, and the need to nurture wisdom and follow it our actions. We cannot afford to delay our shift to renewable energy and must use every tool for that purpose.
Should Government Subsidize Renewable Energy Sources such as Wind, Solar and Ethanol
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATehachapi_wind_farm_3.jpg)

For a species facing an imminent disaster, we seem to be relatively oblivious to the disaster that may result from our inaction. Climate change may have been hyped a bit, but it would be a folly to just wish it away. We need to stop behaving like an Ostrich and start preparing and planning in real earnest. Subsidizing cleaner fuels like wind, ethanol and solar energy could be the best way forward.


One planet, one Earth, one species!

We all face one common destiny to the extent our planet and its environment, in which we survive and thrive, is concerned. It

would be only logical that we all try our best to save it, and do everything that is possible within our meager means, to prevent any further damage to our future, and our very existence. Yet, such a simple logical still step does not look anywhere close to becoming a reality. The governments have taken a few steps towards subsidizing cleaner sources of energy like wind, solar and ethanol, but these efforts are sporadic and usually without the desired level of planning and commitment that would be essential to make a substantial difference.

When Benefits Justify the Costs

Government intervention to provide mass scale subsidies to promote cleaner fuels is not likely to be a cheap affair. However, when the benefits far outweigh the cost, there cannot be a debate as to whether such a cost is justified or not. We never think about the cost of a life saving medicine, when our own life is at stake. In this case, when the very existence and future of human race might be at stake, we cannot afford to be deterred by the cost either. We must appreciate that we do not even have a choice! Life and survival are far more precious than some inconvenience of additional taxes that may result from government policies to subsidize renewable energy sources, like wind, solar and ethanol.

Why Fuel Efficient Technologies will Not be Sufficient

Global warming is now staring us in our face, and depletion of fossil fuels and consequent price escalation of oil is already a major economic challenge, which needs some fresh technological breakthrough. Many advocate cleaner fuel combustion technologies, to cut down emission as well as consumption. Unfortunately, what they miss in the


process is some very basic economics.

If better technology can cut down consumption, price of fuel, especially oil, will not rise significantly. if that happens, the low cost will induce higher consumption, thereby leading to greater emission of green house gases, endangering our planet all that more, and in the end, causing a damage much worse than oil price rise.

Need a Shift in the Energy that we Use

Thus the only possible solution is to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Wind is the easiest to adopt, as of now. Ethanol holds immense promise but is also debatable. However, the ultimate solution to all energy scarcities faced by mankind is solar energy. It is the mighty Sun which has helped this planet become alive, and it is this very Sun which will help us continue to survive. We only have to take the initiative to find ways and means to garner this energy spread over the whole planet, and store it in a manner that makes it practical to utilize it.

The first and an essential step in this direction, is the creation of incentives for people to garner solar energy, may be in a highly decentralized manner. The most potent incentive that can be provided for this purpose is the government subsidy, both to producers of solar energy equipment, as well as to those who finally utilize it. It is necessary, both to achieve a viable commercial production of equipment by way of economies of scale, as well as to keep its costs affordable.

Need to Work Together Across Political Boundaries

For all the three renewable energies, the subsidies should preferably be extended to even beyond the political boundaries, because any substitution of fossil fuels anywhere mean lesser emissions and a better future for humanity. We need to pool resources and develop means of utilizing them in the manner that would serve and save the human race from this serious impending disaster of climate changes and its consequences.
 



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