Now that gas prices have dropped it’s likely that the interest in renewable energy will decline. We’ve seen it happen before. Renewable energy systems that Jimmy Carter installed at the White House were removed during the Reagan administration. Interest in alternative energy peaked after limited availability resulted in lines at gas stations, and subsided when supplies became plentiful again.
At times like these it is important to remember other reasons for embracing renewable energy:
- Carbon emissions resulting from the burning of coal and oil contribute to global warming, and must be reduced if our planet is to survive. About 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States are the result of burning fossil fuels for the purpose of electricity generation. We can help to reverse this trend through conservation, the use of efficient lighting and appliances, and with renewable energy systems.
- Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining is destroying mountains in Appalachia at an alarming rate, and harming the people who live there. Don’t fall for the myth of “clean coal”. Visit www.mountainjusticesummer.org for more information.
The current low gasoline prices may be a good thing for those just now getting involved in renewable energy-related projects. The demand for alternative energy-related equipment is lower, contributing to better availability and lower prices for that equipment. But don’t wait too long. Some believe that gasoline prices will increase after the elections this fall. Additionally, a terrorist attack, or a major natural disaster, could once again create a high demand, and high prices. Take advantage of these relatively good times to make a home improvement or to install a renewable energy system.
It is also important to remember that oil supplies have peaked, or soon will. Not only will this mean higher prices, but we’re using reserves that should be conserved for future generations.
Keep working on renewable energy projects and conservation. And while you’re at it, ask your federal legislators to support HR2719, a bill that reinstates the Clean Water Act that has recently been gutted by President Bush’s destructive environmental programs and laws. Your great-grandchildren will be glad you did.