Since nuclear energy does not depend on fossil fuels, it offers benefits including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fluctuating oil or gas prices. As of 2014, the worldwide fleet of nuclear reactors reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 2 billion metric tons each year.Continue Reading
Greenhouse gases are a contributing factor to global warming. The primary reason for the increase in these gases is the increasing dependence on fossil fuels. Coal- and gas-fired plants also create other forms of pollution that affect human health. Switching to nuclear energy could further reduce pollution and help the United States reach its goal of lowering such emissions.
A properly operating nuclear generator releases less radioactivity into the atmosphere than similarly sized coal-generating plant, according to How Stuff Works. However, each reactor generates 20 metric tons of high-class nuclear waste each year. The waste produces heat and radiation that eventually corrodes through any container in which it is sealed. While nuclear decay eventually renders the waste as harmless, the process takes thousands of years.
While China has plans to bring more nuclear generators on-line, the use of nuclear energy is decreasing in many other locations. After the multiple meltdowns of a reactor due to an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Japan is turning away from nuclear energy. Public opinion in the United States and many other countries makes approval of new reactors difficult.Learn more about Sustainability
Recycling decreases the amount of waste in landfills, reduces pollution by minimizing leaching and the need to collect new raw materials, conserves natural resources, lowers harmful greenhouse gas emissions and promotes job creation. In some cases, recycling is more energy efficient than manufacturing new items. For example, recycling metal uses less energy than mining, refining and forging it. Manufacturing plastic, however, is more energy efficient than recycling it.Full Answer >
Water conservation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, recycling, composting, changing the lightbulbs to energy efficient ones and making a home generally more energy efficient are actions that help save the Earth. Simple actions, such as turning off lights in unoccupied rooms and unplugging appliances when they are not in use, are also easy to implement and can make a big difference.Full Answer >
Ethanol fuel is a renewable and biodegradable source of energy that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while corn-based ethanol offers positive energy balance and creates usable by-products, such as corn oil. Ethanol is produced domestically and helps lessen dependence on oil imports. However, ethanol fuel gives lower vehicle mileage compared to gasoline. In addition, lack of production facilities and variable price fluctuations challenge the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel.Full Answer >
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has helped dramatically boost the United States' natural gas and oil production, reducing dependence on foreign energy sources and promising energy independence by 2030, says Aljazeera. However, fracking consumes large quantities of water and can release volatile organic compounds into the environment, argues Nature World News.Full Answer >