The Solutions Project
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The modern world is largely dependant on nonrenewable resources for everyday lifestyle. These resources, known as fossil fuels, generate electricity and power many transportation systems and factories. The use of these fuels have led to the ability to manufacture a mass amount of commercial goods and provide for the style of living synonymous with today’s culture. However, as these fuels are nonrenewable and constantly being used, a need for an alternative energy source becomes increasingly important to sustain human life. Also, fossil fuels emit a large amount of greenhouse gases (these gases cause heat to build up in the atmosphere and raise the average temperature of the planet), so the use of these resources have a harmful impact on the environment. With a goal to protect the planet, researchers Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi formulated a plan to combat the negative effects of the use of fossil fuels. Their goal is to ultimately to totally reform the type of energy typically used and replace it with alternative, renewable resources. Known as The Solutions Project, Jacobson and Delucchi lay out the logistics of switching over to a cleaner form of power through intricate research and planning. Both the socialistic and technological worlds play a main role in the success of this project, and complete adjustments on both sides are necessary in order to achieve the goal of attaining 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Jacobson claims that, “there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources.” The founders of the project envision that the world will mainly run on electricity. The plan entails using wind, solar, and water energy to generate power. With wind and solar power accounting for the main source of energy, the team predicts that by 2050, the states would have undergone a total reform and replaced fossil fuels, with a more environmentally friendly form of energy. Through this, transport would now rely on electricity and hydrogen fuel cells (fuel cells generate electrical power quietly and efficiently, without pollution). With so much dependence on the natural world, more energy-harnessing devices would be required to gather enough resources to sustain daily life. For all of the wind turbines, solar plants, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal, and wave energy installations to be implemented, more than 1% of the world’s land would be needed. The technology needed to convert the world to alternative energy is not far-fetched, but much more of it would be needed to fuel this project.
This large of a transformation, however idealistic, requires not only technological advancements but also societal and political agreement. Jacobson and Delucchi’s plan conceptualizes that the entire world will be powered by alternative energy by 2050. For this to become a reality, the already developed countries would be required to lead the project in order for third-world countries to also achieve this goal. The initiative needed for this scale of reform would require a something similar to the Kyoto Accord. In the Accord, an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was created to bring countries together in attempt to reduce global warming. The countries that chose to ratify the amendment committed to cutting the emission of carbon and other greenhouse gases. So while developed countries such as America, Europe, Canada, and etc were legally bound to reducing the levels of greenhouse gases emitted, still developing countries such as Brazil, India, and China were not obligated to follow the protocol. The complete reform suggested by Jacobson and Delucchi would require something similar to this protocol, on a much larger level. While the plan is not unrealistic technologically for large countries, third-world countries could not as easily follow the plan because their governments can’t often afford to build wind turbines or install solar panels. So The Solutions Project