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Discuss the view that, with an increasing global need for energy,

every possible source should be exploited to the full.


With the rapid process of globalization, countries are increasingly
connected and the intensive international trade resulted in an
unprecedented rate of economic growth today. As the industries
grow, so does the demand for energy, the essential driver for
growth since the industrial revolution. As a result, some may claim
that every energy sources, from oil and natural gas to wind and
nuclear energy, should be exploited. Although it is important to
drive the economy forward, it will be foolish to exploit every energy
source to the full since that will result in huge environmental
problems, create potential hazard, as well as drain the limited
resources quickly. Nevertheless, these problems also largely depend
on the type of energy source and some should be exploited to a
greater extent than others.
Opponents may say that economic growth is of paramount
importance in todays world and every source should thus be fully
utilized. Undeniably, economic growth can lead to great
improvement in the standard of living of the people: with more
goods and services produced, it becomes possible for people to
consume more, thus allowing them to derive greater utility.
Furthermore, growth also spurs technological advancement, which
leads to improved productivity and even more growth, forming a
virtuous cycle. In fact, the effect of economic growth is best seen in
Singapore. Within merely half a century, Singapore has become a
financial hub, and the skyscrapers and extensive transport system
will not be possible without the growth it experienced. Naturally,
when the economy demands more energy, men indeed should try
their best to exploit every source to maintain the growth.
However, while driving growth, exploiting some sources of energy,
such as fossil fuel, without limits can lead to huge environmental
problems. The burning of traditional fuels like oil and coal can emit
large amount of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas culpable of the
alarming rate of global warming today. Furthermore, when the gas
produced during burning is not disposed properly, some toxic
compounds such as carbon monoxide and dust particles may also
enter the atmosphere, posing a health threat to the public. In China,
the haze problem arouse from intensive burning of fuels is especially
serious, with some industrial cities experiencing a daily PSI index of
over 400, indicating a high concentration of pollutants in air that can
lead to permanent lung diseases. In fact, in 2015, a documentary
called under the dome was specially made for the haze problem in
China, and it acutely pointed out that the environment could be
under great jeopardy when the country recklessly pursues growth.
Hence, it is unwise to exploit every energy sources to the full in view
of the possible environmental degradation.

Although it is true that renewable energies, such as tidal or wind


energy, do not pose direct threat to the environment, there can still
be potential hazards, and extra caution is needed when exploiting
these sources. Admittedly, renewable energies utilize natural
processes such as wind or tide to generate electricity, and thus do
not have side products that may harm the environment. However,
through interactions with the natural processes, the generators
inevitably affect the nature itself and this may lead to serious
complications. For example, researches have shown that wind farms
can alter the convection pattern of air, leading to great implications
on the local climate. In Texas, where four of worlds largest wind
farms are located, the regional temperature went up by 1C within a
decade as more turbines were built. Furthermore, the construction
of the Three Gorges Dam in China that utilize tidal energy is also
long seen as an environmental catastrophe that can trigger
landslides and alter the entre ecosystem. Hence, in view of the
potential hazards, even clean energies should not be used without
caution, and fully utilizing these sources will not certainly lead to a
desirable future.
Fortunately, there are indeed energy sources that can and should be
exploited to the full due to the absence of shortcomings present in
other sources. Biodiesel, produced from crops like corn, is not only
renewable but also harmless to the environment: the burning of
biodiesel only emits carbon dioxide that is previously taken in by the
crops, thus it has no net contribution to the amount of green house
gas. Moreover, great hope is also placed on nuclear energy today,
since the fuel reserve for nuclear stations can sustain the world for
at least 200 years, and the radioactive side-products will pose no
direct harm to the environment if disposed properly. Although it is
true that leakages in nuclear stations can have severe impact, as
shown in the 2011 Fukushima leakage in Japan, these cases are few
and with improved technology, nuclear stations will only get safer
and safer. Logically, these energy sources should be exploited to the
full since there is little or not harmful impact.
In conclusion, even there are many energy sources in the world,
most have problems within themselves and if the sources are
exploited fully blindly for the economic gain, many problems can be
created and can offset the benefit brought by growth. Nevertheless,
there are also harmless energy sources and they should indeed be
exploited fully. It is thus important to strike a balance between
utilizations of different energy sources. However, to fully exploit
every energy sources is certainly not the way.