Você está na página 1de 2

A-level 2007 Q10 Is it possible to protect the environment when many countries require increasing amounts of energy to progress?

The rapid industrialisation of booming economies, such as China and India, has led to a sudden surge in global energy demand. Experts predict that energy consumption will double by 2050. This increase in energy consumption has implications on the environment, as the production and consumption of energy are often destructive to natural ecosystems. Faced with these challenges, scientists have been working hard to introduce alternative green energy sources, such as solar and wind power. However, despite these innovations, many people still hold a pessimistic view, arguing that pollution and damage to the environment are inevitable, and no form of energy can be absolutely environmental friendly. Although I agree that some form of pollution is inevitable, I still feel that it is still possible to minimise the damage to the environment and save it from severe destruction. This stand may be reached after analyzing the factors that determine the possibility of environment conservation, namely, the ability of countries to sustain their economies, the sustainability of the alternatives, and the cost of such initiatives. Firstly, with a rise in energy demand, the possibility of environmental protection depends greatly on the ability of countries to sustain their economies with green technology. Traditionally, energy is produced primarily using coal and fossil fuel generators, as these forms of fuels are readily available and can provide large amounts of energy for consumption. To protect the environment, alternative forms of energy can be introduced to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions. However, one of the concerns with these solutions is their ability to provide enough energy for consumption. For instance, many critics of solar power point out that it is still in its early stages, and might not provide enough energy to satiate the enormous demand for energy in the future. If this is true, environment conservation might not be possible, as we will ultimately have to depend on the burning of fossil fuels if economies are to develop. Nevertheless, the critics have overlooked the fact that solar power technology is constantly improving, and its efficiency is improving at a rapid rate. Scientists have predicted that solar power could provide energy for more than one billion people by 2020, and 26% of global energy needs by 2040. This prediction shows that research into solar energy promises to increase its efficiency, and solar power, along with other forms of green energy, might be able to Another important factor that has to be considered is the sustainability of the alternatives. While solar and wind power may seem environmental-friendly, the production of these forms of energy may pose problems to the environment. For instance, to construct wind power generator, vast areas of forests have to be cleared. In Scotland alone, 5000 to 10000 hectares of woodlands was cleared over the past decade. In addition, the use of hazardous materials, such as arsenic or cadmium, in the production of solar panels, can potentially cause harm to the local ecosystems. However,

Finally, the cost of these forms of technology is another key factor. With an increase in energy demand, countries might not be able to afford expensive technologies, because the use of such costly technologies would put a heavy burden on the nations economy. In fact, it is indeed true that alternative forms of energy are more expensive than traditional methods. It has been estimated that the cost of a normal sedan is $15000, while the cost of a hybrid car, using electricity is $23000. While this is a valid concern,