By Cameron Terry
CCC Journalism Program
This year’s presidential candidates disagree on a lot, and their views on the most efficient methods of acquiring energy and protecting the health of the environment are polar opposites.
Nonrenewable energy has been used for hundreds of years to power everything we use today. Engines, electricity and heat all rely on the major sources of nonrenewable energy, such as coal, uranium, natural gas and crude oil.
An energy source is deemed nonrenewable when it cannot be utilized after it has been consumed. Coal, for example, is turned to ash and gives off a gas after it has been burned. All nonrenewable fuels give off harmful greenhouse gases that damage the environment and are considered a contributing factor in global warming.
A viable alternative is renewable energy, which is obtained from sources that replenish shortly after being used and never expire. We get this energy from self-sustaining sources, such as the sun, wind and water.
This energy can be used in every way we use nonrenewable fuels but it gives off no harmful byproduct. A drawback in converting to renewable fuel is it produces significantly less energy than nonrenewable fuels, so a reliable supply of energy is needed.
Gabriella DiSilvestro, a Camden County College student from Philadelphia, believes nature is a very reliable source. “The world as we know it relies on the sun coming up every day,” DiSilvestro said. “I think we should utilize all of the natural energy we are exposed to.”
Republican candidate Donald Trump believes climate change is not a direct byproduct of human actions. He also believes global warming was made up in an attempt to suppress the U.S. industrial market. With this attitude, it makes little sense to spend money on alternative sources of fuel when the ones we use cause no harm.
Trump has had very little to say about the nation’s energy needs but believes we should not continue to rely on other countries to supply our oil. In November 2015, Trump claimed, “We have 2 trillion barrels of oil, enough for 283 years.” He believes we should use the oil that is available in the U.S. rather than pay to have it imported.
Cydnee Phillips, a former CCC student from Sicklerville, echoed that perspective. “If we have enough oil to sustain our country’s needs, we should not be spending money to have it imported from overseas,” Phillips said.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the future in her energy proposal. She intends to install nearly half a billion solar panels throughout the country by the end of her first term.
Sandra Gant, a CCC student from Glassboro, likes the idea. “Renewable energy may cost more up front, but in the long run we benefit from it,” Gant said. “If we spend the money now to build the technology, we will have it for years to come with no worry of our energy ever being depleted.”