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Written by Nani Pradeepan, P.Eng.

Energy is one of the important commodities the world need as global economy expands to include nations around the globe. Not all the nations are blessed with the fossil energy sources we currently use. Depleting fossil energy sources in a growing energy need will pose new problems. Fossil fuel is the root cause for many problems associated with health, security, credit crunch etc. Reasonably priced energy is what separates us in North America from developing countries.

We all know the posted price for energy, but many of us do not realize the true costs. There are many hidden costs that most of us do not realize. It is not obvious but we are quietly paying these additional costs every day in different ways. These additional indirect costs actually make the real cost of the current fossil fuel energy sources many times higher than the posted price. Unfortunately we do not know all of the necessary cost components that contribute to the hidden costs of using fossil fuel. Listed below are some of the hidden costs of using fossil fuel.

  • Air Pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Water and Land Pollution
  • Thermal Pollution
  • Health Related Costs
  • Macro-Economic Costs
  • National Security
  • Global Warming

Costs of healthcare is getting out of control and becoming a major financial burden for many countries. Large part of health problems are due to the food consumed, the air breathed and the water drank. To increase production excessive use of fossil fuel based fertilizers, and fossil fuel powered engines are used in food industry. Combined with this fossil fuel power plant emissions and fuel related water pollution all make their way into our bodies through what they eat, drink or breathe and creating health problems. Costs associated with treating these problems are indirectly passed on through higher taxes, increased pollution clean up costs and higher medical costs.

Burning fossil fuels for power generation causes global warming. Even if we had unlimited and secure fossil fuels (which we don’t) we could not continue to burn them at the current rate of use. Scientists have already proved that the planet we all live on cannot support the current level of fossil fuel use. Hence we must turn to renewable energy sources and that create opportunities and not sources that destroy the space we live, our drinking water and our planet.

We need to turn to renewable sources of energy now; not in 5 or 10 years when our math shows us profitable; whatever that means? By turning to solar and other renewable we can lower healthcare costs, reduce air, water, thermal pollution and develop a more stable economy with local resources. To their part prudent governments are doing their part to encourage their people to switch to solar with incentives of various forms. It is up to us to make a choice to spend the money on renewable now and contribute to alleviating above mentioned problems or spent the money in healthcare and clean up expenses later.

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