3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing

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Overview: Global warming is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity today, so I wrote this paper primarily to determine what technologies could possibly impact the trend of this global threat enough to help reverse it. Since transportation contributes 29 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States I chose to focus on this economic sector, and more specifically, light use vehicle alternative fuel technologies. I further narrowed my scope to a discussion of ethanol, bio-diesel, hydrogen and electric fuel technologies because each represents one of the four alternative fuel categories. I evaluated the fuels on the following criteria: a complete or major percentage reduction in greenhouse emissions, a reasonably fast nationwide implementation, economic viability and the technology must be a sustainable solution. My paper begins with a tweet from Elon Musk stating, "We will not stop until every car on the road is electric." I conclude my paper in agreement with this statement.

Author's reflection: I am currently a sophomore marketing major at St. John Fisher and I chose Climate Change as my Researched Based Writing class because the topic interested me. Prior to college, my knowledge of global warming primarily consisted of the basic science behind the problem and some of its more common causes and effects. Reading The Story of More, by Hope Jahren, at the beginning of our class opened my mind to this problem’s complex nature of intertwined environmental, economic, political and social issues. Her narrative and jaw-dropping statistics comprising the chapter devoted to transportation truly caught my attention, which provided the impetus to focus my research on alternative fuels. Writing and researching this paper provided many challenges like deciding how to evaluate the chosen fuel technologies. Perhaps the biggest challenge stemmed from the need to decide what evidence or data to include in order to support my hypothesis, as my research continuously provided new, relevant and sometimes better evidence. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the process of putting this conundrum together. I invite you to read my paper and also encourage you to make your next car purchase an electric one.

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