Carbon Dioxide supplies – Not Our Only Concern
Carbon Dioxide supplies are not our only cause for concern when considering our impacts on the ecosystem, in particular the air. The main issue with a build up of Carbon Dioxide in the air is its ability to trap heat reflected or emitted from the surface by absorbing it and then radiating it in all directions, including back to the ground. Carbon Dioxide is not the only gas responsible for the Greenhouse effect however. Water vapor contributes up to 70% of this effect already though it is present at much lower quantities than CO2. However, since it is not something we are causing or can change it receives little attention.
A meaningful factor that must be accounted for is the quantity of heat we are producing. Heat and Carbon Dioxide are additional to the air by burning fossil fuels, and many forms of different energy are currently operating in an attempt to address this situation. Unfortunately, several of these energy supplies nevertheless add to the nett amount of heat in the air already though they may not be producing gas emissions.
Geothermal energy draws heat from beneath the surface to generate electricity. When that electricity is consumed, it is converted back into heat but that additional heat is now present in the air instead of beneath the surface.
The same can be said of Nuclear strength. The decay of radioactive elements is a natural course of action that slowly releases energy which ends up as heat. Once we concentrate the radioactive material and use it as a fuel source, we are accelerating that rate of heat loss to the air above what it would be in the natural situation.
The same consideration must also be given to the deployment of space based solar strength stations. These would harvest energy that would otherwise pass into space and transmit it to Earth. This is effectively the same as increasing the surface area of the planet in terms of heat absorption.
The effect of all this additional heat in the lower air would be to increase evaporation from the surface. Given the significance of water vapor as a greenhouse gas, the heat factor from emission free strength supplies must be considered.
Solar, wind and tidal strength are all well developed energy technologies presently obtainable to us that address this problem. All three of these methods extract energy that is already present in the air or water and transform it to electricity. Solar does this directly from sunlight, wind turbines harvest energy from fast moving air particles, and tidal strength converts the motion of water into electricity.
Given the developed world’s continually increasing need for energy, it is important that the role of additional heat production be considered a serious factor when new large extent strength plants are being planned.