As you may well know, much of humanity’s energy is derived from fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas, or coal. Fossil fuels provide a quick, cheap, and reliable means by which to obtain energy. However, these energy sources have one major drawback: pollution. Many scientists believe that climate change has primarily been caused by the vast quantities of fossil fuels used over the past few centuries. The greenhouse effect is caused mainly by gases such as methane and carbon dioxide accumulating in the upper atmosphere and trapping heat, thus increasing global temperatures.
However, there exists a solution to the issue of pollution, in the form of alternative energy sources. They promise to all but eliminate the effects of global warming, as many of them have significantly less environment-damaging effect.
Among these alternative energy sources is the nefarious nuclear fission, which does not produce any greenhouse gases, but unfortunately does produce nuclear waste. If it is not disposed of properly, it can contaminate the ground, as well as the water table, thus preventing people from living in those areas. Also, nuclear energy is infamous for catastrophic failures, such as those in Fukushima and Chernobyl which devastated the surrounding areas.
Nevertheless, there are also other alternative energy sources, some of which are renewable, such as wind power or geothermal power. These guarantee not to emit any greenhouses gases or other waste products. However, many of these alternative energy sources are extremely expensive to implement, and their manufacturing can often have some detrimental effects and contribute towards climate change. An example of this would be the metallurgy of wind turbines, which produces vast quantities of carbon dioxide.
Scientists are currently working on making renewable energies cheaper, as well as nuclear fission safer. However, many believe nuclear fusion to be the future of energy, allowing an almost free means by which to produce energy with no negative consequences
Ultimately, without major developments in the way energy is produced, it is likely that humanity will continue burning fossil fuels, and thus be producing thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum. As such, it is imperative that all possible avenues are explored as there is no single solution, from nuclear fusion to renewable energy sources, in order to prevent the multitude of detrimental effects impacting our planet.
Written by Lucas Wilson