Tag Archives: fosil fuel

June 2012 What a Waste!

Great stuff, energy. It has three main problems though. Firstly it has a tendency to wander off if we are not using it, secondly it often needs to be diluted before we use it and lastly we cannot put it back where it started. For example we may use high grade energy (electricity) to heat water to 60 C and store it in a hot water tank. Then we further degrade it to 40C to bathe in it. We then throw it away. What a waste. However energy costs us nothing – just the price of moving it.
Most of our energy was first laid down during the Paleozoic era around 540 million years ago when life was formed and continued for about 300 million years. The Industrial Revolution has been in full swing for about 150 years and we have got through about half of that energy. As a rule of thumb, every year of modern living releases a million years of carbon dioxide stored in fossil fuel.
My genes will hopefully hang around for a few years after my death and I would like them to have a good home. The trouble is, all this energy we are releasing also produces a deal of greenhouse gas. Life as we know will become unsustainable. That will be the end of my genes – unless global warming can be reversed.

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