A&M-Kingsville's Carbon Footprint:
Energy makes the world go ‘round!
But some energy sources emit gases like Carbon Dioxide that are proving harmful to the world’s atmosphere! And, the process of harvesting a material from the Earth can be harmful to the Earth.
What are the pros and cons of making electricity and powering transportation?
Coal burning energy plants produce the most Carbon dioxide, a scientifically proven contributor to Climate Change. Mining coal is known to be harmful to ecosystems.
Natural Gas burning plants emit about half the Carbon dioxide as coal, but some of the techniques for drilling for gas are considered harmful to ecosystems.
Nuclear energy plants emit no Carbon dioxide, but there’s the problem of disposing of the spent fuel and its impact on ecosystems far into the future.
Wind energy is considered clean energy because of zero emissions, but windmills are expensive to start, take up a lot of space, and require a lot of steady wind to keep the mills going. Also, they are thought to interfere with flight patterns of migratory birds.
Solar energy is clean energy, but is expensive to start up, requires a lot of space and requires a lot of reliable sun to keep the energy flowing.
Fossil fuels in transportation emit a lot of Carbon dioxide. Drilling for oil, fracking, and deriving oil from tar sands can be harmful to ecosystems.
Hybrid transportation emits about half the Carbon dioxide because it uses about half the fuel.
Electric transportation emits zero Carbon dioxide, but does the source of its electricity emit Carbon dioxide or harm ecosystems?
These are complex considerations requiring a Systems Thinking approach to understand the best way to provide energy for our world.
To Learn More:
The End of Nature, McKibben, B.
The Renewable Energy Handbook: A Guide to Rural Independence, Off-Grid and Sustainable Living, William H. Kemp.
Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability, Robert Costanza.
Earth in the Balance, Al Gore.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America, Thomas Friedman.
Environmentalism: A Global History, Guha, R.
The Long Emergency, Kunstler, J. H.
This page was last updated on: August 19, 2013