News on this issue
Alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, tidal and geothermal are needed in order to replace our dependence on fossil fuels. Yet alternative energy sources have received only a fraction of the funding handed out for research on fossil fuels and nuclear power, and government promises such as ôby 2010, 10% of our energy will be from renewablesö are unlikely to be met.
More worrying is that there is renewed interest in nuclear power as an energy source as it comes out well in terms of climate change due to low emissions, even though there are many adverse environmental effects from nuclear power, such as nuclear waste that takes 500,000 years to rid itself of its radioactivity. For their part, fossil fuels can contribute to increased carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions as well as acid rain.
But even power plants using ôrenewable energyö may not be totally renewable. For instance, hydro-electric plants use dams that may silt up and thus render the plant unusable after as little as 50 years.
Photo of solarcells. Credit: www.bigfoto.com