• Question: Because there is always a constant amount of energy in the universe, does that mean that using that energy ourselves we are sucking it out of the planet? If so what effect does that create and can the earth heal itself?

    Asked by 483xmasen23 to Hannah, James, Meggi, Olivia, Oli, Paul, Saiful on 5 Jan 2017.
    • Photo: Paul Shearing

      Paul Shearing answered on 5 Jan 2017:

      According to the first law of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another

      On earth, we get (almost) all of our energy from the sun – which is just like a giant nuclear fusion reactor

      The energy that arrives on earth as solar radiation, enables plant to photosynthesize which generates biomass for food and for fuel. The coal and oil that we are digging up as fossil fuels, is just biomass from millions of years ago… unfortunately, we are digging up and burning coal, MUCH more quickly than it is being replaced with ‘fresh’ biomass. That is why we think of fossil fuels as a ‘non-renewable’ resource, and why we are aiming to move to a ‘renewable’ energy system, for example using solar PV, wind and hydro -electricity


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