Biofuel Impacts On Biodiversity And Ecosystem

1369 words - 6 pages

The article in question, Biodiversity conservation in the era of Biofuels: risks and opportunities, touches on many important ecological and environmental concerns derived from the necessity of energy. It dissects the market created by biofuels, reporting, in detail, on its inherent environmental consequences. By introducing energy as the focal point of the essay, the authors are able to discuss the problems and solutions associated with different sources of energy, specifically biological energy. This article particularly emphasizes the welfare costs and benefits of energy taken from the biosphere, eventually outlining how heterogeneity of cropland negatively affects the ...view middle of the document...

However, in the process of burning coal, Carbon Dioxide, a Greenhouse Gas is released into the atmosphere creating higher concentrations than can be naturally handled by the environment. These higher concentrations trap heat energy in the atmosphere creating greater temperature variance, dubbed as Global Warming. But this indeed indicates a change in characteristic climate, studied over a long period time; since the industrial revolution, CO2 concentrations have not reduced except in times of recession. Partly due to increased demand (population increase), this unmitigated increase in carbon emissions and atmospheric concentration accounts for higher average temperatures.
The use, or overuse, of naturally forming energy sources such as coal and petroleum is inextricably linked to climate change. A solution to both a dependency on the finite, and on the harmful, harnesses energy from renewable sources. Solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric are all renewable sources of energy, which emit little to no Carbon Dioxide. Wind and solar, the environmentally, and sometimes financially, preferred forms of renewable energy, require little inputs relative corn, but yield less energy as it translates into power. For this reason, The United States government heavily subsidizes the production of corn to make in more financially feasible and to increase the use ethanol, a renewable source of energy, mostly used as an additive in petroleum based fuels (166). Although solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are completely reliant upon weather-based occurrences, biomass energy, also somewhat reliant on weather, has become increasingly more prevalent. The article talks about corn and its production and conversion into ethanol, a “predominant biofuel” (161). The use of corn and other biomass as fuel is largely a product of other “fuels” like fertilizers and the Sun and can be somewhat problematic.
Also problematic is the method by which electricity is produced. The burgeoning electric car business has highlighted the process of electrical generation. Largely coming from the burning of coal, electric cars have effectively switched from the use of petroleum to coal, replacing one finite, Greenhouse gas-producing energy source, for another. However, with the increase in manufacture of photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, the percentage of coal used in electrical generation declines, replacing the finite, with the renewable, environmentally friendly alternative.
Biodiversity, land stewardship, and environmental ethics are essential for ecological efficiency. Biodiversity is a necessity for long-term genetic success, because it provides species with genetic proclivities and immunities and to ensure health and life. There are currently 1.7 to 2.0 million species on earth, including those from tiny microbes to more complex, physically larger forms of life. In total, before biodiversity declined, one hundred million species were present on earth (lecture 6...

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