Opinions on Renewable Energy

As an individual, Adil is entitled to hold and express opinions, wearing his personal hat. Adil is at an advantage as he is able to rationalise his opinions with scientific evidence. However if scientific consensus has been achieved based on peer-reviewed evidence, any opinions Adil holds remain personal opinions and should not be treated as fact. Unfortunately there exist certain individuals with big media personalities. These gifted few can say what they like such that their opinions achieve a high impact and are treated as fact. This is disappointing.

As an atmospheric scientist, in Adil's opinion, growing trees is not a solution to rising levels of carbon dioxide, which lead to global warming. This is based on the fact that when a tree dies, unless it is stored in the ground or otherwise preserved, every atom of carbon that the tree took out of the atmosphere will be returned to the atmosphere by decomposition processes. Trees are carbon neutral, not a net carbon sink, and have little effect on long term carbon dioxide levels.

In Adil's opinion, biomass from plants is a wonderful carbon neutral fuel source that can be stored for a windless day. However animal wastes, such as cow pats, are not a good source of energy if such an animal is kept solely for its waste. This is because an animal has to fuel itself and so reduces the chemical energy in the grass that the animal originally ate, that could have otherwise been burned directly. Furthermore, unnecessary ruminants produce immense quantities of methane which contribute to global warming. Animal waste is not a source of energy: the sun is the source of energy provided to the animal via a plant such as grass. Unless the animal is kept for a primary purpose such as milk, clothing or food, keeping such an animal, primarily for fuel, is a waste of energy and space.

Alongside biomass, society should switch to other renewable energy sources such as wind and hydroelectric power. Solar panels can also provide us with energy but are more suited to tropical climates as opposed to countries such as the UK where the sun rarely shines with much intensity. In order to maintain a high standard of living, such changes must be accelerated. While it is true that plenty of oil, gas and coal remain, it won't last forever and is not sustainable in the long term.

Logs of wood are mostly made of cellulose, a carbohydrate