Human history can be told in terms of the history of energy. The discovery of fire, the domestication of animals, the discovery of fossil fuels, the electrification of cities, the oil wars in the Middle East, and advances in nuclear physics are all pivotal points in human history. Energy is a multifaceted concept; it is central to science and education, it plays pivotal role in economic growth, and it has a dominant position in international affairs. Conventional energy sources are major sources of environmental stress at global as well as local levels. Emissions from fossil fuels drive a range of global and regional environmental changes, including global climate change, acid deposition and urban smog. Coal mining disturbs vast areas of natural habitat, hydropower development can have significant environmental and social costs, and the exploration for and extraction of oil and natural gas can have significant impacts, particularly in sensitive ecosystems
A greenhouse gas is one of several gases that can absorb and emit longwave (infrared) radiation in a planetary atmosphere. This phenomenon is often termed the greenhouse...
Energy profile of CanadaLast Updated on 2014-11-30 21:44:07 Canada is one of the world's five largest energy producers and is the principal source of U.S. energy imports.
Canada is a net exporter of most energy commodities and is an especially significant producer of conventional and unconventional oil, natural gas, and hydroelectricity. It stands out as the largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States, its southern neighbor and one of the world's largest consumers of energy. Just as the United States depends on Canada for much of its energy needs, so is Canada profoundly dependent on the United States as an export market. However, economic and political considerations are leading Canada to consider ways to diversify its trading partners, especially by expanding ties with emerging markets in Asia.
Canada's large territory is endowed with an exceptionally rich and varied set of natural resources, which enables it to... More »
Wind Energy and Wind TurbinesLast Updated on 2014-11-30 21:43:17Since 1999 the United States’ installed capacity of wind-produced electricity has grown from 2,000 mW to 28,635 mW, which is enough energy to power the equivalent of more than 6.5 million homes.
A functioning turbine can provide electricity directly to a building or other application as a “stand-alone,” or “off-grid” system, or it can be connected to the transmission grid. Hybrid systems can combine wind, solar, and, for example, a diesel or biogas electric generator to provide holistic energy security for off-grid systems.
A small wind turbine is one that generates 100 kilowatts (“kWs”) or less, and is generally used to produce clean, emissions-free power for individual homes, farms and businesses. As compared to large commercial turbines that may be 300 feet tall and are capable of producing several megawatts... More »
Climate Literacy- The Essential Principles of Climate SciencesLast Updated on 2014-11-15 15:52:27
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If you would like more detailed coverage of this topic please see The Climate Literacy Handbook
Climate Science Literacy is an understanding of your influence of climate and climate's influence on you and society.
understands the essential principles of Earth's climate system,
knows how to assess scientifically credible information about climate,
communicates about climate and climate change in a meaningful way, and
is able to make informed and responsible decisions with regard to actions that may affect climate.
During the 20th century, Earth's globally averaged surface temperature rose by approximately 1.08°F (0.6°C). Additional warming of more than 0.25°F (0.14°C) has been measured since 2000. Though the total increase may seem small, it... More »
Fossil fuelLast Updated on 2014-10-28 12:02:28
Fossil fuel is any naturally occurring carbon compound found in the Earth's crust that has been produced by anaerobic conditions and high pressures acting on dead organisms. These fossil fuel deposits are typically found at depths beneath the Earth surface or ocean floor of tens of meters to kilometers, and often occur in large agglomerations of gas, liquid or solid matter. Presently, combustion of fossil fuels account for over 86 percent of the world's artificial energy delivered to the human society. These fuels are considered non-renweable in that their natural creation time requires millions of years.
The extraction, processing and combustion of fossil fuels causes significant adverse environmental consequences to biodiversity, air quality and water quality, as well as substantial impacts to human health and mortality. These processes also generate large... More »
Renewable electricity politics across bordersLast Updated on 2014-10-28 11:54:29
It is now widely accepted that many of the systems for generating electricity in place worldwide are unsustainable. In spite of helping to create unprecedented levels of economic wealth, a predominant reliance upon large, centralized power stations, largely “fueled” by fossil fuels and uranium connected to a web of transmission and distribution lines, has a number of negative consequences as well. One of the most significant of those sustainability impacts is the effect that systems of electricity supply have on global climate change. With 66 percent of the world’s commercial electricity generated by fossil fuels in 2003 (including 40 percent of the total by coal), conventional methods to generate power are serving to increase carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere (and, though to a lesser extent, also serving to increase concentrations of other greenhouse... More »
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