Replacing Fossil Fuels With Biomass And Climate Change
Global warming is a topic that draws a great deal of debate. With so many global economies relying on the energy from fossil fuels, nobody wants to admit that their continued use is adding to the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which is leading to major climate change around the world. Studies are ongoing into the effects of replacing fossil fuels with biomass and climate change.
At first glance, it would appear that using biomass to create fuels that would replace fossil fuels would lead to just as much carbon dioxide being put into the atmosphere as the burning of coal, petroleum, and natural gas. This would be true if the biomass used to create the fuels was not replaced as quickly as it is harvested.
Plant growth removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and transforms it into food for the plants during the process of photosynthesis. Certain fast growing crops, a relative term depending on the type of crop, can be planted to replace a harvest and be ready for harvest again at about the same time that the fuel produced from the first harvest is exhausted.
If proper management is used and available land is put to use producing sustainable biomass plant forms, predictions and trends show that replacing fossil fuels with biofuels would reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and eventually a balance would be reached where the amount released into the air and the amount taken up by plants for photosynthesis would even out.
In other words, completely replacing the fossil fuels being used today whose carbon content has been out of the carbon cycle for millions of years and is now being pumped back into the atmosphere, would yield a balance in the carbon cycle that would stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and would slow or stop global warming.
Biomass has the potential to stop the climate change that is taking place as a result of man's activities. However, the road to completely replacing fossil fuels with biofuels is a long and rocky one. Other activities such as deforestation are also contributing to climate change. In order to halt it completely, Man must manage the use of land and the production of biomass more efficiently and work things in a sustainable fashion.
One major advantage that biomass has over fossil fuels is that it is a completely renewable resource. If more waste material from other industries, such as paper mills and meat packing plants, is collected and converted to biofuel, the process of reducing dependence on fossil fuels can be begun.
When it comes to a study of biomass and climate change, the jury is still out on just how much effect using biomass to generate power will have on reducing the carbon output of mankind's activities. However, all the studies that have been done indicate that proper management of lands and crops could lead to a point where there is no net carbon released into the atmosphere because plants would take it up as quickly as it is produced.