TED Conversations

Noel Laporte

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What form of renewable energy has or will have the lowest impact on biodiversity?

Climate change, air pollution, rising sea levels and species extinction can all be attributed to the increasing usage of non-renewable energy in the world today. Non-renewable energy reserves are diminishing and finite with an ever-increasing demand from countries around the world. Coal, natural gas and oil all have detrimental effects on the environment. These effects are both local and global, harming species throughout the world. As we consider different renewable forms of energy, can we rank their potential impacts on biodiversity?


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    Apr 23 2013: I think solar energy definitely has the lowest impact on biodiversity since it is abundant, but I'm not sure if it is practical on its own. In areas that have a relatively lower amount of sunlight (i.e. northern reaches such as Alaska) it would make more sense to couple it with other sources of renewable energy.

    Also, solar energy wouldn't be a practical replacement for gasoline or diesel engines which are and continue to be the largest cause of the planet's loss in biodiversity through climate change. The energy source that replaces these engines will be our best option at preserving biodiversity worldwide. Does anyone know of energy sources to replace it? Hydrogen fuel cell cars?

    Some interesting ideas to couple with solar energy:


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