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Energy 2
 

Everything gives off heat by radiation, much of which travels away from the earth to outer space from where it cannot be recovered. So as heat energy is radiated at every transfer of energy from one form to another, the remaining energy has less power at each stage through the chain of conversions.

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The Law of Conservation of Energy ensures that all energy goes somewhere. It does not disappear. A balance sheet can be built up to show this, all 'energy in' must equal all 'energy out'. This requirement for balance applies to the whole planet.

We use the energy from fossil fuels to provide the power we need for our industries, homes and transport.

The more developed a country gets, the more energy it requires. The majority of households in developed countries have 1 car, many have 2, and most have many energy-using domestic appliances. To produce these cars and goods also requires energy; the USA alone consumes about a quarter of the world's commercial energy.

Every time we switch on a light or a machine we increase the demand for electricity generation from power stations. We are used to a continuous and clean supply of electricity in our workplaces and homes. The effects of burning fossil fuels are well known. Each time we use electricity we are indirectly contributing to those effects.


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2002 Edition