Alternative energy

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The news is never short of headlines telling us that another resource is about to run out. But in the new issue of BBC Focus economist and Conservative peer Matt Ridley argues that history suggests our future might be brighter than you think…

Also in this issue

  • Revolutionary technology could give police new tools to stop criminals in their tracks.
  • The RV Investigator has been finding some creepy creatures in the ocean’s inky depths…
  • Could the weird theory of ‘panpsychism’ help explain consciousness?
  • Neuroscientist Irene Tracey outlines the biology behind pain. Still doesn’t make us feel better about stubbing our toes, though.

Most of the energy we use comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal or oil. As well as depleting non-renewable resources, it gives off carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. The alternatives include hydroelectric power, wind turbines, wave power, solar panels, growing biofuels and using geothermal energy. Nuclear power is not normally considered as a type of alternative energy, despite the fact that it doesn't release greenhouse gases.

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Science of Fracking

Shale gas could solve the fuel crisis. But in parts of Europe and America it's been banned over safety fears, and it was blamed in 2011 for a couple minor earthquakes in the UK. Robert Matthews investigates.