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What Are the Bad and Good Environmental Impacts Caused by the Hydroelectric Energy Produced in Brazil?

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The environmental impacts are bad because with the production of hydroelectric energy, deforestation is necessary which also leads to the extinction of species and the imbalance of the ecosystem. On top of that, studies show that the decomposition of organic matter in areas flooded by the reservoir of mills can create and emit to the atmosphere, significant amounts of methane and carbon dioxide, both gases are involved in the global warming. The good impacts are the fact that hydroelectric energy is made of renewable source, as water is considered as a renewable source. Another good impact is that the reservoirs collects potable water,which can be used for human consumption. The hydroelectrics bring not only energy but the development of infrastructure, which requires the construction of roads and businesses which improves the life of poor communities. For these reasons, the answer to the research question is that it is causing bad and good impacts for our environments, but as the bad impacts are affecting global warming the bad impacts are much greater than the good impacts.

This research is important for us because it provides information and facts about how hydroelectric energy is made, and how it is affecting us all, in good and bad ways. In the past, there weren’t so many ways to make energy, or it wasn’t even possible to make energy, but now, with the development of technology and science, it has been more and more possible do develop the production of the resources we need without causing so much damage to our environment. This research question will provide an explanation about specifically how and why hydroelectric energy affecting the environmental and how these impacts are affecting global warming. To know more about how this way of making energy and how effective it is, makes us reflect more about how much we are consuming this source and how our consumption is affecting the environment that we live in.

Global Warming

Global warming is the increase of the global temperature due to the accumulation of polluting gases, such as carbon dioxide that comes fuel, in the atmosphere. This accumulation is called Greenhouse effect and it is basically when the sun rays reaches the earth’s surface because of the greenhouse gases ( polluting gases ), about 50% of the gases are retained in the atmosphere. The more gases we produce and release in the ar, the more the earth’s temperature. The other half, reaches the terrestrial surface warming it and radiating it.

A myth about global warming is that all places in the world become warmer and warmer, but the truth is that it makes the weathers in places more extreme, so where it is cold is intents to be colder and colder, where it is warm, it intends to get warmer and warmer. The reason why is because the the global warming caused by humans affects the atmospheric currents that circulate around the planet. The effects of the emissions of greenhouse gases also increase the energy retention in oceans like in the atmosphere. The effect of this new energy balance causes more intensity, of the frequency and impact of extreme climatic events, doesn’t matter if its cold or warm.

Global warming has been an environmental issue for a long time, over the past 50 years the global temperature has increased in the fastest amount ever recorded in history. Scientist say that the earth’s extreme raising in temperature is supplying hotter and longer waves which causes more powerful hurricane, more frequent droughts and heavier rainfall. Global warming is also making so that storm can pick up more energy because its affecting the oceans, rising its temperatures.

The more gases we produce, the faster global warming is going to develop, cars, for example need gasoline to move and that gas is very bad for the environment and it is affecting global warming. There are fabrics that are trying to fabricate more renewable products, nowadays there are electric cars that don’t need gasoline to move which is very good for the environment.

Other types of energies are also used to produce energy in a sustainable way such as hydroelectric power, which is made of the force of moving water. Another types of renewable energy is the wind energy, its energy made of the windpower. All of these ways of reducing the use of air pollutants are being used, global warming is urgent and something needs to be done to stop this rapid increasement of the earth’s temperature.

Energy Source – Hydroelectric energy

One of the ways of neutralizing the use of carbon dioxide is to use the renewable energies. Renewable energies are the energies that are made from natural resources such as the sunlight, water, the earth’s heat or even wind. These natural resources regenerate themselves, so it’s a very good option to substitute them instead of using other air pollutants such as oil ( gasoline, diesel and aviation Kerosene ), Mineral coal, Charcoal (firewood ),nuclear energy and the list goes on.

Hydroelectric energy or Hydropower is a renewable energy. It’s made of the energy of moving water. The energy is made in the hydroelectric plants, it uses a dam on a river to store water i the reservoir. The reservoir is formed because of the dam built to surround the water that comes in the turbines of the hydroelectric plant. The dam is called reservoir, where the water comes from. The water from the river flows with a lot of pressure from the reservoir to a place with turbines and and generators. The turbines have blades attached to the generators. The water pressure moves the baldes, which creates magnetic, producing electric energy.

Hydroelectric energy affects the environment in good and bad ways. First of all, the bad ones. Where the hydroelectric plants are installed the whole climate changes. Species of fishes disappear, animals flee to dry shelters, trees turn to rotten wood under flood and the environment where its is built just dies. There are also some social problems, people who lived close to where the hydroelectric plants are built need to give everything up and restart their lives in other places.

The good effects are fortunately more then the bad ones. Here is four of them:

  • The first advantage of the use of this recourse is the fact that it is renewable, which does not cause so much damage to the ecosystem.
  • The second advantage is that it doesn’t pollute the air as much as other non renewable sources, studies show that the production of hydroelectric power releases a significant amount of methane and carbon dioxide,but it is a minimal pollution.
  • The third advantage is that hydroelectric power help to combat the changes in climate, because the reservoirs have the capacity of absorbing the greenhouse gases.
  • The fourth advantage is that hydroelectric power is the cheapest way of producing energy, which is very good both for the consumers and producers of hydroelectric energy.

Hydroelectric energy can be found in many places, but there are countries that uses this type of energy as the main source of energy of their country. China is the country that produces the most amount of hydroelectric energy, some 856.4 million kilowatt hours year. Brazil produces less than half of the amount that china produces, being in the second place as the country to produce the greatest amount of hydroelectric energy. The their country is Canada, which produces 376. 7 million kilowatt hours a year. After those top 3 countries comes the United states, Norway, Sweden, India, Venezuela and Japan.

Hydroelectric Energy in Brazil

Brazil is the second country to produce the greatest quantity of hydroelectric power per year. The reason why is because Brazil has a very rich nature, with a lot of rivers with large extensions and lakes which is what is needed to make hydroelectric energy. The costs to invest in a hydroelectric plant is very high because of the construction of it, especially in the south of brazil were its more urbanized and there is a higher demand of energy. The main source of energy in Brazil is the hydroelectric energy, the hydroelectric plants provide 90 % of the energy in the Brazil´s entire territory, and 10 % of the energy is used by thermoelectric or nuclear plants.

Brazil started their first hydroelectric plant in Juiz De Fora ( a city in southeastern of Brazil ) 120 years ago, when they used turbines imported from the United states. Brazil then started to transform mechanical energy to electrical energy. The first person to invest in the first hydroelectric plant in Brazil was a industrialist called Bernardo Mascarenhas from the southeastern of Brazil. He wanted to expand his fabric production in a more modern and practical way of moving the looms of its textile company for years. After visiting the Universal exhibition in Paris, in 1878, where he met with businessmen from other countries and became acquainted with research and technological developments developed abroad, he decided to focus on using the force of the water of rivers to generate electric energy.

After the world war II (1939-1945) the use of hydroelectric plants became relevant in the production of Brazil’s energy. Brazil has the third largest hydraulic potential in the world, it imports part of the energy that it consumes. That is because the largest hydroelectric plant in the Americas and the second largest in the world, The Itaipu Power plant, are not fully Brazilian. Because Brazil is on the countries border with Paraguay, 50 % of the production of the plant belongs to the neighboring country., which in, its inability to consume that amount, sells the surplus to Brazilian people. In addition, Brazil also buys energy produced by the Argentine hydroelectric plants of Garabi and Yacerita.

Brazil is the 7th country to contribute to global warming. Brazil has contributed to global warming because of the use of non renewable sources, which emits a lot of polluting gases that contribute to increase the global warming. About 38% of the energy provided to the country is made from renewable sources, especially the hydroelectric plants that are responsible for 13%, thereafter sugar cane and wood ( 12% each ).

The Brazil´s energy emissions are very high for its general economic activity, because the factor that contributes the most from the economy like iron,cement and chemical products, depend on a big quantity of fossil fuels that produces large quantities of gases with greenhouse effect which contributes to global warming. The main resource for the emissions of greenhouse gases in Brazil is the deforestation as agricultural frontier expand, especially in the Amazon region. The deforestation contributes to the climate change when the forest are burned, releasing greenhouse gases.

Brazil has been battling against global warming for a long time, it has been creating programs to combat the climate change and to reduce the large amounts of gases emitted. One of those programs called Programa Brasileiro was launched for the first time in 1975, when the international prices of sugar decreased and when the countries financial burden increased because f a law of petroleum in 1973. The program is till used as the biggest commercial application of biomass for the production and use of energy in the world. The programme managed to show the technical viability of production of ethanol in large scale from the sugar cane and its use as fuels for cars.

The program also helped to contain the increase in air pollution in the Brazilian cities and reduce the greenhouse effect. In 1997, It was proved by a man called Ìsaias Macedo from a University in Brazil called Universidade estadual de campinas, that the use of ethanol, sugarcane and bagasse prevented the release of 9,45 megatons of carbon during one year ( 1990-1991 ). The amount of carbon released when the bagasse and ethanol are used as fuels is compensated by the an amount equivalent to the carbon that sugarcane absorbs while growing. As the gas is the only one that doesn’t get burned, using ethanol prevented the release of 5,68 megatons of carbon per year during 1980-1990.

In 1985, another program called PROCEL was created to reduce the waste of electric energy for both the consumers and producers. In 1999, Emilio La Rovere e Branca Americano calculated the global releases of greenhouse gases and how much gas PROCEL prevented. PROCEL´s contribution was very significative. On the decade of 1990, the main source of energy was the water, so the major part of the consume of energy was stocked with hydroelectric energy which didn’t cause so much emission of gases. In 1997, the activities of PROCEL prevented the release of 1,2 million tons of greenhouse gases.

A law was approved, in 2002 by the Brazilian congress, with the goal of building a imperative market of renewable energy. The law also legally helps to improve the energy of renewable sources and the national electric network. It also helps the producers of electric energy who uses renewable sources to provide a large amount electricity to the country.

The Administration of Lula´s ( Brazil’s president 2003-2011 ) government, changed the regularments of the energy sector to improve and increase the opportunities of private investments to make hydroelectric energy. The new regulation means that private projects of hydroelectric energy cannot be publicly presented until the agency of planning of energy gives the government an environmental license. The goal with this regulation is to reduce the environmental risks for investors and stimulate the investments in hydroelectric energy.

Brazil is an important participator of the international organizations about the climate change, with China and India, they are one of the three countries that are emitting the greatest amount of greenhouse gases in the world of development. However, Brazil believes that the annual emissions are not to be seen as a representation of the responsibility of a country for the climate change. That responsibility is more connected to the contribution to the increase of the earth’s temperature. The fact that the carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere stays there for more than a decade, the previous emissions should be considered too. In result, Brazil refused to expects the proxy goal before the mid-century in the international negotiations At that time, Brazil believed that the onus of the responsibility by the total emissions in the atmosphere was equivalent to the developing countries.

Brazil has now committed a big responsibility to combat global warming, it wants to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses by 45 % by 2030 in comparison of the levels of 2005. The commitment was signed in 2015. Brazil wants to increase the installation and use of renewable sources, such as eolic and solar energy to have them as 45 % of the county´s energy. Improve the energetic efficiency of the electric sector by 10 % . In the Brazilian Amazon, Brazil wants to manage to have 0 illegal deforestation until 2030 and compensate the emissions of greenhouse gases for the legal suppression of the vegetation by 2030. also some of the things Brazil is committed to do. Brazil has a good and enormous potential of combating global warming and it is walking in the right path to do so.

Conclusion

The greenhouse effect is something that happens naturally, but has been intensified with the emissions of carbon dioxide and other polluting gases, which has been causing extreme weather in countries all over the place and increasing the earth’s temperature which has caused environmental issues such as the rising of the levels of the seas. There are many ways to help to contain rapid development of global warming, one of them is by using renewable sources to produce energy. Renewable sources are sources that can be reused and regenerate themselves or by human intervention.

There is solar energy which is energy that comes from the sunrays, there is Eolic energy which is energy that is made of wind power. Another type of renewable energy is the hydroelectric energy, which is the energy made of the waterforce which has been used in many countries such as Sweden,Canada and Brazil. Hydroelectric energy is made in Hydroelectric plants, that are installed in a place with water like a river, the water come in to the plant and is pushed to turbines that makes energy with the foruce of the water.

Brazil is the second country to produce the most quantity of hydroelectric energy, the hydroelectric plants have been providing 90 % of the energy there. Brazil is very rich in water sources which facilitates the production of it too. Although the hydroelectric energy has its benefits such as, being renewable and combating the climate change, it has its bad sides to. Where a hydroelectric plant is built, everything dies, all nature around it, all species of animals and vegetation. People that lives close to the hydroelectric are forced to move to another place to. Brazil has created any programs that have been preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gases and it has committed to make huge changes in the country’s system when it comes to the use of energy by the year of 2030.

By understanding the global warming and its causes and how energy sources can prevent so many tons of gases that can stay over a decade in the atmosphere, our consciousness will be more aware of how we choose to live our lives and how that is affecting the environment and the world that we live in. Hydroelectric power has been playing a big role in many countries that are combating global warming, one of them is Brazil.

Brazil has been used hydroelectric energy as almost the only energy the country consumes. The impacts are very good for the country, because of its enormous source of water, the constructions of hydroelectric plants is cheap which is good for consumers and producers and the countries economy. The use of hydroelectric plants have brought many advantages to the country, helping it to battle against global warming in a sustainable way, making the hydroelectric energy cost less and making it accessible for a big amount of people.

My research question was answered in many ways in this essay, it explains the hydroelectric energy in Brazil providing background information such as what global warming is and how it happens and how hydroelectric plants are helping to prevent it. Deep details about the advantages and disadvantages about the production of hydroelectric plants and how these factors affects our lives, are also given in detail throughout the essay. Global warming is a urgent environmental issue that need to be solved, if every country aunties and do their part to contribute to improve the situation of the planet many bigger consequences could happen. Brazil has shown us that there is a way of living more sustainable and it has committed to the world the responsibility of doing more, being a great example for other countries.

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