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Does biomass represent all of the resources of the biosphere and therefore it would be theoretically infinitely renewable (as long as we have the sun) since all the biomass is part of the carbon cycle?

Also, should I consider resources like gold to be part of the biosphere and therefore all the resources would not be infinite nor infinitely renewable?

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  • $\begingroup$ Assuming no one burned any fossil fuels, the carbon cycle isn't perfectly recycled. Some organic matter would get trapped as coal or oil. But thankfully we have solved that problem by digging it back up and burning it. $\endgroup$ – user137 Apr 22 '15 at 16:17
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No, it is not infinite.

The sun has not an infinite mass neither does the earth. So energy is not infinite. But we probably don't really care about that as it applies at a scale we're not really concerned with. What is important at our scale is the rate at which is the rate at which the biomass we're destroying (eating, building houses with) is produced. The rate at which we consume this biomass has to not overpass the rate at which this biomass is produced. Than, practically speaking, biomass will be produced infinitely. Of course, ecosystem stability is not that easy but it is not within the scope of the post to talk about that.

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Obviously not infinite, since the Earth has a finite mass, and the sun has a finite lifetime. Also the Earth continually loses some (very small) fraction of its atmosphere & water to space, so eventually it would wind up like Mars (which was warmer, wetter, and probably habitable a billion years or so ago).

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    $\begingroup$ This is an interesting page. Mentions that the weathering of rocks will most likely deplete most CO2 from the atmosphere by about 600 million years from now. Some plants may survive for a little longer depending on what carbon fixation method they use. This would probably happen sooner than loss of atmosphere to space. I think the expansion of the sun will happen before then. $\endgroup$ – user137 Apr 22 '15 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @user137 The Wikipedia article on Future of the Earth referenced above has so many faults, studded with facts, that it's not even wrong. $\endgroup$ – frank May 18 '16 at 6:40

protected by Chris May 30 '16 at 13:13

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