Fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource formed by the decomposition of organic matter millions of years ago. They are used to create electricity, heat homes, and run cars, and they are also valuable feedstock for the petrochemical industry. They are also used to make tar for roads. But there are a few problems with fossil fuels. Let’s look at some of them. First, what is fossil fuel?.
In 2013, the Obama Administration proposed cutting subsidization of fossil fuels and coal, but Congress never took action. And while the Obama Administration’s plan did achieve a moratorium on federal coal leases and international support for the coal industry, President Donald Trump reversing much of the work from the Obama administration. He has also reversed a moratorium on federal coal leases, and has rolled back efforts to protect the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from oil spills.
Fossil fuels were once plentiful, and obtaining them was easy. But now, our fossil fuel supply is depleting, and it will take centuries to replenish it. What’s more, fossil fuels return carbon dioxide to the atmosphere hundreds to thousands of times faster than it took to make them. Therefore, fossil fuels are the main cause of climate change. Without alternative energy sources, human civilization will continue to struggle. That’s why we must make better choices in energy production.
Oil is one of the world’s most abundant fossil fuels. It is a liquid that forms under the ocean floor. Its liquefied state makes it nearly perfect for transportation. Oil fuels contain twice the energy of coal, making them ideal for internal combustion engines. In addition to being liquid, petroleum is also used in roads, jets, and roofs. The only drawback to fossil fuels is that they are not everywhere on Earth.
Governments provide hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year. These subsidies are largely unpaid, and they vary by oil price, but the figures are consistent in the hundreds of billions of dollars. More transparency in government reporting would help us determine exact figures. One 2015 study by the International Monetary Fund estimated the unpaid costs of fossil fuels at $5.3 trillion per year, which works out to $10 million every minute.
Another fossil fuel that is plentiful and clean is natural gas. This gas is often found in underground deposits with oil, and it is often thought of as a cheap substitute for coal. In the early days of the oil industry, it was thought of as a shortcut to getting fired, but the gas is now valued for its clean combustion and usefulness as feedstock in industrial processes. It also requires specific infrastructure to be transported to customers. This can be a disadvantage if there is no infrastructure to transport it.
The final method involves carbon capture and storage. In this method, carbon is captured during the process of making fossil fuels. By doing this, CO2 is removed from the ambient air and injected back into the earth. Industrial processes like cement production release CO2 as a byproduct. Carbon capture and storage technologies can help us avoid the worst consequences of climate change. If you are planning on a fossil fuel project, take note of these three things: