Would this make our lives so much more inconvenient? What would happen to our climate? Would it help us beat global warming?
Facts About Fossil Fuels:
Fossil Fuels are the remains of plants and animals buried under the earth – hence, fossil fuels. They are carbon-based substances. It takes millions of years for fossil fuels to develop, which is why they are a nonrenewable resource. Natural gas and coal are both types of fossil fuels. They are used instead of renewable resources which may be better for our environment because they are easier and cheaper to obtain.
One important example of a fossil fuel is petroleum. Petroleum is a mix of hydrocarbons found in the Earth, and can be found in liquid, gas, or solid form. Petroleums come from ancient microscopic plants and bacteria from the ocean floor. It cannot be used straight from the source because it is mixed with mud and other substances, and therefore must be refined.
Fossil fuels contribute to many different environmental problems, including land degradation, water pollution, air pollution, ocean acidification, and other problems which harm our environment. Conventional natural gases are those which can be gained by conventional practices such as using a regular drill, while unconventional natural gases are more difficult to obtain and require more refined techniques such as fracking.
What’s the Problem?
So, you probably know that fossil fuels are spewing carbon dioxide into our air. CO2 stays in our atmosphere and heats up the Earth’s surface. The Greenhouse Effect – the main cause of that climate change everyone is talking about.
The Earth is an average of 1°C (1.8°F) hotter than it was in the 1880s, before our factories started belching greenhouse gases into the air. Doesn’t seem that bad? Well, it only took a 4°C (3.6°F) increase to put an end to the most recent Ice Age 12,000 years ago. With all our power plants, cars and appliances, we humans are the main cause of today’s global warming. What if we all banded together and eliminated the use of fossil fuels once and for all?
Would this be the solution to climate change? Want to know what life would be like if we stopped burning fossil fuels right now?
How Would Our Lives Change Without Fossil Fuels?
First off, there would be no transportation – no cars, no trains, no planes, no ships… nothing. Your local grocery store wouldn’t get fresh food delivered for you to buy. Your electric car would likely to be useless, too. Why? Just think about where your electricity comes from.
Did you know, more than two thirds of the world’s electricity production comes from burning fossil fuels? So there would be no electricity? Not quite. With one-third of electric power generated by renewables and nuclear stations, we wouldn’t go completely electricity-free.
The party would still be going strong in countries like Costa Rica, Norway and Iceland. They run almost exclusively on renewable power… so move there when you need to charge your phone. The fossil fuel industries would cease to exist, so would their $5 trillion of annual revenue. It’s not just large energy producers like Russian Gazprom or American ExxonMobil who would go bankrupt.
Millions of people employed in those industries would lose their jobs. Coal miners may want to get trained in solar panel installation. Say goodbye to plastics… and a lot of your favorite gadgets. Since plastic is made from oil and gas, we wouldn’t be making any more new toys out of plastic materials. Eliminating a stable and cheap source of energy right now might seem a little extreme for some people.
What’s more, it wouldn’t solve our climate change problem, not in the short term. The global warming we have already inflicted on our planet is… irreversible. Even if we stopped burning fossil fuels, the Earth would continue warming up for another few decades because of all the heat we’ve already produced. Global temperatures would climb – finally stabilizing at a level much higher than we’ve ever known.
Although that’s far into the future, the reality is, if we don’t start burning less fossil fuels now, the results will be pretty devastating. Luckily or not, someday we’ll run out of non-renewable coal, gas and oil anyway. Are you ready to rock your solar panels yet? How do you help combat climate change?
Ways To Reduce Climate Change
There are ways that individual consumers can lessen their contribution to climate change. Instead of driving a car to work, you can take public transportation, bike, or walk. You can switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs, and unplug your electronics when they are not in use.You can reach out to your government representatives and ask them to support carbon taxes and other issues to help reduce contributions to climate change. You can also grow your own food, stop using straws and other disposable utensils, and much more!
- Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions
- If we stopped emitting greenhouse gases right now, would we stop climate change?
- GISS Surface Temperature Analysis
- What would the world look like without fossil fuels?
- Fossil Fuel Facts
- Fossil Fuels: The Dirty Facts
- Burning Fossil Fuels and Fossil Fuel Facts
- Top 10 things you can do about climate change