Fossil Fuels

Overview

What are fossil fuels?

Petroleum, natural gas, and coal created by geological forces from organic wastes and the dead bodies of formerly living biological organisms

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Source

We use fossil fuels as an energy source for our cars, homes, factories, etc. by burning them. Fossil fuel combustion is used in the power grid, in-home heating, in vehicles, and in industrial production. Together, fossil fuels provide 84% of the world’s energy.

Effects

Fossil fuel combustion causes increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, extra heat is being trapped, causing global warming. Global warming in itself has major consequences, like melting glaciers and ice caps, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events.

Economic/Societal Role

The U.S. is both a major producer and a major consumer of fossil fuels. The country often uses fracking, a process in which water, chemicals, and sand are blasted deep into a well to break rock and release oil and gas reserves. Through this technique and others, the U.S. has become the largest producer of natural gas. As a highly industrialized nation, the country consumes more natural gas than any other, with natural gas providing for 30% of the U.S.’s energy needs.

Major Problems

  1. Contributes to climate change

  2. Damaged ozone

  3. Poor air and water quality

  4. Destroys habitats

  5. Economic and foreign relation issues

  6. Unsustainable energy resource

What you can do

  1. Use less energy (CHEAPEST + EASIEST)

  2. Unplug devices when not in use (“Vampire Energy”)

  3. Cut down on transportation emissions

    1. Walk, bike, carpool, public transit

  4. Contact your local and state politicians

  5. Volunteer with clean energy organizations