Fossil fuels and a myriad of problems that are associated with it have been the rage on the news nowadays. With the world in action against the usage of fossil fuels with the creation of the Paris Accord and ‘green’ startups aimed to revolutionize the world through alternative and sustainable energy sources…
Confusion about the actual problems with fossil fuels is to be unexpected.
So why is our main source of fuels and energy that came directly from the ground beneath us is poisonous and even dangerous in the future?
Or in other words, why fossil fuels are bad?
What are fossil fuels
Fossil fuels have a history – literally. They are organic components that are formed under the ground through the conversion of organic materials. For examples, they are dead plants and animals buried under layers of soils and rocks.
The conditions of the underground: heat, pressure, lack of Oxygen,… are perfect for the conversion of those materials into what is known as fossil fuels.
The familiar types of fossil fuels that we use almost every day in megatons are oil, natural gas, and coal. With the driving force of our civilization, energy production and transportation rely heavily on oil. And its products such as gasoline and kerosene.
Oil is formed over millions of years through the decaying process of dead plants and animals. It’s because they sunk into the ocean floor.
Through time and after a very long decomposing process, that takes advantage of the intense temperature of the Earth’s crust to the pressure. Crude oil is formed in large pockets. We build our oil drills right on top of those pockets, drilled down and extracted them straight from the source into barrels. Then, we transport them back to the mainland for consumption.
And indeed, oil is so profitable and in such high demand that it gained the moniker of ‘Black Gold’. Since oil is so important to the world’s machine, whoever controls the oil – controls the world.
That is why once we looked at the Middle East. Particularly the Arabia, through the vast amount of oil beneath the sand, buildings, luxurious cars. And princes were born right on top of them as a result.
The next is natural gas, which is commonly methane. Natural gas, simply put, could be said to be vaporized oil. It is often near oil deposits and the formation is due to the high pressure within the deposit. That forces the oil molecule to vaporize into a gas.
People found out that they can create heat and energy by lighting this foul-smelling gas up. Hence, gas extractors were born. They’re promptly in the form of millions of gas canisters.
The last type, and now mostly outdated source of fuel is coal. Coal is formed, also by the millions of years by the leftovers of heavy vegetation that are jam-packed beneath the ground by sediments and rocks. High pressure condenses the matters together and forms lumps of brittle, dusty, black rocks that we know as coal.
Why Fossil Fuels are Bad
The exhaustion of fossil fuels is not too far ahead. No, in fact, we’ll drain the last drop of oil in the next fifty years or so from the rocketing consumption rate of all the cars, airplanes, ships and energy plants that constantly burn out and require more to operate.
Yes, once we’re out, all of the luxuries above would cease to exist and function. This results in a massive energy crisis and destabilization of world’s economy if we don’t turn around anytime soon.
But perhaps the most widely known disadvantage of fossil fuel is that it’s horrible to the environment. The burning of fossil fuel releases a lot of Carbon Dioxide and an abundant of other noxious gases.
This is negligible in the past. But when everyone typically owns a car, some, even more, the concentration of CO2 has made a leap for the worst. CO2 can cause a condition called ‘Greenhouse Effect’ by effectively trapping heat from the Sun within the atmosphere. This causes a spontaneous rise of temperature globally.
This increase in temperature can cause the polar ice caps to melt and thus. It makes sea level rises and flood in low lands. This not only can cause serious environmental and economic repercussions. But, it will also affect greatly the weather pattern of the world making natural disasters tenfold in their prowess.
The next is the over-importance and dependence of some countries on access to fossil fuels. Particularly developing countries that have no domestic fuel sources within their countries and need to import them for domestic usage. This, if exploited, can cause serious damage to the country’s economy through the very spontaneous fluctuation of oil and other fossil resources.
Embargoes from countries that are major oil exporters can also be an extremely bad news for import countries. This makes oil the perfect political leverage that is just begging to be exploited.
All of those problems would either climax or end in the next few decades when it’s make or break time for fossil fuels. New alternative energies are coming into the playing field such as electrical and solar power. Whilst, the down point of fossil fuels is only fifty years away.
But one thing is for certain, the end of fossil fuel is very near. Even if the world tries to cling onto the century-old energy source, it would not be around for much longer to sustain us all. And it all boils down to either we discover alternatives and move on. Or, despite knowing why fossil fuels are bad – stay in one place and takes the full brunt of our dependency.
However, the world is moving toward a better place with the threat fossil fuel is placing over all of us by advancing our technologies and science to combat it.