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Fossil fuels, but especially oil, are the foundation of the world economy and Western civilization. The massive use of fossil fuels as an energy source began to explode with the Industrial Revolution and, in turn, the population also began to grow exponentially. Currently, most of the energy used comes from burning fossil fuels and we know that they pollute a lot. That is why it is necessary to consider what the future of fossil energy is.

If you ask yourself questions about the use of fossil fuels, the consequences of the use of fossil fuels or if you want to know what measures can be taken to prevent oil depletion, be sure to read this interesting article by Green Ecologist in which we talk about the environmental impact of fossil fuels and more details.

What are fossil fuels

Fossil fuels are those that come from plant remains and other organisms that were buried millions of years ago due to the effect of natural phenomena, the action of microorganisms and great cataclysms, under specific conditions of pressure and temperature. Currently the most used are coal, natural gas and oil and its derivatives. However, tar sands and oil shales must also be added.

These fuels are a valuable resource because they are the largest source of energy used, but both the fossil fuel extraction as their use have great detrimental effects on the environment. In addition, they are part of non-renewable resources due to their high extraction speed.

In this other post we talk more about what fossil fuels are and how they were formed.

What is the environmental impact of fossil fuels

The use of fossil fuels and climate change are related, which is why it is important to ask. How do petroleum products affect the environment? Which are the fossil fuel damage? Next, the impacts derived from the extraction and transport of fossil fuels, as well as their use in combustion, will be shown.

To produce energy, all these fossil fuels are subjected to combustion, thus releasing gases such as benzopyrene, carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. These gases are emitted into the atmosphere as a consequence:

  • The greenhouse effect is enhanced.
  • Acid rain.
  • There is an increase in the average temperature of the planet (global warming).
  • Thaw in the polar caps and rise in sea level.
  • Increased torrential rains.
  • Increased frequency of hurricanes.
  • Increase in droughts and also floods.
  • Soil, air and surface and groundwater contamination.

How the impact of fossil fuels can be solved

Look for alternatives to using fossil fuels It is very important because this way you can reduce all the impacts that these are producing. In addition, reducing the use of oil could leave aside the question of when will the world's oil run out, since it is something that worries worldwide and it is known that if it continues like this in a few years there will no longer be enough oil reserves to cover the demand.

It must be taken into account that natural gas within all fossil fuels is the one that emits the least pollutants. However, alternative fuels to fossil fuels They may be:

  • Ethanol from corn or other crops produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Biodiesel that is obtained from animal fats and vegetable oils, producing less pollutants than those based on petroleum.
  • Hydrogen, although it is produced from fossil fuels such as coal, or also through hydroelectric or nuclear energy, when used in vehicles it does not emit pollutants.
  • In addition, another option for power generation is to opt for renewable resources and thus make use of solar, wind or hydraulic energy.

In addition, other solutions that are in the daily life of the population is to reduce the use of energy and thus be responsible with its use. Regarding the use of vehicles, use them when it is really necessary and choose public transport or bicycles when possible.

Advantages of ending the use of fossil fuels

The benefits of ending the use of fossil fuels there are many, not only for the environment but also for people's health.

  • The emission of greenhouse gases is reduced and, therefore, helps to slow down climate change.
  • Reduction of air, soil and water pollution.
  • The territories in which these fuels are found are no longer exploited, that is, natural areas are no longer exploited.
  • The extraction of these resources brings with it wars between countries for control of them. Ending the use of it could be the trigger to end many of the conflicts.
  • People's health would also benefit since all the pollutants generated end up reaching them, being harmful to health, for example, with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, among others.

If you want to read more articles similar to Environmental impact of fossil fuels, we recommend that you enter our Pollution category.

  • Ferrari, L. Fossil energies: diagnosis, perspectives and economic implications. Mexican Journal of Physics, vol. 59, no. 2, October-, 2013, pp. 36-43. Mexican Society of Physics A.C. Federal District, Mexico: https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/570/57030971005.pdf
  • Unit 2. Fossil fuels. IES Villalba Herv├ís: https://iesvillalbahervastecnologia.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/tema2_combustibles-fosiles.pdf
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