Energy and the Environment: Fossil Fuels

Energy and the Environment: Fossil Fuels
Fossil Fuels are one of the most important things on this planet to the human race. Without fossil fuels we wouldn?t have today?s current means of transportation, we would have less heating for the general population, energy uses would be more expensive, and overall the economy and the world would not be able to sustain themselves. Even still, the fact that fossil fuels are on this planet will never change, but how we use them and what impacts their use has will always be an issue.
Even though fossil fuels provide for the most percentage of energy usage in the world, there is still the issue of pollution and other environmental impacts. Just oil and natural gas alone provide for more than 60 percent of the energy consumed in the United States (US Dept. of Energy). With this amount of fossil fuel usage taking place, and the fact that burning, transporting, recovering, and processing fossil fuels creates pollution, one can see how much total damage that is occurring on a daily basis. Some of the many environmental impacts from the result of using fossil fuels are air pollution, acid rain, global warming, climate change, etc.

One of the main topics of interest on the same page as fossil fuel pollution is global warming. Global warming is mainly caused due to carbon dioxide trapping the sun?s radiation and keeping it within the Earth?s atmosphere. The fact that burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide is why their use has such an impact on global warming. ?Over the last 150 years, burning fossil fuels has resulted in more than a 25 percent increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere? (union of concerned scientists). This statistic gives enough support to the fact that fossil fuels and their use are fueling the global warming situation.

Another issue related to the use of fossil fuels is acid rain. Acid rain is caused by sulfur dioxides in the air and has been increasing due to the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal, which ultimately pollutes the waterways. The main fact is that ?burning coal produces sulfur dioxide, an acidic gas that contributes to the formation of acid rain? (Darvill). Coal is used to produce about 30 percent of the energy in the US. With this very large number, it can be seen that the amount of acid rain will be greatly reduced if we can burn less amounts or use cleaner burning methods in order to protect the environment.

After learning a great deal about fossil fuels one can see that they are obviously needed by the human population and that their use is inevitable. On the other hand, fossil fuels may lead to substantial, and irreversible, environmental impacts that will be a much greater problem in the years to come.

Energy and the Environment: Fossil Fuels 8.9 of 10 on the basis of 1679 Review.