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Facts About Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are sources that have satisfied man's energy needs for countless years. This story presents some facts, which underline the need to look for a renewable energy alternative to replace them, as soon as possible.
Fossil fuels, also known as mineral fuels, are energy sources that come from sediments, deep down in the Earth's surface. They are created by anaerobic decomposition of organic matter, buried deep in sediments, under the influence of heat and pressure, roughly 650 million years ago.
This story discusses some facts that will give you an idea about man's dependency on these fuels and the problems we may face, when fossil fuel deposits exhaust one day.
Coal, crude oil, natural gas, and their derivatives or byproducts are the main types of fossil fuels. They are called so, because they were created from the fossilized remains of primitive organisms, buried deep in the Earth.

Facts to Remember and Ponder Upon

Facts are irrefutable pieces of information, that convey the reality in simple and straightforward manner. They do not suffer the problems that surface through opinions. These facts are out there and the reality and future they predict, must be dealt with.
So, read these facts and understand what needs to be done, for the energy needs of future generations.
  • A liter of gasoline, which is derived from crude oil, is made from the decomposition of about 20 metric tons of organic material, deposited on the ocean floor, millions of years ago.
  • The United States of America was the biggest consumer of crude oil in the world, consuming 19.5 million barrels per day, in 2008. (One barrel is about 42 US gallons). Consequently, it is also the biggest emitter of CO2 and greenhouse gases in the world.
  • Saudi Arabia is the biggest crude oil producer in the world, with a total production of 10.8 million barrels per day, in 2008.
  • Till date, there have been 14 major marine oil spills, losing 100,000 tons of crude oil, around the world, causing the death of thousands of aquatic animals. Other than that, about six million tons of fossil fuel is lost every year. If these facts haven't already made you queasy, there are more to come.
  • In a 2006 survey, by the 'Energy Information Administration', it was seen, that out of the total fuel consumed all over the world, in that year, 86% was fossil fuel. This underlines the amount of dependence the world has on them.
  • World energy consumption, mostly dependent on fossil fuel, is growing at 2.3% a year.
  • This is one of the facts which is the most alarming. A total of 21.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced every year, through the burning of these fuels. Out of this, only half of it can be absorbed by natural processes like photosynthesis; the rest is added to the growing amount of greenhouse gases which cause global warming.¬†
Global warming is a phenomenon, caused by the greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, that are causing an increase in the Earth's surface temperature, leading to disastrous consequences.
  • About 87% of the electricity created in the world, comes from coal burning. Coal burning, followed by crude oil, and natural gas, is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emission in the world.
  • If the rate of coal usage remains the same, the total coal supply in the world will be used up in 1500 years. However, the accelerated demand is bound to finish it in roughly 86 years.
  • The total fossil fuel amount used in 1997, all over the world, was the result of the decomposition of accumulated organic matter on the whole surface of Earth, for 422 years.
Hope these facts are enough to give you an idea of the energy crisis that faces our generations in the future and the byproduct of gluttonous energy consumption which is global warming. Global warming will make the future world an even more hostile place to live in.
It is time to look for alternatives, which are eco-friendly, non-polluting, and renewable. Let these facts be remembered and let us resolve to stop this gluttonous consumption of energy and reduce our carbon footprint.

 Omkar Phatak

Marcin Jozwiak