Clean Energy sources, including wind and solar power, could be built up to satisfy the entire world’s energy supply , avoiding the many negative consequences of fossil fuels.
Although the discovery of fossil fuels has given humanity the energy to make great advances, there are two very significant problems with it today:
Firstly, fossil fuels are a finite resource. Conventional Crude oil extraction worldwide (crude oil from the ground) peaked in 2006, now 14 years ago.
This is why today, to obtain enough fossil fuel, we have had to turn to more costly and polluting methods of extraction including deep sea drilling, tar sands extraction, and hydraulic fracturing AKA “fracking,” which involves pumping known carcinogens into the ground.
The finite nature of fossil fuels creates another global problem: competition among the world’s powers for access. It’s no coincidence that so many of America’s economic “interests” and consequent military conflicts over the past 50 years have been in the region of the world richest in petroleum reserves: The Middle East.
The other problem with fossil fuels of course is the pollution that they produce. Pollutants released into the air by the combustion of fossil fuels include mercury that ends up in the food supply (in fish) and Nitrogen Oxide which exacerbates lung disease when inhaled.
Fossil fuel combustion is re-releasing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere that was captured by photosynthesis over millions of years. This means we are altering the earth’s atmosphere to increase it’s heat-trapping / greenhouse effect. We are returning our atmosphere to the way it was in a time where dinosaurs roamed the south pole. To say that this will create a challenge for humans to adapt to is a grave understatement.
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