Fossil fuels – coal, natural gas and oil – are the primary source of energy in many countries. In the U.S. alone, they account for about 85% of fuel use. We use them to make our cars run, cook our food, light up buildings and houses, and keep our homes warm. Fossils have become a necessary part of everyone’s life. But here’s the thing, our dependence on fossil fuels may not be a good thing. Why? Well, let us take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using fossil fuels.
List of Pros of Fossil Fuels
1. Produce Large Amount of Energy (Highly Calorific)
Unlike other sources of energy , fossil fuels are highly combustible, which means that a small amount of them can produce a large amount of energy.
2. Cheap to Produce
While the prices of gas and petroleum are over the roof these days, fossil fuels are still one of the cheapest energies available. Unlike wind, geothermal and solar resources that require complex process to harness energy from, fossil fuels’ refinement prices is relatively cost-effective because the energy resource is pre-existing – it is just waiting to be harvested.
3. Help the Economy
The gas and oil industry provides thousands of jobs worldwide directly and indirectly. Not to mention, government subsidies to oil companies amount to billions of dollars. The industry is basically the backbone of many economies.
List of Cons of Fossil Fuels
Here’s fact, fossil fuels are not a renewable source of energy. Their supply is limited, and they will eventually run out. Gas and oil companies have expanded their search for fossil deposits into the ocean, destroying sea beds and disrupting marine life as a result.
2. Becoming Expensive to Extract
Many geologists say that fossil fuel reserve is almost exhausted. This means that as fossil fuels are becoming harder to find, the cost of finding their resource will increase until it become too expensive to use, running counter to the claim that fossil fuels are relatively cheap.
3. Negative Environmental Impact
Many of the environment problems facing the world today is a result of our over dependence on fossil fuels. These environmental impacts include:
- Global Warming: When coal, oil or gas is burned, a number of gasses are emitted into the atmosphere. The most harmful of these gasses is carbon dioxide, which traps heat into the atmosphere, causing global warming as a result. Climate scientists believe that if the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere continues to increase, the planet will become warmer in the next century, and may possibly result to a rise in sea levels due to the melting glaciers, altered weather patterns that may result to extreme weather events, and increased frequency of droughts in agricultural zones.
- Air Pollution: Humans have been burning fossil fuels for over 150 years. So, just imagine the amount hydrocarbons, carbon monoxides, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides emitted in the air. Just take a lesson from Beijing, which is literally choking with smog that’s casting a cloud of toxic haze across the city. Coal burning, vehicle emissions, and industrial emissions are cited as main culprit of the city’s problem.
Fossil fuels have been our best friend for so many decades, but using other sources of energy is certainly not a bad idea.