Fossil Fuels

1477 Words 6 Pages
Today, many rely on fossil fuels to help with daily necessities such as delivering electricity, powering vehicles, and heating their homes. Fossil fuels have been widely used since the Industrial Revolution. Since then, the use of fossil fuels has greatly grown. Fossil fuels are any naturally occurring carbon-containing material that, when burned with air to produce heat or energy that can be converted into liquid fuels and other hydrocarbon (carbon bonded to hydrogen) products (Speight, James). There are three main types of fossil fuels, which can all be used for energy delivery: coal, oil, and natural gas. In 2012, fossil fuels made up about 87% of the world’s primary energy consumption. The most consumed fossil fuel was oil. Oil was consumed …show more content…
Though fossil fuels have been implemented recently, they were created about 300 million years ago. Fossil fuels are formed from fossilized remnants of plants and animals deep in the Earth’s crust. After these organisms die, they decompose and become buried under multiple layers of mud, rock, and sand. Heat, pressure, and lack of contact with air, can transform the decomposed material into little sacks of gas and unrefined …show more content…
When fossil fuels are burned and bonds are broken, they can release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and water vapor (H2O). Greenhouse gases contribute to the Greenhouse Gas Effect (main cause of global warming) which traps heat in the atmosphere. With fossil fuels being burned in the last 150 years, there has been a 25% increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and increased levels of nitrous oxide and methane. CO2 levels have increased past the threshold of safety at 350 parts per million (ppm) to 400 ppm. This increase in greenhouse gas emissions has caused the average surface temperature to rise about .6 degrees Celsius. With the carbon dioxide levels continuing to increase, the Earth is expected to become 2 degrees warmer by the end of the century. This increase in temperature results in ice caps melting raised sea levels, flooding of wetlands and populated areas, and more extreme weather events (“Union of Concerned Scientists”). These emissions not only affect the atmosphere, but the environment as well. Burning fossil fuels results in air, water, and land pollution. Air pollution kills 3.3 million people per year worldwide. Air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides produce environmental effects like smog and acid rain. Smog, which is caused by

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