Everyone is concerned about global warming and the environmental impact of fossil fuels. At the same time, you cannot deny the importance of fossil fuels in our lives. If you have a question in your mind – ‘what are fossil fuels’ or ‘why should we conserve fossil fuel’ then here is a simple answer. Fuels that are a product of fossilization are called fossil fuels, such as coal, crude oil, and other natural gas. Fossil fuels are a compound that consists of carbon and hydrogen. In other words, they consist of hydrocarbons. Furthermore, they are non-renewable fuel resources naturally produced by the earth. Let us discuss fossil fuels’ impact on the environment, and fossil fuels use, and importance.
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Image of different types of fossil fuels
Though there are harmful effects of nonrenewable resources on the environment, there are many fossil fuels uses and importance. Humans are dependent on nonrenewable resources for multiple purposes. Apart from coal, you can obtain many useful substances from petroleum and natural gas. Here is a summary of the importance of fossil fuels in points.
You can use coal for cooking food and ironing clothes.
Railway engines use coal to produce steam to run.
You can also use coal in thermal power plants to produce electricity.
You can use coal and petroleum gas in liquid form, LPG for home and industries.
You require petrol, diesel to run a motor car and aviation.
Furthermore, you can use petrol as a solvent for dry cleaning clothes.
Paints and road surfaces contain bitumen.
You need kerosene to light stoves, lamps, and jet aircraft.
Nonetheless, some nonrenewable resources, like oil, are needed for lubrication.
You need paraffin wax as one of the ingredients in ointments, candles, Vaseline, etc.
Natural gas such as CNG is a clean fuel that does not pollute the environment.
For the last one-century fossil fuels have been producing about 90% of the world’s energy. The world consumes more than 82% of fossil fuels every year. The high rate of consumption is declining the availability of valuable resources of energy. These limited resources cannot be replenished once exhausted from the earth’s surface. Therefore, you can also call them exhaustible natural resources. Let us enumerate the reasons for conserving fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are the cheapest source of energy.
Several industries use fossil fuels as a raw material in the production process, for example, plastic, cosmetic, transport industries, etc.
Fossil fuels hold economic significance for the countries around the world. The fossil fuel industry provides jobs to thousands of workers.
Conserving fossil fuels will help in healing the environment.
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Image of benefits of conserving fossil fuels
Non Renewable resources harm the earth’s atmosphere since they produce greenhouse gases. When you burn fossil fuels, they release a high-degree of carbon dioxide, methane, and other gasses into the atmosphere. Let us list the nonenvironmental impact of fossil fuels.
The accumulated gasses blanket the earth’s atmosphere and trap the heat from the sun. These gasses collectively contribute to raising the overall temperature of the planet. Scientists term this phenomenon as global warming.
These dangerous gasses pollute the air, which poses health hazards to all living beings.
It leads to acid rain, which is harmful to the aquatic environment and water animals. Furthermore, it drains out aluminium from the soil.
Water pollution is life-threatening for aquatic life.
The extraction of fossil fuels leads to land degeneration and deforestation.
The emission of greenhouse gasses is making the ocean acidic by 30%.
You pay a heavy price to dry clean your most expensive party dress. Did you know that your dry cleaner uses a type of fossil fuel to make your dress sparkle? He uses a petroleum solvent instead of water to clean your expensive clothes.
Did you know that you could be carrying a product of fossil fuel in your pocket? Generally, industries use petrochemical, a kind of fossil fuel to make plastics.
Have you got rough and dry skin? Applying Vaseline, a product of fossil fuel can give you soft and smooth skin. Petrol produces Vaseline or petroleum jelly.
1. What are Fossil Fuels, and How are They Formed?
Fossil fuels are fuels that the earth produces naturally. You can categorize fossil fuels under exhaustible resources, or non-renewable energy resources of the planet. They are the preserved-remains of dead plants and animals. Coal, petroleum, and natural gases are few significant examples of fossil fuels. The formation of these non-renewable resources is a natural process and takes millions of years. When forests in low lying wetlands are buried under the soil for several centuries, a gradual process of conversion of dead vegetation takes place- these dead traces of living organisms convert into coal under high pressure, and high temperature. The rates of formation of these fossil fuels are slower than the speed of consumption. Thus, they are called exhaustible or nonrenewable resources of the earth.
2. What are the Effects of the Nonrenewable Resource on the Environment?
Despite the importance of fossil fuels, you cannot deny the harmful effects of nonrenewable resources on the environment. The process of burning fossil fuels releases dangerous gases, which pollute the air, water, soil, etc. Unfortunately, these nonrenewable energy resources are altering the earth’s atmosphere.
Furthermore, they are contributing to increasing the level of greenhouse gas emissions. They release a variety of pollutants in the air, which leads to the health hazards of all living beings. Furthermore, the rate of release of gasses is much higher than the speed of absorption by the oceans. The pollutants are responsible for changing the basic chemistry of the sea, thereby making it 30% more acidic. These poisonous gasses threaten the life of water animals. The burning of fossil fuels is a significant factor in land degeneration. The process of extracting fossil fuels leads to deforestation and hurts the migrating animals.