fossil fuel

Action for 2024 On Fossil Fuels – by Sridhar Rangaswamy

Fossil fuel is a term used for non-renewable energy sources like crude oil, natural gas, coal and its related products, petroleum products, etc. These non-renewable energy sources originated from the remains of plants and animals that existed on earth for millions of years.

Several millions of years ago, the pressure and heat from the Earth’s crustal layer decayed and decomposed the organisms into three major forms: coal, natural gas, and oil. The fossil fuel, when burnt releases nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is responsible for degrading and depleting our environment by causing acid rain and smog. It also traps the heat in the troposphere, which in turn causes climate change. It can further destroy and damage the water, land, and our biosphere and eco system.

The burning of fossil fuel leads to toxic emissions and the release of hazardous pollutants in the air, causing pollution, climate change but also is responsible for lung related respiratory illnesses like asthma and breathing issues. There was a study in the Harvard School of Public Health that pointed out that these emissions are not only responsible for respiratory ailments, but also can cause heart attacks, stroke, autism, and Alzheimer’s diseases.

This Study also pointed to the fact that around 8 million people lost their lives in 2018 due to fossil fuel pollution. The global warming is a Worldwide phenomenon which is directly linked to burning of fossil fuel. The extreme weather that we have been experiencing in the last couple of years, extinction of species, rising of the sea level is a direct prelude to destruction that we have been causing to our fragile environment for the last hundreds of years. It is reported that 82% of global warming is due to carbon dioxide  emissions that come from burning fossil fuel.

It was touted that Natural gas is a much cleaner and better source of energy than oil and coal, still 5% of emissions is from burning natural gas. It is purported and claimed that despite Natural gas being a better option than oil and coal, still it is a form of fossil fuel and burning it will harm and destroy our environment. It is projected that at the rate at which we are using fossil fuel, by 2060, all our fossil fuel will be exhausted.

The World’s Governments signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to curb and cut down the carbon emissions to make our World a better place for the future generations. The recent statics show that our ocean’s produce 50% of our World’s oxygen, about 80% of our worldly and earthly existence is dependent on forests and about 10% of our coastal areas are inhabited, which is a dismal 10 m above the sea level. 

In order to sustain, develop, blossom and thrive fragile ecosystem the climate crisis must be tackled on a war footing. The Countries must unite and work towards a better and prosperous future. The need of the hour is to have forceful laws in place and stringent and rigorous enforcement and deterrent punishments for the law breakers.

We must work towards ending the air pollution and end on burning more fossil fuels. It is need of the hour to develop clean energy sources, protecting our wildlife and forests.

We should use alternatives to fossil fuels like solar energy, hydrogen, nuclear energy, wind energy, ethanol, propane, biodiesel, etc.

It is also essential that we use public transportation or carpooling, so that there are less cars on the roads and it would help counter air pollution to at least some extent.  The experts are also of the view that coal use and its production be done and phased out by 2040 and the gas and oil production be reduced by three-fourths by 2050. There should be curbs and checks on coal-induced power plants and large industrial operations that cause air pollution.

As a responsible individual it should be our responsibility to turn off the lights, when not in use, cut down on air conditioning and use energy-efficient light bulbs and lamps.

If the Government and the individuals do their bit the World will be a cleaner, safer and a better place to live. 


Graphic: muhammad-numan-ZVgxiKJlMk0-unsplash


Sridhar Rangaswamy

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