Fossil fuel mining and oil production can and has caused irreparable damage to our environment.Fossil fuels exist, and they provide a valuable service.
Coal, oil and natural gas are the three kinds of fossil fuels that we have mostly depended on for our energy needs, from home heating and electricity to fuel for our automobiles and mass transportation. They are limited in supply and will one day be depleted. Fossil fuels formed from plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago and became buried way underneath the Earth’s surface where their remains collectively transformed into the combustible materials we use for fuel.
In fact, the earliest known fossil fuel deposits are from the Cambrian Period about 500 million years ago, way before the dinosaurs emerged onto the scene.
It’s not so much that we mine fossil fuels for our consumption any more than it is to mine salt or tap water supplies way underground.
The problems occur when we destroy ecosystems while mining it and while using it.
It’s not so much that we use fossil fuels for energy that is problematic, but it’s the side effects of using them that causes all of the problems.
Burning fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide, the number one greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.
In the Arctic and Antarctica, warmer temperatures are causing the ice to melt which will increase sea level and change the composition of the surrounding sea water.
Rising sea levels alone can impede processes ranging from settlement, agriculture and fishing both commercially and recreationally.
The total world energy demand is for about 400 quadrillion British Thermal Units — or BTUs — each year (Source: US Department of Energy). A BTU is roughly equal to the energy and heat generated by a match.
Oil, coal and natural gas supply nearly 88 percent of the world’s energy needs, or about 350 quadrillion BTUs.
The Hoover Dam is a major source of energy for the southwestern US.