Oil and Fossil Fuels: A Burning Issue!
Posted on: December 29, 2020.

Author: Prabhukrishna M, Content Creator/Chief Editor, Yokibu Editorial

The pun here is intended. The consequences of burning of oil and other fossil fuels are critical and twofold: Global Warming and Climate Change.

“Climate Change” is the extension of a term that all of us have heard too often—global warming. The reason why the subject is being considered regularly is the critical nature of its impact on human survival.

Though interchangeably used, ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ aren’t one and the same. An increase in the average global temperature is known as ‘global warming’. The impact here is one-dimensional.

‘Climate Change’, however, affects ecosystems, habitats, plants, animal life, and eventually, human beings. It is an impact of multiple dimensions.

Scientists have been searching for ways to combat both. Here’s what needs to be discussed about this potentially sensitive subject…

Climate Change: What actually is it?

When the usual weather of a place gets significantly altered, a ‘climate change’ is considered to have occurred—the average amount of rainfall or the usual temperature of that place changes.

Climate change is also a global phenomenon—it isn’t always limited to a particular place or locality as commonly understood.

Climate change that occurs on a global basis—global temperatures turning hotter or colder or where snow falls on the planet—takes hundreds to millions of years!

But that is not always the case. As a result of increasing human activity on the Earth, global climate changes are getting harder to predict. It has oscillated between warm and cool many times in the Earth’s history.

How does the burning of oil and fossil fuels affect climate change?

The burning of oil and fossil fuels result in rising greenhouse gas emissions—contributing to an alarming increase in global carbon dioxide footprints—leading to seriously threatening climate changes.

Significant increase in the Earth’s temperature could result in deadly consequences for Earth such as the melting of Antarctic ice caps, rising sea levels, warming of the oceans, and increase in photosynthesis.

During the last century, scientists have mentioned that the Earth’s temperature has increased by one degree (Fahrenheit) due to huge increases in carbon dioxide emissions since the late 1960’s.

This might seem like an insignificant change, but on a global level it is massive. Burning oil and fossil fuels would result in the worst ravages of climate change such as floods, droughts, and barrages from rising seas.

Consequences of Climate Change: How did we get there?

Only the many critical industrial mistakes are to blame. Oil producers were warned of growing releases of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere, since the 1960s—more than 55 years ago!

Other climate change consequences of burning oil and fossil fuels are—

  • The amount of fresh water available per person worldwide has reduced by 26%.
  • The number of ocean “dead zones”—places where little can live because of pollution and oxygen starvation—has increased by 75%.
  • To make way for agricultural land, mostly, nearly 300 million acres of forest have been lost.
  • There is continued significant increase in global carbon emissions and average temperatures.
  • Human population has risen by 35%.
  • The global number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish has collectively fallen by 29%.

What needs to be done to reverse climate change?

82% of the global supply of coal, the source of all polluting fossil fuels, would have to stay underground. 50% of global reserves for gas should remain un-burned.

Colossal gas producers in Russia and the Middle East must leave huge quantities underground. 90% of gas reserves would replace coal in the U.S. and in the continent of Europe.

Cutting ozone-damaging chemicals, energy from renewable sources, travelling by bicycle, imposing a carbon tax, a mandate for power from green sources, and a prohibition against mining or drilling on public lands.

With melting polar ice caps, rising seawater levels, altered life cycles of certain plants, and various life forms getting endangered, evidence of climate change is for all humanity to consider and make changes.

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