Depleting Fossil Fuels
Axia College of University of Phoenix
As human beings, we need energy for just about all functions associated with the luxuries of our daily lives. We need energy to heat our homes, to fuel our cars, to watch television in addition to industrial and agricultural purposes. How often do we stop and think about where all this energy is coming from? Energy is formed and disbursed through an industrial process that is performed using a number of different sources. Although there are a number of different sources, there are only two types of energy, renewable and nonrenewable. Renewable energy sources are naturally replaced in time. Because of this factor, there is little concern with running out of these energy resources. On the other hand nonrenewable energy resources are quite the opposite. These resources have the potential to run out because they are not replaced naturally in short periods of time. Fossil fuels are currently the most widely used source of nonrenewable energy in today’s society. These sources of energy are used to generate power for both commercial and personal use in a number of different ways. “In 2005, more than 3/4 of total world energy consumption was through the use of fossil fuels.” (Environmental Literacy Council, 2008) Oil, the leading energy resource depended upon to fuel everyday functions produces 43.4 % of our world’s energy. Natural Gas, the second most relied upon resource produces 15.6 % of the world’s energy followed by coal, which produces 8.3 % of the world’s energy. Unsurprisingly, North America is the number one consumer of nonrenewable energy resources, consuming approximately 25 % of the fossil fuels extracted from the earth. (Environmental Literacy Council, 2008) The reason fossil fuels are not a renewable resource and cannot be reproduced once we run out of them is because they were formed by the decomposing remains of animals and plants many millions of years ago. Extensive periods of time in addition to extreme heat and pressure transformed the remains of these living organisms into what we know today as fossil fuels. (California Energy Commission, 2006) Because we are consuming these nonrenewable energy resources at such an increasingly unsustainable rate, we are in danger of depleting the earth of all its fossil fuels. Although no one is exactly certain when this devastating event will occur, experts do agree that we cannot continue consuming the earth’s precious fossil fuels at such an alarming rate for long. A huge factor that contributes to the problem of depleting fossil fuels is the human population growth. From the year 1950 until present day, the world’s population has been on a steady growth rate between 1.2 and 2.0 percent per year. The current population of over 6.7 billion people has more than doubled since the early 1950’s and is expected to increase by another 3 billion by the year 2050. (United States Census Bureau, 2008) With the rapid growth of people in today’s society in addition to a rising living standard in much of the developing world, it is no wonder why we as a planet are consuming more fossil fuels now more than ever. As a matter of fact, “the world’s consumption rate of natural resources has grown even faster than the human population since 1950.” (Holechek 2001) At the same time, some people question whether the fact that we are consuming more fossil fuels in today’s society is because of the growing human population, or is it because some countries are consuming more than their fair share of the earth’s resources. “The richest seven nations (USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy) have only 10% of the world’s population but annually account for 40% of the consumption of fossil fuels.” (Holechek 2001) In order to provide for the growing population, industrial, commercial, and agricultural growth must follow suit. More people means we need more food, more homes, more transportation, more buildings,...
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