Fossil fuel was once thought to be the savior of modern technology advancement. The reason why this kind of fuel has been favorite is that it can provide good amount of energy in the most compact size, compared to other energy sources.
But it all turned into a chaotic state once people start to recognize that fossil fuel is responsible for our current biggest problem: global warming. Not only that, fossil fuel is also responsible for air pollution in big cities such as Beijing and Delhi.
Of course, after knowing that we can get unlimited energy from renewable resources, we don’t see fossil fuel as we used to do anymore. But somehow our current technology is still giving decent support for the consumption of fossil-fueled machines and vehicles.
So, what would change if we all finally realize that fossil fuel actually has caused twice as worse disasters than expected and calculated? Here we will talk about it.
Who can deny that burning fossil fuel results in greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere? Two of the most potent greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide and methane, are the byproduct of burning fossil fuel.
The latter is actually 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the span of 20 years. In addition to that, methane is currently responsible for 25% of global heating according to United Nations Environment Programme.
The thing is, we have calculated the amount and the effect of methane to our global temperature not so accurately. The reason is because naturally released fossil methane contributes around 25-40% more of the release of the gas into the atmosphere than previous calculation, according to a study.
It makes all the calculations regarding the impact of fossil fuel (either it is the extraction process or the burning process) has slightly missed the bullseye. The impact of this condition is we have to recalculate anything and accept the new facts.
By adjusting, we mean a lot of things, maybe including Paris Agreement and how the countries are working on to make it finally reached. Eliminating the cause, our fossil fuel consumption, is the best way to solve this problem.
Before talking further about the matter, we should know upfront that the greenhouse gasses mentioned above are all also released to the atmosphere naturally. In example, during volcanic activity or the melt of iceberg, a lot of methane and carbon dioxide once stored inside the containers will be released to the atmosphere.
Researchers knew it, and realized that a lot of those gasses, especially methane, are released naturally into the atmosphere from various sources. The sources are such as cow fart, decomposing algae, broken icebergs, and dying trees.
And with that many sources, it is fair to think that naturally the level of those greenhouse gasses in or atmosphere would be so high. Indeed, it is a fact. But that’s not what makes our planet under the threat of global warming we face nowadays.
What we are facing nowadays is the result of industrial activities, proven by the most recent study. Methane’s atmospheric concentration has been increasing by 150% since industrial era. “ The slice is we used to think was from geologic methane was too big,” said Benjamin Hmiel, the lead author of the study.
Hmiel, who is a researcher at the University of Rochester, said that when he analyzed the big slice, apparently some part of it came from fossil fuel. “So, what we’re saying is that the fossil fuel pie slice is larger than what we thought, and we can have a bigger influence on the size of the slice, because it’s something we can control.” Can you get the idea here?
What’s worse about burning fossil fuel is, it results in air pollution, and that’s a common knowledge that should have been imprinted in everybody’s mind. The most commonly known results of burning fossil fuel are such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane.
All of those gasses contribute to our current global air pollution, and as long as fossil fuel keeps being burned the condition will get even worse. And daily, diseases related to the result of burning fossil fuel take victims. Overall, we can say that burning fossil fuel is responsible for our bad air quality nowadays.
“It causes disease, disability and death, and impairs everyone’s quality of life. It damages lungs, hearts, brains, skin and other organs; it increases the risk of disease and disability, affecting virtually all systems in the human body,” as stated in a report of a study conducted by the national academics of multiple countries.
But don’t you know that the effect of bad air quality, caused by burning fossil fuel, is twice as deadly as predicted? “The air quality scientific community has hypothesized this for at least a decade, but research advances have let us quantify and confirm this notion, over and over,” said Rebecca Saari, an air quality expert from the University of Waterloo.
Some researches even found that if burning fossil fuel doesn’t result in global warming, the impact in air quality alone would still make it into front page news. “The air quality ‘co-benefits’ are generally so valuable that they exceed the cost of climate action, often many times over,” Saari said.
Making a commitment to stop using fossil fuel might sound difficult a decade ago. But with nowadays technology and how renewable energies are getting way cheaper and cheaper, that makes even more sense than ever.
The only obstacle in this is, do we really want to stop it? Giant companies are still earning too much from oil industry, and that’s the reason why we cannot push our ideals to the world, because our enemy is just too big.
What we can do is to raise awareness about what happens and what will happen if we don’t stop it. It is something that we have caused to the planet, and it is something that we can change for the sake of our planet. With more people realizing what actually happens, our chance to reach our ideals will grow bigger and bigger.