Fossil fuels are the leading energy source today. It is used for various purposes, ranging from electricity generation to heating our homes and to power cars and trucks. Although other alternatives of energy are being developed, such as wind, solar, nuclear, fossil fuels remain the number one choice for its cost-effectiveness and reliability. Thus, the amount has been increasing each year.
However, fossil fuels are not free of drawbacks. Here, we will discuss fossil fuels along with the pros and cons of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are natural resources such as coal, oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas. For centuries, these energy resources have powered more than half of the planet. Still, they have left severe environmental impacts, too, including air and water pollution, environmental degradation, and global warming.
This non-renewable fossil fuels supply about 80 percent of the world’s energy. They provide electricity, heat, and transportation, while also feeding the processes that make a massive range of products, from steel to plastics.
Fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, and coal are being used as primary sources of energy in different parts of the world. Even if we are aware of the fact that they are one of the primary causes of creating pollution and global warming, people are still relying on this source of energy.
Moreover, in developing countries, coal is considered the best fuel for electricity and heat production. It is used on a large scale because it is an affordable source of energy that helps to get the facilities and increase the economic level.
However, fossil fuels have several adverse effects on the environment. An in-depth look at fossil fuel’s pros and cons will help us get a clear picture of this form of energy.
Pros of Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels are currently one of the affordable and cheapest forms of energy in comparison with other sources of energy. Fossil fuels have been widely used over the last 200 years. A lot of resources, money, and time has been spent on research.
The advanced technological system has made it easier to extract and use them in the most cost-effective and efficient ways like systems that harness natural gas given off during oil extraction.
Fossil fuels are the natural source of energy that does not rely on other natural systems like solar, wind, water. Countries like Germany, UK have a large amount of solar infrastructure, but only 60 percent of the days are sunny.
It is a fact that when fossil fuels are burned, it produces harmful gases like carbon dioxide that has an adverse effect on the environment and human health. Fossil fuels are a reliable energy source that can be used around the clock in any condition at any time. It can provide power even in a disaster or emergency situation.
Easy to Transport
Fossil fuels are relatively easier than transporting renewable sources of energy, such as wind, sun, and water, which are pretty impossible as well. It is easier to supply fuels through the help of pipelines.
These pipes are easily laid underground and can transport gas or oil with ease. Although it can be quite expensive at first, once the work is completed, the cost decreases drastically. Therefore, fossil fuels are a relatively cheap, effective, and reliable source of energy.
There is no doubt that fossil fuel industries have created hundreds and thousands of job opportunities for many people. Every year it creates new employment opportunities. So, abandoning the use of fossil fuels will affect the world economy and also leads to high levels of unemployment that would affect the family and country income source.
Cons of Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels are the natural gift from the Earth, which takes millions of years to form with the help of natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. So, it is a non-renewable source of energy, which means there is only a finite amount of fuels available.
Unlike renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, it takes a long time to form, and once it is completely used up, then there will be nothing more left to use it again.
The main disadvantage of using fossil fuels is that it creates pollution and increases global warming. Fossil fuels are responsible for causing air pollution, land pollution, and water pollution on the planet.
The burning of fossil fuels produces a high amount of carbon dioxide and causes environmental and health problems. It also leads to climate change and affects biodiversity.
Public Health Issues
Another related disadvantage of using fossil fuels is that it has a direct impact on the health of the human being. Potentially, fatal diseases or illnesses such as lung cancer, infection, and asthma have been directly linked to the pollution caused by the burning of fuels. It is neither environment-friendly nor safe to use.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 7 million premature deaths annually are linked to air pollution. The high levels of air pollution can adversely affect people’s lungs and trigger asthma. Likewise, every year millions of children die due to pollution-related diseases. People who live in areas with a large amount of traffic are at high risk.
About 40 percent of the world’s oil gets produced from the middle-east countries. And, the rest of the world depends on these countries to fulfill the gap. Therefore, as fossil fuels continue depleting, it loses its natural resources to provide the increasing demand each day. As a result, it increases the costs of the resources to fulfill the required demand.
Eventually, renewable energy sources will become cost-effective, environment-friendly with time as fossil fuels rise in price. Since only a few countries produce fossil fuels, there is an increase in fear of war, lower output, strikes by trade unions that can lead to price fluctuations around the globe.
Risk of Oil Spill
Fossil fuels can damage the environment in the form of oil spills. While carrying oil from one place to another, it also takes a high cost and risk. In history, there are many incidents where the oil spill caused the death of animals, birds, fish, and mammals.
It has also resulted in severe harm to aquatic life and the environment. Therefore, oil spills are dangerous to both living and non-living things either on the ground or in the sea.
Despite being cheaper, reliable, more comfortable to transport, creating employment, and many more, it has many cons as well. The major disadvantage of using fossil fuels is that it destroys the environment and creates pollution in the atmosphere. Therefore, it is essential to consider another alternative source of energy, such as solar, wind, hydropower, and nuclear power.
However, some countries have already begun generating substantial portions of electric power from renewable sources. Now, the whole world should switch their choice from non-renewable energy to eco-friendly and renewable energy and make a better place to live for all.