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Fossil Fuels Pros and Cons

burning of fossil fuels

burning of fossil fuels

Fossil fuels are naturally occurring substances found on the surface of the earth. They are produced as a result of the decomposition of the remains of different organic matters, buried for several millions of years under anaerobic conditions. The principal component of fossil fuels is carbon. In some fossil fuels, carbon is present in the form of pure carbon and in others, it is in the form of hydrocarbon compounds. Prior to learning about the fossil fuels pros and cons, let us find out what are the different uses of fossil fuels.


Arguments in Favor of Fossil Fuels

The main reason behind the immense popularity of fossil fuels, as energy source is, that they have a high calorific value. In other words, combustion of fossil fuels generates a large amount of usable energy and are considered as high efficiency fuels. In spite of being such a highly combustible material, fossil fuels are quite stable in nature when compared to many other fuels.

Fossil fuels are more easily available as compared to any other fuels. It is not just that the fossil fuels can be found easily, even the extraction process and refining are not very time consuming and hence, can be easily converted for practical purposes.

Almost fifty percent of the power generation plants of the United States utilize coal as the source of fuel. This is because it is cheap and highly reliable source of energy. As it is easy to transport from one place to another, it is not necessary to build these power stations close to the location of the source of the fuel.

Oil or natural gas has one big advantage that they can be carried from one place to another, very easily by the means of pipelines. Last but not the least, the task of processing the fossil fuels generates employment for millions of people all across the globe.

Arguments Against Fossil Fuels

On combustion of fossil fuels, large amount of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is considered as one of the greenhouse gases. In the atmosphere, it absorbs heat and contributes towards the green house effect. When the percentage of carbon in the atmosphere increases, it leads to elevation in the average temperature of the earth’s surface. This is known as global warming and it has several adverse effects on our environment. To know more read on air pollution.

Fossil fuels also give out sulfur dioxide into the air, which after reacting with the moisture in air, produces sulfuric acid and leads to acid rain. Acid rain causes severe damage to the living as well as nonliving matter on the earth.

Due to mining of the coalfields, landscapes spread over large areas are being destroyed and cannot be used for any other purpose. Coal mines are full of various harmful gases and they pose a threat to the lives of thousands of miners working in them. Some of the by products obtained during processing of the fossil fuels are highly toxic too. Oil is often transported from one place to another by the means of sea route. During this oil spills occur on the ocean surface and that causes severe harm to the marine life. To know more read on environmental pollution.

Search for newer location for oil reserves is an highly expensive process with a very low success rate. As a result, large amount of money gets wasted in the process. Fossil fuels are non renewable source of energy and are being used up very fast. As a result, there will be more demand and less supply of fossil fuels in future. This is likely to increase the price of fossil fuels manifold. To get some more information refer to fossil fuels: advantages and disadvantages.

Depletion of these non-renewable sources of energy is taking place at a rapid pace because of the increasing demands of energy, with the modernization of our society. However, the time required for production of fossil fuels is millions of years. So, there is not enough scope to renew the sources of fossil fuels and therefore, it is high time that we start looking out for some renewable sources of energy that can be used as alternatives to fossil fuels. Hope you find this article helpful in answering all the queries related to fossil fuels pros and cons.

Taken from: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/fossil-fuels-pros-and-cons.html

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