Carbon in Fossil Fuels
Whenever greenhouse gases are discussed, surely the use of fossil
fuels will ensue. But why not? Every drop of fossil fuel burned
in our midst emits a tantamount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
and contributes to the accumulation of greenhouse gases.
The imminent effects of massive concentration of carbon dioxide
over the earth's atmosphere is global warming. The erratic climatic
behavior this planet is experiencing now is symptomatic of chilling
scenarios pronounced by experts year ago who are now finding new
audiences to speak to about the telltale signs of a global warming
These scientists are the modern seers who have come to inform the
rest of the world about an impending catastrophe. It is now the
duty of world leaders to rally their constituents towards working
together for solutions to the climate crisis.
The problem lies primarily with the massive burn of fossil fuels
by industries to manufacture lucrative consumer products. Currently
the world is emitting about 6 billion tons of carbon
dioxide into the atmosphere annually and 60-percent of this
are attributed to human activities. Highly industrialized nations
lead the emission race with the United States on top, registering
a carbon emission rating of 19.1-percent.
This is followed by Russia with 13.6-percent, China at 9.9-percent,
Japan with 5.1-percent, Brazil at 4.3-percent, Germany at 3.8-percent,
India with 3.7-percent, United Kingdom at 2.4-percent, Indonesia
with 1.9-percent and tailing close is Italy at 1.7-percent. It is
evident that these countries contribute largely to the degradation
of our atmosphere and it needs to be them to spearhead the efforts
to rectify this predicament with strategic measures to cut down
on the global dependence on fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are energy-rich substances obtained from decayed plants
and microorganisms buried under sediments for millions of years.
This include petroleum, coal, and natural gas that provide humans
with the energy to propel transportation and manufacturing industries
and other basic human activities.
Gasoline is a by-product of petroleum that fuels our cars. Coal
is the fuel of choice for electrical plants. Natural gas provides
heat to our homes during winter. These are the prime reasons why
man cannot seem to live without depending on fossil fuels, at the
expense of the environment.
The fossil fuels are produced chiefly from ancient microscopic
plants and bacteria that thrive in the ocean and saltwater seas.
An organic-rich mud is formed over time, whenever dead and decaying
microorganisms are mixed with sand and silt as sediments settle
over the organic ooze to chemically transform it into petroleum
and natural gas. This process takes several million years to materialize.
Coal is a solid fossil fuel formed from the decay of ancient plants
such as trees, ferns and mosses that thrive in swamps, bogs and
shorelines. These actually compose of generation after generation
of dead plants piled on top of the other and buried under several
layers of sediment. As these things decay, the organic material
undergoes transformation when subjected to substantial heat and
pressure. After millions of years, this decay buildup develops into
Natural gas on the other hand is a by-product of decayed planktons,
which are tiny water dwelling organisms such as algae and protozoa
that have settled on the ocean floor. The concentration of these
compressed dead microorganisms under layers of sediments over millions
of years provides pressure and heat converting it to natural gas.
Natural gas is composed primarily of methane and light hydrocarbons.
Geologists use a series of instruments to locate underground fossil
fuel deposits. Once a substantial amount is found, wells are drilled
down to extract the deposit. Coal, on the other hand, is removed
Indeed, the carbon in fossil fuels is a worthwhile resource if
used moderately to feed our industries, especially if the carbon
can be sequestered as in promising new clean coal technology. Otherwise,
carbon becomes a precursor to a whole host of airborne breathing
ailments for ourselves and generations to come.