Negative Consequences Of Fossil Fuels Use And Ways To Solve The Problem

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Over the last few decades, large amounts of CO2 have been released into the atmosphere. The rate at which CO2 is being produced from earth has been reaching close to 4.2 parts per million [1]. To put this into perspective the Moana Loa volcano, the largest subaerial volcano in the world, produces just 1.75 parts per million [1]. This demonstrates that we are producing too much carbon dioxide and need to start considering the effects it is having on the environment. The amount of carbon dioxide released into the earth’s atmosphere is the result of our dependency on fossil fuels, which we burn for the sole purpose of creating energy. Approximately 62.9 % of electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, which essentially creates more fossil fuels.. [4]

In December 2015, 196 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, which is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) [5]. This agreement was an attempt to stop our carbon dioxide emissions. Countries tried to keep the global emissions below 2 degree Celsius. We are approaching the 2-degree threshold faster than expected, which shows that there is still an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide produced [5]. Since it can be shown some countries have shown little effort in minimizing the carbon dioxide emissions, there will be detrimental consequences to the environment and society.


Fig. 1. Global Average Temperature 1850-2018 Source: Adapted from [2]

The average climate has been slowly increasing throughout the years, which is one of the consequences of the release of carbon dioxide. This increase in temperature is known as climate change. There are some parts of the world such as the arctic getting warmer and other places around the world getting colder. Berkley Earth has concluded that 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record. 2015-2017 still hold the warmest years on record. The reason 2018 was colder than 2015-2017 is due to “short-term natural variability but the overall trend stays consistent with the long-term trend towards climate change” [2]. Figure 1 demonstrates the temperature is constantly increasing which would show our dependency on fossil fuels.

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Climate change is the result of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere there are other consequences. The first consequence is the greenhouse effect, which occurs when carbon traps lower level radiation at group level creating group level ozone. This prevents the earth from cooling, which leads to warmer ocean waters. This means the oceans cannot absorb as much oxygen as before [3]. The final consequence is the health risks. In some parts of the world such as China, the carbon dioxide emissions are quite high and there will be health risks such as headaches as a result of carbon dioxide [3]. As shown by these consequences’ fossil fuels have a negative impact on our health, way of life and environment. If there isn’t a decrease in fossil fuel usage these consequences mentioned will get worst.


There are numerous ways to stop using fossil fuels, but the most cost-effective ways to cut down fossil fuel is by using new energy sources to replace fossil fuels. Finding sufficient supplies of clean and sustainable energy for the future is society’s most daunting challenge for the twenty-first century because of the rate that the carbon dioxide rate is increasing. One of the very likely possibilities to stop fossil fuels is a renewable energy source such as solar energy. The technology behind solar energy is called Solar Photovoltaic or (PV) for short. This technology converts sunlight solar radiation into direct current electricity by using semiconductors [6]. The main materials used are silver and silicon which are heavily used and are depleting the world’s reserve of these materials. As of right now this technology is used in small countries and developing nations because it is very effective to use it to provide energy at very small output to villages. [7] Solar energy certainly requires more research and development to allow its success and integration into the energy industry.

There are numerous advantages to this technology such as it is a cleaner energy source. Solar technology gives “energy independence and sustainable development” because this technology can run independently from power hubs. [7] This development will give jobs to locals effectively increasing the economic status of the country. There are only a few downsides of this technology. Firstly, according to Mackay from the Oxford Research Group, the major challenge with harvesting solar energy is the cost because there are no effective materials to capture photons while maintaining efficiency [6]. This is the main reason why we don’t use solar energy right now. Also this technology requires a large land requirement and it requires a large start-up cost. Another issue related to solar technology is that there is a lot of waste produced due to malfunctions in technology and upgrade requirement [8]. Financial investments to further the development of solar technology could result massive breakthroughs resulting in increased cost effectiveness and reduced waste.


The rate of carbon dioxide is rising at an alarming rate and even the Paris agreement made by the United Nations is close to being passed the goal. The increase of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere puts exacerbates the consequences of climate change, greenhouse gases and health risks. which will become worse as time continues [3]. In recent years, the burning of fossil fuels has contributed the most to the carbon dioxide emission problem.

Using solar energy as a way to alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels can reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the near future. Creating solar energy in most countries would stimulate the economy and create jobs for locals in the energy sector. This would effectively increase the country’s economy at a decently expensive cost, but it would make up the difference in the way of cutting down emissions for the health benefits and climate change [7]. There is only one main disadvantage which is the waste created, but that can be fixed with investment in technological advancement and finding alternative materials to use to maximize its efficiency.


To stop the increase in carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere we should stop using fossil fuels to supply energy and instead adopt solar energy as a viable option.


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