We are a world that thrives on fossil fuels. It powers our cars and trucks, our electrical generation facilities, and our homes. But we use it for more than just the energy that is stored in it. We use it for its chemical properties to create plastics, fertilizers, and medicines. Fossil fuels are a very valuable resource that make our modern way of life possible.
This usage, though, comes with a heavy price tag. These fuel sources developed from organic matter that had accumulated over a long period of time. This organic matter was created by organisms that pulled carbon from the environment and stored it within their being. This storage of carbon led to slow, gradual changes in the environment. Our heavy reliance on these types of fuels is leading to rapid changes in the environment as this carbon is put back, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the rate at which we are using them is far outstripping the rate at which they are being created, which means that we will deplete in a very short time, geologically.
The effects of fossil fuel usage are immense. In this module, we will look at how our methods of exploration and production, as well as our usage, affect the environment. We will also discuss the possible future of these energy sources and the changing economics and politics of the situation.