We are running out of easy-to-use, accessible fossil fuels.
Using fossil fuels is causing climate disruption. Fossil fuels are reserves of stored carbon, removed from the atmosphere and stored underground. When they are burned, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released.
There is a powerful correlation between atmospheric carbon level and global average temperature: as carbon rises, temperatures rise.
The build-up of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere has reached levels beyond any seen on Earth over the past 650,000 years. At the same time, records continue to be sent for global temperatures, with even warming expected in the decades to come.
Modern life depends on energy from fossil fuels. This means we need to prepare for a transition to new ways of powering our lives. This is part of the shift needed to preserve the earth’s life support systems, upon which we completely depend.
Until 150 years ago humankind relied mainly on sunlight, and Earth supported 1 billion people. When we began using oil, population shot up to 6 1/2 billion and we industrialized our whole way of life.
Peak oil refers to the point at which the maximum global petroleum production rate is reached. Many experts say that oil extraction worldwide is about to reach its peak or is past its peak. As the supply of cheap conventional oil tightens, prices will rise.
Human enterprise will need to undergo a massive re-invention, if we are to survive and thrive in the post-fossil-fuel world that is heading our way.
Why we need to get busy now:
Jeremy Rivkin on global issues and the future of our planet (27 min.)
Evidence is building around the world that the Earth’s climate is changing rapidly.
Clean, renewable alternatives exist, and we need to get serious about implementing them. To date, these clean energy sources are being employed far too slowly to replace fossil fuels. These technologies include solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, tidal. These are continually being improved upon.
• Shifting to sources of energy that are truly renewable is vital to deal with both the challenge of fossil fuel depletion and the dangers of excess heat-trapping pollution. Converting to clean, renewable sources of energy is feasible – as long we can shift from the wasteful energy consumption that has characterized modern life.
• Millions of people are adopting a radically different way of living well. In industrialized economies this means changing the way we are already living. In countries where the way of life does not consume so much energy it will mean taking a “development path” that is quite different from the one that North America and Europe took.
• Reducing the amount of energy we use, including dramatic improvements in energy efficiency, is an important way to meet this challenge.
A Step in the Right Direction: Drive Less
Driving cars, of the type and at the scale that humans do, is not sustainable. Fossil-fueled driving is one of the biggest contributors to the carbon pollution that is warming our planet and changing the global climate
Did You Know?
• For every gallon of gas we use, 20 pounds of heat-trapping carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere.
• A 3,000-mile airline flight can produce 1- 2 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person.
SOURCE: Greenpeace Guide to Green Living