Fossil Fuels And Its Effects On The Environment

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Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, are currently the world 's primary energy source. Fossil fuels have powered economic growth worldwide since the industrial revolution, but they are nonrenewable resources and can severely damage the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the burning of fossil fuels was responsible for 79 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. Although efficiency can help reduce emissions produced by the burning of fossil fuels, there are better methods that rely on renewable resources to meet our global energy needs while reducing human impact on the environment. Alternative energy sources such as wind power, hydropower, nuclear generation, and biofuels have the…show more content…
However, it has been proven that extracting hydrocarbons from shale and tar sands via fracking is not sustainable and can have devastating ecological ramifications (Rumpler). Hydraulic Fracturing requires a hazardous chemical solution known as fracking fluid. Drilling companies claim that information on the composition of fracking is proprietary and withhold from publicly disclosing its contents. However, samples from well sites indicate that the fluid contains formaldehyde, acetic acids, citric acids, and boric acids, and several dozen other contaminants (Wendelglass). Fracking fluid requires water as a solvent, and production consumes vast quantities of fresh water. Each well can exhaust between up to five million gallons of locally-sourced freshwater that is permanently contaminated (Wendelglass). About half of this water returns to the surface, where it is stored in steel containers until it can be injected deep underground in oil and gas waste wells. The other half remains underground, which can lead to contamination of fresh water aquifers. In Pennsylvania alone, over 1,400 environmental violations have been attributed to deep gas wells utilizing fracking practices (Rumpler). Fracking also requires government subsidies. According to a report by Oil Change International, “Federal fossil fuel production and exploration subsidies in the United States have risen by 45 percent since President Obama
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