Fossil Fuels : The World 's Primary Energy Source

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Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, are currently the world 's primary energy source. Formed from organic material over the course of millions of years, fossil fuels have fueled U.S. and global economic development over the past century. Yet fossil fuels are finite resources and they can also irreparably harm 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. These gases insulate the planet, and could lead to potentially catastrophic changes in the earth’s climate. Technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) may help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuels, but other, more sustainable energy sources are available. Alternative energy sources such as wind power, hydropower, nuclear generation, and biofuels have the capability to effectively replace fossil fuels within a reasonable amount of time. Supporters of fossil fuels as an energy source claim that shale oil and gas will provide a solution to the energy crisis and eliminate the notion that fossil fuel reserves will be exhausted in the imminent future. These vast resources of heavy crude oil and natural gas can only be accessed using a technique known as hydraulic fracturing. However, it has been proven that extracting hydrocarbons from shale and tar sands is not a sustainable method and can have devastating ecological consequences (Rumpler). Fracking uses a

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