S. Arabia blocking approval of UN oceans report: participants

Oil giant Saudi Arabia is blocking the adoption of a major UN report on oceans and climate change by challenging an earlier UN assessment highlighting the need to slash carbon emissions caused by burning fossil fuels, multiple ...

UN chief sees cities, companies filling US void on climate

The head of the United Nations said he believes the U.S. can still pull its weight on climate change, even though President Donald Trump is skipping a U.N. climate summit on Monday and has worked to roll back restrictions ...

Synthetic fuels could shrink carbon footprint

Synthetic fuels, made using carbon captured from the air, farm waste or biomass, could help the transport sector reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and meet "net-zero" greenhouse gas emission goals.

Satellite data can reveal fire susceptibility in peatlands

When large areas of carbon-rich soil catch fire, the blaze emits massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and creates a thick haze. These blazes can usher in long-term climate impacts that affect the whole planet and ...

Cutting emissions gradually will avert sudden jump in warming

Reducing fossil fuel emissions steadily over coming years will prevent millions of premature deaths and help avoid the worst of climate change without causing the large spike in short-term warming that some studies have predicted, ...

'Demon oil' on the defensive over climate change

At the dawn of an era scientists have dubbed the Anthropocene, driven by human impact on the planet, the energy industry's four-yearly gathering was forced onto the defensive on climate change.

page 1 from 23

Fossil fuel

Fossil fuels or mineral fuels are fuels formed by natural resources such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years. These fuels contain high percentage of carbon and hydrocarbons.

Fossil fuels range from volatile materials with low carbon:hydrogen ratios like methane, to liquid petroleum to nonvolatile materials composed of almost pure carbon, like anthracite coal. Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields, alone, associated with oil, or in the form of methane clathrates. It is generally accepted that they formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants and animals by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over hundreds of millions of years. This biogenic theory was first introduced by Georg Agricola in 1556 and later by Mikhail Lomonosov in the 18th century.

It was estimated by the Energy Information Administration that in 2006 primary sources of energy consisted of petroleum 36.8%, coal 26.6%, natural gas 22.9%, amounting to an 86% share for fossil fuels in primary energy production in the world. Non-fossil sources included hydroelectric 6.3%, nuclear 6.0%, and (geothermal, solar, tide, wind, wood, waste) amounting 0.9 percent. World energy consumption was growing about 2.3% per year.

Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form, and reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being formed. The production and use of fossil fuels raise environmental concerns. A global movement toward the generation of renewable energy is therefore under way to help meet increased energy needs.[citation needed]

The burning of fossil fuels produces around 21.3 billion tonnes (21.3 gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide per year, but it is estimated that natural processes can only absorb about half of that amount, so there is a net increase of 10.65 billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year (one tonne of atmospheric carbon is equivalent to 44/12 or 3.7 tonnes of carbon). Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases that enhances radiative forcing and contributes to global warming, causing the average surface temperature of the Earth to rise in response, which climate scientists agree will cause major adverse effects.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA