Disadvantages of fossil fuels include contributions to global warming, environmental pollution and their finite supply. Fossil fuels, which include coal, oil and natural gas, are the primary source of energy in the United States, accounting for 85 percent of the country's fuel usage, as of 2014.Continue Reading
Global warming is one of the most destructive effects of fossil fuels. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide is released, which traps heat in Earth's atmosphere and contributes to global warming. Fossil fuels have caused carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to rise by more than 25 percent over the past 150 years.
Fossil fuels are also a significant source of air pollution, producing pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and sulfur oxides. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of the combustion of fossil fuels, which occurs primarily due to the use of automobiles. The extraction, production and transportation of fossil fuels can also cause significant land and water pollution. Oil spills, for example, can wreak havoc on ocean habitats and marine life, while coal mining can contribute to river pollution.
Finally, fossil fuels are non-renewable resources, meaning that their supply is limited and they will eventually cease to exist. Fossil fuel scarcity could cause huge economic and social problems in the future.Learn more about Natural Resources
Biofuels are plant-based fuels made from organic matter and can be used in conjunction with traditional fuels (such as fossil fuels) to create more sustainable energy sources. Current biofuels fall into three main categories: ethanol, biodiesel and other biomass.Full Answer >
Fossil fuels are utilized because they are abundant and easy to use. They make modern living and the development and technology possible. Fossil fuel by-products are used to produce electricity and manufacture medicines, synthetic fibers, plastics and cosmetics.Full Answer >
While ethanol produces less CO2 than gasoline and has the potential to offset consumption of conventional fossil fuels, ethanol also contains less energy and provides less power than conventional gasoline and diesel fuels. Ethanol may break down rubber seals and cause damage to older engines, and vehicles powered by fuel mixtures that contain large quantities of ethanol suffer reduced fuel economy.Full Answer >
Wind power produces economic, energy and environmental benefits: it serves as a domestic fuel source, operates without burning coal and fossil fuels and provides a steady source of electricity. Wind energy comes primarily from turbines, which operate on land and offshore. Siting is another benefit of wind energy, involving turbines set up on private and public lands in order to provide electricity to residences, commercial offices and communities.Full Answer >