Most of the developing and advanced countries of the world use fossil fuels as their main source of energy. This type of raw material is widely used in thermal power plants and has a number of production and economic advantages. However, with the increasing attention to climate problems on the planet, more and more studies are analyzing the negative impact of the use of fossil fuels on the environment and society. In particular, issues related to this type of raw material include “environmental impacts, scarcity, supply risk, and instability of prices and markets” (Martins et al. 1). Thus, modern society is increasingly striving for non-carbon energy development.
Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas, and petroleum, which contain large amounts of carbon. These materials are used as fuel for thermal power plants, the combustion products of which produce a significant amount of emissions into the atmosphere. Oil, coil, and natural gas are still the most consumed fuels in the world, accounting for 60 to 95% of all fuels consumed in different countries in 2019 (Statistical Review of World Energy 9). In North America alone, carbon emissions were 5975.9 million tonnes in 2019 (Statistical Review of World Energy 13). Carbon emission leads to “global warming and air pollution, which cause health problems and affect the quality of life of populations” (Martins et al. 2). Decarbonization of the global energy system is a priority to restore climate balance.
Reducing the production and use of fossil fuels for energy production is a necessary step in the development of sustainability. First of all, the reduction of carbon emissions will significantly improve the global climate situation, which is currently under threat. Additionally, people will be able to produce more renewable energy, which will lower energy costs. Finally, renewable energy sources will provide energy to even the most remote and underdeveloped regions. Alternative energy sources include hydropower, biomass, geothermal power, solar energy, wind power, wave and tidal energy (Kumar 2). The development of modern technologies makes it possible to extract the residual amount of energy from the listed sources. However, renewable energy sources are also often subject to seasonal fluctuations, which require specific changes depending on the region. Still, fossil fuel rejection is a long process, and people need to start the transformation as soon as possible.
Scientists are not only researching the negative impact of emissions but also researching new types of renewable energy. One such example is a group of scientists from Trinity College who are studying the use of “renewable electricity to split water (H2O) to produce energy-rich hydrogen (H2), which could then be stored and used in fuel cells” (Scientists Take Strides). Professor Max García-Melchor of Trinity College, who is the head of the team, notes that there is currently a pressing need for sustainable green energy sources (Scientists Take Strides). Thus, according to scientists, they are on the way to create a cheaper way to separate water and use its molecules to produce energy, which is “cost-effective, highly active and robust for significant periods of time” (Scientists Take Strides). Thus, modern researchers not only note the need for the earliest possible abandonment of fossil fuels but are also actively exploring options for replacing this source.
The U. S. Department of Energy is also involved in promoting renewable energy through a collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Its director Dr. Martin Keller with his team, developed a strategy focusing on “integrated energy pathways, circular economy, and electrons to molecules” (Martin Keller). The researcher not only contributes to the spread of renewable energy in the United States but also participates in the development of new ways of producing it. Currently, the US energy sector focuses on green energy sources, including solar, geothermal, and nuclear (Clean Energy). In this way, the NRELs, led by Dr. Martin Keller, are making a significant contribution towards eliminating fossil fuels as soon as possible. In particular, laboratory researchers are developing systems for an efficient transition to new energy sources, taking into account regional needs. In recent years, the problem becomes so acute that scientists form entire groups to address it.
The Union of Concerned Scientists brings together scientists and engineers who are concerned about current problems in science and technology. In particular, they are promoting initiatives to reduce the production and use of fossil fuels. Several initiatives can be found on their website, one of which is called “Hold fossil fuel companies accountable to their climate policy commitments” (Take Action). Michael B. Jacobs which is currently the Senior Energy Analyst in the Union, focuses on “electricity markets and regulatory reform” (Michael B. Jacobs). It is noteworthy that Jacobs has been involved in renewable energy issues throughout his life, in particular as part of US government agencies. In this way, Jacobs is committed to not only making changes in energy policy but also educating people about carbon emissions and enabling them to participate in the change.
The examples described indicate that the scientific community is concerned about the current level of emissions associated with the use of fossil fuels. The direction of renewable energy is not only widely discussed but is currently being actively studied by various scientists. Additionally, some specialists work in the field of administrative and regulatory changes in the situation, which is also important in a capitalist society. Thus, the problem of fossil fuels is attracting more and more attention and in the future can be eliminated, but it is necessary to act as quickly as possible and make a feasible contribution to the development of renewable energy.
“Clean Energy.” Energy.gov, Web.
Kumar, Mahesh. “Social, Economic, and Environmental Impacts of Renewable Energy Resources.” Wind Solar Hybrid Renewable Energy System, edited by Kenneth Okedu, IntechOpen, 2020. Web.
Martins, Florinda, et al. “Analysis of Fossil Fuel Energy Consumption and Environmental Impacts in European Countries.” Energies, vol. 12, no. 6, 2019, pp. 1-11. Web.
“Michael B. Jacobs.” The Union of Concerned Scientists, Web.
“Scientists Take Strides Towards Entirely Renewable Energy.” ScienceDaily, 2019, Web.
“Statistical Review of World Energy 2020 | 69th edition.” bp, 2020, Web.
“Tale Action.” The Union of Concerned Scientists, Web.