Like coal and gas, oil is a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels, which we burn to power transportation, heating & cooling, and electricity, are non-renewable sources of energy formed in the earth over the past millions of years, typically from the remains of marine microorganisms and plants.
WHERE IS OIL FOUND?
Today, oil is found in vast underground reservoirs where ancient seas were once located. Those reservoirs can be found beneath land or the ocean floor. Their crude oil is extracted with giant drilling machines.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT IS BURNED?
When burned for gasoline and other forms of energy, toxic gases and high amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are released. Carbon dioxide helps regulate Earth’s atmospheric temperature, but burning fossil fuels generates an excessive amount of carbon which adversely affects the natural balance.
WHAT EFFECT DO GREENHOUSE GASES HAVE?
This extraction, production, and consumption of oil release vast amounts of these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere trapping heat and contributing to the global rise in temperatures, resulting in disastrous consequences for our planet.
WHAT ROLE HAS OIL PLAYED IN AMERICAN EVOLUTION?
Oil has played a pivotal role in driving economic growth and technological advancement over the past two hundred years. It is a source of energy propelling vehicles, heating buildings, and producing electricity. It is also a raw material making products such as plastics, polyurethane, solvents, and thousands of different items, including tires, refrigerators, life jackets, and anesthetics.
ARE THERE CONSEQUENCES?
Yes, our reliance on oil comes at a steep cost – a cost that we can no longer afford to ignore. From more frequent and severe weather events to rising sea levels and ecosystem disruption, the effects of climate change are undeniable.
WILL OIL RUN OUT?
Yes. Already in 2019, a report from Stanford University predicted that oil reserves would run out by 2052.
IS THERE A SOLUTION?
Renewable energy sources, electric transportation, and sustainable practices offer us a path forward.