Before you do anything else, see this, because despite the fact that it is focused from a global perspective, it is extremely useful…

Fossil Fuels


Fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) are non-renewable sources of energy formed in the earth over the past 550 million years, typically from the remains of marine microorganisms and plants. Sealed off from oxygen and put under ever-increasing amounts of heat and pressure, this organic matter undergoes a thermal breakdown process that ultimately converts it to hydrocarbons.

When fossil fuels are burned, they release pollutants which contribute to global warming and acid rain.

The United States gets 80% of its total energy from fossil fuels. They heat our homes, run our vehicles, power industry and manufacturing, and provide us with electricity. Eventually, the degree to which we depend on fossil fuels will have to decline as they are non-renewable resources, as the difficulty and cost of tapping remaining reserves increase, and as the effect of their continued use on our planet grows more critical 

In 1950, nearly equal amounts of U.S. residential energy came from petroleum, coal, natural gas, and wood, and relatively little came from electricity (5%). In 2018, the U.S. residential sector consumed natural gas (43%) and electricity (42%) in nearly equal shares. Similarly, the U.S. commercial sector’s 2018 energy consumption was also mostly natural gas (38%) and electricity (50%).


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Highlight Article

Judge overturns Biden’s LNG export pause

By Niina H. Farah 07/02/24
A federal judge reversed the Department of Energy’s freeze on new liquefied natural gas export approvals Monday, handing a win to industry and red states that had challenged the Biden administration plan. Judge James Cain…
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Oil industry pushes back versus softened fleet mpg standards

By Bengt Halvorson 06/20/24
The oil industry last week launched a legal challenge versus the U.S. EPA and its latest light- and medium-duty vehicle standards set for the 2027-2032 model years. The case was filed by the American Petroleum…
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Supreme court ruling delays climate litigation big oil has sought to thwart

By Dharna Noor 06/10/24
The supreme court on Monday asked the Biden administration to weigh in on big oil’s request to thwart litigation that could put them on the hook for billions of dollars. The one-line order will delay…
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Vermont Moves to Hold Fossil-Fuel Companies Liable for Climate-Change Damage

By Elizabeth Kolbert 05/27/24
On July 10, 2023, Vermont’s state capital, Montpelier, was hit with more than five inches of rain. The city sits at the confluence of the main stream of the Winooski and its north branch; the…
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Q&A: New Legislation in Vermont Will Make Fossil Fuel Companies Liable for Climate Impacts in the State. Here’s What That Could Look Like

By Paloma Beltran 05/25/24
Vermont’s House and Senate have approved a bill that would make fossil fuel companies financially liable for their carbon pollution and its role in the climate crisis. Lawmakers pointed to consequences of these carbon emissions,…
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Democrats ask DOJ to investigate Big Oil

By Emily Atkin 05/22/24
The Democrats leading the years-long congressional investigation into Big Oil’s climate deception are formally asking the Department of Justice to step in.
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DOJ must investigate Big Oil’s “ongoing enterprise,” lawmakers say

By Emily Sanders 05/22/24
The leaders of a years-long Congressional probe into Big Oil’s decades-long climate disinformation campaigns just formally referred their investigation to the Department of Justice, calling on the nation’s biggest public law office to “pursue further…
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How Oil Companies Manipulate Journalists

By Molly Taft 05/15/24
Kill the story.” That’s what Alan Jeffers, a media relations manager at ExxonMobil, told the Houston bureau chief of Reuters in October 2016, about a year after InsideClimate News, the Los Angeles Times, and Columbia…
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New Report ‘Ringing the Alarm Bell’ for Climate Advocacy Conflict of Interest

By Joe Fassler 05/08/24
In Colorado, fossil fuel interests are vigorously opposing legislative bills meant to clean up the state’s heavily polluted air. That might seem like business as usual, but a new report reveals a more serious dynamic:…
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New internal Big Oil documents just dropped

By Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuelson 04/30/24
In 2021, Congressional Democrats subpoenaed Big Oil for internal documents detailing the industry’s role in worsening the climate crisis. Some of the documents have already been released. But today, we got some more. The internal…
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Energy Department finalizes rule to phase out fossil fuels in federal buildings

By Nish Amarnath 04/29/24
In a push for net-zero emissions from federal facilities by 2045, the new rule mandates a 90% reduction in on-site fossil fuel use by 2029 and complete elimination after 2030.
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Biden Administration Raises Costs to Drill and Mine on Public Lands

By Coral Davenport 04/12/24
The Biden administration on Friday made it more expensive for fossil fuel companies to pull oil, gas and coal from public lands, raising royalty rates for the first time in 100 years in a bid…
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Causes and Effects of Climate Change

Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of…

Products Made From Oil And Natural Gas

When you think about oil, there is probably one thing that immediately comes to mind: motor oil for your car or lawn mower. And, when you hear about natural gas, you may think about heating…

Is Natural Gas A Fossil Fuel? Here’s What to Know

Is natural gas a fossil fuel? The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Natural gas is, in fact, a fossil fuel, but it is not the same type of fossil fuel as coal…

What’s the Deal With This Whole Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Anyway?

The news that President Joe Biden is releasing millions of barrels of oil from a federal stockpile raises a question. Well, a few actually. Namely, wait, what the hell? We have a huge stockpile of…

Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5 °C climate target

Net anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) must approach zero by mid-century (2050) in order to stabilize the global mean temperature at the level targeted by international efforts.

Greenhouse gas emissions results modelling from 26 countries

This working paper models 26 countries and finds national average emission reductions of 6 per cent from the removal of fossil fuel subsidies.

Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications (1977–2014)

This paper assesses whether ExxonMobil Corporation has in the past misled the general public about climate change.

Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions

New data shows how fossil fuel companies have driven climate crisis despite industry knowing dangers

It’s time to rein in the fossil fuel giants before their greed chokes the planet

We’ve long known that the big fossil fuel companies are responsible for a huge share of the world’s carbon emissions. Now the Climate Accountability Institute is publishing new data quantifying how much each of these…

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why…

The future is now: How oil and gas companies can decarbonize

As the pressure to act on climate change builds, the industry should consider a range of options.

Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago

Top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions


‘Committed’ CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

The nations that have signed agreements to stabilize the global mean temperature by 2050 will fail to meet their goals unless existing fossil fuel-burning infrastructure around the world is retired early, according to a study—published…
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How Much Global Warming Is Fossil Fuel Infrastructure Locking In?

By Phil McKenna   07/01/19  
To stay within the Paris climate goals, coal and other fossil fuel power plants would have to shut down early or be retrofitted for carbon capture, a new study says.
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Which power companies are the worst polluters?

By Sammy Roth   06/26/19  
America’s climate change pollution comes from many sources: cars and trucks, power plants, farming operations, home-heating systems and even trees that burn in wildfires. But in the power sector, 85% of emissions come from just…
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Pope warns oil bosses of climate threat

By Roger Harrabin   06/14/19  
The Pope has told oil company bosses that climate change threatens the future of the "human family".
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They Grew Up Around Fossil Fuels. Now, Their Jobs Are in Renewables.

By John Schwartz   03/26/19  
Chris Riley comes from a coal town and a coal family, but he founded a company that could hasten coal’s decline. Lee Van Horn, whose father worked underground in the mines, spends some days more…
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Exxon must face suit over climate risks to Mass. facility, judge rules

By Dana Drugmand   03/14/19  
A federal judge denied ExxonMobil’s motion to dismiss multiple climate change-related claims brought by Conservation Law Foundation. The foundation’s lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleges that Exxon violated the permit requirements for its oil storage terminal…
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Carbon capture: Will it save the climate, or the fossil fuel industry?

By Marco Poggio   03/13/19  
Climate scientists have for decades researched ways to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as a way to slow climate change, but while their work has progressed from a handful of fringe theories to promising…
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ExxonMobil’s Climate Change Pivot Speaks Volumes about Shareholder Activism

By Tina Casey   02/26/19  
Pension funds and other big-dollar investors have long been challenging fossil fuel companies on climate change. In response, some have stepped up their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. ExxonMobil is one of the holdouts,…
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That was awkward — at world’s biggest climate conference, U.S. promotes fossil fuels

By Griff Witte and Brady Dennis   12/10/18  
President Trump’s top White House adviser on energy and climate stood before the crowd of some 200 people on Monday and tried to burnish the image of coal, the fossil fuel that powered the industrial…
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The World Still Isn’t Meeting Its Climate Goals

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich   12/07/18  
Three years after nearly 200 countries signed a landmark climate agreement in Paris, they are still far off-track from preventing severe global warming in the decades ahead. This month, diplomats from around the world are gathering…
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More methane: Interior eases rules curbing leaks from oil and gas leases on federal land

By Juliet Eilperin   09/18/18  
In the fourth rollback of a major federal climate rule in less than two months, the Interior Department eased requirements Tuesday that oil and gas firms operating on federal and tribal land capture the release…
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Baltimore Sues 26 Fossil Fuels Companies Over Climate Change

By David Hasemyer and Nicholas Kusnetz   07/20/18  
The city’s waterfront revitalization has become a model for urban development, but sea level rise and extreme weather are putting its future at risk.
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Fossil Fuel Industry Outspent Environmentalists and Renewables by 10:1 on Climate Lobbying, New Study Finds

By Itai Vardi   07/18/18  
A new study from Drexel University has found that between 2000 and 2016, over 2 billion dollars was spent in lobbying on climate policy. However, lobbying by corporate sectors affiliated with fossil fuels outspent environmental…
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What 30 years of documents show Shell knew about climate science

By Mike Small and Chloe Farand   05/21/18  
These documents show Shell walking backwards. In the 1980s it was acknowledging anthropogenic global warming. Then, as the scientific consensus became more and more clear, it started introducing doubt and giving weight to a “significant minority” of…
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The Koch Brothers Vs. God

By Kenya Downs   03/15/18  
The fossil fuel lobby preached its gospel in Virginia. Now, black churches are fighting back
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Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago

By Shannon Hall   10/26/15  
Exxon was aware of climate change, as early as 1977, 11 years before it became a public issue, according to a recent investigation from InsideClimate News.
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Exxon Researched Climate Change in 1977

In 2015, InsideClimate News published Exxon: The Road Not Taken, a multi-part history of Exxon's engagement with the emerging science of climate change. It won a dozen journalism awards, including being named finalist for the…
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Fossil Fuels on Trial: Where the Major Climate Change Lawsuits Stand Today

By David Hasemyer   11/25/18  
Some of the biggest oil and gas companies are embroiled in legal disputes with cities, states and children over the industry's role in global warming.
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Study: U.S. Fossil Fuel Subsidies Exceed Pentagon Spending

By Tim Dickinson   06/12/19  
The world would be richer and healthier if the full costs of fossil fuels were paid, according to a new report from the International Monetary Fund.
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The U.S. Spends More To Subsidize Dirty Fuels Than on Defense

By Grant Smith   05/14/19  
U.S. subsidies to the fossil fuel industry were nearly $650 billion in 2015, according to new estimates by the International Monetary Fund. That number – more than the nation spent on defense and 10 times…
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NAACP Reveals Tactics Fossil Fuel Industry Uses to Manipulate Communities of Color

By Ben Jervey   04/03/19  
The fossil fuel industry regularly deploys manipulative and dishonest tactics when engaging with communities of color, often working to co-opt the respect and authority of minority-led groups to serve corporate goals. That is according to…
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A Texan’s Big Bet on a Fossil-Fuel Future for California

By Ivan Penn and Thomas Kaplan   03/29/19  
Andrew Beal, a poker-playing billionaire and major Trump backer, could upend California’s carbon-free power goals with a case before federal regulators.
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Trade group targets shareholders pressuring Big Oil on climate change

By Karen Savage   03/07/19  
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a 123-year-old trade group that has worked diligently to defend Big Oil in the burgeoning climate liability battles, has also taken on another opponent to the status quo: investors.
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U.S. Carbon Emissions Surged in 2018 Even as Coal Plants Closed

By Brad Plumer   02/26/19  
America’s carbon dioxide emissions rose by 3.4 percent in 2018, the biggest increase in eight years, according to a preliminary estimate published Tuesday.
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