BCB311

Monday, February 27, 2006

WHAT ARE FOSSIL FUELS? AND HOW HAVE THEY CREATED PROBLEMS IN OUR SOCIETY?


Fossil fuels are all natural substances and they are found deep within
the earth. They are composed of ancient animals and plants. When these
fuels are burnt, it releases energy. The three main fossil fuels are:
coal, oil and natural gas. The kind of plant and animal material
determines the kind of fossil fuel developed and this is also dependent
on heat and pressure. The sun was the main source of stored energy in
fossil fuels and when we burn these fossil fuels, the stored energy is
released. We use these fossil fuels to make electricity, to heat our
homes and buildings. Ninety percent of the world's energy comes from
fossil fuels. Humans are dependant on these fossil fuels and overuse and
exploit them. This has created problems such as:
Because they take millions of years to form, we are using fossil fuels
100 000 times faster than they are being produced. Fossil fuels are
non-renewable resources.
Greenhouse gases are also released into the atmosphere when these
fossil fuels are burnt.
Because fossil fuels contain carbon, it is released into the air. This
in turn joins with oxygen to form Co2, which is the largest source of
greenhouse gases.

(
http://www.ecokidsonline.com/pub/eco_info/topics/energy/ecostats/index.cfm)

Nicole Prinsloo
Zoology Department
University of the Western Cape
Email : 2449162@uwc.ac.za

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