Fossil Fuel Consumption, CO2 and its impact on Global Climate

Essay by ShoemachUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, March 1997

download word file, 6 pages 4.6


At the beginning of human history, we had to satisfy our energy needs (for food, heat and movement) by using our own muscle power and gathering or hunting naturally available plants, animals and wood. Each stage in the evolution of human society (the development of farming, domestication of animals, harnessing of wind and water power) increased the average per capita energy use, but it was the Industrial Revolution and the exploitation of fossil fuels which marked the transformation of societies into the energy-intensive economies of today.

Since the eighteenth century the industrialising countries have come to rely on non-renewable energy resources, and at present about 80 per cent (Myers, 1994) of the world's commercial energy is derived from oil, coal and gas. Although it has been observed that the growth of energy consumption is closely correlated with the increases in gross national product thus our economic development, the major sources of energy (that is fossil fuels) are 'stock resources'.

Fossil fuels are consumed by use and the current consumption patterns are non-sustainable. It is recognised that energy conservation and the development of renewable energy sources will be needed to sustain economic growth.

The quantity of ultimately recoverable fossil fuels is limited by geology and remains a matter of suspicion, but the view of the 1970s that scarcity was imminent is still popular. It is the 1973 Oil Crisis marked the transition from abundant, low-cost energy to an era of increasing prices and scarcity. Today concerns over scarcity have been overtaken by the question of whether human beings can afford to meet the environmental costs of continued fossil fuel consumption. One of the most widespread concern related to global climatic changes.


Climate represents normal weather condition of an area over a period of many years. This is in contrast...