No matter the drawbacks of renewable energy or benefits of fossil fuels, one aspect ultimately trumps the argument: fossil fuels are non-renewable. Fossil fuel consumption as doubled every two decades throughout the 20th century, with no signs of abating. Predictions for final depletion of fossil fuel reserves range from 50 to less than 150 years.
Petroleum in particular presents a challenge as a resource: not only does demand consume oil as fuel but also as raw material for plastics, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides and other petrochemicals. Businesses can make an immediate impact by modifying their consumption habits. Building improvements, equipment upgrades, and simply turning off power when not in use impacts the bottom line beyond lower monthly utility bills.
It can extend the life cycle and lower the ongoing maintenance costs of equipment, and it can lower exposure to the risk of energy price spikes and environmental or legal costs.
The United States gets 81% of its total energy from oil, coal, and natural gas, all of which are fossil fuels.
We depend on those fuels to 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 the planet s known supplies diminish, the difficulty and cost of tapping remaining reserves increase, and the effect of their continued use on our planet grows more critical.
But shifting to new energy sources will take time. In the meantime, how do we use fossil fuels in the most efficient and environmentally responsible way possible?