How are Global Warming and Energy crisis related?
POWER AND WORLD WARMING
Most of the fuel, power, and heat that people across the world consume is generated from fossil fuels including coal, gasoline, and natural gas. In 2005, fossil fuel burning provided 86 percent of the world's energy needs; now, that percentage is only slightly less in the United States, at about 85 percent. The use of fossil fuels is unfortunately also a major contributor to global warming. While the earth's ecosystems can soak up part of this carbon dioxide, we still emit around 4.1 billion metric tons to the atmosphere every year. If we don't slow down, that figure will skyrocket.
THE WORST OF ALL: COAL
When burnt, coal releases more carbon dioxide compared to any other fossil fuel due to its high carbon concentration. In the United States, it is responsible for 83 percent of emission of greenhouse gases from the energy generation industry. It stands to reason, therefore, that burning coal for energy across the globe accounts for the vast majority of the man-made rise in atmospheric CO2. And to make things worse, methane, a greenhouse gas with a potential to cause warming 25 times larger than that of CO2 on a 100-year time scale, is released during the coal mining process.
CONFLICT IN THE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR AND THE PRICE OF PETROLEUM
Due to oil's recognized position as a transportation fuel around the globe, it is competing with coal to become the major greenhouse gas generator while emitting just approximately three-fourths almost as CO2 as coal when burned. Hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide are released throughout the oil-refining process, on top of the vast quantities released when petroleum is burnt as gas by vehicles and trucks. Oil exploration and drilling may have a disastrous impact on endangered animals like the ribbon seal, the California pelican, as well as the polar bear long before the oil reaches the facilities.
Lifecycle pollutants from unconventional petroleum products, such as those generated from oil shale or tar deposits, may be considerably higher than those from coal. Shale extraction is the dirtiest way to generate electricity because it involves so many different processes, uses so much energy, and produces so much trash. Each barrel of shale oil produced releases 50% more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than a barrel of crude oil does, and oil shale production needs more acreage than traditional oil and much more water than agriculture in the desert. Developing tar sands is a very polluting and wasteful process: It takes around 2 tons of tar sands and many barrels of water to make one barrel of oil, as well as the digging and extraction operations utilize a lot of energy and release a lot more greenhouse emissions than regular oil production. For at least the last three decades, the United States has not produced any oil shale at all, and with good cause. Oil shale or tar sands extraction in the U. S. is just too risky for the environment and the economy of the planet.
NOT AS "CLEAN" AS IT SEEMS: NATURAL GAS
Gasoline, oil, and coal are the three main fossil fuels used today, however natural gas is frequently considered the "cleanest" due to its relatively low CO2 emissions during combustion. In absolute terms, however, it is still a very significant source of emissions that contribute to global warming, and this trend is anticipated to continue.
Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is natural gas that has been "cooled down to an extreme level" and transformed to a liquid state for more convenient storage or transit. However, the process of producing LNG has devastating effects on the environment. In fact, only one LNG processing facility may produce more than 24 million tons of harmful gas emissions annually due to the enormous energy needed to compress, transfer, and "regassify" LNG. Comparatively, this is the same as the yearly emissions of greenhouse gases from around 4.4 million vehicles.