Since man discovered fire and then the great industrial revolution; we have been using fossil fuels for everything. Nowadays, even the smallest of our needs are fulfilled by the energy produced by these fossil fuels. However, this increase in fossil use has its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest global dilemma that we face today is that of climate change. This phenomenon leads to problems such as the rise in sea levels due you to the melting of glaciers; increasing temperatures due to deforestation and unpredictable weather conditions in certain parts of the world.
The primary reason behind such a drastic climate change is that of increasing greenhouse gases and a rise in the levels of carbon dioxide that is released by factories, cars, trains, airplanes and many other technological machines made by man.
We have seen the breakdown of the ozone layer, the melting of the glaciers and forest fires beyond our wildest imagination. We are well aware of the effects of continuous use of fossil fuels. However, we continue to use fossil fuels as the major source of energy. We need to find the reason behind this increase in any use of fossil fuel.
So why do we continue using fossil fuels?
There could be many reasons behind such a phenomenon and every person has their different reasons. However, there are a few reasons that are common to all of us.
1. Increased Familiarity
The very first reason is that we have been using fossil fuels for years and this brings a kind of familiarity with this source of energy. It is in our nature to be protective off our comfort zone. Many of us do not wish to switch from an energy source that is reliable and has easy accessibility to our daily lives. Even today, none of the alternative resources have been developed to the extent of fossil fuels. Hence, we stick to using fossil fuels.
2. Force of Habit
Even after the invention of highly efficient electric cars, many people are reluctant to buy those because they would have to go through the hassle of charging it repeatedly and enduring downtime if the battery is low. Going to the petrol station and fueling up of our cars has become a habit that we do not want to change and it’s perfectly understandable since change is difficult. For many people, it is difficult to change habits that they have been following for years.
3. Lack of Awareness
Another important reason is the lack of awareness in many parts of the world. The first world countries are the main hub of such inventions that can harness the power of alternative fuels. However, many third world countries are still facing the lack of any energy source. Many villages still news energy from biodegradable sources to cook their food. Moreover, many of us who are aware of calamities that climate change brings with it has not seen the effects in real life. Hence many people are still unaware of the dangers and problems that the use of fossil fuels brings along with it.
4. Lack of Resources (Financial constraints)
Our current inventions that use alternative energy sources to produce energy are complicated and require land and knowledge of complicated engineering that is unavailable in many parts of the world. Such inventions also require major initial finances and continuous maintenance which will further require manpower and monetary investment which is unavailable in remote areas of the world. This inaccessibility is another reason why an alternative source of energy is not available to everyone. In such cases, we would require a government or a superior body that can monitor the cost and resources required to make the drastic change from fossil fuels to alternative methods.
5. Inaccessibility/ Geographical location
Inaccessibility to alternative energy resources is also a major reason why people are not able to shift to them completely. For example; countries that are land-locked, like Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Armenia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and many more can’t harness energy from the oceans like hydropower or tidal energy. Similarly, valleys can’t harness solar energy properly due to inadequate access to sunlight.
These are just a few of many reasons why we still prefer fossil fuels over other sources of energy. There could be many other reasons like socio-political pressures, government instability, illiteracy or simply many people do not believe in the phenomena of climate change. Many people do not think that protecting the environment is of much importance. These reasons may vary from person to person add place to place.
6. Employment Opportunities
The presence of this fuel for centuries has made people choose careers into fossil fuel industry. Obviously, these people cannot give up their jobs when they’ve given so much to its development. The chemical engineers, mine workers, heavy machinery operators and mechanical engineers have all been employed somewhere in this fossil industry and won’t be able to get equivalent jobs elsewhere in a different industry.
Solutions to Increased use of Fossil Fuels?
But all hope is not lost. This problem of climate change can be tackled by reducing the use of fossil fuels as the primary source of energy. In recent times, many strides have been made in the field of alternative energy sources. Sustainable clean energy is the next step forward in solving the issue of climate change. The difference between alternative energy sources and fossil fuels is that the alternatives are sustainable which means that we can have a continuous source of energy without any harm to the environment. Such alternative sources have lower emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. These energy sources are (but not limited to); hydropower, solar power and wind power.
Someday there will be a change from fossil fuels to alternative energy resources. This change might be slow at first but as soon as we start depleting our fossil fuel sources, we as mankind would need to make a quick switch. A switch which should be made as soon as possible.