What are the impacts caused by fossil fuels on environment? How oil spills happen? What are the different fossil fuels that affect our environment? Which is the highest polluting fossil fuel? How to save the environment from the pollution caused by fossil fuels?
Everyone on this planet earth should know the answers of these questions because its our responsibility to save the environment and save our earth from destruction. So in this article I will be focussing on above questions.
Fossil Fuels and their impacts on Environment:
The use of oil and natural gas as fossil fuels has several impacts on our environment. Since both contain carbon atoms in their molecules, carbon dioxide is emitted during their combustion. The emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere causes increase in green house gas density and in turn it cause global warming. If the appropriate technologies are employed, there is a clear advantage for natural gas compared to oil as far as CO2 emissions are concerned. In addition, natural gas produces practically no sulphur dioxide because it contains almost no sulphur. The emissions of nitrogen oxides are also lower than those for coal or oil.
It is interesting to compare the emissions associated with fossil fuel exploitation to those from naturally occurring sources or due to other human activities. Methane is emitted from natural wet lands (e.g. swamps, peat bogs, shallow lakes, temporarily flooded areas) as well as from cultivated areas such as rice paddies. Emissions range from 1mg to 1g of methane per square meter per day depending on the nature of the region and the climate conditions.
Globally, estimates are that between 40 to 160Mt (Metric ton) of methane per year are released from natural wetlands and between 60 to 140Mt per year from paddy fields. Globally, the quantity of methane emitted by human activities is 1.7 times larger than that emitted by natural processes.
Oil Spills and their Causes:
Leakage of petroleum or petroleum products during transportation is also an environmental concern. About half of the world’s shipping capacity is used to transport fossil fuels and a huge amount of oil is transported by sea. The events that have the largest impact on marine environment are large oil spills. Some of these oil spills come from accidents, collisions, or grounding, while others occur during operations such as loading or discharging in ports or at oil terminals.
Natural Gas is the Cleanest Fossil Fuel:
Among various fossil fuels, Natural gas is the least polluting fossil fuel in terms of carbon dioxide gas emission which is the main green house gas. Burning natural gas can emit between 40 to 50% less carbon dioxide than coal and 25 to 30% less carbon dioxide than oil. Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel as it emits the highest level of green house gases than any other fossil fuel. Methane is also present in coal mines and there are leaks of methane gas from the mines. That is why coal is also known as Dirty Fossil Fuel.