Fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas. Since these energy sources were formed over millions of years from the decomposition of carbon-based life forms such as ourselves, these resources are completely non-renewable over the course of reasonable time frames. Furthermore, the extraction and burning of them for energy pollutes air, water, and soil alike, negatively affecting the natural world, flora, fauna, and humanity included. This effect can mean extinction for certain animals and plants, as well as diseases, birth defects, and death for humans. Every living thing deserves the right to a clean living environment. This statement means a clean place to live, clean air to breathe, clean water, and a clean place to reproduce. With widespread fossil fuel use, these basic rights have been diminished for living things, especially in the countries where the dependence on fossil fuel for energy is virtually absolute. Over the course of time, countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have become essentially 100% reliant on the non-renewable fossil fuel resources harming our planet.
The Worst Offenders
At least 29 countries source more than 90% of their energy from fossil fuels, including coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas. The consumption rate seems to be rising most sharply in developing economies with or near rich oil reserves, such as India and Singapore, over the last ten years. There is good news, though, as global dependence on fossil fuels has dropped relative to total energy use since 1971, and the trend is likely to continue as nations convert to greater utilization of renewable resources for energy.
The dire need for such changes is evident daily in countries where the air is so thick with airborne pollution that residents often walk outside with face masks on and sometimes receive warnings to stay indoors for their respiratory safety. Because of the airborne pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels, people who live and work in such areas frequently have respiratory illnesses that often result in death. India is one nation dealing with such problems.
India’s dependence on the consumption of fossil fuel has risen to levels almost three times those seen in 1990. This is a big problem, since global warming is a direct result of humans increasing greenhouse gases through things such as burning fossil fuel for energy. With a billion-strong population it could be worse, however, if India had a dependency on fossil fuel use for energy akin to those most enslaved to petroleum and natural.
Complete Dependency on Nonrenewable Energy
Currently, there are at least five countries that depend on fossil fuel for virtually 100% of their respective energy needs. Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Brunei Darussalam are all currently completely dependent on fossil fuels for energy. In these places, there is a pressing need for far-reaching reform policies to educate their populations about the effects that fossil fuel consumption has on the rest of the world, and how long these effects last, and, most importantly, a diversification of energy sources to include more renewable means.
Change is Possible
There have been changes observed in the consumption of fossil fuels that point to better prospects for the future of energy infrastructures and environmental health alike. For example, Egypt and Bosnia and Herzegovina have both significantly decreased their fossil fuel dependence over the last ten years, which points to the possibility of more fossil fuel dependent countries learning about and using renewable resources to help meet their energy needs.
Renewable energy sources are an option for those countries that are completely dependent on fossil fuels. These can include hydroelectricity in areas that have rivers, wind-powered turbine generators in areas with expansive land that is unusable for crops or wildlife, and solar panels that can cover large areas of desert land or even be fixed atop structures. Renewable energy is a way to wean fossil fuel-dependent countries off of non-renewable resources, hedge energy infrastructures for a future sans petrochemical availability, and teach them how to help save the planet from further global destruction.