Braunkohle gilt als schmutziger fossiler Energieträger

Fossil energy sources

Fossil fuels include crude oil, natural gas, hard coal and lignite. These energy sources were formed many millions of years ago from dead plants and animals and today often lie deep beneath the earth’s surface. To obtain energy from them, the substances are usually burned. This process releases the environmentally harmful carbon dioxide (CO2), which is largely responsible for the greenhouse effect and thus for global warming and climate change.

The lowest-emission fossil fuel is natural gas. It has a low carbon content and therefore burns with particularly low emissions compared to other fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum.

Natural gas is considered the cleanest fossil fuel

Image: Vincent Lorenz M via Pixabay

The main arguments against the use of fossil fuels are the environmental impact and the influence on the climate. Their extraction alone is already causing environmental damage worldwide. These are visible, for example, in open-cast lignite mining or in the oil disasters that occur time and again and from which entire marine regions suffer.

Moreover, fossil fuel reserves are finite. And even if new deposits are constantly being discovered and others become recoverable through new technical developments: Current estimates suggest that reserves of coal, oil and natural gas will be depleted after a maximum of 200 years.

Economists expect fossil fuel consumption to reach its maximum in the next few years. The Global Energy Perspective 2021 study showed that demand for coal has already peaked today, for oil it is expected to peak in 2029, and for gas in 2037.

Wolfgang Korne
Author: Wolfgang Korne

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