How Long Can We Keep Digging Up The Earth And Burning It To Make Energy?

Humans have been on Earth for 200,000 years and its only over the last 200 years we have begun to dig, excavate and mine the earth, and to burn it to produce energy. That equates to 1 in a thousand. For each year we have been digging earth and burning it, modern humans have been here one thousand years. But the truth is far worse than this, because we have only really scaled up the burn in the last 100 years. The environmental impact is frightening.

How long do you think we can keep doing this, How long can we keep digging up these non-renewable fuel sources such as Coal, Oil, Gas, and burning it to make energy.

Well I did some on-line research and here is what I managed to discover:

Coal reserves are available in almost every country worldwide, with recoverable reserves in around 70 countries. At current production levels, proven coal reserves are estimated to last 147 years

BP’s annual report on proved global oil reserves says that as of the end of 2013, Earth has nearly 1.688 trillion barrels of crude, which will last 53.3 years at current rates of extraction. This figure is 1.1 percent higher than that of the previous

At the rate of natural gas consumption in 2016 of about 27.5 Tcf per year, there is enough natural gas to last about 90 years. The actual number of years will depend on the amount of natural gas consumed each year, natural gas imports and exports, and additions to natural gas reserves.

Given this information, it would become very apparent that we will run out of these non-renewable resources in the not too distant future. If not in our lifetime, certainly in our children or grand-children’s life time. This is not a legacy I would like our generation to be responsible for, and urgent action must be taken to preserve these non-renewable energy sources immediately.

Apart from this

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in a world choked with pollution from fossil fuels. I notice it most when I exercise, walking up the hill near my place, breathing in the fumes from the traffic accelerating up the hill, spewing out poisonous gas. It really concerns me. And the stench from the exhaust pipes annoys the hell out of me. Not only is the smell offensive, but what are the effects on my body and health?

Then I think of how we make most of our electricity in Western Australia, and how much pollution and poisonous gas that we must make, including all the carbon dioxide and methane spewing into the air from burning coal. Whether you believe in climate change or not, this can’t be good for our health and our environment.

The more I think about it the and the more I learn, the more our ability to counteract climate change, pollution, and our diminishing natural fuel resources, seems like an insurmountable problem. Coal provides our state with cheap reliable base load power, and until we find a viable alternative that’s what we have like it or not.

So we can all choose to bury our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not a problem, or one by one we can all individually choose to do something about it. There are lots of small things we can do that won’t compromise our lifestyle, break our bank or be teased by our mates for being a “Greeny”. These may include limiting power usage such as switching off lights and appliances not in use, buying more energy-efficient appliances, or switching to renewable energy sources such as solar energy, we all have the power to do our bit. We all have our ideas on this and of course there is plenty of media and education on this very subject, I think the important this is we all do our bit towards a sustainable future for humanity.

About Craig Donohue

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