Woman and her dog look out the window at emissions from an industrial plant.
罗伯特·尼克尔斯伯格/盖蒂图片社

化石燃料

煤、天然气和其他化石燃料既不可持续也不安全. 我们不应该使用它们.

目录表

煤、天然气和其他化石燃料既不可持续也不安全. 我们不应该使用它们.

# 1贡献

全球变暖排放

煤炭, oil, and methane gas are fossil fuels formed over time from the remains of living organisms. 在美国, 它们满足了我们大部分的能源需求, 包括美国约三分之二的发电量.

但化石燃料是有代价的. 煤炭 smoke is linked with everything from asthma and birth defects to cancer and premature death. 天然气压裂法与受污染的地下水和地震有关. And oil is the single largest source of air pollution and smog in the world.

化石燃料也是全球变暖排放的主要来源, 这是当今人类面临的最紧迫的生存问题之一. Understanding the scope of their impacts is critical for informing our choices around energy production—and for preventing the worst impacts of climate change.

煤炭

美国使用煤炭已有100多年的历史. 大部分都是在地下深处开采的, 从山顶上, 或在美国西部广阔的露天矿山. It’s then hauled by train and barges to coal-fired power plants across the country.

但美国与煤炭的悠久历史不应被浪漫化. 超过100人,000 people have died in American coal mines—more than the number of servicemen lost in the Korean and Vietnam wars combined. Countless others suffer from its debilitating health effects; worldwide, coal 导致更多的死亡 than natural disasters, homicide, road accidents, and measles combined. Until recently, it also was the single largest source of US carbon pollution.

如今,煤炭在美国电力系统中的未来充满不确定性. Many plants are losing in the face of economic competition from gas and renewable energy; keeping those plants running is driving costs up. Transitioning away from coal is the only long-term strategy that makes moral, 环境, 还有经济意识.

甲烷气体

For most of the twentieth century, gas played a relatively minor role in the US power sector. But with the rise of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and horizontal drilling in the early 2000s, 天然气的飞速发展对617888九五至尊娱乐产生了严重影响.

当泄漏到大气中时, the main ingredient in so-called "natural" gas—methane—acts as a potent heat-trapping gas. 燃烧时,它会释放二氧化碳和其他污染物.

As such, gas has a very limited role to play in the clean energy economy. It burns more cleanly than coal, and makes the transition away from coal easier and quicker. 但投资天然气也有其自身的经济和安全风险, 也不会带来我们所需要的减排.

石油

虽然在电力部门没有广泛使用, 石油被用作能源, 以汽油的形式, 柴油, 还有航空燃料. It’s incredibly dirty: transportation is the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States and a major cause of asthma, 支气管炎, 以及某些癌症.

石油 companies are also some of the most active and vocal opponents of climate action in the world. ExxonMobil and others have spread climate disinformation for decades, while funding groups that fight against efforts to curb carbon emissions.

石油的未来不确定. 它是目前最受欢迎的汽车燃料, though electric cars and other advanced vehicle technology may change that. Without a dramatic decrease in global oil consumption—and a decrease in the political power held by oil and fossil fuel companies—we likely won’t be able to prevent catastrophic climate change.

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