Fossil fuels are a source of energy, including petrol and diesel, that we’ve been using for decades. However, we all know that these are a limited resource. We’re consuming them at an alarming rate, and it’s not like we can create more overnight, so how much longer will our resources last us?

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look into what fossil fuels are, the alternatives that are available, and discuss how long it might take before drastic measures are needed.

What are fossil fuels?

Fossil fuels are exactly what their name suggests: fuel made from fossils. Millions of years ago, plants, animals, and other organisms were buried over time and became fossils.

Through a geological process, these become fossil fuels, which we use to make energy. They include oil, petrol, and coal, among other things that we use on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, the process of creating them also gives off a huge amount of carbon dioxide, which is bad for our planet.

As it stands, we’re due to reach the IPCC’s maximum level of ‘catastrophic’ global warming by the time we burn 20-30% of the remaining fossil fuels that we have.

When will we run out of fossil fuels?

There are multiple considerations that will affect how quickly our fossil fuels reduce, such as which fossil fuel we’re considering, how we use fossil fuels currently, how we use them in the future, and whether we will find any more.

If we continue as we are, collective sources assume we will run out of fossil fuels by 2060. Considering we’ve only been using fossil fuels for approximately 200 years, our consumption of fossil fuels is undoubtedly quick.

It’s estimated that we have about 400 years left before we run out of natural gas, and 150 before we run out of coal.

However, if we’re just considering oil, it’s estimated that our known oil deposits will run out by 2052. This is largely due to the demand from the transport sector.

Finding an alternative

As well as being a limited resource, the amount of CO2 that fossil fuels give off make them a less-than-ideal source of energy.

Fortunately for us, there are alternatives like solar and wind power. In the future, these, in the form of electric cars, will hopefully be able to provide a more sustainable alternative to petrol and diesel.

Additionally, the rise of electric cars will hopefully decrease the affect that transportation has on our environment. They emit far less greenhouse gases and air pollutants than petrol or diesel cars, and contribute far less active damage to the planet. As science continues to advance, hopefully we can find enough alternatives to fossil fuels to put a stop to their use altogether.

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