Is Fossil Fuels a Greenhouse Gas?

  • By: Preetam
  • Date: August 28, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

In the last few decades, we have seen a major change in the ecosystems around the world. There have been discussions in the scientific field about the steps mankind can take to prevent the complete dissolution of the Earth.

What has come up more often than not, is the discussion around fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.

What are fossil fuels? How do they contribute to ecosystem changes, global warming, and climate change? Furthermore, what are greenhouse gases? It is an ever evolving discussion that may never be settled, but we will begin it here.

What are Fossil Fuels?

Fossil fuels are defined as fuel that is formed from fossilized remains of organisms millions of years old.

This can include dinosaurs as they are the most well-known fossilized organism. According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the burning of fossil fuels for human needs such as electricity, heat, and transportation, account for the largest source of greenhouse gas that is emitted into the atmosphere.

These greenhouse gasses then trap heat and make the planet warmer.

The excessive use of such things can contribute to the warming of Earth.

Okay, What About Greenhouse Gasses?

Contrary to what the mind might picture when “greenhouse gas” is mentioned, it has nothing to do with Aunt Sally’s greenhouse in the backyard.

Greenhouse gases are gases that absorb radiant energy and emit it in the thermal infrared range. Examples of these are nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide.

In more layman’s terms, greenhouse gases work like heat in a greenhouse.

It is no secret that the inside a greenhouse is significantly warmer than the outside.

This is because of the way the rays of the sun lose energy after permeating the plastic covering. The rays expend energy to get through the plastic and once they hit a hard surface, they bounce back to the sun with less energy.

With energy expended, they do not have enough to get through the plastic once more.

This same principle applies to the reason a car in the sun heats up.

This is called the “greenhouse effect.”

Are Greenhouse Gases and Fossil Fuels the Same, then?

Depending on how you look at the information, this could go either way.

When burned, fossil fuels release carbon dioxide (among other greenhouse gases), and it gets trapped in the atmosphere.

Due to the heat and amount burned off, it appears that fossil fuel is the main benefactor of global warming and climate change.

But it is not a greenhouse gas.

Think of fossil fuel as a container. If you were to light a fire underneath the container and as the shell deteriates, the gas is released into the atmosphere.

Is the container merely holding the gas or is the shell made of one of many greenhouse gases? Fossil fuel, according to the EPA, is the primary source of carbon dioxide. Once again, a greenhouse gas.

So, no. It would appear that greenhouse gases are not the same as fossil fuels, but fossil fuels release greenhouse gases when burned.

Is There a Solution?

Along with the seemingly neverending conversation around climate change and global warming, is the conversation on what to do to stop greenhouse gas emissions.

The obvious answer is to find some sort of replacement for the fossil fuels acting as a capsule for greenhouse gases.

Firstly, the greenhouse gases must be identified. The EPA identifies carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases as the four main greenhouse gases.

How would we replace these in order to keep stewarding this Earth responsibly for the next generation?

Enter Alternative Gas

When looking for an alternative to anything that has served as the number one option for decades, it has to make sense and be readily available.

These two things are the second part of looking for a replacement or alternative.

What scientists have discovered is carbon-neutral fuel produces no emissions of greenhouse gases or carbon footprint.

By using carbon-neutral fuel, it can redress greenhouse gases by its nature of recycling carbon dioxide and not emitting the gas into the atmosphere. L

ike a rebreather in scuba diving, the carbon dioxide gets reused, essentially.

Is Fossil Fuels a Greenhouse Gas?

No. Fossil fuels are, as mentioned previously, a container of greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. 

Fossils is perhaps a confusing word in this nature, since fossil fuels are extracted from decomposing plants and animals, not from the actual fossils that are dug up and put into museums.

With the introduction of carbon-neutral fuels, we have started looking at synthetic hydrocarbons, or man-made ones.

It begs the question of the future of fossil fuels. Since it is naturally formed and part of the Earth, are there negative repercussions of ignoring what the Earth makes in favor of something that literally saves the Earth?

Even now, the carbon-netural fuels are being put to work in different areas where petroleum,coal, and natural gases have been in use.

It may take time to see how everything goes, but the health of Earth needs to be in the forefront of minds.

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