“The clear and present danger of climate change means we cannot burn our way to prosperity. We already rely too heavily on fossil fuels. We need to find a new, sustainable path to the future we want. We need a clean industrial revolution” (Ban Kimoon). Fossil fuel is the most known and used source of energy in the world. How can something so good do so much damage to nature? Fossil fuel is one of today’s most ambivalent issues. In many scenarios, they need it to fuel their cars and as a source of energy in big factories because it’s cheap, but on the other it causes one of the most controversial topics, global warming. Fossil fuel goes all the way back in history, mankind has used it forever, but there isn’t an unlimited supply and it’s nonrenewable. The world we know now could change forever because of the over depletion of this energy source, whether we’re the generation that makes it happen or not, that’s up to us.
Fossil fuels have always been available to mankind throughout our existence. In the past 100 years, fossil fuel has become the worlds largest source of energy. The first traceable act of using fossil fuel in Britain was in the year 852 A.D.This information comes from a document named AngloSaxon Chronicle, which notes the rent payment to an abbot for “60 loads of wood, 12 loads of coal, and 6 loads of peat.” The reasoning for the purchases was not recorded, but we can infer that they were probably intended to use the purchases as fuel. In the mid 1500’s, coal production in Britain rose consistently. England’s forest was exhausted due to the growth in population and increased shipbuilding and manufacturing. The cheapest alternative to wood was coal, messy and different than the traditional heating fuel. Later to come, the invention of the blast furnace in 1735, changed the use of coal from a heating fuel to a fuel for iron production. The industrial revolution was caused by the cheap production of iron, which increased the demand for coal.
From then on late into the next century, British coal production topped the rest of the world’s output. Although fossil fuel was already discovered and being put to use in Britian, coal was not discovered in America until 1673 by European explorers near Utica, Illinois. Although it was discovered, the first commercial coal mine did not open until 1745, near Richmond, Virginia. A rich coal steam, destined to become America’s major source of coal, was discovered around 1754 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ohio coal beds were reported in 1755, and began being mined by 1770 during George Washington’s visit. The first reports of petroleum use that were documented come from the Middle East near 2000 B.C., when ancient writers describe oil seeps, pools, and asphalt.
Petroleum was announced worthless due to its flammable nature by the Romans. Other early users of petroleum include, Babylonians and Egyptians, which used it for mortar on bricks and waterproofing ships, and Native Americans that used it as a remedy to help heal cuts and burns. The oil fields of Pennsylvania became the place for the first significant step in oil use right before the Civil War. Significant steps such as the distillation process, which causes the production of lamp and lubricating oils, tars, and gasoline. At the moment, gasoline was thrown out of the equation until the development of an internal combustion engine that could use gasoline. This caused the rise of the automobile industry. During this time, oil fields that had opened in West Virginia, Colorado, California, and
Texas were available for gasoline production. During the early 1900s, demands began to increase for oil and rising prices stimulated exploration for new fields world wide. A major factor in the victory of the Allies in World War II, was the Allies’ ability to limit Germany and Japan’s access to the necessary oil fields in the Middle East and other world oil supplies.