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Should we phase out fossil fuels?
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The use of fossil fuels contributes to global climate change

Using fossil fuels drives climate change, a pervasive issue that can affect the lives of many. Fossil fuels contribute towards our carbon footprint, releasing more greenhouse gases into the air which drives global warming.

The Argument

Fossil fuels are a huge contributor to climate change, so phasing them out can only be beneficial to society. The use of fossil fuels contributes to global warming through the release of greenhouse gases, which in turn contributes to the melting of polar ice caps. As polar ice caps melt, sea level rises and threatens the safety of coastal cities. Studies show that continued reliance on fossil fuels can lead to a sea-level rise of 1.7 to 4.3 feet in the 21st century alone. Reducing heavy reliance on fossil fuels can reduce the sea-level rise to 0.8 to 2.0 feet. [1] For the removal of fossil fuels to have the most substantial effect on global warming, experts suggest that all fossil fuel use would have to be eliminated within the next 40 years for temperatures to stay below the critical threshold. [2] The goal of the exercise is to prevent the excess release of carbon which will stifle the greenhouse effect, and that is the process by which greenhouses gases contribute to the planet's warming cycle. If one can control the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, it stands to reason that one can also control the rate at which the Earth warms. Without these changes, climate change will continue in earnest.

Counter arguments

Fossil fuels cannot be solely to blame for the current trends in climate change, as past data on Earth's temperature tell a different story. Even before the combustive processes used by fossil fuel plants, Earth's temperature has dramatically fluctuated on its own in the past without the contribution of fossil fuels. [3] The most well known of these fluctuations is the Ice Age, which occurred 2 million years ago, which saw interglacial warming periods. In short, the rise in global warming we see today is not new to Earth's history, thus fossil fuels cannot be the sole cause of its occurrence.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Thursday, 5 Nov 2020 at 03:44 UTC

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