‘Petroleum, coal, natural gas may be phased out soon’

Oil-prices• As lower oil prices lead to higher carbon dioxide emissions
Nigeria and indeed other crude oil producing countries should intensify efforts towards alternative sources of energy and foreign exchange earner as fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas could be phased out in a decade.

According to an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Energy Research & Social Science, by a major energy think-tank in the United Kingdom (U.K.), the worldwide reliance on burning fossil fuels to create energy could be phased out in a decade.

According to Wikipedia, fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years. Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include petroleum, coal, and natural gas. Other commonly used derivatives include kerosene and propane.

Director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex, Prof. Benjamin Sovacool, believes that the next great energy revolution could take place in a fraction of the time of major changes in the past.

He warns that it would take a collaborative, interdisciplinary, multi-scalar effort to get there and that effort must learn from the trials and tribulations from previous energy systems and technology transitions.

Sovacool analyses energy transitions throughout history and argues that only looking towards the past can often paint an overly bleak and unnecessary picture.

Meanwhile, the reduction in oil prices is set to worsen air pollution globally with a new study showing how a decrease in price of oil leads to higher carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The study by Spanish scientists who studied the relationship between air pollution and economic development in Spain was published in the journal Ecological Indicators.

The researchers led by Manuel Cantavella, from the Jaume I University in Spain, said that a one per cent increase in oil prices will reduce carbon dioxide emissions up to 0.4 per cent while a one per cent decrease will increase carbon dioxide emissions by also up to 0.4 per cent, worsening climate change.

The researchers explained that low oil prices result in higher energy consumption. This reinforces other views about how cheap prices make people waste more oil. Moreover, cheap oil also dissuades the development of energy efficient infrastructure. Drivers will tend to buy less environment-friendly vehicles, making manufacturers less likely to focus on producing cars.

Nevertheless, the researchers say that CO2 emissions can be toned down by imposing taxes on oil. They suggest that policymakers should consider creating new energy taxes that would decrease energy consumption and encourage cleaner energy use.

However, some have pointed out that cheap oil can actually help the environment. This holds back investment in fossil fuel extraction, leaving the remaining fossil fuels where they are.

A study published in 2015 in the journal Nature added that keeping fossil fuels in the ground could ward off climate change. Still, this does not stop others from extracting oil for profit.



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