End of Oil

Governments may have signaled an end to the fossil fuel era, with massive consequences for industry, global security, financial markets and public health, Al Gore and other business leaders have said.

“This universal and ambitious agreement sends a clear signal to governments, businesses, and investors everywhere: the transformation of our global economy from one fueled by dirty energy to one fueled by sustainable economic growth is now firmly and inevitably under way,” the former senator said in a statement.

“No agreement is perfect, and this one must be strengthened over time, but groups across every sector of society will now begin to reduce dangerous carbon pollution through the framework of this agreement,” said Gore.

Gore was joined by Paul Polman, Unilever’s chief executive, who said investors would now have more confidence to address the risks of having fossil fuel assets on their books.

“The consequences of this agreement go far beyond the actions of governments. 

They will be felt in banks, stock exchanges, boardrooms and research centers as the world absorbs the fact that it is embarking on an unprecedented project to de-carbonize the global economy.

“This realization will unlock billions of dollars. It establishes a clear path to de-carbonize the global economy within the lifetimes of many people alive today, reaping the benefits of cleaner air, greater security and avoiding the worst effects of climate change.” Read more:

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 coal, petroleum and natural gas. 

Other more commonly used derivatives of fossil fuels include kerosene and propane. They range from volatile materials with low carbon:hydrogen ratios like methane, to liquid petroleum to nonvolatile materials composed of almost pure carbon, like anthracite coal. 

Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields, alone, associated with oil, or in the form of methane clathrates. 

The theory that fossil fuels formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over millions of years was first introduced by Georg Agricola in 1556 and later by Mikhail Lomonosov in the 18th century.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2007 the primary sources of energy consisted of petroleum 36.0%, coal 27.4%, natural gas 23.0%, amounting to an 86.4% share for fossil fuels in primary energy consumption in the world. 

Non-fossil sources in 2006 included hydroelectric 6.3%, nuclear 8.5%, and others (geothermal, solar, tidal, wind, wood, waste) amounting to 0.9%. World energy consumption was growing about 2.3% per year.

Although fossil fuels are continually being formed via natural processes, they are generally considered to be non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form and the known viable reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being made.

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