JUN 17, 2017 5:36 AM PDT

How Long Until We Run Out of Fossil Fuels?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Fossil fuels are the precious natural resources formed from the remains of prehistoric plants and animals. Over the hundreds of millions of years, the organic matter was buried, and subjected to intense heat and pressure. This process resulted in energy-rich sources of fuel such as crude oil, coal, and natural gas.

Humans have only started taking full advantage of these resources since the Industrial Revolution. But we've more than made up for lost time, as in the span of just over 200 years, we've unapologetically consumed a significant amount of this precious natural resource.

The catch, of course, is that fossil fuel quantities are finite. That is, it takes millions of years to create these fossil fuels, but we are using these resources in the blink of an eye. Scientists have long warned that we would soon be running out of these non-renewable resources. Still, there are others who think that there are enough fossil fuels to sustain humanity, if we are intelligent enough to create better technologies to extract these resources.

Watch the video to learn how much fossil fuels we have left.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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