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Fossil Fuels

We are a world that thrives on fossil fuels.  It powers ourcars and trucks, our electrical generation facilities, and our homes.  Butwe use it for more than just the energy that is stored in it.  We useit for its chemical properties to create plastics, fertilizers, and medicines. Fossil fuels are a very valuable resource that make our modern wayof life possible.

This usage, though, comes with a heavy price tag.  These fuelsources developed from organic matter that had accumulated over a long periodof time.  This organic matter was created by organisms that pulled carbonfrom the environment and stored it within their being.  This storageof carbon led to slow, gradual changes in the environment.  Our heavyreliance on these types of fuels is leading to rapid changes in the environmentas this carbon is put back, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide.  Furthermore,the rate at which we are using them is far outstripping the rate at whichthey are being created, which means that we will deplete in a very shorttime, geologically.

The effects of fossil fuel usage are immense.  In this module,we will look at how our methods of exploration and production, as well asour usage, affect the environment.  We will also discuss the possiblefuture of these energy sources and the changing economics and politicsof the situation.
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