Opinion: Fossil fuel has an expiration date


Albert Fisler is a junior English major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Albert Fisler

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a stark report that if most of the world’s electricity is not produced from low-carbon sources by 2050, it will cause serious and permanent damage to the Earth. According to the article, this is a part of a plan to reduce fossil fuel power generation without using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which would need to be “phased out almost entirely by 2100,” BBC News reported.  

The year 2100 seems to be the long-term goal, and the IPCC would like to enact a new global treaty about climate change by the end of 2015, according to the article. In recent years, awareness of climate change and effects caused by fossil fuel emission has grown international. The United Nations, in the article, said that inaction would cost much more than taking the necessary action. It seems that global awareness has finally reached global politics, which will perhaps help push for the global agreement on cutting fossil fuel emissions. BBC News reported that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “There is no ambiguity in (science’s) message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.”

There are, of course, worries among nations that this sudden switch of technology will be chaotic and costly, to which Mr. Ban goes on to say in the article, “There is a myth that climate action will cost heavily, but inaction will cost much more.” U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, agreed saying in a statement, “Those who choose to ignore or dispute the science so clearly laid out in this report, do so at great risk for all of us and for our kids and grandkids.” 

There seems to be a sense of urgency between political leaders. Now it is only a question of how urgent they rank this issue among others. While this may not have been an issue on the front of voters’ minds in the recent election, hopefully it becomes a key debate issue in the next 2016 presidential election.  

As I write this, I’ve got Netflix playing in the background. I’ve recently been watching a television show called “The 100.” While the acting is near-corny and soap opera-like, what keeps me interested is the mere story. It takes place after a nuclear war on Earth, rendering the planet unlivable due to the mass amounts of radiation. However, a percentage of the population escaped to a space station in orbit, and after 100 years, people are sent back to Earth to see if it has become livable once again. 

If the world doesn’t destroy itself in war, self-pollution may be the next big threat, as long as generations continue to exploit the Earth’s resources without giving anything back in return. All these issues make me wonder what the future holds for my potential children and grandchildren: if they create solutions by following in our footsteps, or if they will merely strive to survive in the aftermath of our decisions.