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Understanding Fossil Fuels and Why They Harm the Earth

Understanding Fossil Fuels and Why They Harm the Earth with Power Compare
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

In New Zealand, we get our electricity from a variety of sources. We mostly use renewable energy sources. But we still have non-renewable sources of energy to power our homes and towns.

Different Types of Renewable Energy

What are Fossil Fuels?

Traditionally, fossil fuels are made from the decomposition of organic matter such as plants and animals. This process takes millions of years and the fossil fuel materials we use today were formed when prehistoric plants and animals died, and over time, were buried by layers of rock. Different types of fossil fuels were created, depending on the environment and the temperature and pressure conditions present. For example, gas is a fossil fuel and it is mainly formed from the remains of ancient marine life and broken down over millions of years. These fossil fuel materials contain carbon and hydrogen.

The different types of fossil fuels are coal, oil, and natural gas. 

We extract the different types of fossil fuels by mining for them and we can convert them into electricity by burning them. New Zealanders use these fossil fuels to help power their home and fuel their cars. 

The problem is that fossil fuels are considered a dirty form of energy. They are responsible for almost three-fourths of the global human emissions of greenhouse gases from the past 20 years. 

Why Do Fossil Fuels Harm the Earth?

Fossil fuels contain carbon. When we burn fossil fuels, they release large amounts of carbon dioxide, which is a dirty or unclean greenhouse gas. This carbon dioxide goes into the air. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, which leads to rising global temperatures. 

There are a lot of negative implications of global warming. Sea levels can rise, there can be extreme weather events such as hurricanes and cyclones, and there can be a loss of biodiversity – diverse plants, animals, and sea life. 

Coal is considered the dirtiest type of fossil fuel and responsible for most of the global temperature increases. 

Not all is lost, however. Due to the development of science and technology, New Zealand is adopting more and more renewable energy infrastructure. We get lots of our energy from solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro power! These are clean energy sources that are constantly replenished by the Earth’s natural resources.

Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

You can combat the impact of fossil fuels by choosing energy efficient appliances, devices and lightbulbs. 

Energy providers cannot “filter out” or choose to not use electricity generated from fossil fuels. Both renewable and non-renewable energy “blend” together when it comes into our homes. Considering a portion of the energy we use comes from a source that cannot be replenished for thousands if not millions of years, and harms the environment when burned, we can reduce the amount of it we consume by choosing energy efficient appliances. If you are in the market for a new washing machine, or fridge, jump on PriceMe to compare the efficiency rating or different models and find the best deal so you can save money! Energy efficiency will not only reduce the impacts of climate change but it will help minimise your power bill. 

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Why Energy Efficiency is Important

Now that you know where your electricity comes from, don’t forget to compare your power bill

You can combat the rising costs of living by comparing your power bill. Power Compare makes it easy to compare different plans side-by-side so that you can make an informed decision and find the deal that will best suit your household needs and get you the most value for your money. 

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Or call our friendly team at Power Compare for FREE bias-free, obligation free advice on your power bill. Call 0508 226672 Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm! 

Further Reading: 

Bill Anxiety? You Have More Power Than You Think!

Solar Power

Hydro Power

Wind Power

Geothermal Power

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