The modern world is dependent on fossil fuels — oil, gas, coal and peat. Over the last two hundred years or so the quantities of fossil fuels extracted from the ground have escalated. Fossil fuels are used by power stations to generate electricity and to fuel our cars. They are essential to a modern lifestyle, but they have been used at the expense of the environment.
Environmental damage is caused at every stage of extracting, processing and using these fuels. Coal is mined from the ground, while oil and gas are pumped out of the ground. Then they have to be transported around the world to where they are to be used. Finally, when they are burnt, these fuels release polluting gases into the atmosphere, causing acid rain and global warming.
The supply of fossil fuels will also eventually run out. Estimates of how long these fuels will last are uncertain, as new deposits are being found all the time. However, most experts agree that oil and gas will probably last between 30 and 50 years, while coal may last a couple of hundred years.