A Solar Power Bank
All the energy in oil, gas, and coal originally came from the
sun, captured through photosynthesis. In the same way that we
burn wood to release energy that trees capture from the sun, we
burn fossil fuels to release the energy that ancient plants captured
from the sun. We can think of this energy as having been deposited
in a natural solar power bank over millions of years.
So, in one sense, gasoline-burning cars, coal-burning power plants,
and homes heated by natural gas are all solar powered!
Withdrawals Without any New Deposits
One major problem is that we are withdrawing oil,
gas, and coal from our natural bank of solar power without making
any significant deposits. Fossil fuels take millions of years
to form and are not renewable within a human life span. Therefore,
once we consume all the available deposits there will be none
left for future generations.