When Will The Fossil Fuel Era End?

Ryan Rundell, Journalist

When will we run out of non-renewable fossil fuels? Humans have been using fossil fuels for just over two centuries, dating back to 1880. By 1961, fossil fuels became the main source of power in America. But how much do we have left? Before I answer this question, it is very important to understand that if we consume just 20-30% of fossil fuels from all currently known reserves, we will reach ‘catastrophic’ global warming.   

So when will we be depleted of our fossil fuels? First, let’s talk about oil from fossils. In 2019, we all used over 11 billion tonnes of oil. In 2018 though, the global demand for oil rose by 1.3%. But say that we somehow stop our increasing demand for oil, at the current rate, we will still run out of oil before 2060. Keeping in mind, if we want to stay in the relatively safe range of global warming, 30% of oil reserves are “unburnable.” The same goes for gas and coal; burning 80% of coal and 30% of gas would cause irreversible damage to the climate. 

Anyways, lets just say humans managed to burn all of our fossil fuels. By then, the ice caps most certainly would  be gone and the sea levels will have risen. National Geographic put together an illustration of what 230 feet of sea level rise would look like.