Why Does Energy Matter?

Reimagining our energy system

Our use of energy—particularly in the form of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas—has a profound impact on the environment.

The burning of these fossil fuels, paired with the effects of the clearing of tropical forests and some agricultural practices, releases tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And scientists know that greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to growing levels of climate change, with warmer temperatures, increasing severe weather events, and sea level rise around the world. Beyond the impacts of greenhouse gases on our climate, carbon dioxide also dissolves in seawater, contributing to the ocean acidification currently wreaking havoc on marine life like corals and shellfish.

Our homes, schools, workplaces, and transportation systems represent enormous opportunities to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions by using energy more efficiently and shifting to safe, renewable energy sources.