How has Energy Production Contributed to the Climate Crisis?

By Jennifer Agg

This article will investigate how energy production has and will continue to contribute towards the climate crisis if society doesn’t make collective, active change. This will cover the importance of the current problems our environment faces because of fossil fuels compared to previous decades; what environmental experts are saying about the climate crisis and what it could mean for future generations; and what governments are currently doing to enable change for the future.

What is energy and why is it important?

Energy is the ability to generate force in different formats such as; heat, electrical, light, motion, chemical and gravitational [1]. This article will be focusing on electrical energy which stems from the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons which contain substances of biological origin found in the earth’s crust. There are different types of fossil fuels but the main ones are oil, gas and coal made from decaying plants and animals and fossilised through time [2]. The arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th Century came hand in hand with the consumption of fossil fuel at a substantial rate [3]. This marks a crucial point in history which moved Britain and the rest of the world from rural life to urban life. Agrarian life made way for factories, railroads, steamships etc. [4]. Today fossil fuels are responsible for 80% of the world’s energy and power of economies [3,5]. This is important now more than ever because of our reliance on electricity, with 90% of the world using electricity [6]. 

However, fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide which leads to a depletion of the ozone layer, the atmosphere’s protective layer. Carbon dioxide is part of the Greenhouse Gasses causing the atmosphere to heat up and having consequential impacts on the climate. 

What do experts say, is anything being done now to combat this?

To the present date, governments have proposed different methods to help reduce the climate crisis. In Australia, New South Wales (NSW) the Department of Planning has been working with councils on adaptations to reduce carbon emissions like becoming ‘carbon neutral’ by recycling, tree-planting and sewage treatment plans [7]. The United Nations, an intergovernmental organisation, set up the Climate Change Conference Of Parties (COP27 as of 2022) and in 2016 developed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals with number 13 marking climate action to be achieved by 2030. So far, there have been adaptations in wind turbines and solar panels to maintain electrical energy but in a more renewable way [8]. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s leading experts have reported that at the current rate, temperatures could increase to 1.5 % by 2030. IPCC have stated 97% of the climate crisis is caused by human manipulations through burning fossil fuels [9]. This is problematic because it causes changes to the weather, sea levels, habitats and health. For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) expects between 2030 -2050 the climate crisis will lead to increased cases of malnutrition, malaria, heat stress and more [10]. 

What do the stats say?

According to national statistics, Figure 1 shows how the global temperatures have increased from 1880-2020 [12]. This shows the planet is hotting up and it is because of human actions. This can be shown to date with record temperatures in the UK of 40oC causing wildfires.

Figure 1
Bar chart showing rising global temperatures since 1880
Taken from Earthobservatory 

On the other hand Figure 2 shows what the UK is doing to help combat the climate crisis by using different sources of renewable energy like solar power from 2012-2020 (13). This is what people need to start adopting for a more sustainable future and help conserve habits.

Figure 2

Taken from


This article has looked at how energy affects the climate and why it is important for us. Record breaking temperatures that infrastructure cannot deal with leading to wildfires and homes catching on fire are another fundamental problem caused by climate change. This article has also considered experts’ opinions around the world proving that global warming is happening quicker than originally thought. Finally, seeing what government bodies like the United Nations are doing to tackle this may help readers understand what they can do to get involved.

Still need convincing?

Further reading:

[1]What is energy? U.S Energy Information and Administration. Available at (accessed 28th July 2022).
[2]Fossil fuels. National Geographic. Available at (accessed 28th July 2022). 
[3] Fossil fuels. Britannia. Available at (accessed 28th July)
[4]Industrial Revolution. History. Available at (accessed 28th July 2022).
[5]Fossil Fuels. EESI. Available at,percent%20of%20the%20world%27s%20energy. (accessed 28th July 2022).
[6]Access to electricity. The world bank. Available at (accessed 28th July 2022). 
[7]Fallon, D.S.M & Sullivan, C.A. (2014). Are we there yet? NSW local governments progress on climate change, Taylor and Francis (4). Doi:
[8]Foster, S. & Elzinga, D. (2013). The role of fossil fuels in a sustainable energy system. UN chronicle (3). Doi:
[9]Climate science basics. 350. Available at (accessed 28th July 2022).
[10]Climate change and health. World health organization. Available at (accessed 18th July 2022).
[11]Singh, B. R & Singh, O. (2012). Global trends of fossil fuel reserves and climate change in the 21st century (8). ISBN: 953510277X 
[12]Earth observatory. Available at (accessed 28th Juky 2022).
[13]UK electricity generation share by source. Available at (accessed 28th July 2022).

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