What If We Burned ALL the Fossil Fuels? | Hot Mess ?

Buried beneath your feet are trillions of
tons of dead plants and algae. Over millions of years, their carbon-rich
bodies have been compressed under so much heat and pressure that they’ve transformed
into energy-rich fossils. In fact, we call them ‘fossil fuels’ since
we burn them to release their energy. But burning this coal, oil and gas is releasing
carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere, where it’s rapidly building up and heating our
planet. So far, we’ve burned our way through some
600 billion tons of this carbon. That’s about the same weight as 4 Mount
Everests. It’s a lot, but we can easily get our hands
on way more, because there are 30 Everests worth of carbon still buried in the ground
– enough for us to keep burning at our current rates for another 400 years. What would it be like to live on our planet
if we burned all the fossil fuels? [OPEN] Today, out of every million molecules floating
around our air, 400 are carbon-dioxides. That may sound like a small amount, but it’s
more carbon dioxide than Earth’s atmosphere has seen in the last 3 million years. And if we burned all the carbon still underground,
carbon dioxide levels could reach around 2000 parts per million. That’s higher than they’ve been for the
past 50 million years, which is so far back that Earth didn’t even look like it does today. A future world with this much carbon dioxide
in the air would be radically different from today, but the same physical laws would still
govern how that world operated. Like, gravity would still make things fall,
and carbon dioxide molecules would still trap heat. So, we can use these physical laws to sketch
out what the world might look like with 5 times as much carbon dioxide as today. It would be a hot mess. A really hot mess. Earth’s average temperature could soar
by 11 to 18 degrees fahrenheit. That’s enough to make New York hotter than
present-day Houston, and Moscow hotter than today’s Madrid. This wouldn’t happen just in places that
are already hot, like the Middle East. The map of hot places on Earth would expand
big-time. Over half the world’s population lives in
places likely to overheat. Yeash. But intolerable heat is just the start of
the story. Melting ice could raise sea levels by over
100 feet (30m), drowning coastal cities around the world. Rainfall patterns would change too; some parts
of the world could get less than a third of their normal rainfall, and some parts could
get twice as much. Not exactly ideal, if you’re a farmer. And it’s worth pointing out that once we’ve
burned our way through 30 Everests-worth of carbon… there’d probably be even more
left, because 30 is a conservative estimate that doesn’t even include fossil fuels that
are harder to dig up, like shale gas and methane hydrates. Once you include those, we may actually have
60 Everests left today. If we burned all of those, it would raise
carbon-dioxide levels higher than they’ve been for the past half a billion years . Earth
is only 4.5 billion years old, so that’s a tenth of our planet’s history. It’s so long since we’ve had that much
carbon dioxide, that it’s hard to say what the world might be like. But we can be sure that it would be extremely
wet, because there’s a serious risk we’d melt all the world’s ice sheets, leading
to over 200 feet [60m] of sea level rise. That’s enough to flood the land where
a billion people live today. So, if we burn all the fossil fuels, a lot
of bad things will probably happen. The alternative is to stop using them before
they run out, and when that happens is up to us. The more we burn, the hotter and more extreme
our future becomes, so most of the world’s countries have agreed that we should keep
Earth from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius. That limits us to burning only 3 more Everests
of fossil fuels, which means we’ll have to keep the vast majority – around 57 Everests
worth – buried in the ground. So, how do we keep all that carbon underground? The problem is, fossil fuels are cheap and
easy to get a hold of, and they’ve made life pretty prosperous today. One option, then, would be to make them
more expensive. If governments choose to increase the price
of fossil fuels to include these future damages to society, they’d quickly become less appealing. Or, we could keep making the alternatives
more appealing. Renewable power sources like wind and solar
don’t release carbon dioxide into the air, and we could improve them even more by researching
new technologies to boost their efficiency, making them more dependable, and scaling up
production to drive down costs. Or, we could make fossil fuels socially
unacceptable – just like big health campaigns have turned smoking unsexy. Or heck, we could do all these things! If we want to. In fact, these changes are already beginning
to happen, each in their own way, and around the world we’re slowly starting to move
away from coal, oil and gas. Based on those possible futures we just talked
about, that’s a good thing too, because if we DID end up burning all the world’s
fossil fuels, we would be at serious risk of becoming fossil fools.

Comments 100

  • Without GW, another ice age is inevitable. Check out Milakovitch Cycles.

  • Best practical solution to reduce CO2 is by planting more and more trees as they absorb most of the harmful gases like CO, CO2, SO2 and releases O2. All we need to do is balance the equation.

  • Philipines 🙂

  • I didnt expect johnny knoxville here

  • Why so negative?? Climate change is talked about only with negative consequences in mind. Ignoring the fact that Earth's most biologically productive eras were at times when no ice caps existed and temperatures were much hotter. It's not like the oceans will rise in one giant tsunami, more likely that a series of much smaller events will simply put economic pressure on the coastal cities to adapt or simply move a bit inland. Detroit was a power House of industry until a few decades ago. Los Angeles and Oakland (major ports of the west coast) didn't even exist 100 years ago. Cities and people will simply move over time as they need to. Our farming will become easier as arid areas become wetter, and what is now unfarmable will become habitable. Montezuma county Colorado had over 100,000 native Americans living there 1000 years ago when the climate was wetter, it only has 25,000 people now,even with modern farming technology.

    Why always so negative?? As if Houston and Madrid are such bad places to live, anyway?

  • Honestly, I really don't see why I should deny myself anything I want, just so my kids and grandkids can live. More important I have a huge pickup now than they have a life later. Selfish little sh*ts.

  • How about we stop subsidizing fossil fuels? Seems like a good first step.

  • We should research the suns role in climate change way way more. It has been a lot colder and a lot hotter on this planet in the past where burning fossil fuels wasn t even a thing.

  • Why don't we just go nuclear?

  • I'm scared

  • Stolen video.

  • These videos are incredible.

  • Solar and wind are in many ways lacking. They are pathetic. Manufacture of them is worse then fossil fuel. Honestly, they are not viable alternatives. Nuclear is. I say go green, go nuclear.

  • i guess you could say, it would be a "Hot Mess"

  • These changes will not happen over night. Humanity will adapt

  • Fossilefuel should be used in space or on other planets

  • 0:42 why an elephant and not a pig

  • Renewable energy problem is the price. Already government here estimates the power costs to increase by 30% by winter due to "going green".

    This could mean some people start freezing since they cannot afford heating and do not have "fossil fuel" heating.

  • wait but if we burn it all
    would the alot of areas colaspes from nothing being where the the fuels where

  • But solar etc have too high carbon footprint. They are only renewable in thoery

  • Hope i have 3 mount everest untill i die

  • the world survived before dinosaurs even existed! How dumb!!! LOL

  • Can someone pleeeease show this to idiot Australian P.M Malcolm Turnbull… ???

  • Joke's on you, Moscow is already hotter than Madrid.

  • hmmm. What about finding a way to burn those fossil fuels but instead of releasing the gasses to the atmosphere, trap them somewhere else and put them back on solid or liquid state?

  • As a gearhead and pilot, I hope historical machines always have a place in this world. That said, I do hope we become carbon negative

  • I saw a fan thing that turns gas into oxygen so there's that ey

  • Lets just burn all the fossil fuels. Might as well. We can bring back coal factories and everything everywhere.

  • The earth gets big insects/trees again, while we all die. Doesnt seem so bad for an enviromentalist.

  • Then we would have to seek out tau volantis in search of the marker home world.

  • Please do a video on the economic obstacle coming in our way to live a more eco-friendly life

  • Do video on ocean currents

  • I think we need to invent nano-machine or cultivate bacteria to mimic the effect of photosynthesis.
    That way we can remove carbon from the atmosphere

  • Many causes of global warming I have tried to encompass here: https://youtu.be/oCdR4E0m7RU

  • Just put some sunglasses on the earth

  • How does a YouTube channel become carbon free? Simple, stop 'burning' videos on YouTube servers 😉

  • Those number

  • I am just gonna say it…humans think with their wallets and emotions, not logical reasoning. Banning fossil fuels is never gonna happen because of the economics behind them and alternative energy is not at an affordable economy of scale for humanity just yet. Unless we take the economics of fossil fuels out of the picture is when we can really tackle emissions. But good luck forcing nations and governments to stop producing fossil fuels that make up most of their economic output. Humans can not breathe in an atmosphere with less than 18% oxygen…so if all the fossil fuels were burned right now we would all suffocate/asphyxiate from carbon dioxide diluting the oxygen in our atmosphere…total human extinction.

  • 400 years of fossil fuels. All the easy to get are first gotten. The more we use the harder and harder it is to get. By the time we get to the end it will take MORE energy to get then we'll get.
    In short, I would guess, one third of energy will be used to get the fossil fuels. So, at best we have 2/3s of 400 years left of usable fossil fuel. And the last parts of it will be to costly to get.

  • I think that some genius and smart soul one day will find a way to use the CO2 in the atmosphere to make something useful.
    And them we will need to deal with world colling.

  • First it would be a swamp, then turn into mad max

  • but what if there was a way to reburn the waste we're putting in the air? Obviously we'd need to find a way to collect it and use it, but theoretically if we could reburn our fossil fuels after they've been used once…

  • plant sum trees

  • The issue might soon be solved. The allies are working together to combat the carbon emissions by working together to construct a fusion reactor in the next ten years

  • I dont want to set the world onnn fireee

  • Thank God we don't turn our planet into Venus

  • We have solutions, but they cost "too much money"? What is your money worth, really….
    “Wake up, you idiots! Whatever made you think that money was so valuable?”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut

  • What so why is everyone complaining about every one running out of Fossil fules

  • There is enough for 400years

  • Guys it's snowing in the African Savannah – So much for global warming from c02 which c02 doesn't even make up 1% of our atmosphere.

  • fuels > energy > revert fuels ….alchemy …

  • At least new Yorkers would know how it is in Houston >:)

  • If we burned it all right now all at once of course it would suck.

  • I think the cymbal at the end of the into should be a half-open hi-hat instead.

  • God has banned earth from the server.

  • Mount Everest is not a mountain, it's a summit. The mountain you meant to say is actually a mountain chain called the Himalayas…

  • if we dont stop using fossil fuels we will become fossil fuels if you know what i mean (we will go extinct)

  • not fossil fools, but fossilized fools, newcomers in a dinosaurs park

  • Climate change is a hoax!

  • I'll give it 20 years

  • Water is better at trapping heat than co2 also by this logic humans breathing is polluting

  • It’s all Rockefeller’s mistake

  • He waited for the entire show to make that fuel-ish pun.
    Can you discuss the degree planned obsolescence affects energy consumption from carbon, which affect carbon dioxide production?

  • Goes back in time I warned them to NEVER NEVER burn fossil fuel now they use sunlight and water and wind and showed them the damage

  • That would mean that a metric fuckton of dumbassery would be released too.

  • Do those calculations account for other greenhouse gasses that are increasingly being released into the atmosphere? Methane from cattle, other fuels released accidentally (LP, etc?) Granted, they may not account for as much warming as CO2 (at our current rate of usage,) but I'm sure it'd be significant over several decades.

    Love the new channel!!!

  • Plz. do "What if we burned all of the world's drugs?"

    I'm really curious if we'll all get high

  • there would be no dinosaur fossils

    get it?

  • You didn't mention that 2000ppm carbon dioxide in air you can't breathe on long run "Headaches, sleepiness and stagnant, stale, stuffy air. Poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present"

  • Is there any technology available that could potentially filter out any gasses emitted by burning fossil fuels and capture the CO2 and then dispose of it? Thus allowing for the use of fossil fuels for energy, but capturing and destroying/repurposing the co2 that comes from it?

  • I thought hydrogen based energy would be inefficient and expensive to produce, then I viewed some of the informative videos on a new revolutionary method by an energy company called H2IL Very interesting & a must see.
    It could be what we need to solve the worlds sinking climate change.

  • Don't use the price to regulate fossil fuels, as that only means the rich will buy the right to make life more miserable for the rest of us. There have to be better ways, such as banning certain uses.

  • Make the fuel expensive? Yeah, look at France now.

  • I have just learned about jet streams and that they influence the (in)stability of weather systems. Please do a video on how global warming changes the jet streams.

  • DISCUSS OCEAN ACIDIFICATION MORE, PLEASE!………….OUR CO2 emissions makes the carbonic acid in the sea, that changes its PH balance to acidic, that then kills off the plankton, and the plankton makes 68% of our air !!!!!   ******** SUFFOCATION!

  • Dead Fossil Fools !!!

  • well if that happened that’d be a HOT MESS

    im so sorry XD
    also theres so many sciency comments in the comment section :O

  • we could also just ban fussil fuels. just build all the clean energy needed, right now. can private transportation and build this year all the public transportation we need. we can not affor to use these "clever" market manipulations. we must just do it.

  • Can you believe in some countries, governments are trying to charge more to ecological solutions instead? Kinda related to corruption.

  • Fossil fuels are not fossils anymore than burning biomass is.

  • Shale gas is freaking easy to get.

  • No, a lot of things will happen. It's you opinion that they are bad. I'm getting beach front property in Antarctica.

  • Your own previous videos explain why raising prices artificially on carbon is bad for the poor, disproportionately so.

  • Incorrect, the 1st world is moving away from them. The 3rd world is moving towards them because they want to develop. I'll let you look up the number of people who die from complications related to indoor wood burning for heat and cooking.

  • Human beings are too selfish. We are doing anything and everything to make earth more unlivable — to make some more bucks ; just to find out we never owned that money in the end.

  • What If We Burned All The World's Fossil Fuels? Wrong question! The right question?
    What if you used up the World's supply of Oxygen. Something tells me you wouldn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out. One thing for sure you won't need to be too worried about the Earths temperature…
    A good thing to remember the Earth didn't start out with free Oxygen, it took quite some time to arrange that little feat!.

  • we’d be a hot mess

  • Why are you here?

  • Russia would become tropical hyperborea so let's make it happen!

  • 3:35 I'm a south Indian and my home will sink..
    Thanks a lot "enlightened US".

  • OIL AND COAL is endless – the Earth produces it constantly from the core – The Truth has been hidden from you – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTZhGvAdz2U .
    Oil is a hydrocarbon – it is not Biological – it is an endless supply from our Earth;s core. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jqn1sl13Hzk
    Still not convinced ? Saturn's moon TITAN has more oil than all of Earth's reserves. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/media/cassini-20080213.html
    CO2 is the gas that supports life – the more the better. Burning coal is no different to you burning the food you eat. Plants breathe in the CO2 through tiny "holes" under their leaves – ( take a look) – The plant keeps the carbon for building its stems, leaves etc – then it breathes out the O2. The atmosphere is 21% oxygen which is paired atoms being O2 (dioxide). Anything with O2 gives life or protects life. eg: H2O2 is water with one extra oxygen atom – this is hydrogen peroxide (actually hydrogen Di Oxide) which is your white blood cells – most efficient at killing germs etc.
    We were meant to burn coal and oil – it's forever being produced down below. The 1970's oil scare that Earth only had 10 years left of oil was a scam – the wells appeared to be drying up – but REPLENISHED THEMSELVES – Yes it never ends. Scarcity raises prices – Scams cause alarm and people pay more. The Hegelian Dialectic method of Problem – Reaction – Solution.

  • Luck I can change the world
    WE can still use fossil fuels with my invention
    When I am older ???

  • This fellow is repeating the paradigms and garbage taught in schools not to mention CO2 being a lifeline for all living things – the more the merrier. – THINK ! Saturn's largest moon Titan, has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth. Imagine the size of the dinosaurs !!! Everything you learned in school is controlled – what does the government know? Nothing ! and you got a government education didn't you.
    Coal and oil are A-Biotic (Bituminous) therefore have zero biological make up and thats been known for many years – however in order to make money from this free resource those in control have told you it is limited – anything that is limited goes UP in price. It's all as usual about money.
    Planet Earth creates endless oil and coal from it's mantle. The fossil limit was once 4000 feet – then they found oil at 10,000 feet, so they pushed the limit down again now we pump oil from 40,000 feet including from the bottom of the ocean – sooner or later someone has to wake up.
    CO2 has to double for a lousy ONE degree increase – raising CO2 grows plants – they keep the carbon and breath out the oxygen so we get the O2 (dioxide) which happens to be 21% of the atmosphere. Breathe easy folks. The world is greener, the Amazon is growing at an unprecedented rate – if you don't have science behind you then you are a pushover for this guys BS.

  • Co2 did not stop Antarctic from freezing over when it was 1500+ ppm. What makes you think it can cause it to thaw under 1000 ppm? What caused the ice age was the impact of the Indian plate impacting with the Eurasian plate creating the Himalayan mountains. Until that is removed, the maximum temperature is only about 3°C above current temperature and that happen during the Holocene maximum, the period in recent (geological speaking) history that the earth temperature was at the best for life.

  • That our planet’s biosphere is warming at an unnatural rate and is straining under the burden of pollution from many sources is painfully obvious. This cause of these effects is the use of old technologies being used by ever increasing numbers of people. Either we up our game, technologically speaking, or reduce the number of people — or both.

  • A reasonable conclusion is that the Earth's climate would be largely similar to that which existed before rampant plant growth of Azolla ferns and other plants sucked over 90% of CO2 out of the atmosphere to create Mother Nature's original carbon neutral bio-fuels.

    The earliest known fossils of placental mammals, date to 66 million years ago though placental mammals likely had existed up to 90 million years ago in order to reach the state of development of the known fossils. Climate conditions were conducive to the forebears of humans and, by extension, to humans. Since dinosaurs will not come back with global warming, those humans who adapt will live. Survival of those who choose to rely on preventing the climate from changing is less certain.

    Mankind can not put back into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels more CO2 than was sucked out of the atmosphere to create those fossil fuels. Some loss is inevitable because some of the fossil fuels are economically or physically unrecoverable.

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