A fossil fuel is a substance such as coal, natural gas or petroleum that contains a high percentage of carbon and hydrocarbons and can be burned to produce heat or energy. Fossil fuels were formed by the decay of biomass and other dead organisms ("fossils") over a time period of millions of years. Extraction of fossil fuels from the earth is destructive to the environment, burning them severely pollutes the atmosphere, and supplies of them are not renewable and will eventually be depleted altogether.
The prevalent fossil fuels are:
- natural gas and various hydrocarbon gases and liquids derived from it
- petroleum crude oil and its derivatives fuel oil and gasoline
In May 2023, the New York legislature approved a law that will prohibit natural gas hookups and other fossil fuels in most new homes and other construction. This is the first legislation of its kind and has been long sought by opponents of fossil fuels and advocates of clean air. The state ban on gas in new buildings could face legal challenges.
- N.Y. ditches gas stoves, fossil fuels in new buildings in first statewide ban in U.S. by Anna Phillips in the New York Times, May 3, 2023.