The phrase 'the fossil record' sounds impressive and authoritative. As used by some persons it becomes, as intended, intimidating, taking on the aura of esoteric truth as expounded by an elite class of specialists. But what is it, really, this fossil record? Only data in search of interpretation. All claims to the contrary that I know, and I know of several, are so much superstition.
Gareth J. Nelson
All scientists who've looked at it know we have to phase away from burning fossil fuels. That means we've got to put a lot of effort into alternate energy technologies, but we're still subsidizing fossil fuels and not subsidizing most of the alternatives. It's not going to be an easy transition.
Paul R. Ehrlich
It isn't easy to become a fossil. ... Only about one bone in a billion, it is thought, becomes fossilized. If that is so, it means that the complete fossil legacy of all the Americans alive today - that's 270 million people with 206 bones each - will only be about 50 bones, one-quarter of a complete skeleton. That's not to say, of course, that any of these bones will ever actually be found.
Every candidate running for president has got to answer the following very simple question: At a time when we need to address the planetary crisis of climate change, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainability, should we continue to give $135 billion in tax breaks and subsidies over the next decade to fossil fuel companies?
The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much we're contributing to the warming of the earth's atmosphere and how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.
There are about 250,000 different species of fossil plants and animals known . . In spite of this large quantity of information, it is but a tiny fraction of the diversity that [according to the theory] actually lived in the past. There are well over a million species living today and . . [it is] possible to predict how many species ought to be in our fossil record. That number is at least 100 times the number we have found.
David M. Raup
Why, these men would destroy the Bible on evidence that would not convict a habitual criminal of a misdemeanor. They found a tooth in a sand pit in Nebraska with no other bones about it, and from that one tooth decided that it was the remains of the missing link. They have queer ideas about age too. They find a fossil and when they are asked how old it is they say they can't tell without knowing what rock it was in, and when they are asked how old the rock is they say they can't tell unless they know how old the fossil is.
William Jennings Bryan
We are fossil fuel addicts. What happens when drug addicts detox? They can be rash, cranky, even psychotic and dangerous. It would be good for the environment if the entire economy abruptly quit fossil fuels, but that's not realistic. I wouldn't want to be around if it ever happened. Perhaps it's best to think of natural gas like methadone. It's a way for an energy addicted society to get off dirtier fuels and smooth out the detox bumps.
If we want energy security, then we have to reduce our appetite for fossil fuels. There's no other way. Other issues may crowd the headlines, but this is our fundamental challenge. Big challenges require bold action and leadership. To get the United States off fossil fuels in this uneasy national climate of terrorism and conflict in the Persian Gulf, we must treat the issue with the urgence and persistance it deserves. The measure of our success will be the condition on which we leave the world for the next generation.
A revolution in humanity's use of fossil fuel-based energy would be necessary sooner or later to sustain and to extend modern standards of living. It will be required sooner if we are to hold the risks of climate change to acceptable levels. The costs that we bear in making an early adjustment will bring forward, and reduce for future times, the costs of the inevitable eventual adjustment away from fossil fuels.
...A one-pound box of prewashed lettuce contains 80 calories of food energy. According to Cornell ecologist David Pimentel, growing, chilling, washing, packaging, and transporting that box of organic salad to a plate on the East Coast takes more than 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy, or 57 calories of fossil fuel for every calorie of food.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and we won't replace fossil fuels with clean energy based on the events of a single week, either. But the important thing to remember is that, once they happen, clean energy victories are irreversible. No one will tear down wind farms because they are nostalgic for fracking in our watersheds. And nobody will pull down their solar panels because they miss having mercury in their tuna or asthma inhalers for their kids. Because once we leave fossil fuels behind, we are never going back.
I published that theory [of speciational evolution] in a 1954 paper... and I clearly related it to paleontology. Darwin argued that the fossil record is very incomplete because some species fossilize better than others... I noted that you are never going to find evidence of a small local population that changed very rapidly in the fossil record... Gould was my course assistant at Harvard where I presented this theory again and again for three years. So he knew it thoroughly. So did Eldredge. In fact, in his 1971 paper Eldredge credited me with it. But that was lost over time.
Ernst W. Mayr
Coal, oil and gas are called fossil fuels, because they are mostly made of the fossil remains of beings from long ago. The chemical energy within them is a kind of stored sunlight originally accumulated by ancient plants. Our civilization runs by burning the remains of humble creatures who inhabited the Earth hundreds of millions of years before the first humans came on the scene. Like some ghastly cannibal cult, we subsist on the dead bodies of our ancestors and distant relatives. - Dr. Carl Sagan