Greta is smart enough to want each and all of you to immediately Stop Burning Fossil Fuels. She happens to be right about that!
We humans need to breathe a constant supply of atmospheric oxygen to live. However, in order to heat all our buildings by burning Fossil Fuels, every year, we permanently remove about 69,000,000,000 tons of oxygen from the atmosphere. Unintentionally, we must do that due to the simple chemistry of how we annually create around 22,000,000,000 tons of brand new carbon dioxide (which we call Global Warming). Within a few more decades, we will have (permanently) removed so much oxygen from the atmosphere that breathing will begin to be a struggle for us, and we will begin to die from suffocation!
We have been doing this since around 1940, and every year, there are many billions of tons of oxygen in the atmosphere which permanently disappear (and are instead replaced by the many billions of tons of resulting brand new carbon dioxide sent up in the atmosphere). The science shows that about every seven years, we permanently remove about another trillion tons of oxygen from the atmosphere. So far, the science shows that we have apparently permanently removed around 12,000,000,000,000 tons of oxygen from the Earth's atmosphere.
We humans and mammals and birds need to be able to inhale oxygen in order to breathe and live!
In recent years, Greta Thunberg and her millions of followers have taught us that our massive burning of Fossil Fuels is creating a Global Warming Crisis which is fouling up our weather due to the global warming effects of our (permanently) adding around 22,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, every year, which has begun to cause the weather effects due to our burning of Fossil Fuels. But no one seems to have realized that we are simultaneously causing an even more deadly effect of permanently removing even several times more oxygen from the atmosphere (around 69,000,000,000 tons of oxygen removed every year), which we need even more urgently than any carbon dioxide effects.
In more familiar terms, we say that an average family is adding a Carbon Footprint of around 14 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere due to every winter's heating of their home. Using simple chemistry, we say that the family bought about 5 tons of Natural Gas or Heating Oil (for around $2,000 every winter), and then they burn (oxidize) that Fossil Fuel to create the heat to heat their home. Since Natural Gas is nearly all methane, which is (CH4), we can analyze this chemistry. Using standard atomic weights (a carbon atom is weight 12 and each hydrogen atom is weight 1), we can easily find the family bought (12/16) of the 5 tons or 3.75 tons of carbon and (4/16) of the 5 tons or 1.25 tons of hydrogen.
When this family oxidizes (burns) the carbon, again using atomic weights, they create (44/12) times as much carbon dioxide (CO2), which is then 13.75 tons of brand new carbon dioxide as that year's Carbon Footprint, which their burning sends up into the atmosphere.
When the family oxidizes (burns) the hydrogen, again using atomic weights, we create (18/2) times as much water vapor (H2O), which is then 11.25 tons of brand new water vapor, which their burning sends up into the atmosphere. Sending water vapor into the lower Earth's atmosphere has minimal effect as the new water vapor soon changes into moisture droplets and so therefore soon disappears.
Between these two chemical reactions, they need to obtain quite a lot of oxygen from the atmosphere. For the carbon oxidation, they will find and use 10 tons of oxygen from the atmosphere (which will permanently be removed from the atmosphere). For the hydrogen oxidation, they will find and use another 10 tons of oxygen from the atmosphere. During a winter, therefore, our family will remove 20 tons of oxygen from the atmosphere, just to heat their home.
There are roughly 3.5 billion buildings on Earth which are heated by burning Fossil Fuels, so this means that we permanently remove about 69,000,000,000 tons of oxygen from the atmosphere, every year, just to heat our homes and buildings.
We also drive vehicles which burn different forms of Fossil Fuels, Gasoline or Diesel or Jet Fuel or AvGas. These chemistries are just as simple, and our driving and transportation and freight requires us to permanently remove another 35,000,000,000 tons of oxygen from the atmosphere every year.
We also burn Fossil Fuels to make the massive amount of electricity which our civilization relies on. In America, roughly 51% of the electricity we produce and use comes from burning coal, another Fossil Fuel. Another 20% of the electricity we produce and use comes from burning Natural Gas, another Fossil Fuel.
Collectively, every year, we humans dig up and burn enough Fossil Fuels that, when we burn the Fossil Fuels we permanently remove around 125,000,000,000 tons of oxygen from the atmosphere!
It took many millions of years for all those Fossil Fuels to form deep inside the Earth. Fortunately, we only discovered all the energy in Fossil Fuels around 1840, and experts at the major oil companies now all predict that they will have dug up (and burned) all the Fossil Fuels in the Earth by about the year 2040 or 2045.
The giant Corporations which had built their reputations on finding and selling Fossil Fuels are now changing their tunes! They each now intend to become Alternative Energy Corporations. Because they see the future and they see that they are soon to be without any Fossil Fuels to still be able to dig up and sell!
The only open question is therefore, a few decades from now, whether we will have left enough oxygen in the atmosphere after we have totally used up all the Fossil Fuels to get the energy we lust for. IF there is still enough oxygen left in the atmosphere that humans and mammals will be able to breathe, we may be OK (although our current unlimited energy supplies will then no longer exist).
Nearly everyone believes that anyone with a shovel could dig up any Fossil Fuel (petroleum, coal or natural gas) and use a match to ignite it to burn it to then create the enormous energy we rely on from Fossil Fuels. That is actually nearly completely wrong!
The truth is massively different than that, and it has consequences which are immensely worse than the Global Warming which we have become concerned about!
The difference is entirely due to the true importance of the word oxidizing. Nearly everyone is moderately aware of what it means to oxidize but few people seem to know the true scientific implications.
Fossil Fuels were all formed, deep underground, over many millions of years due to there not being any oxygen deep in the Earth. So, back then, those potential fuels could not actually burn (due to the chemical lack of oxygen down there).
When we now raise Fossil Fuels to the surface so we can burn them to obtain all the energy we want to get from the Fossil Fuels, we buy about 5 tons of Fossil Fuels. and then need to obtain about 20 tons of oxygen from the atmosphere to burn the Fossil Fuels and thereby create about 14 tons of carbon dioxide which fouls up our weather. Notice which of these three materials is used in greatest quantity. Unfortunately, that oxygen happens to be the most crucial toward our being able to breathe and live!
You are not alone as there are about three billion other drivers also out there, so collectively, you drivers are permanently adding many billions of tons of carbon dioxide up into the atmosphere. Greta Thunberg is right in being concerned about her future as an old person, due to climate effects of this resulting global warming.
But no one seems to be aware of just where all that brand new carbon dioxide is coming from. There are massive amounts of oxygen from the Earth's atmosphere which need to permanently disappear in order to chemically form all that carbon dioxide. The chemistry cannot be ignored.
And we who enjoy breathing want to know that we are going to leave enough oxygen in the atmosphere for Greta and her followers to enjoy!