Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Some Good News On Energy And The Environment

On energy use, see Supply and Demand, a 2008 report from the National Academy of Sciences. Excerpt:
"Given the anticipated growth in every U.S. economic sector and in demand for all energy sources, it's natural to wonder how that growth can possibly be sustained. After all, America, with only 5% of the planet's population, already consumes one-fifth of the world's total energy. And other countries are poised to experience increases in energy use as they become more industrialized and improve their standard of living. Can the United States actually meet its growing needs?

It remains to be seen. Yet one important factor is working in our nation's favor. The demand for energy has not been growing as rapidly as the economy, resulting in a significant drop in what is called energy intensity. At present, Americans use about half as much energy per dollar of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the total market value of all the goods and services produced in a country during one year – as they did in 1970. Were it not for this development, the U.S. energy bill would be hundreds of billions of dollars per year higher. Energy-efficiency investments and structural shifts in the economy away from energy-intensive industry and toward service and information-based jobs have both contributed to the phenomenon. So have engineering improvements in scores of systems, from automobile engines to building insulation to electric power-generating facilities.

This trend is expected to continue. The EIA projects that by 2030 Americans will be using only slightly more energy per capita than they did in 1980 – but less than half as much per dollar of GDP."
On the environment, see Air Quality Trends, a report from the EPA. Excerpt: 
"Annual emissions estimates are used as one indicator of the effectiveness of our programs. The graph below shows that between 1980 and 2013, gross domestic product increased 145 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 95 percent, energy consumption increased 25 percent, and U.S. population grew by 39 percent. During the same time period, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 62 percent. The graph also shows that between 1980 and 2012, CO2 emissions increased by 14 percent.
Comparison of Growth Areas and Emissions, 1980-2013
Comparison of Growth Areas and Emissions, showing that between 1980 and 2013, gross domestic product increased 145 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 95 percent, energy consumption increased 25 percent, and U.S. population grew by 39 percent. During the same time period, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 62 percent. The graph also shows that between 1980 and 2012, CO2 emissions increased by 14 percent.
Note: CO2 emissions estimate through 2012 (Source: 2014 US Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report)
         Gross Domestic Product: Bureau of Economic Analysis
         Vehicle Miles Traveled: Federal Highway Administration
         Population: Census Bureau
         Energy Consumption: Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration
         Aggregate Emissions: EPA Clearinghouse for Inventories and Emissions Factors
(see the graphic above for 1970-2013)"

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