Picture courtesy US Coastguard
The Line most people say when there is a talk about fossil fuels “America is addicted to Oil”, does that mean the rest of the world does not use it? No it basically means we use more than our share of oil. Approximately the number of registered vehicles in the US could be between 254 to 265 million and a vehicle on average uses 600 gallons of fuel annually which would total to 152.4Billion gallons of fuel! US population of 309.5 million is around 5% of the world population and we use around 26% of the world’s fuel. US has around .8 cars per person!
Experts estimate the earth has around 1.05 trillion barrels of crude oil remaining. We are using around 24billion barrels of oil annually. If that rate remains a constant we will run out of oil approximately by the year 2053. If the usage increases as it is increasing right now that date will be much closer than further.
Data courtesy Society of Sedimentary Geology
We all hear about Climate Change / Global warming; many of us accept what the scientists say and many question it. What is constant or common between the believers and the doubters is the acceptance that there definitely is some difference in weather patterns and related natural phenomenon across the globe. The Inter governmental panel for Climate change our planet is at the warmest in 420,000 years!
Some thoughts about fossil fuels:
- As the Oil Spill in the gulf shows us, drilling and siphoning oil from 5000feet under the ocean is not an easy solution or an environmentally friendly one to say the least.
- All the technology in the world cannot take on nature and prevent manmade disasters.
- It might sound utopian but a field of sunflowers powering our vehicles sound so much less stressful than burning oil from the Middle East.
- A single car using 600barrels of oil will produce around 12,000 pounds of CO2 which will take 240 trees to absorb! Just imagine the number of trees we will need for 260million vehicles!
- The remaining tropical forests remove a massive 4.8 billion tons of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere each year i.e. they are carbon sinks (anything which absorbs more carbon than it releases).
- Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), referring to the goal of limiting global warming to a rise of 2 degrees Celsius as compared to temperatures in pre-industrial times.
- If flights were fuller it would mean lesser number of flights and there for lesser carbon emissions.
- European Union too followed the US and decided to give up on the Kyoto Protocol! An international agreement adopted in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. The protocol sets binding greenhouse gas emissions targets for developed countries that would reduce their emissions on average 5.2% below 1990 levels.
- Flying injects exhaust emissions directly into the upper part of the atmosphere, where they cause the most damage. The effects of the resulting mix of chemical reactions are complex and hard to calculate, occurring over timescales between three days and 100 years. Even so, scientists believe that between 1992 and 2050, the overall impact of these emissions will prove somewhere between 1.2 and four times that of CO2 at ground level.
- There still is no solid data as to how much Oil is flowing into the gulf. It varies from 12,000 barrels to 50,000 barrels!
- We won’t know of the environmental and economic impact of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill until the leak is plugged and the cleaning is all but done.
- For the future of the earth there is no way but alternative energy. For each one of us that is also the way to a better lifestyle.
Well these are just some of the information out there wonder how much more information is out there… which if I knew would make a difference in how I live my fossil fuel dependant life.
Small changes I have made; I have started planning more about the number of times I go grocery shopping so that I don’t rush to the store burning more fuel to pick up something I forgot.
I believe until the day we are truly rid of fossil fuel addiction we need to keep trying to wean our selves off… Not an easy fight I know… If not, the catastrophe that is on the front page these days will repeat, with what kind of impact only time will tell.
This link will give you an idea about how large the area of the spill is in distances which make sense to us… check it out, I found it useful.