How Carbon Emissions and Energy Usage Impact Our Environment
There’s a lot of debate about our environment. Based on the recent US elections, there is fear, among those who are pushing for more aggressive action, that the United States government will reduce the commitment to fighting environmental issues. Whether you believe climate change is or isn’t a real concern, we, the United States, and just a few other countries will ultimately be responsible. It’s that simple.
2 important factors that impact the environment are energy usage and carbon emissions. Currently, the more energy we use, the more of the earth’s resources we take. One way to address this issue is to use less energy. Energy efficiency isn’t dependent on government policy. We can all do our part now. The second factor is carbon emissions. Using clean and renewable sources of energy can significantly reduce carbon emissions. Unfortunately, on both of these issues, the US, and a few other countries, are largely to blame.
According to the CIA World Fact book, the average annual per-capita usage of power (energy in watts) is 313. China’s per-capita usage is 447. India’s is 90. Russia’s is 808. Japan’s is 774. The United States’ is 1,683. Based on the total megawatts used by countries in the world annually, the top 5 account for almost 67%. The United States alone consumes 24% of the world’s energy annually but only accounts for 4% of the population.
The news is as bad or worse for carbon emissions. According to The World Bank, the world’s carbon dioxide emissions stemming from the burning of fossil fuels and the manufacture of cement is over 35 billion metric tons annually. China, India, Russia, Japan, and the United States account for over 54%. The United States is responsible for 15% of the worlds carbon emissions but, again, only accounts for 4% of the world’s population.
What are we (the Unites States) fighting for? There are 30 other countries with a longer life expectancy. There are 57 countries with a lower murder rate. 57 countries have a lower cost of living. 6 have a higher per-capita income. 0 have a larger percentage of overweight people. Can we really argue that our gluttonous approach to energy and life, for that matter, is worth it?
Our environment is our responsibility not because there is or isn’t climate change looming. It’s because, as a nation, we’re selfish. Doesn’t it seem incredibly arrogant to live like this and expect 96% of the world’s population to sit by and wait for us to make our decision? Are we really willing to continue on this path?
Earlier in the year, a large number of philanthropists placed an ad in a foreign newspaper saying we need to fight these issues. The message was if we don’t address our usage of energy and its affects on our environment, all other philanthropic efforts may be rendered useless. These are strong words made by internationals who hope the United States, China, India, Russia, and Japan address the issues. Let’s hope we do. Soon.
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