Wednesday, June 19, 2013

If you are interested in either the environment or national security in terms of energy consumption, my discussion (and graphic) here of the situation will interest you. The news ain't good...

Here is a graphic that appeared on the blog Conversable Economist regarding world fuel consumption.  It is the clean version.  Below I took the same image and did some calculations.  Take a gander at what I did...

I was curious about how things have changed since EVERY political cycle we hear an earful about how we need to move to cleaner sources of energy.  Whether it is for environmental and/or national security reasons.

I used 1994 (almost 20 years ago) as my base year ONLY because I did not have the hard data to do the calculations and relied on the eyeball method.  So, my numbers may not be exact but I believe in the ballpark.  Grant me some math grace, please.

In 1994 fossil based fuels accounted for 88% of world energy consumption. Nuclear, renewables and hydo-electric account for the other 12%.  You can see the share each source of fossil fuel (coal is gray, natural gas is red and oil is green) was as a percent of the total in 1994.  I did the same thing for 2012. Those numbers are smaller and in parenthesis.  In 2012 the world economy was 86% dependent on fossil fuels.  A 2-percentage point decline in 20 years.

The emergence of natural gas and coal is the energy story of the last 20 years.  We are using more oil in nominal terms but we are much less dependent on it as a fuel source---32% of the total as opposed to 44% 20 years ago.

Coal is a very dirty source of energy but it is cheap, cheap, cheap relative to the others (natural gas is second).

Whatever your concern is, environmental or security, we are not out of the woods yet in terms of providing for our energy needs.

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