Global Warming and the Energy Crisis: Is Your Country Part of the Problem?
With over 7 billion people on the planet today, energy solutions are becoming more and more sparse. While there are those who believe global warming to be a hoax, research and studies show that the planet is rapidly changing, and it is not due to a natural shift in poles. Since 1870, global sea levels have risen by about 8 inches, caused by the melting Arctic icecaps, as well as thermal expansion of the oceans (water expands as it warms).
Other signs of global warming
Other signs of global warming include the fact that the Arctic Ocean is rapidly becoming more acidic thanks to changes in the global carbon cycle and carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere by humans. The Arctic is particularly vulnerable to increasing carbon dioxide emissions, as CO2 is absorbed into cold water more easily. Even if all carbon dioxide emissions stopped immediately, it would take tens of thousands of years for the Arctic to return to the acidification levels that prevailed before the dawn of the Industrial Revolution some 250 years ago.
So who is causing all this damage to the atmosphere?
So who is causing all this damage to the atmosphere? The answers may shock you. While it is common knowledge that the U.S. is one of the main manufacturers of carbon dioxide pollution, there are other countries with less population that contribute to the destruction of the planet:
1. Iceland: 18,774 kg. Yes, that’s right, Iceland. With most of Iceland’s energy coming from hydroelectric and geothermal power, Icelanders are some of the planet’s least energy-conscious.
2. Qatar: 17,418 kg. According to National Geographic, the population is provided with free electricity and water, which has been described as “liquid electricity” because it is often produced through desalination, a very energy-intensive process.
3. Trinidad and Tobago: 15,691 kg. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the richest countries in the Caribbean and the region’s leading producer of oil and gas. It houses one of the largest natural gas processing facilities in the Western Hemisphere. Its electricity sector is entirely fueled by natural gas.
4. Kuwait: 10,408 kg. Despite holding the sixth-largest oil reserves in the world and an estimated 63 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, the demand for electricity in Kuwait often outstrips supply. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Kuwait is perpetually in an electricity supply shortage and experiences frequent blackouts each summer. The country has become a net importer of natural gas to address the imbalance.
5. Brunei: 9,427 kg. The nation of roughly half a million has the region’s highest number of cars per capita. Brunei also subsidizes both vehicle fuel and electricity, which is sold to the public at below-market prices.
6. Luxembourg: 7,684 kg. Landlocked Luxembourg is almost totally dependent on energy imports, mostly oil and gas. Energy consumption has increased 32 percent since 1990, with transportation responsible for 60 percent of the intake, according to an E.U. fact sheet.
7. United Arab Emirates: 7,407 kg. Ski Dubai, the indoor ski resort, burns 3,500 barrels of oil a day. The World Resource Institute estimates that the UAE uses 481 tonnes of oil, compared to Norway’s 172 tonnes.
8. Canada: 7,333 kg. According to EcoSpark, over half (57.6 percent) of Canada’s electricity comes from hydro, with coal the second most popular choice at 18 percent. Nuclear is third (14.6 percent), with oil and gas comprising just 6.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
9. United States: 6,793 kg. As the world’s largest economy and richest nation, the United States should obviously be included as a top 10 energy glutton. However, one puzzling fact is that despite annual economic growth, per-capita U.S. energy consumption has remained around the same level since the 1970s. According to the EIA, one explanation is that the United States has simply shifted the energy required to satisfy greater consumption to manufacturing centers offshore.
10. Finland: 6,183 kg. With over a third of its territory above the Arctic Circle, a cold climate, sparse population and a highly industrialized economy, it is no wonder that Finland is among the highest per-capita energy users in Europe. However, according to the International Energy Agency, Finland plans to diversify its economy away from carbon-based fuels, shifting to renewables, including biomass, and has approved construction of two new nuclear plants.
Do what you can to save our planet, use clean, renewable energy sources.