Hot Year, Cool Response, a view of the year in climate
Oil spills: They stopped the BP gusher -- can we staunch the flow of fuel we burn every day?
The Gulf oil gusher was capped and the effects are still being felt by people in the region -- and will be for years. But the far bigger spill of oil, with greater consequences for the U.S and the world, is the oil successfully delivered daily to our inefficient cars, trucks, furnaces, factories and aircraft. The United States consumed a total of 6.85 billion barrels of oil (refined petroleum products and biofuels) in 2009, and 6.99 billion barrels in 2010 -- reversing a slight downward trend since 2007. That is the equivalent of about 294 billion gallons a year -- about 805 million gallons a day -- of gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, lubricants and jet fuel.
Each gallon burned spews out about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, which brings us to the image below and the record levels of CO2 monitored by NOAA last year.
We must do better, and there are many alternatives, from efficient homes to rapid transit to all-electric cars. A consideration for Earth Day 2011.
Greenhouse gases increase at record rate in 2010 to highest ever recorded -- Report from Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii
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