According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the U.S. used almost exactly the same amount of energy in 2011 as it did in 2010. In 2010 we used 98.16 quads and in 2011 we used 98.29.
Is that good, bad or indifferent? The two numbers aren’t enough to tell.
Because our population grew by more than 3 million people, at least it didn’t rise by one quad-as I wrote earlier, we use about 1 quad for every 3 million people. In 2010 our population was counted at 310.83 million and in 2011 it was estimated at 313.84. But that’s still not good enough. Our energy use per capita rose, although only a little.
Although our GDP grew by half a trillion dollars, we are not getting more bang for our energy buck. In 2010 our GDP was $13.088 trillion and it rose to $13.506 trillion in 2011. We are using more energy to produce 1 unit of GDP than we did in 2010. That’s also bad.
However, our carbon dioxide emissions declined by 500 million metric tonnes (equivalent, which means adding in emissions of other greenhouse gases and converting that to an equivalent amount of CO2 emissions). Our emissions in 2010 were estimated at 5,633.6 million metric tonnes in 2010 and 5,600 in 2011. And that’s good. It means we are converting from coal to gas and continuing the grand experiment with hybrids and renewable sources of energy.
One metric out of three is positive. That’s not good enough.