Energy efficiency and conservation for individual Americans
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- Pimentel, D., Gardner, J., Bonnifield, A. et al. Environ Dev Sustain (2009) 11: 523. doi:10.1007/s10668-007-9128-x
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Americans make up only 4% of the world population, yet currently consume 25% of the world’s fossil fuels. The U.S. imports 63% of its oil and it is predicted that by 2020 the U.S. will be importing 95% of its oil resources. Over the past century, ample and affordable supplies of fossil fuels have powered the growth and prosperity of the economies of the US and other countries. Within this century, world oil supplies will decline while demand is projected to continue to increase, suggesting that we will have to transition to different fuels or become much more energy efficient or both. Looking ahead to the near decades, estimates are that consumers will have to reduce their energy use by at least 50%. This reduction will be necessary in large part due the decline in the availability of conventional oil and gas, but also because the U.S. population will continue to grow in number. Although government action is important, individuals too often discount their ability to make significant contributions to solving such major problems. This investigation identifies how informed and concerned individuals can collectively conserve fossil energy.