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There’s finally some good news about America’s energy efficiency

| October 24, 2013

It may feel like all the news we hear with regard to the environment is negative. The headlines are everywhere:

energy efficiency

Increasing energy efficiency is better for the environment and less costly than resorting to other energy sources, like fossil fuels. From janie.hernandez55.

Global warming increasing

Irreversible damage done to ozone layer

Polar ice caps depleting at alarming rates

You’d be forgiven for thinking that we’re barreling the wrong way down a one-way street toward doom.

However, a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council paints a much sunnier picture than we’re accustomed to of late. In fact, the title alone is enough to impart a sense of optimism: America’s (Amazingly) Good Energy News.

The gist of the report on the country’s energy efficiency is thus, as quoted (at length) in an article by John Upton on Grist.org:

Over the past 40 years Americans have found so many innovative ways to save energy that we have more than doubled the economic productivity of the oil that runs our vehicles and the natural gas and electricity that runs almost everything else. Factories and businesses are producing substantially more products and value with less energy.

Because increasing efficiency is far less costly than adding other energy resources like fossil fuels, this is saving the nation hundreds of billions of dollars annually, helping U.S. workers and companies compete worldwide, and making our country more energy-secure.

Well, that’s certainly good news.

You may have heard that, early in his first term, President Obama set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent between 2005 and 2020. It seems as though we’re moving in that direction.

The President’s challenge doesn’t appear to have been met with instantaneous response. In fact, Upton reports that America’s energy use actually peaked two years later, in 2007. However, it has been falling ever since.

“Less energy was used by Americans last year than in 1999, despite 25 percent economic growth in the intervening years,” reports Upton.

This is perhaps the most promising statistic: we’re still growing as a country, and more people use more energy. Thus, if we’re able to use less energy overall, it represents a true victory.

Does that mean we should grow complacent? Of course not! As Upton notes, “the U.S. and the rest of the world must do much more if we’re going to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.”

That’s according to another report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recently confirmed what we all suspected: climate change IS happening, and humans ARE responsible.

So while the latest report from the Natural Resources Defense Council is certainly promising, it should be viewed as a reminder that the efforts we’re making now are critical and we should keep our foot on the gas pedal…er, I mean, the biofuel pedal.

How can you help? You can make an effort to reduce your household’s energy consumption; you can reduce, reuse, and recycle; and you canspread awareness throughout your community.

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Category: Energy

About the Author ()

Ellen Hunter Gans has been writing for RecycleReminders since the blog’s inception. She is passionate about words, new media and, of course, recycling.

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