Earth at night

Celebrate “Energy Day” and all of the great natural resources the Earth provides

Earth Day is frequently filled with wailing and gnashing of teeth about the environment. But those doing all the wailing and gnashing don’t always tell the whole story about the true state of our environment. The truth is this: The environment is getting cleaner, even as the economy grows and population increases. The connection between the environment and the economy is not a coincidence, of course. No one wants dirty water or dirty air. So, as the economy grows, it makes it easier to clean the environment. It is not what the enviro-doomsayers and eco-profiteers say, but we have done just that. It’s called ingenuity and the American people are chock-full of it.

Here are some facts to share with your friends and family about energy and the environment:

1. Almost one quarter of the world’s population, 1.4 billion people, do not have access to electricity. (Int’l Energy Agency)

2. Air quality continues to improve even as the economy grows and energy consumption increases. Since 1990 U.S. gross domestic product has increased by 64 percent, population has grown by 22 percent, and energy consumption has increased by 19 percent. At the same time, air pollution emissions have decreased by 41 percent. (Inst for Energy Research)

3. Americans use less energy per person today than in the 1970s, even though the economy has doubled in size. Today we drive more miles and have many more electronic gadgets and yet, energy use per person fell by 9 percent according to the Energy Information Administration. Also, since 1970, energy use per dollar of economic output has fallen by over 50 percent. (Dept. of Energy)

4. Today’s power plants are much cleaner than in the past. One factor in improving air quality has been the pollution-control technologies used by coal-fired power plants. Between 1970 and 2006, SO2 emissions in pounds per million Btu were reduced by almost 80 percent and NOx emissions in pounds per million Btu were reduced by over 70 percent. Between 1970 and 2006, total SO2 emissions were reduced by about 40 percent. Between 1980 and 2006, NOx emissions were reduced by almost 50 percent. (Inst for Energy Research)

5. The United States produced more oil in 1949 than it does today. This should not come as a surprise, since the federal government has only offered for lease 3 percent of federal lands and the Obama Administration continues to keep new offshore areas under lock and key. (Dept. of Energy)

Happy “Energy Day” from the Institute for Energy Research.

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