Societal Threats

Gasoline-powered internal combustion engines (ICEs) on motor vehicles have become much more efficient and cleaner-burning over the last century. But with more cars on the road, each traveling farther every year, oil consumption and pollution continue to rise.

As the populations of developing nations such as China and India aspire to greater mobility, the planet’s ability to supply sufficient fossil fuels and to absorb the greenhouse gas and urban air pollution will become severely strained.

In the United States, in 2010 the transportation sector accounted for:

    27% of all greenhouse gas emissions

    90% of all oil consumption

    and between 6.7% (SO2) and 62% (NOx) of all urban air pollution in 2008


Another example of evolving societal threats: rapidly rising consumption of coal in China and to a lesser degree in India threatens huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions; while US coal consumption dipped slightly in the 2008-2009 Recession, despite a slowing of China’s overall economic growth, China’s coal growth continued its rapid rise despite the world recession:

(Source: DOE’s Energy Information Administration

BP Gulf of Mexico Disaster: Deepwater Horizon explostion & Fire April 22, 2010: 



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