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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SEatWtC Part 24: Tomorrow’s Global Balance of Power

Countries by CO2 Emissions
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Countries by CO2 Emissions

Tomorrow’s Global Balance of Power

Today, the United States is the world leader in terms of influence in the global economy but that may not always be the case. If carbon dioxide emissions are any indicator of industrial economic activity and the need for energy in the future, the U.S. will be contending with China, Russia, India for the world’s energy resources.

Currently, North America enjoys the largest consumption of crude oil per capita. Russia, India and China do not use nearly the crude oil per capita that we do in the United States, Canada and certain parts of Europe. However, the pure vastness of the populations of China, India and Russia show that compared to the overall carbon dioxide emissions already in these three countries, if the economic growth continues and their oil consumption per capita meets that of North America, China, India and Russia will consume vastly more oil than we currently do. If oil supplies are decreasing and economic activity is only increasing, does this mean there will be strife over who gets the remaining oil? That could be the case, but it doesn’t have to be. Since all energy comes from the sun, we should turn to it for our energy in the long run.

Oil Consumption per Capita
(Darker colors represent more consumption)
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Oil Consumption per Capita

This table orders the amount of petroleum consumed in 2006 in thousand barrels (bbl) per day and in thousand cubic meters (m3) per day:

Consuming Nation 2006 bbl/day x 1,000 m3/day x 1,000 Population x 1,000,000 bbl/year per capita
United States 20,687.42 3,289.0 304 24.8
China 7,201.28 1,144.9 1369 1.9
Japan 5,197.70 826.4 128 14.8
Russia 2,810.76 446.9 142 7.2
Germany 2,691.81 428.0 82 12
India 2,571.90 408.9 1201 0.8
Canada 2,296.66 365.1 32 26.5
Brazil 2,216.84 352.4 187 4.3
South Korea 2,179.90 346.6 49 16.3
Saudi Arabia 2,139.42 340.1 27 28.9
Mexico 2,077.51 330.3 107 7.1
France 1,981.18 315.0 61 11.9
United Kingdom 1,812.01 288.1 61 10.9
Italy 1,742.58 277.0 58 10.9
Iran 1,679.20 267.0 68 8.9

Source: US Energy Information Administration

The other side of the coin is the production of Crude Oil. Those that currently produce a lot of crude will find that they will not enjoy the power and influence they currently have. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Dubai, who currently have power because of their oil reserves, are now building tourist attractions, such as Dubai’s palm tree shaped harbors, that will help supplement their export incomes in the future. As mentioned earlier, countries like the United States who have held back on producing oil will find that they will have more leverage in the future.

Oil Exports by Country
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Oil Exports by Country

Tune in Friday for the Conclusion of SEatWtC!

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