The Biggest Energy Story of 2012

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The Earth from space shows nighttime energy use on each continent
Composite map of the world assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite showing the nighttime energy use on each continent. Image courtesy-NASA

The world energy industry is suddenly transforming into something very different from the industry we have grown accustomed to over the past decades. It used to be, pump and burn more oil, mine and burn more coal and build more coal-fired burners to produce electricity. More, more and more — smoke, that is!

Anti-nuclear protesters were a constant feature in the press anywhere a reactor was considered, built or commissioned into use. Urban residents held irregular anti-smog protests outside of City Hall in large cities like LA and Tokyo.

Small-scale and larger wars, were fought over control of the world’s oil and gas fields sometimes affecting the very economic health of those nations.

Welcome to 2013. The world is still reeling from President Barack Obama’s decision to wean America completely off of foreign oil, he also ordered oil and gas production to be dramatically ramped up in the U.S.A. – and he decided to make his country a net oil exporter of oil and gas. Not just any-old net exporter mind you, but the world’s number one exporter of both oil and gas by 2017! That’s in four years.

Heady stuff for a mostly ambivalent world.

Remember back in February 2006, when then-President George W. Bush famously stated in his State of the Union speech that “America is addicted to oil.” That of course, is true. The U.S.A. and the other industrialized nations wouldn’t survive without oil, as the entire Western economy is based on petroleum and the products made from it. From transportation and energy fuels, to plastics, medicines, agricultural fertilizers, residential and commercial buildings – virtually everything we live in, drive, wear, buy or use, is a product or by-product of petroleum.

Both Presidents — Obama and Bush, foresaw the importance of lowering overall energy use to improve the health and quality of life for American citizens, to lower international tensions by sourcing oil domestically and to invest in clean technology to improve conservation and efficiency.

It turns out that conservation, green energy and domestic energy extraction is not a Democrat or Republican thing — it’s a leadership thing. And all over the world, it is catching on. Welcome to 2013, indeed!

World Energy Report‘ infographic — compares U.S. energy consumption to energy consumption of other nations.

Infographic depicting how the American energy consumption measure up in a global context.
Infographic depicting how the American energy consumption measure up in a global context. Although the U.S. only comprises 5% of the the world’s population, the country consumes 20% of the world’s energy. Image credit –MyEnergy

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