Sustainable America Blog

An emissions reality check…

Carbon dioxide emissions could fall by 150 million tons per year if coal plants are replaced by natural-gas fired combined cycle plants. That’s equal to taking some 13,000 cars off the road each year. Today natural gas is cheaper than coal and oil and with a lower emissions footprint. It seems poised to become a prime fuel for the intermediate term while we continue developing more sustainable long term fuels for the future. Read more about the Debate over Natural Gas, and Natural Gas, Electric Vehicles and Twilight of the Combustion Engine in our previous posts.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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