Americans Consume Enough Oil Each Day To Nearly Fill 3 Empire State Buildings

In an information-saturated world big numbers can pass by in a blur, but how about this fact to stop you for a moment:

Every single day Americans consume far more oil than other large nations – enough to fill up almost three Empire State Buildings.

The 102-floor Empire State Building is over a quarter mile tall (1,454 feet), and its volume is 37 million cubic feet. According to the BP Standard Review of World Energy, June 2016, the U.S. consumes 19,396,000 barrels of oil per day, or about 2.94 times the volume of the massive New York building constructed in 1930.

By comparison, China – whose nearly 1.4-billion population is nearly 4.5-times the 323-million U.S. population – consumes 1.8 “Empire State Buildings” worth of oil daily (11,968,000 barrels). Other nations like the UK (1,559,000 BPD) and even large Russia (3,113,000 BPD) consume far less.

While we’re talking numbers: The Empire State Building has 1,860 steps and weighs 365,000 tons. It sits on 79,288 square feet (7,340 meters – about two acres). It contains 2.7 million square feet of office space. Its exterior uses 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 10 million bricks and 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel.

What does this mean? Does it mean the U.S. is a gross oil consumer on the global scale? Does it mean (despite relatively cleaner vehicles and other emissions controls) its greenhouse gas output is huge as well?

Source: U.S. EPA.

Yes, though compared to global public enemy number one China, the U.S. did manage to curtail greenhouse gas emissions to around 6.6 million metric tons annually in 2015 compared to China’s peak in 2014 of 9.3-9.5 million metric tons.

That would be one takeaway and another is the 2015 Paris Climate Accord signed by 195 nations – and subsequently being shied away from by President Trump – is now being given a 5-percent chance of success.

According to a study published in July by the journal Nature Climate Change, there is a 90-percent chance the goal of curtailing rising temperature by less than 2 deg C by the year 2100 will not be met. Instead, the study says there is a 90-percent likelihood that temperatures will increase between 2C and 4.9C by 2100

“We’re closer to the margin than we think,” said Adrian Raftery, a University of Washington academic who led the research. “If we want to avoid 2C, we have very little time left. The public should be very concerned.”

This means, if correct, all sorts of unprecedented calamities could come along to change the world as we know it including floods, rising sea levels, droughts, wildfires and storms.

In an effort to get the public more concerned, a UK company called Select Car Leasing compiled facts on the Paris Accord and the images on petroleum consumption in the hope that the U.S. president may have a change of mind.

In the U.S., decisions are driven by a mish-mash of conflicting “facts” and “alternative facts.” It’s a massive debate for some, while others see issues as settled – on one side of the question of climate change or another.

Over in Europe the issue is decidedly less polemic, and there and in other nations, dismay is being expressed following the U.S. indicating to the UN it wants out of the Paris Accord unless a better deal for its interests can be found.

The Paris Accord, agreed to by President Obama, says further once signed, no nation can withdraw until November 2020 and cannot formally notify the UN of its intention to leave until 2019.

Meanwhile in other news, on Sept. 6, the Trump EPA will be allowing public comment on its reopening of formerly settled U.S. emission laws for 2022-2025 in Washington, DC.

And we shall see how it all goes.


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