Ethics and the Environment Case Study: Fueling the World

Essay by gstevens124University, Bachelor'sA+, November 2007

download word file, 9 pages 3.4

"Humanity's way of life is on a collusion course with geology, with the stark fact that the earth holds a finite supply of oil" (Appenzeller, 2004, p. 88). The United States is one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels. This paper presents Learning Team A's fossil fuel case study analysis. The selected case study is, Fueling the World: What are the Alternatives? (Newton, Dillingham, and Choly, 2006, p. 157).

This case summary details the damages being, done to the global environment by our continued use of fossil fuels. The damage being, the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, land, and water spills. The fossil fuels described in the case study are oil, coal, and natural gas. The case study also goes on to show us alternatives to this pollution-causing material sand the possible hazards inherent to them. They alternative energy sources are, nuclear energy, hydroelectric power, wind driven turbines, solar power, and fuel cells.

Petroleum UsageIn 2002, the United States consumed 7.191 billion barrels of oil. As a country, about 70% of the oil we use is for transportation. (Newton, Dillingham, and Choly, 2006, p. 158) This includes, cars, airplanes, trucks, railroad locomotives, etc. all are using oil or its derivatives. In 1990, it was estimated that the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel use was 4,696.6 Tg, or 5,177,115,303 tons in 2004 the total rose to 5,656.6 Tg, or 6,235,334,160 Tons (EPA, 2006). These greenhouse gases cause massive damage to our ecosystem. Global warming, acid rain, and smog are a few of the symptoms.

Vehicles in questionAll vehicles that use fossil fuels for power are guilty of emitting greenhouse gases. We live in a country where bigger is better. Better for us and not for the environment. There has recently been...