Losing effeciency


Hannah Kellermeyer

Photo Illustration

Daniel Carr, Writer

The world is ending. Of course not right away, but our available time on earth is definitely dwindling. You have probably heard a lot about how, in order to “save the world”, we must switch to cleaner, renewable resources but that is only a small shift toward a green revolution and stop Global Climate change. There are things we could do to help to greatly reduce the amount of fossil fuels to sustain our current requirements.

A huge problem we face is our failures to increase efficiency in converting fuels into usable electricity, which could be easily fixed by replacing older technologies. In a typically coal-fired power plant, which 33% of US energy comes from, most energy is lost as heat before it reaches the electricity grid. Around 62% of the energy stored in coal used to produce energy is lost; that is more than half! Even the delivery of electricity loses more of that 38% of usable electricity that the power plants generated. An example would be a incandescent lightbulb, which only receives 2%, but if you switched to fluorescent lightbulbs, we could see an increase of 3%. Not much of an increase, but if everyone switches we could see a huge reduction in the amount of fossil fuels that we need.

The US average citizen lives a very affluent life with a high real GDP per person. We look toward the “good life”, especially with the old movie depictions of teenagers driving a sweet car along the coast with their friends. Bad habits continue to exist. Global emissions could drastically decrease if we switch to hybrid cars.

Typically they may not look as cool, but an increased demand would lead car companies to make better models, rather than just the Prius. Carbon Emissions per hundred miles decrease from 74.9 pounds (a gasoline car) to 51.6 pounds; we could slow the effects of global warming and even save money on gas. An average hybrid car gets 38.7 miles to the gallon while average gasoline cars get 26.7 miles to the gallon. That is an increase of 12 miles to the gallon. Imagine that over a lifetime with hundreds of thousands of people switching to hybrid cars. We would see a huge decrease in our dependency in foreign countries for oil, like the organization OPEC.

Of course, we cannot see into the future of what possibilities we could could invent to solve the global climate change crisis, but what if we do not find a way to fix it? We need to try to make the switch before things get worse than they already are.