With the world becoming more and more concerned with reducing energy consumption and improving the general state of the environment, people are trying to look at the numbers on how much human activity affects the climate. With such a green initiative, global citizens are looking into figures that can help determine how countries can reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The statistics that reflect the per capita energy consumption per country can sometimes be quite misleading since the statistic doesn’t really take into consideration which part of the ratio is derived from cleaner forms of energy, such solar, wind and geothermal sources.
The Earth Trends website earthtrends.wri.org has a very good set of numbers that reflect the electricity consumption and electricity consumption per capita of all the nations in the world. There are also options to plot this data through the past 20 years, so that the reader can compare how much energy demand and gas consumption has grown through the years. It’s quite interesting to note that while the price of fuel has gone up considerably, most countries have likewise increased usage. The statistics are reflected in equivalent units of oil regardless of how the energy was generated–whether through renewable or non-renewable sources.
The latest numbers are from 2005. This point in time had high fuel prices and it was also the start of greater awareness due to many documentaries about global warming and climate change. Here are some of the notable findings that one would see in the final list.
The tiny nation of Qatar in the Arabian Peninsula is the top-ranked country on this list. The rich oil reserves of the country are a very good source for its insanely high demands for electricity. The 19,466 equivalent kilograms of oil per person per year that’s required to keep the entire nation running is so ahead of the pack that it out-ranked the next in line by almost the equivalent of 7,000 kilograms of oil.
Iceland is a totally different story. The country uses up about the equivalent twelve thousand kilograms of oil per capita annually. Interestingly, much of the energy generated by Iceland isn’t even from oil! The island has long been tapping the heat of the earth through geothermal plants. Additionally, both the #1 and #2 countries (Iceland and Qatar) have relatively small populations, so it’s not a surprise that the per-capita number is high.
China has long been criticized for using too much unclean energy. In terms of actual totals, China’s gas consumption ranks along with the highest in the world. But due to the simple reason that the mighty nation has two billion citizens, the figure is much smaller than one would expect – just 1,136 equivalent kilograms of oil per capita.
In contrast, Canada is up at 8,472 equivalent kilograms of oil. There aren’t a lot of people in the country and they do use a lot of fuel to heat homes. Canada has big oil reserves as well as bituminous coal in its vast territory.
The United States isn’t a model for sustainable consumption but it sits pretty at 7,885 equivalent kilogram units of oil. If you think about it though, the US is at the top of the food chain with the highest amount of per capita statistics despite having a relatively large population.
Determining energy use on a per-person basis can help point out how much a population is dependent on energy. Whether or not global statistics are useful would depend on how well you can qualify the figures for a certain country.