According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), North America and the OECD member states together in 2007 consumed about 44% of the world’s production of petroleum, even though together they comprised only about 23% of the world’s population. The United States, with about 4.4% of the global population, produced 20% of total global emissions of carbon dioxide.*
A political system that produces poorly thought-out responses has led to inappropriately large increases in use of fuels with a current biological base-that is, biofuels. Analyses of the production/consumption cycle of biofuels often show that associated carbon dioxide releases involve little more than the carbon that was temporarily sequestered during growth, but analyses often neglect negative impacts on land, water, and wildlife habitat. Moreover, impacts of biofuel production on the cost and supply of food are downplayed or even ignored. And biofuels cannot become abundant enough to replace more than a small fraction of present U.S. usage of about 20 million barrels of oil daily.