9/11 in Numbers (Part II): Climate and Energy

Since 9/11, climate data appears mixed, while energy consumption in the United States has undergone a notable amount of change.


Measures of climate change present a mixed picture for the United States. While the average global monthly concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by over 6% from 368 ppm to 391 ppm from September 2001 to June 2011, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States have actually declined by 3.4% from 2001 to 2009, the latest date for which this information is available. That said, the decline in American GHG emissions is likely due to reduced economic activity associated with the financial crisis in late 2008.


Since 9/11, the United States appears to have been moving in the right direction in terms of increasing its energy independence. It is less dependent on the OPEC oil cartel, and has increased its share of energy consumption from geothermal, solar, and wind resources. That said, its investment in clean base load power generation from nuclear energy has changed very little. While the United States has increased its energy consumption from nuclear power plants, it still has the same number of nuclear power plants now as it did at the beginning of the decade. Additionally, crude oil and gasoline prices have increased precipitously, and offshore drilling activity is down sharply.

Since 9/11, energy consumption in the United States showed the following trends:

  • Crude oil prices have more than tripled
  • Gasoline prices have more than doubled
  • Petroleum imports from OPEC have declined by over 18%
  • The number of offshore oil and gas rigs in operation has declined by over 75%
  • The United States has not built a single new nuclear power plant
  • Wind energy consumption is over 13 times what it was in 2001
  • Solar energy and geothermal energy consumption are up over 70% and 29%, respectively.

A comprehensive chart outlining many of these key differences is included below:

About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Finance executive, engineer, former military officer, and science fiction and horror writer. Editor of the Weird World War III anthology.
This entry was posted in Clean Energy, Clean Tech, Climate Change, Energy Security, Middle East, Nuclear Power, Peak Oil, Policy, Solar, Wind and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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