Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/washington/news.aspx?id=135381
Story Retrieval Date: 5/25/2013 11:25:52 PM CST
WASHINGTON -- Americans are dependent on fossil fuels, yet the available supply is in decline. At a time of growing demand with high economic and social costs, Americans must choose how to proceed.
If the rates of fossil fuel usage remain steady, the U.S.will spend an estimated $23 trillion between 2010 and 2030 on fossil fuels.
But the cost isn’t just financial, said Jonathan Powers, former Army captain and Iraqi war veteran --it also costs lives.
“While deployed to Iraq, over 70 percent of the convoys we sent out were focused on providing the troops fuel and water," Powers said.” “These convoys became the number one target of insurgents in their IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] because the increased frequency of these trips."
The frequency of trips goes hand in hand with a dependence on foreign oil.
“Why haven’t we invested in the technologies that will break our addiction to foreign oil?" Powers said. "Especially when it comes to costing us lives.”
But pediatrician Dr. Jerome Paulson said that fossil fuels affect lives on a daily basis.
“Children have more lung surface area per pound of body weight than an adult does and kids have different breathing patterns -- they breathe more air per pound of body weight than an adult does. So if that air is polluted they get a higher dose of that air.”
A senior project analyst for the Frontier Group, an environmental advocacy group, said that there is no reason to maintain the status quo as pollution and the cost of lives accumulate. Tony Dutzik said solutions do exist, which can simultaneously help to improve our economy.
“Investments in energy efficiency can save money, can put Americans to work and can reduce the impact of fossil fuel on public health. At the same time, investing in renewable energy can safeguard America’s energy future and also protect consumers and businesses from the high cost of fossil fuel prices and their volatility and put the nation on course to a cleaner energy future,” Dutzik said.