Ethics And The Environment Case Study: Fueling The World

2191 words - 9 pages

"Humanity's way of life is on a collusion course with geology, with the stark fact that the earth holds a finite supply of oil" (Appenzeller, 2004, p. 88). The United States is one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels. This paper presents Learning Team A's fossil fuel case study analysis. The selected case study is, Fueling the World: What are the Alternatives? (Newton, Dillingham, and Choly, 2006, p. 157).This case summary details the damages being, done to the global environment by our continued use of fossil fuels. The damage being, the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, land, and water spills. The fossil fuels described in the case study are oil, coal, and natural gas. The case study also goes on to show us alternatives to this pollution-causing material sand the possible hazards inherent to them. They alternative energy sources are, nuclear energy, hydroelectric power, wind driven turbines, solar power, and fuel cells.Petroleum UsageIn 2002, the United States consumed 7.191 billion barrels of oil. As a country, about 70% of the oil we use is for transportation. (Newton, Dillingham, and Choly, 2006, p. 158) This includes, cars, airplanes, trucks, railroad locomotives, etc. all are using oil or its derivatives. In 1990, it was estimated that the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere due to fossil fuel use was 4,696.6 Tg, or 5,177,115,303 tons in 2004 the total rose to 5,656.6 Tg, or 6,235,334,160 Tons (EPA, 2006). These greenhouse gases cause massive damage to our ecosystem. Global warming, acid rain, and smog are a few of the symptoms.Vehicles in questionAll vehicles that use fossil fuels for power are guilty of emitting greenhouse gases. We live in a country where bigger is better. Better for us and not for the environment. There has recently been a concern about the affordability of fuel to power or vehicles, but that has not deterred us from still using them.The first vehicle mentioned in the case study is the sport utility vehicle (SUV). This vehicle is considered a "light truck". An SUV is any vehicle weighing 6,000 pounds or more with a relatively high elevation off the ground, which allows it to be driven off road, if necessary. These vehicles have a detrimental effect on the environment. One SUV, the Hummer H2, emits "40 pounds of smog causing pollutants for every 15,000 miles driven" (Newton, Dillingham, and Choly, 2006, p. 157).One way to reduce those pollutants would be to reduce the fuel consumption. Unfortunately, theses vehicles consume a tremendous amount of fossil fuels averaging no more than 13 miles to the gallon. There is a law on the tax logs, which gives businesses that purchase a SUV a tax break of approximately $38,000 from their next year's tax debt. The weight of the vehicles qualifies the owners for this tax break. Although the consumers who drive these vehicles have a higher chance of dying in an accident, people continue to buy them. One way to discourage people from purchasing...

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