Homework 15

Of the five countries shown, ________ have essentially no domestic oil production.

Japan and Germany


The country with the greatest differential between domestic production and total consumption is ________.

United States


The world’s most abundant fossil fuel is ________.



All of the following are fossil fuels except ________.



For the United States, the primary fuel that we use for our energy is ________.



Coal continues to be the main fuel used to generate electricity in the United States. This is partially because ________.

the country has such large reserves of coal


U.S. oil production ________.

falls far short of U.S. oil consumption


The United States and other industrialized nations devote the greatest proportion of their oil use to __________.



The fossil fuels that we burn today were formed long ago from buried organic matter. However, only a small fraction of the original organic carbon remains in the coal, oil, or natural gas that is formed. Thus, it requires approximately 90 metric tons of ancient organic matter—so-called paleoproduction—to result in just 3.8 L (1 gal) of gasoline. The graph presents estimates of the amount of paleoproduction required to produce the fossil fuels humans used each year between 1750 and 2000.


The red line represents annual human consumption of paleoproduction by fossil fuel combustion. The dashed line indicates current annual net primary production (NPP) for the entire planet. Estimate in what year the annual consumption of paleoproduction surpassed Earth’s current annual NPP.



Estimate in what year our consumption of paleoproduction reached 100 times Earth’s current annual net primary production.



If on average it takes 7,000 units of paleoproduction to produce 1 unit of fossil fuel, estimate the total carbon content of the fossil fuel consumed in the year 2000 (assume 50,000 trillion kg C consumption in 2000).

3.5 x 108 trillion kg C


Now calculate the total carbon content of the fossil fuel consumed in the year 1750 (assume 0.03 trillion kg C). How many times greater was the total carbon content of the fossil fuel consumed in 2000 than in 1750?

1.7 x 106


If the paleoproduction consumption line reached a peak in 2000 and began to decline at the same rate it increased, in what year would we be at global net primary productivity again?



When assessing energy resources, it is helpful to use a measure called EROI, which is ________.

energy returned divided by energy invested


The process of __________ turns crude oil into the type of gases that can be used for cooking, in cars, and for other human purposes.



What is bitumen?

a thick type of petroleum formed in clay and sand


Plant-based organic matter that is compressed under high pressure to form solid carbon structures is known as __________.



Which fossil fuel is produced as a by-product that occurs when bacteria decompose organic material under anaerobic conditions?



When did the use of coal for cooking, heating, and other purposes begin?

thousands of years ago, by Native Americans (and other ancient cultures)





Moving clockwise, label the steps of energy production in this diagram of a coal-fired power plant.


  1. Used primarily in the United States for electricity generation: coal
  2. Remains of ancient organisms, modified underground for long periods by temperature and pressure: coal, oil, and natural gas
  3. The world’s most abundant fossil fuel: coal
  4. A mixture of hundreds or thousands of different hydrocarbon molecules: oil
  5. Primary fuel used in the United States for space and water heating: natural gas
  6. Created very slowly and considered nonrenewable at current extraction rates: coal, oil, and natural gas
  7. Used primarily in the United States as a source of vehicle fuels: oil
  8. Produces the least carbon dioxide per unit energy when combusted: natural gas


Secondary extraction of petroleum ________.

uses solvents, water, or steam


Natural gas is ________.

often associated with coal and petroleum deposits


Why are we so eager to find clean coal technologies?

because coal is the most abundant of the fossil fuels in the United States


What occurs when coal mining exposes rock surfaces to weathering?

acid drainage


Where does the United States keep an emergency stockpile of oil



Which of the following countries exports the most oil to the United States?



How does the burning of coal contribute to acid rain?

Burning coal releases sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides


Scientists currently assessing the environmental impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico report that ________.

it may take years or decades before the full impacts are known


Of the available policy options regarding eventual conversion to renewable energy sources, environmentalists would probably prefer that ________.

we encourage, with subsidies, tax rebates, and grants, the rapid development and widespread use of renewable alternative energy resources


Energy conservation in the United States ________.

can be improved as individuals make conscious choices to reduce personal consumption


Energy can be conserved by ________.

cogeneration in power plants, fuel efficient transportation, reengineered appliances


The energy bill passed by the U.S. Congress in 2007 ________.

raised the CAFE standard to 35mpg for vehicles by the year 2020


The average miles per gallon rating of U.S. vehicles has ________.

made no improvement the past two decades


Organizations like OPEC have formed ________.

in order to take maximum advantage of developed nations dependence on imported oil


Carbon sequestration ________.

is an unproven technology only begun in 2008


Which of the following characterizes U.S. nuclear power plants?

highly subsidized


All of the following are advantages of nuclear power except ________.

safe disposal of nuclear wastes


In Johannesburg, South Africa, the South West Township (Soweto) was one of several areas established early in the last century for blacks to live away from the white ruling minority. On the hills surrounding Soweto, the company that provides South Africa’s electricity, Eskom, built a large, coal-burning, electricity-generating plant. The electricity was for white areas of Johannesburg, miles away from the plant. The residents of Soweto had no electrical connections.

The heavy levels of soot from the electrical plant upwind of Soweto, along with dust from gigantic mine dumps from gold and coal mines, created particulate pollution more than three times the recommended level. This resulted in ________.

increased incidence of lung disease


Along with many other governmental reforms that began in 1994, the electrical plant just outside Soweto was closed in 2000 and other plants were brought into use. Some parts of Soweto were then wired for electricity. It is estimated, however, that only about 30% of the more than 1 million black inhabitants have electricity in their homes; the remainder cannot afford the costs involved or live in areas that have no electrical access. So, they probably use ________ for fuel.

Wood and coal


What is energy intensity?

the energy use per dollar of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)


Which of the following elements is the starting material for nuclear fission reactions?



What disabled the emergency power generators at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan and led to the reactor meltdowns?

a tsunami


Launch the Video

China’s main source of energy contributes most to what global environmental problem?

global climate change


One of China’s cement factories has become more energy efficient by __________.

using the extra gas and heat from the kilns to generate electricity


What have Chinese companies started producing to reduce the use of gasoline (petrol)?

hybrid cars


China’s government is encouraging companies to __________.

take the lead in all green technologies


Read what several scientists have to say on the issue of nuclear power and then answer the questions.

Karl Grossman suggests that a return to building nuclear power plants will have disastrous impacts. Which of the following impacts does he discuss in his essay?

The potential for terrorist attacks on nuclear plants


John Ritch suggests that nuclear power is the only option for clean energy on a massive scale. Which of the following statements represents one of his pro-nuclear arguments?

We have several centuries’ supply of uranium available for use as nuclear fuel.


Compare and contrast the two essays. Which of the following topics represents a clear example of disagreement between the two authors?

The safety of nuclear power


Both authors present their arguments for or against nuclear power as factual. Which of the following quotes is referenced to a specific source?

A nuclear accident at the Indian Point 3 plant would cause an estimated 50,000 “peak fatalities.”


You are a state senator on an energy task force. Your task force will recommend whether or not to pursue nuclear power for your state’s growing energy needs. Based on the information in both essays, which of the following priorities would favor nuclear power?

Fuel sustainability


Read this New York Times article and then answer the questions.

Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water (5/4/2015)                               

You are a toxicologist and discover that 2BE has the same effects in humans as in rodents. What does it do to humans?

It causes tumors.


Chevron decides to frack near your home. Which of the following are they interested in obtaining?

natural gas


Which of the following is true regarding 2BE?

It is found in many household products.


Which of the following is most likely to support stricter federal regulations on fracking?

Environmental Defense Fund


Which of the following currently appears to be the best option for protecting groundwater in areas where fracking is taking place?

Increase the use of intermediate casings.



Read this New York Times article and then answer the questions.

North Dakota Oil Pipeline Battle: Who’s Fighting and Why (08/26/2016)                                   The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is most likely to get support from farmers in which of the following states that will be directly impacted by the pipeline?



Which of the following is true?

State and federal agencies approve of the Dakota Access Pipeline.


When it comes to the pipeline, the same method used to cross the Missouri River is going to be used to cross the Mississippi River. What method is this?

Going under it.


If this pipeline is finished, what will happen once the oil makes it to Illinois?

It will be distributed to other pipelines and sent throughout the United States.


Read this New York Times article and then answer the questions.

Technology to Make Clean Energy From Coal Is Stumbling in Practice (03/29/2016)                        

If this form of carbon capture works, which of the following would be most reduced in the atmosphere?

carbon dioxide


If successful, this type of carbon capture will be most beneficial to which of the following?

electrical power plants


Which of the following is true regarding carbon capture the way it is being done at Boundary Dam?

It requires a lot of energy.


Which of the following industries would most like to see an increase in carbon capture, as it uses the waste product captured at Boundary Dam?

oil industry


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