The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Energy

The Cost of Energy

Energy use carries a hefty price tag—and not just in dollars. The cost to our environment and to our national security is steep. What factors should we consider as we make decisions about energy options for the future?

Environmental Impact

Average global temperatures will likely rise at least another 2°F, and possibly more than 11°F, over the next 100 years.

Our understanding of climate change and how it has varied over time is advancing rapidly as scientists acquire more and more data and employ new instruments and methods for their analysis. Get an overview of what we know now.

More about environmental impact

Security

Two-thirds of our oil supplies, as well as many other resources, come from foreign sources.

Many planners argue that our dependence on foreign oil threatens both our economy and our national security. What are their main concerns and what strategies might address them?

More about security

Sustainability

We are using fossil fuels many times faster than they are formed, a situation that cannot continue indefinitely.

The total contribution of renewable sources to our energy supply is projected to remain small unless we take aggressive steps toward accelerating their development. What are the consequences of continuing to depend on fossil fuels for our energy?

More about sustainability

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Energy Videos

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America's Energy Future

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Energy Hands-on

What do you know about energy?

How much electricity does an average U.S. household consume each year?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

  • Correct!

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

Energy Defined

Fossil Fuels

Fuels formed in the Earth’s crust over millions of years from decomposed organic matter. The most widely known fossil fuels are petroleum (oil), coal, and natural gas.

View our full glossary

National Academies Press

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