The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Energy

What do you know about energy?

True or False: Burning coal in electric power plants is a major source of CO2 and other emissions. However, its use doesn't have negative consequences beyond the emissions caused by combustion.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Mining coal disturbs the land and modifies the chemistry of rainwater runoff, which in turn affects stream and river water quality.

  • Correct!

    Mining coal disturbs the land and modifies the chemistry of rainwater runoff, which in turn affects stream and river water quality.

What percentage of America's total energy came from wind in 2008?

  • Correct!

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

True or False: Burning biofuels does not release carbon dioxide.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Biofuels contain carbon and although they may burn “cleaner” than oil-derived fuels, they do not avoid generating carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Correct!

    Biofuels contain carbon and although they may burn “cleaner” than oil-derived fuels, they do not avoid generating carbon dioxide emissions.

What percentage of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

  • Correct!

    90% of the coal mined in the United States was used to generate electricity in 2006.

The United States is home to how many of the world's automobiles?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

  • Correct!

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

About 21% of the electricity used in residential and commercial buildings goes to what use?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Roughly 21% of the electricity used in residential and commercial buildings goes to lighting.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Roughly 21% of the electricity used in residential and commercial buildings goes to lighting.

  • Correct!

    Roughly 21% of the electricity used in residential and commercial buildings goes to lighting.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Roughly 21% of the electricity used in residential and commercial buildings goes to lighting.

How much of the world's CO2 is released by the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Almost 20% of the world's CO2 is released by the United States.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Almost 20% of the world's CO2 is released by the United States.

  • Correct!

    Almost 20% of the world's CO2 is released by the United States.

By 2030, today's coal-fired power plants are projected to emit how much less CO2 than they emit now?

  • Correct!

    Coal-fired power plants are likely to emit 30% less CO2 in 2030.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Coal-fired power plants are likely to emit 30% less CO2 in 2030.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Coal-fired power plants are likely to emit 30% less CO2 in 2030.

How much carbon dioxide is emitted by the average U.S. car driving one mile?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

  • Correct!

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

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Energy Hands-on

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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.

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