Currently the United States has over 500 billion tons of coal reserves and with the current rate of consumption these reserves are capable of lasting anywhere from 120 to 240 years. However, coal by far emits the highest rate of troublesome pollutants versus natural gas or oil. Carbon dioxide is some 100,000 BTUs over both gas and oil, but the other emissions such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulates and nitrogen oxide is where it really springs ahead. Currently the United States is just under 50 percent in terms of the proportion of coal energy used.
Reliance on fossil fuels has been a concern to government and the public for decades. Many want to abolish their use because of pollution, global warming, and sustainability projections. Some deny the need for clean energy and reject projections as misinformation.
The U.S. has an estimated 500 billion tons of known coal reserves, which at current usage levels could provide domestic energy for between 120 and 240 years. Oil production from North Dakota’s Bakken Formation has skyrocketed and increased proponents’ calls for opening up more domestic oil production.
The political climate for fossil fuels is cloudy with 70 percent of Americans being against subsidies for any gas, oil or coal companies. However, at the same time, 409 billion dollars are currently allocated by the government for fuel subsidies.
High gas prices have brought energy production issues to the front of the political debate, including the question of whether the government should be providing subsidies to energy companies. Candidates Obama and Romney have differing views as well with the former opposing subsidies and the latter supporting further development. Obama has spent considerable time and money on investing in “Green” energy initiatives such as wind, solar, and hydro.