ESSP 200 – Sustainability Science Assignment #4 Energy Assignment Global Energy Consumption

ESSP 200 – Sustainability Science

Assignment #4

Energy Assignment

Global Energy Consumption


In class, we explore and discuss the concept of energy demand and energy supply, and how they relate to sustainability. In this assignment, you will examine spatial patterns of global energy consumption using maps and charts. Final energy consumption (composed in large part of oil, gas, coal, etc.), and renewable energy consumption (composed of biomass energy and modem renewable such as wind, solar hydro, etc.) will be compared among countries and related to energy reserves/production, national wealth (GDP), and human population.

This topic is of inherent interest to the studies of energy, global change and sustainability because today the economic transition of countries from less developed to more developed states, is often associated with a transition in the main sources of energy used by a society. This transition of dominant energy sources, in turn, leads to a number of potential environmental consequences, both positive and negative.


First, open the Our World in Data website by clicking on the link

Next, click on ‘All charts’ underneath the search bar at the top center of the window.

Then, scroll down the menu on the left side of the screen and click on ‘Energy’. You can scroll up and down a list of energy topics (links in blue text). If you click on one of those energy topics, a CHART, and possibly a MAP, of that topic overtime will appear in a visualization window. You can access one or the other by selecting CHART or MAP at the bottom of the visualization window. (Hint: every time you click the back button to return to the list of charts, you will need to scroll down and click on ‘Energy’ again to get back to the list of energy charts).

CHART: Depending on the energy topic, you can choose to add or remove one or several countries from the chart. By sliding your mouse over the chart, you can get actual topic values.

MAP: When a topic has a MAP and a CHART representation, the map comes with a time-slide animation feature that you can access by clicking on the arrow on the map left corner. You can also select a specific year by manually moving the time cursor. Finally, you can zoom on different regions of the world by opening the roll-down menu under the ‘World’ box on the upper right corner of the map.

You can download and save charts and maps using the download button located at the bottom-right of the visualization window.

Tip: do not forget to read the topic description provided in the visualization window under the visualization title.

Use the charts and/or maps and lecture content to answer the following questions.

On Primary Energy Consumption

Question 1:

Select the topic Primary Energy Consumption (hint: it may be in the right hand column of the list) The map of the Primary Energy Consumption by country for 2019 will appear. Describe the map and explain what the color variations represent. What countries stand out in this map and why?

Using the CHART, how has the Primary Energy Consumption evolved through time for the United States, Europe, China, India and Africa? Just a reminder that you can add and remove countries to and from the chart. Looking at the map of Africa, what limitations do you see with the data?

What do some of the high energy-consuming countries have in common?

Question 2:

Using the regional zoom functionality (i.e. the pull down menu on the map) of the Primary Energy Consumption map, list the countries that have a Primary Energy Consumption greater than 25,000 TWh in 2014. You can get the Primary Energy Consumption values by moving your mouse over each listed country.

Then select the energy topic Energy Use per Capita from the Energy topics list. List the countries that have an Energy Use per Capita greater than 25,000 kWh.

How do the primary energy consumption and the energy use per capita maps differ in terms of shifts in the patterns of consumption?


Renewable energy consumption

Question 3:

In the energy topics list, open the Share of Final Energy Consumption from Renewable Sources topic map. Describe the map and explain the significance of the percentage of renewable energy use in a country’s Primary energy consumption, in term of fossil fuels vs. renewable energy fuels (modern renewable and biomass) use.

Compare the Share of Final Energy Consumption from Renewable sources map with the Primary Energy Consumption map and briefly describe the major differences between fossil fuels and renewable energy consumption patterns between countries, with particular focus on global trends in their use, and the magnitude of energy gained from each source.

In counties that have a share of final energy consumption from renewable sources greater than 50%, what do you think is the dominant source of renewable energy, i.e., biomass or modern renewable energy? Briefly explain your answer.

Based on what you know about fossil fuel as an energy source and renewable energy (here biomass), describe two possible environmental costs and two benefits of each energy type; i.e. fossil fuels and biomass energy (8 items total).

Question 4:

Which is higher in your country and its neighbors, fossil fuel or renewable per capita energy consumption? Is this what you would have expected? Speculate briefly about factors contributing to the energy consumption patterns in your country and the surrounding region. 

Energy reserves

Question 5:

Under the ‘Articles by topics’ drop box (at the top of the website), select Energy and Environment then Fossil Fuels. Click on All our charts on Fossils Fuels, then open the Natural Gas Proved Reserves topic as a map. Find and name three countries with high oil reserves and low final energy consumption (use the Primary Energy Consumption topic) (Hint: Open a second window in your browser to view the two maps at the same time). What do you think might explain this? (The answer may be different for each country.)