A short fossil fuel blip …

23 Sep

imagesI’m reading Limits to Growth–a book about the economics of resource use first published in 1972 and most recently updated in 2004–and was struck by the following paragraph:

“The point is not that the world is about to run out of natural gas.  The considerable resources that remain will be essential as a transition fuel on the way to more sustainable energy sources.  The point is that fossil fuels are surprisingly limited, especially when used exponentially, and they should not be wasted.  On the time line of human history, the era of fossil fuels will be a short blip.”

Interesting.  We’ve been relying on fossil fuels for how long … around 300+ years?  Let’s say we’re stuck primarily with non-renewable fuels for another 50 years at least, maybe another century.  And then what?  No matter how abundant natural gas and coal are, they will eventually run out.  This strikes me as a fairly serious problem, and I’m not so certain that we’re taking it as seriously as we should.  The paragraph above assumes that we can use natural gas as a “transition fuel.”  Is this feasible?  Are we now in the process of making this happen?  That’s what T. Boone Pickens is saying, too.  Are people listening?

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