Abundant Natural Gas and Oil Are Putting the Kibosh on Clean Energy
2012-08-22 0:00

By Peter Schwartz | Wired.com




Since the 1950s, the US has had a perverse approach to energy. In effect we have maximized demand by building bigger, hungrier cars, homes, and lifestyles and minimized supply by limiting oil drilling, coal mining, and nuclear development. And how do we make up the difference? We buy oil from the people who hate us most.

But this is changing. Weíve long been acutely aware of the geopolitical ramifications of relying on Middle Eastern oil. And the threat of climate changeóalong with high fuel pricesóhas made us all realize the need for greater energy efficiency. Thankfully, technology is coming to the rescue. New methods of extracting gas and oil, combined with efficiency gains in nearly every industry, mean that we are now minimizing demand and maximizing supply. And thatís a good thing, right? Not so fast.

Flipping the supply-demand relationship is having some unexpected consequences. Chief among them is that, as fossil fuels become more abundantóand we consume less of themóthe incentives to develop clean, renewable energy drop dramatically. As a result, we may no longer be looking at an age of increasing solar, wind, and nuclear power. Instead we are likely moving into a new hydrocarbon era. And thatís very bad news for climate change.

US Oil Consumption Is Down, Production Up

For decades Americans had an almost limitless appetite for oil, most of which was produced overseas. In the past two years, however, the trend has reversed: The US is now making more and consuming less.

[...]

Read the full article at: wired.com





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