Energy fuels human endeavor. We use energy to heat our homes, transport us down the block or across the world, to harvest our wheat and bake our bread. Today, we largely rely on fossil fuels to meet our energy needs.
Future generations will need to use energy very differently than we do. Consider
- At the beginning of this century, world petroleum reserves were estimated
at about 1 trillion barrels.
-We consume billions of barrels of petroleum each year -around 86 million
barrels each day.
- Every drop of petroleum we consume has taken millions of years to form.
- Global energy consumption is forecasted to rise 60% by the year 2020
- approximately 4% each year
There is a growing understanding about the key challenges surrounding worlds current energy use:
Growing Energy Demand -The rapid economic growth of developing nations such as China and India, together with the worlds already energy-intensive lifestyles, is placing unprecedented strains on global energy supplies and power generation capacity. There is growing awareness of the very real consequences associated with the accessibility of oil supplies. Nations continue to consider and struggle with geo-political tension inherent to importing oil and energy.
Clean Air - Air pollution continues to be a concern in many urban centers of the industrialized world and in developing countries. Emissions from industry and motor vehicles release smog, ozone, particles, and nitrogen and sulfur oxides into our environment, all of which can severely affect human health.
Climate Change - There is also growing awareness of the implications of climate change caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, much of which is generated by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas). Many consider climate change to be one of the biggest challenges facing humanity over the next century.