Fossil fuels th as in petroleum and its by-product, gasoline th are what drives the country th a fact that has not changed in the last 125 years and won't change any time soon, contends John Moroney, an economist at Texas A&M University who has studied oil prices for 30 years and whose upcoming book Power Struggle: World Energy in the 21st Century takes a detailed look at the subject.
(Media-Newswire.com) - If you think alternative fuels are the immediate answer to America’s energy crisis, you have just flunked Energy 101.
Fossil fuels – as in petroleum and its by-product, gasoline – are what drives the country – a fact that has not changed in the last 125 years and won’t change any time soon, contends John Moroney, an economist at Texas A&M University who has studied oil prices for 30 years and whose upcoming book Power Struggle: World Energy in the 21st Century takes a detailed look at the subject.
The bottom line, his book says: Natural gas, fossil fuels and coal account for 88 percent of world energy today, and other sources of energy, such solar, wind and alternative fuels cannot be fully utilized within the next 50 years.
“Fossil fuels will continue to dominate world energy for the next half-century, this in spite of the gradual depletion of world reserves of conventional oil and gas,” the book confirms.
“Commercial energy is critical to the standard of living of every person in the world. We need energy for work, for entertainment, for all aspects of living, and like it or not, fossil fuels will be the world’s major source of energy for the next 50 years and that fact is not going to change.”
Moroney says renewable sources, such as solar, geothermal and biofuels, can only help to a small degree “because our dependence on fossil fuels is so large that it is virtually impossible to replace them with anything else right now.
“It may sound gloomy, but we have to be realistic,” he adds.
“Events like Earth Day and others are feel-good events and they do raise awareness about other forms of energy and saving energy. But ‘green’ energy is simply not going to substantially replace fossil fuels by 2050.”
One of the biggest problems in energy comes from coal, Moroney says.
Coal is plentiful and widely available, but when burned it emits sulphur dioxide that, when combined with water vapor, created acid rain. Sulphur dioxide is a highly toxic substance.
Coal is also a major contributor to global warming, meaning the more coal is burned, the more potential for global warming to occur.
Human-made carbon dioxide results from burning fossil fuels, and Moroney says half of human-caused carbon dioxide originates from 8,000 power plants, refineries, steel mills and other manufacturing facilities around the world.
“We have the technology right now to capture and store carbon dioxide as it is produced instead of releasing it into the atmosphere,” he believes.
“Some of these prototype ‘capture’ plants will be ready by 2012, but if the world is to avoid the perilous straits of economic and climate catastrophe, it will take international cooperation and capital investments on a scale unprecedented in human history.”
With some possible short-term dips likely, energy costs – including gasoline, natural gas and electricity – will be on a steady upswing for years to come, he writes.
He also contends America’s reliance on foreign oil is not about to go away since the nation currently imports about 65 percent of its oil.
“The Middle East has about 62 percent of all the world’s oil reserves,” he points out. “But remember that they are dependent on others to sell that oil. The OPEC countries need us as a long-term customer. Hugo Chavez ( the Venezuelan president who frequently threatens to withhold oil sales to the U.S. ) has no bargaining chip whatsoever.”
Moroney also says it is foolish to believe the big oil companies are in some type of conspiracy to drive up prices. “Not one of them – Exxon, Shell, Chevron, Pemex – can control the price of oil,” he adds.
“What you are seeing right now is a classic example of supply and demand. There is a limited supply of oil available on a daily basis and a growing demand for it.”
Contact: John Moroney at ( 979 ) 845-1363, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Keith Randall at ( 979 ) 845-4644, email email@example.com.
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