|Written by Nitin Rawat|
|Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00|
“No matter what else happens, this is the century in which we must learn to live without fossil fuels.” - David Goodstein
Petroleum or Crude Oil is the most commonly used fossil fuel. It is a limited stock resource which takes millions of years to form and is used in almost every aspect of our lives. Most of the petroleum is converted to other fuels like Gasoline, Petroleum Gas, Diesel, Kerosene etc. Other uses of petroleum include Asphalt for road construction, Fertilizers, Pesticides, Plastics, Food coatings, Cosmetics, Clothing; the list goes on.
Peak Oil signifies the point in time when the oil extraction rate would reach its maximum limit. Once the peak oil is reached, the rate of extraction would start declining to never increase again considering normal consumption. This is expected to happen because the demand will keep on increasing while the supply will reduce consistently.
Depending on our approach towards Peak Oil, there are two possibilities once it is reached. Firstly, if we keep on using petroleum as the primary fuel, the prices would go up in an uncontrolled manner since the supply is limited and would keep on decreasing. Also, there would be a shortage of fuels throughout the world leading to resource wars between economies. Along with this, the environment would continue to be deeply impacted leading to global warming. On the other hand, if we focus on petroleum conservation, the demand will shrink and the supply would last much longer. This could be achieved by switching to clean and renewable energy sources as the primary ones, by using sustainable operating techniques during various phases of our personal and professional lives. This would ensure a healthy and sustainable future for our offspring.
“A global peak is inevitable. The timing is uncertain, but the window is rapidly narrowing.” - UK Energy Research Centre, 2009.
As to when will we encounter the peak oil, different agencies and experts have varying opinions, but as wisely said by David Goodstein, it will definitely come sooner or later. So, it’s better to be ready and try to lower its impact than to stand watch.
Photo courtesy of Irish Eyes on morgueFile.
Quote 1: Book: Out of Gas by David Goodstein
Quote 2: UK Energy Resource Centre (2009 Report)
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