Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Oil Use Won't Peak Until 2050"

World dependent on fossil fuels for a century

By Christopher Johnson

LONDON (Reuters) - The world will remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal for the rest of this century, despite the best efforts of governments to move towards renewable energy, an energy economist said on Wednesday.

Peter Odell, professor of international energy studies at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and author of the bestselling "Oil and World Power: Background To the Oil Crisis," said the drive to limit greenhouse gases was likely to be held back by both technology and economics.

Painting a gloomy picture of the short-term outlook for renewables, Odell told Reuters that even with a growing global effort to limit carbon dioxide emissions, the world would still be relying on hydrocarbons by 2100.

"Oil use won't peak until 2050," Odell said in an interview. "It will decline thereafter but even by 2100 oil supplies will be 20 percent higher than they were in 2000."

He said alternative, renewable forms of energy would increase 15-fold over the 21st century to become the biggest single source of energy by the year 2100, but even then alternative energy would still only account for 35-40 percent of the total energy mix.

This would be well short of what environmentalists have said needs to be accomplished in order to avert the worst effects of global warming, which many say is due to the burning of fossil fuels.
"Coal, oil and gas will continue to dominate the energy market throughout the 21st century," he said.

Balance of article: Reuters

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