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The Assessment and Importance of Oil Depletion


It is not sure that Darwin got it exactly right with his view of the survival of the fittest. The experience of 500 million years of life on the planet is that species adapted to certain environmental niches and proliferated, only to die out when the environment changed. The limpet, Lingula, who preferred the simple life on to his rock face washed by the waves, has survived unchanged since the Cambrian, but more advanced forms of life came and went. Man of human appearance arrived only about two million years ago, and the Bronze Age that started him on the path to industrialisation began only about 3000 years ago. He did n't give up his flint axe because he ran out of flint but because he found bronze made a better tool and weapon. The Iron Age followed from small beginnings until it began to flourish only about 300 years ago. At first, fire-wood was the fuel for smelting the metal, which in certain countries, such as Denmark, led to damaging deforestation. But later, a new fuel was found in the form of coal, lumps of which, known as sea-coal, were at first collected from beaches before it was mined in shallow pits. Mining itself led to steam driven machine-pumps to drain the mines, that were later adapted to provide a locomotive for transport. That in turn was developed into the internal combustion engine, driven at first by benzine produced from coal before turning to petroleum refined from crude oil. This new energy transformed the world during the short span of the last Century. Cheap and efficient transport opened the world to trade, while the manufacture of consumer goods exploded. The new energy also transformed agriculture, providing the food for a growing population that has expanded six-fold, exactly in parallel with oil production. Oil was in turn followed by gas, increasingly used for electricity generation, which brought power and light to households throughout the world. It opened the door to world electronic communication, and eventually the abuse thereof through television, which helped condition the modern consumeristic mind-set and debase human values. Industrialisation made self-sufficient peasants into wage-earners, consumers and taxpayers, leading in turn to the growth of capital, debt and usury, which dominate the modern world, giving an increasingly virtual economy. This extraordinary progression was achieved in the short span of a Century, but it was also accompanied by two world wars, together with related political suppressions, especially in the Soviet Union, which led to violent death and suffering on a scale never before witnessed. Now, as the 21st Century dawns, we face the onset of the natural decline of the premier fuel that made all this possible, and we do so without sight of a substitute energy that comes close to matching the utility, convenience and low cost of oil and gas. It remains to be seen if we will be the only species in over 500 million years of recorded history to evolve backwards from complexity to simplicity. We are not about to run out of oil as we have about as much oil left as we have used so far. So there is a little time in which to adjust to declining supplies. Our challenge is to but demand to match or, better, fall below depletion rate, and to use what we have left to ease the transition to whatever follows. The first step in that direction is to determine what the depletion rate is, and to better inform ourselves about the resources with which Nature has endowed us.......

【作者名称】: C.J.Campbell
【关 键 词】: The Assessment and Importance of Oil Depletion
【期刊名称】: Energy Exploration & Exploitation
【期刊论文数据库】: [DBS_Articles_01]
【期刊论文编号】: 108,463,910
【摘要长度】: 3,486
【上篇论文】: 外文期刊 - Chemical transformation of sodium species during direct liquefaction of a sodium-rich Zhundong coal under different atmospheres and CO_2 gasification of the direct coal liquefaction residue
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