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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The sky isn't falling

What's this? Yet more common sense and level headedness from the ivory tower known as Simon Fraser University. Come on, guys, any more of this and you'll give Radical U a bad, er, good name.

Here are the first few lines of the Jan. 30 SFU news release that prompted my comments:

Contrary to popular belief, fossil fuels are not going the way of the dinosaur, says SFU professor and energy expert Mark Jaccard.

Forget the commonly held view that fossil fuels are on a downward slide given supply scares, rising costs and environmental concerns. Jaccard predicts that oil, gas and coal will still satisfy 58 per cent of the world's energy needs in the year 2100, fueled in part by growth in nations such as China.

Jaccard's forecast is detailed in his latest book, Sustainable Fossil Fuels: The Unusual Suspect in the Quest for Clean and Enduring Energy (Cambridge Press, 2005). The book is now available in Canada. It has also been launched in Britain and the US.

Read the full release here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on January 31, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Yee HAW!! I can buy a non-electric car without guilt.

Posted by: Joan Tintor | 2006-01-31 1:13:09 PM

Partner these comments with the announcements today about the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and all the other car friendly news, one would think this professor was on the payroll of GM or FORD.

Posted by: Servant | 2006-01-31 3:24:09 PM

As interesting as this be from the downstream usage of hyrdrocarbon - more efficient engines, more hybrid designs, cleaner burning fuels - I'd also like to see more of the same rational discussion on the supply side of the petroleum question.

There are far too many reports which call for a catastrophic collapse in hydrocarbon production without taking into account the innovation found within human progress. These reports measure current oil production using known reserves on the basis of today's technologies. Very few studies take into account the fact that only 25-30% of assets in a reservoir are considered "recoverable" (at best) by today's standards, but by using tertiary recovery methods, an older field could have its production timeline extended considerably. While some oil and gas fields have become uneconomical at the moment, very few are abandoned altogether as the potential of new technologies is always an option down the road.

Further to that, there is the vast expanse of the globe to consider, wherein less than half the earth has had direct core samples drilled in the search for appreciable hydrocarbon pools. Most of the world's deep oceans and virtually all of the polar regions have only begun to be explored, and only time and imagination are preventing the necessary means to exploit these frontiers at a feasible cost.

This is not to say that prices will not continue to rise: Conventional hydrocarbons won't be around forever and eventually the human race will have to find something cheaper and more efficient.

However, there is every chance that exciting new advancements in transportation, electricity and heat will overtake current technologies long before the last drop of oil is drained from the ground.

Posted by: Huck | 2006-01-31 3:26:08 PM

Damn Huck... you sound like you know what yer talkin' about! Well put.

Posted by: Snookie | 2006-02-01 3:53:43 AM

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