THE END OF OIL. On the Edge of a Perilous New World


On the Edge of a Perilous New World

Publishing House: Litera Internaţional, 2008

Author: Paul ROBERTS.

When this book came out, New York Review of Books wrote "perhaps the best single book ever produced about our energy economy and its environmental implications".

On the world energy market, oil has 40%, coal has 26% and natural gas has 24%. The author believes that the last two - coal and natural gas- could turn into an alternative to oil. But coal is dirty, and gas is hard to transport and they involve a series of other geopolitical factors (suppliers, transport routes etc.)

Burning hydrocarbons does not only release energy, but also carbon dioxide, a compound which gets into atmosphere and acts like a greenhouse window of planetary dimensions, preserving solar heat, thus raising the temperature on the entire globe.

The statistics and the documents presented give the readers not only profound and competent answers, but also shocking ones. In the last category, we could mention the fact that the energy need will double in the next 10-15 years, and the daily oil consume will get to 140 million barrels. The need for electricity will increase by 70%, and the current transport systems for the energy resources will be out-dated, for the author says over a billion and a half people have no access to electricity.

The book is a three-part story, and the first five chapters explain how and why energy became a vital part in human existence. Chapter I presents an abridged history of energy. Chapter II refers to the oil quantities left and to the difficulties in discovering new deposits. (It seems Brazil has recently discovered the biggest submarine deposit in the last 30 years). Chapter III refers to a future built on the so called economy of hydrogen. The relation energy-power is the topic of Chapter IV. The first part of the book (The Free Ride) ends with Chapter V, on climatic changes in the world.

In Part Two (On the Road to Nowhere), Chapter VI refers to the energy consume, oil, electricity and other forms of energy. Chapter VII introduces us to oil and gas producers. New fuels and alternative energy systems are dealt with in Chapter VIII. The important and much neglected concept of preservation is not forgotten, it is thought to be essential for the new long-lasting energy economies in Chapter IX.

Part Three (Into the Blue) opens with Chapter X, which describes the current energy system that cannot cope anymore, and the development of a "clean" energy, thus starting the competition with the energy needs. Chapter XI describes the current energy order and the way it has influenced and corrupted economies and nations. The fight between the current and future system and the way towards a new economy are treated in the last two chapters.

The book is interesting for us all, at least because we are all consumers of energy resources.

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