With only two days left in 2010, I thought “The Impending World Energy Mess” was only fitting for review as we head into 2011. It is also fitting for another reason, it ties nicely into the story I brought you earlier this week, $5 Gas Prices on the Horizon. The authors, Dr. Robert L Hirsch, Dr. Roger H. Bezdek, and Robert M. Wendling, bring you decades of experience in energy from economics to oil to technologies. In the book, they lay out their premise that the most serious energy mess facing the world today is the impending decline in world oil production. It just so happens that it is taking place at the same time energy use is all an all-time high and continues to grow.
The authors write, “The warming signs include the six-year long plateauing of world oil production, the escalation of oil prices, and the analyses of a number of highly trained professionals and competent organizations.”
They authors don’t use the term “peak oil” because world oil production, they say, has been and is likely to stay on the current fluctuating world oil production plateau for a few more years before the onset of production decline.
So what’s the problem you ask? We have hoards of alternatives? According to the authors, the realities of these alternatives are that they are “very costly and insufficient to satisfy our overall energy needs, let alone our liquid fuel needs.” The energy sources they discuss are numerous including biofuels, solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, hydrogen, electric vehicles, oil shale, coal to liquids, and more. But let’s delve into this deeper using biofuels, more specifically, corn ethanol as an example. Continue reading