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Question:
In my high school Chemistry text book, it states that we will reach our peak usage of petroleum by the year 1997. This is to occur in my own lifetime and is somewhat of a frightening thought. Is this prediction really true, and if it is, what will we then use as a source of energy?



Replies:
The prediction probably is not true, because no one can predict the future. The older your book is, the less true its prediction is likely to be. In the early 1970's a report by the Club of Rome called "The Limits to Growth" made many predictions about when we would run out of resources and pollution would smother us, but the predictions are not really on target because back then they did not know that cars would become more fuel-efficient and people would start conserving energy. For the same reason, the need for nuclear power plants was greatly over-estimated back in the early 1970's, which lead to bond defaults and bankruptcy on the part of the State of Washington's public power utility. Anyway, even though the prediction may not be accurate, there is a grain of truth to it: oil is not limitless and if we do not conserve it we will use it all up.

Mortis



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