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Introduction The world will soon start to run out of conventionally produced, cheap oil. If we manage somehow to overcome that shock by shifting the burden to coal and natural gas, the two other primary fossil fuels, life may go on more or less as it has been; until we start to run out of all fossil fuels by the end of this century. Chapter 1: The Future Technically, scientifically, the means may exist to build a civilization that has everything we think we need, without fossil fuels. There may be a future for us. The remaining question is, Can we get there? Chapter 2: Energy Myths and a Brief History of Energy Most people believe the myths; the truth is a little more complicated. For example, we don't have to conserve energy. The law of conservation of energy is one of the deepest laws of nature. Energy can flow from one body into another or it can be transferred from one place to another, but it can never be created or destroyed. Chapter 3: Electricity and Radiant Energy The intensity of the Sun's radiation at the orbit of Earth is 1,372 watts per square meter. In this bath of radiant energy, Earth turns on its axis like a chicken roasting on a spit, and the energy from the Sun spreads over its spherical surface. Chapter 4: Heat Engines and Entropy The moving finger writes And having writ, moves on. Nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it. Chapter 5: Technological Fixes Progress will lie in incremental advances on many simultaneous fronts, based on principles we already understand: controlled nuclear fusion, safe breeder reactors, better materials for manipulating electricity, more efficient fuel cells, better means of generating hydrogen, and so on. Envoy: The Future Revisited We can envision a future in which we live entirely on nuclear energy and solar energy as it arrives from the Sun. It would be based on a sophisticated technology that converts sunlight and nuclear energy efficiently into electricity for stationary uses and produces hydrogen fuel or charges advanced batteries for transportation. Annotated Bibliography Acknowledgments Notes Index
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication: Petroleum reserves, Petroleum industry and trade, Petroleum reserves Forecasting, Petroleum industry and trade Forecasting