Global energy crisis
By Irshad Ali Sodhar (FSP)
2. What is energy crisis?
3. Share of energy resources in energy supply
4. World consumption distribution
5. World production distribution
6. Causes of crises
a) Surge in demand
b) Resource nationalism – tighter supply
c) Political uncertainty
d) Lack of diversity
7. Impact of crises
8. Environmental concerns
9. Way out: Renewable energy
Man is dependent on energy, which has been the key to his rapid industrial growth and technological development. The pace of development after industrial revolution is unprecedented. Just 200 years ago, the world experienced energy revolution that launched the industrial age. The catalyst to this epochal change was ordinary black coal - an energy rich hydrocarbon. A century later, oil and gas were added to satiate the thirst of industry. Man still relies mainly on these fossil fuels.
Nevertheless many other sources of energy: hydro, solar, nuclear, wind, geothermal, biogas and wave have been taped. These sources of energy are not only renewable but clean as well. Since the hydrocarbons are exhaustible and their use also threatens human health and environment; this fact has necessitated transformation from non-renewable energy resources to renewable and clean energy resources so that economic growth could be sustained and environmental degradation could be prevented.
Energy is not only vital for the industry but it is also the life blood of our daily life. The consumption of fossil fuels has increased manifolds due to rapid industrialisation of developing countries like China and India. However, the major proportion of hydrocarbon is consumed by already developed countries like the US, Japan and Western European states. The fossil fuels are also the main source of energy for heating of houses and running motor vehicles and generation of electricity. Since the demand has been increased far more than the increase in the production of fossil fuels, a disproportionate imbalance between the demand and supply has been created which has resulted in energy crisis.
If the fossil fuel production remains constant, it is estimated that the reserves will be depleted soon. The oil crisis of 2008, when petrol prices soared to $150 a barrel, was an early symptom of such scenario. The increasing demand coupled with speculations of depletion of fossil fuels caused sky rocketing rise in the prices, which was the principal catalyst behind economic crises in the world.
The energy crises are caused due to disproportionate dependence on non-renewable energy resources fossil fuels. The hydrocarbons; coal oil and gas together constitute 85 per cent of the world’s total energy supply. Their respective share is oil 37 per cent; coal 25 per cent and gas 23 per cent (total 85 per cent).
On the other hand the renewable resources of energy; hydro, solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, biogas and wave constitute only 15 per cent of global share of energy supply. These are also clean sources of energy. Despite their enormous benefits, the renewable sources of energy have not been exploited sufficiently due to many reasons. The reasons may include technological barriers, initial cost and political compulsions. Both the least developed and developing countries mainly face technological backwardness and barriers, while the developed countries have been too slow and reluctant to transfer their technology due to the higher cost and political reasons.
The world distribution of energy consumption reveals that the most developed countries are the highest consumers of fossil fuels. The US, which is the most advanced country technologically and richest economically, consumes 25 per cent of the total world energy output while its population makes only five per cent of the world. This makes America the highest...
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