, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 239-240
Date: 22 Nov 2011

George A. Olah, Alain Goeppert and G. K. Surya Prakash (eds): Beyond oil and gas: the methanol economy, 2nd updated and enlarged edition

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From the most ancient times our primitive forebears have required not only food, water, shelter, and materials for clothing but also increasing amounts of energy. Since cavemen discovered how to kindle fire, they employed a variety of sources for cooking and heating, initially wood and vegetation, then peat moss and other carbon-based fuels. Since the industrial revolution, the primary source of energy was coal, to which, during the twentieth century, oil and gas was added. Once they are burnt these three resources—“fossil fuels”—formed over eons by Nature—are not renewable on our human time scale and are therefore being increasingly depleted by overuse. The world’s accessible oil and gas reserves, the control of which many, if not the majority, of the world’s population believes has been the reason for the decision of the Bush administration to invade Iraq, may not last much after the twentyfirst century, while coal reserves may be available for only one or at most two centuries.

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