The Petroleum Revolution III: What About Technology?
A main concern of this book has been that—given the extreme dependence of most contemporary societies and economies on energy and the finite nature of fossil fuels—what kind of a future can the young readers of this book expect if our economic needs and expectations face severe constraints in the future availability of fossil fuels. As we have developed previously in this book (► Chap. 8) and frequently elsewhere, the two principle concerns we have about future availability and affordability of fossil fuels have been absolute supplies (e.g., «peak oil,» the idea that oil will reach a peak in production and then inevitably decline) and declining EROI. But what if these issues were not to occur or to do so only so far in the future that they would have no meaning to anyone alive today? Certainly there have been economists who have argued that technology and substitutions will indefinitely hold off the effects of depletion [e.g., ► 1]. Could they be right?
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