Andrew Revkin, who has written extensively about the energy crisis and climate change, lays out what he perceives as the stark realities facing humanity over the next few decades in The New York Times's Dot Earth.
"Think of it this way; the United States, with 307 million (heading toward 400 million) people, now consumes nearly 20 million barrels a day; India, with more than 1.1 billion people, is barely in first gear, currently using 2.67 million barrels of oil but poised for vastly increased demand," Revkin says. "Add in projections of car use in China and you see why status-quo fuel choices don't hold up."
The real issue involves whether to pursue the current path of adding more carbon to the atmosphere or to find an alternative one.
"This is not some onerous task, but an active, positive assertion that the ways we harvest and use energy — an asset long taken for granted and priced in ways that mask its broader costs — really do matter," he says.
Likewise, he says sustained investment in scientific research to secure "breakthroughs" that would expand the menu of available energy options.
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