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It’s never too early to seek

December 6, 2007
Some international oil company executives are beginning to suggest, in contrast to positions taken for many years, that petroleum production may be about to “plateau.” Clearly, that is reason to accelerate development of alternative energy resources, including coal.

Oil company optimists had insisted for many years that petroleum production worldwide could continue to climb to meet demand. Now, some are saying that within the next decade or two, a “plateau” may be reached. At that point, production may level off for a few decades, before dropping.

The predictions are no cause for immediate alarm; even pessimistic forecasts have placed the production “plateau” at about 100 million barrels of oil a day. That compares to approximately 85 million barrels a day now being consumed.

Still, it isn’t too early to begin finding ways to cope with oil supply that may level off while demand rises steeply. That will mean a mix of alternative sources of energy, including wind and solar power, hydroelectric facilities, nuclear power plants — and increased use of coal.

Most candidates for president would prefer not to talk about that, but it is important for Americans to insist that the issue be addressed realistically — before the challenge becomes a crisis.



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