Since the beginning of this decade, there have been forecasts about the oil crisis. People have been continually warned of the imminent shortage of fossil fuels. And now reality is fast catching up with us. We had a glimpse of the drastic havoc such a problem can wreak upon us already. The images of hundreds of vehicles queued up near the gas stations during the World Wars is still fresh in our memory like a non healing wound. The current statistics showing the declining fossil supply capability of the EU is a harbinger of things to come.
The consumption of oil, natural gas and coal is continually on the rise, while the reserves are getting fast depleted. There is an increased burden on fuel import and the expenditure on this commodity is rising every year. The EU is dependent on Russia for a major part of its oil import, but the Russians are ready to back off from this export, in view of the scarcity of the product. The comparison between EU and the US has shown a rise in the fossil fuel consumption in the former.
These facts raise three important questions:
– What will be the impact of this crisis on the day to day life of a common man?
– Will this have a positive effect on the environment?
– Can we find an alternative source of energy, fast enough to enable us to tide over an oil crisis?
The answer for the first question is obvious. There will be rise in the prices of gasoline and all the fossil fuels, decreased productivity due to shortage and unexpected fluctuations in demand and supply, and a general thrift in the oil utilization.
The decrease in fossil fuel consumption will not decrease the gas emissions until an alternate energy source is found. Simply because, even if the average per capita usage of oil decreases, the total utilization will be unaffected.
The technology for the use of solar and nuclear energies has reached the level where it can ease the burden on the conventional sources and with co-ordinated political will, can replace the old fuels.