The food-related China fears of yesterday—the country's predicted inability to feed itself, thus putting an unbearable burden on global food supplies—have today been replaced by new worries, about pandemic possibilities.
Any realistic appraisal of global energy futures must begin with a comprehensive and balanced understanding of resources and their uses. What are the kinds and magnitudes of energy stores and flows available to supply the world's still-growing needs for fuels and electricity? And what is the intensity and pattern of their use?
Abundant, inexpensive, and reliable energy is taken for granted, and the citizens of rich countries seem to expect this to continue indefinitely. Reality is different: this veritable fairytale is threatened by many changes—some of which are already upon us, others that are discernible on the horizon.