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7- www. energy- future. com 1.2- The big picture In another 20 years, those limits will have been stretched yet further. And technology will branch into new areas: perhaps na-nobots will be able to go into the reservoir and say what's down there. Or engineered bacteria will change the properties of, say, sticky oil - stuff that at the moment is in-credibly tricky to retrieve - to make it flow better. Or sustainable biofuels will be made from fast- growing algae. There are plenty of other ideas for energy supply in the future. Some are established, such as nuclear. Some are starting to make inroads in the market, such as wind. Some are commercially unproved, such as hydro-gen fuel cells. And some are technologically speculative. But whatever the energy future holds, nothing can yet replace oil and gas at scale - and won't be able to for decades. Fossil fuels - deposits of oil, natural gas and coal formed over millions of years in the earth's crust from organic matter - may retain their 80% share of the energy mix over the next two decades, estimates the International Energy Agency ( IEA), a multi-government think tank. Even with the intro-duction of ambitious green policies, fossil fu-els would still account for 67% of primary en-ergy demand in 2030, according to the IEA. Oil will remain predominant " even under the most optimistic of assumptions about the de-velopment of alternative technology", it says. That means greater innovation and in-genuity will be needed at oil companies - not just to find enough oil to meet incremen-tal demand, but also to find enough oil to replace lost volumes as existing fields dry out. Even if oil demand were to remain flat to 2030, four Saudi Arabias will be needed by 2030 just to offset the effect of oil field de-cline, the IEA says. That's a big challenge. But despite its hefty reliance on technol-ogy, oil's not jut a science endeavour. It's a business that depends on understand-ing and adapting to numerous other forces - politics, geopolitics, economics, environ-mental considerations, legal questions. Just looking at a map instantly gives you a feel for the political implications of, say, building a natural gas pipeline to Europe from the Middle East or Central Asia ( see p106). Then there's the question of sustainability: consumers want cheap energy - and espe-cially cheap oil, which helps to set the prices of all other commodities. But the same peo-ple want their energy to be clean. That's a contradiction politicians must grapple with. Renewables can provide clean power and there is no doubt that their con-tribution to energy supply is valuable and Energy: a growing business Notwithstanding the temporary dip in energy demand caused by the recession of 2008 and 2009, consumption could be nearly half as big again as it is today by 2030, says the International Energy Agency ( IEA), a multi-government think tank. Why? Because the population's growing rapidly. And we all want energy: if you're at university, perhaps you've just passed your driving test. But do you know someone who's planning to stop driving to give you space on the roads? No. You'll probably buy a home soon too - for which you'll need light, power and heat. No- one else will switch off his or her refrigerator, radiators, air- conditioning or television to make room for yours. So as the population grows and econ-omies grow, energy use will grow too. In fact, energy is inextricably linked to eco-nomic growth: the biggest oil consumer in the world, the US, is also the world's big-gest economy. The countries with the small-estper capita oil consumption are typically the poorest. We might have taken our en-ergy for granted in the past. But no one can afford to do so now. ?? Despite its hefty reliance on technology, oil's not jut a science endeavour

8- www. world- petroleum. org 1.2- The big picture will continue to grow. US President Barack Obama wants to launch a green revolution and to introduce sweeping legislation to tackle greenhouse- gas emissions. He calls his plan " America's new energy economy" and says it will create millions of new jobs - and help lift the US and the rest of the world out of their economic difficulties. It's certainly ambitious. But bringing renewables into mainstream energy supply at the scale required to serve large populations is a difficult job and will take time. Biofuels, for instance, are a com-pelling idea, but there are strong arguments to suggest they don't always make a positive contribution to the environment ( see p114). Meanwhile, as in Washington, most other governments also want to fight climate change too. In December, diplomats from 200 countries will meet in the Danish capi-tal, Copenhagen, to try to thrash out a fiend-ishly complex global agreement on climate-change abatement. A great deal is riding on its success ( see p40). Like the technical solutions, the policy ones depend on creative thinking. The sim-plest, cheapest and most effective way of reducing the environmental impact of en-ergy use is to become more efficient in the way we use it - in buildings and cars ( see p20), for example. But numerous laws, in-centives and regulations are needed to make better habits take root. Another priority is decarbonising the power sector, capturing and storing CO2 produced in electricity generation ( see p94). But that costs money: who will pay for it? There are plenty of other ideas, including cap- and- trade schemes ( see p111). But the right degree of government intervention and financial support is necessary to get these fledgling ideas off the ground. Things are changing, and fast. The world's most dynamic industry is used to that. But the challenges ahead are greater than ever before: it makes 2010 and the next few years crucial for the energy sector. And the world. ?? Bringing renewables into mainstream energy supply at the scale required to serve large populations is a difficult job and will take time Courtesy Markel Redondo, Greenpeace