Before the Wells Run Dry

Dec 11, 2003 Comments Off on Before the Wells Run Dry by

Before the Wells Run Dry
Read this book online in its entirety

Consider these facts:

• A major oil company, BP, adopts the sunflower as its logo and starts saying that its initials stand for “Beyond Petroleum”.
• Exxon-Mobil, the world’s biggest oil company, says that it is finding it harder and harder to find anywhere to sink new wells.
• The biggest oil-importing country in the world invades the country with the second biggest oil reserves and puts them under its control.

What’s going on? The answer is that the world is using oil at four times the rate it is finding it and the output of many existing fields, including the North Sea, is beginning to decline. According to one contributor to this book, global oil production will start falling within the next five to ten years and increases in natural gas output will cease to be capable of making up the shortfall after about 2015.

Whenever it occurs, the decline in oil and gas output will be a turning point in human history since the use of increasing amounts of fossil energy has been the basis of globalization and rapid economic growth. The thirty energy experts who contribute to this book discuss when the turning point will actually happen and whether other energy sources can be developed in time to avert a disastrous energy shortage.

NuclearCan nuclear energy fill the gap? It can’t do it alone because, even leaving the waste problem aside, there’s only enough uranium for about sixty years.

CoalAnd what about coal? There’s plenty in the ground but it’s a dirty fuel whose greater use would accelerate global warming.

RenewablesAnd how do renewable energy sources – wind, waves, tides, biomass, hydro and the sun – really stack up? Which technologies are ready for massive investments to begin?

This groundbreaking book explores these and many other issues and its authors conclude that renewables do indeed have the capacity to provide the people of Europe with all the energy they need to live comfortable lives without using coal or nuclear energy at all. Moreover, the switch could be made within fifty years if the right decisions are taken immediately.

Several authors explore the effects that increasing oil scarcity will have on Ireland which, besides being the seventh most heavily oil-dependent country in the world, has some of the best potential renewable energy sources in Europe. No part of Irish life will escape the changes that scarce, expensive gas and oil will bring. Besides energy supplies, settlement patterns, building design, transport systems and arrangements for sewage disposal will have to be transformed. The book concludes that the massive transition can only be accomplished satisfactorily if work on it is begun, in earnest, right away.

“The impending energy crisis is the most neglected question of our time. Thank goodness someone is taking it head-on” – George Monbiot

Distributed in Ireland by the Lilliput Press and in the UK by Green Books Ltd.

Hard copies of Before the Wells Run Dry can be ordered online from Green Books (see link on right). It is priced at €12.95, plus €5 postage and packaging.

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Before the Wells Run Dry: Ireland's Transition to Renewable Energy

About the author

Caroline Whyte has been involved with Feasta since 2002. She studied ecological economics at Mälardalen University in Sweden, writing a masters thesis on the relationship between central banking and sustainability. She contributed to Feasta's books Fleeing Vesuvius and Sharing for Survival. Along with four other Feasta climate group members she helped to launch the CapGlobalCarbon initative at the COP-21 summit in Paris in December 2015. In February 2017 she participated in the World Basic Income conference in Manchester, discussing the potential for climate action to contribute to reducing poverty and inequality worldwide. She lives in central France, from where she edits the Feasta website.

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