Spencer Abraham: More science can solve the world's energy problems

From a speech at Chatham House, in London, by the United States' Secretary of Energy
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The Independent Online

The demand for oil is increasing around the world, particularly in rapidly growing economies in nations like China and India. Of particular concern is the fact that we expect to see demand for energy, and especially electric energy, accelerate in the large population centres of the Third World

The demand for oil is increasing around the world, particularly in rapidly growing economies in nations like China and India. Of particular concern is the fact that we expect to see demand for energy, and especially electric energy, accelerate in the large population centres of the Third World. There, we will see a requirement for large ... very large ... power production facilities as an increased population joins with a growing world economy to put more and more stress on energy supplies.

Tied to the growing demand for energy is a host of environmental challenges, from air pollution and its effects on human health to questions about global climate change. Finding a path to meet the dual challenges of energy security and environmental stewardship will require global cooperation.

Now it seems clear, as we think about meeting the energy challenges that confront us, that no matter what regulatory model one adopts - no matter how we structure our economies - we will simply be unable to find and employ the energy we need in an environmentally acceptable manner without major breakthroughs in science and technology.

Indeed, whether one wishes to extend the usefulness of fossil fuels well into this century, extend the use of nuclear fission reactors, move toward renewables such as wind, biomass, and solar power, or fuel the world with fusion reactors, the common thread in realising each future energy vision is some kind of major advance in science and technology.

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