Lantzke, Ulf
December 1979
Foreign Affairs;Winter79/80, Vol. 58 Issue 2, p351
This article calls for the increased global production of coal by the year 2000 as a response to the inevitable leveling off of world oil production. It now appears that world coal production must at least triple by the end of the century if we are to have adequate energy supplies to accommodate even moderate levels of economic growth. It would require an annual coal production increase of five percent. In quantitative terms these are major targets yet they are modest in terms of the vital objective of assuring the future of the world economy. The elements of the world energy balance are now generally understood by those who seek seriously to assess the present situation and future prospects. In particular, the International Energy Agency bringing together 20 nations within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, has produced a series of progressively more pessimistic appraisals. Thus, even on optimistic assumptions about some of the underlying energy supply and demand factors, oil supplies cannot meet projected demand. There are several available means by which the large differences between desired energy demand and expected supply can be reconciled over the longer term. Energy demand can be reduced through market reaction to limited supplies leading sharply higher energy prices which would result in either more efficient use of energy or a slowdown of economic activity or a combination of these.


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