Since the Industrial Revolution, humanity has experienced unprecedented growth in population, quality of life, education, global interaction, and life expectancy. Commerce skyrocketed, transportation grew at an astonishing pace, and farmers harvested surpluses of food like never before.
What enabled this huge expansion? – reliable energy produced from fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels enabled the manufacture and use of technologies that massively boosted production of the goods and services that were essential to society at that time.
Fast forward to present day: nearly everything relies on energy. Electricity powers our cities, hospitals, schools, factories, and homes. Fuels derived from oil get us where we need to go every day, powering cars, trains, and planes.
Energy is essential to our way of life in the developed nations, and is a major building block for underdeveloped regions to expand their economies and increase the quality of life of their citizens. However, today we find ourselves in the midst of an energy crisis: we are faced with the dilemma of reducing our societal carbon footprint while meeting the ever-growing worldwide demand for energy and combating energy poverty.
This is not a simple problem, and out of all the energy technologies available to us, none of them can alone be the solution. While each energy technology has its benefits, each also has its drawbacks, particularly if we do not responsibly implement them. To solve our energy crisis, we must be willing to evaluate all aspects of every available technology, and find the right mix of clean and reliable technologies for each region of the globe.