By Jerry Marion (Eds.)
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5 become s a straigh t line on a logarithmi c graph . Thus , up to 1973, an extrapolatio n int o th e futur e was easy to mak e by simpl y extendin g th e straigh t line. Such a procedur e assume s tha t th e pas t patter n of ENERG Y USAG E IN THE FUTUR E 41 energ y usag e will continu e int o th e future . Th e rat e of increas e in deman d for electricit y ha s clearl y decrease d recentl y du e to th e increase s in cost of energy . Th e increase d cost of energ y ha s ha d a greate r impac t upo n our non electri c energ y usage .
For th e consumptio n of electri c energ y estimat e th e consumptio n in th e year s Repea t th e process , reducin g th e rat e after 1973. 6 x 10 ) an d was increasin g at an annua l rat e of 2 percent . 36 x 10 km . Wha t was th e 1970 populatio n densit y in person s per squar e kilometer ? If th e rat e of increas e remain s constant , wha t is th e doublin g tim e of th e worl d population ? Estimat e th e worl d populatio n in th e year 2500. How man y squar e meter s of th e Earth' s surfac e will be availabl e for each perso n at tha t time ?
Fossil fuels ar e produce d over long period s of time ; but we ar e usin g thes e fuels at a rapi d rate . How long can we continu e to do this ? We hav e alread y used approximatel y 16 percen t of th e estimate d tota l supplie s of oil and natura l gas . Fortunately , our supplie s of coal ar e muc h mor e extensive ; ther e probabl y remain s 50 time s as muc h coal as ha s alread y been mined . Even so, th e suppl y is limited , and at our presen t rat e of consumption , we will exhaus t th e world' s fossil fuel suppl y withi n severa l hundre d years .
Energy in Perspective by Jerry Marion (Eds.)