8.28.2009

Happy 150th, Oil! So Long, and Thanks for Modern Civilization

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/oilat150/
http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2009/08/derrickforest.jpg
One hundred and fifty years ago on Aug. 27, Colonel Edwin L. Drake sunk the very first commercial well that produced flowing petroleum.
The discovery that large amounts of oil could be found underground marked the beginning of a time during which this convenient fossil fuel became America’s [and the world's] dominant energy source.
But what began 150 years ago won’t last another 150 years — or even another 50. The era of cheap oil is ending, and with another energy transition upon us, we’ve got to scavenge all the lessons we can from its remarkable history.
“I would see this as less of an anniversary to note for celebration and more of an anniversary to note how far we’ve come and the serious moment that we’re at right now,” said Brian Black, an energy historian at Pennsylvania State University and and author of the book Petrolia. “Energy transitions happen and I argue that we’re in one right now and that we need to aggressively look to the future to what’s going to happen after petroleum.”
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