Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Peak Coal is Moving Closer Too
Those following the issue have known for years that peak oil was very close, but coal was always thought to be another issue entirely. Official estimates, made many years ago however, talked about 300 years' worth of coal being left which to most of us is synonymous with "eons." Neither we, nor our children, nor grandchildren, nor our great-grandchildren can expect to be around that long.
However, in recent decades, there were a number of developments that are now raising questions about the centuries-of-coal-left estimates. The most spectacular of these developments came after World War II when the Chinese got their act together and began to grow their economy, and did they ever grow it! We all know that economic growth takes prodigious amounts of energy, and while China did have quite a bit of oil, they had huge amounts of coal; something over 180 billion tons of the stuff is left according to recent Chinese estimates. This was second only to the U.S. and Russia who are currently estimated by BP to have more than 200 billion tons each. As we have come to learn, these numbers are always rather suspect for there is good quality coal and bad quality coal. There is cheap and easy-to-get coal and expensive hard-to-get coal. As with oil, it is the rate at which you can exploit it that counts - not the theoretical reserves. More >>>