This month's issue is a compilation of several recent short writings. The last of these, a set of frequently asked questions about Peak Oil, is a work in progress that will appear in expanded form at www.postcarbon.org. Museletter #198.
For coal, the future of both extraction and consumption depends on new technology. If successfully deployed, innovative technologies could enable the use of coal that is unminable by gasifying it underground; reduce coal's carbon emissions; or allow coal to take the place of natural gas or petroleum. Without them, coal simply may not have much of a future. Are these technologies close to development? Are they economical? Will they work? Museletter #197.
Two weeks ago, oil was soaring toward $150 a barrel; now it’s
nosediving to $120 and may even see $100 again. Popular discourse is eager to use this as evidence for dimissing peak oil. Not so fast, says Richard Heinberg.
Recent reports on global coal reserves, surveyed in previous chapters, generally point to the likelihood of supply limits appearing relatively soon—within the next two decades (a contrary view is represented solely by the BGR report ["Lignite and Hard Coal: Energy Suppliers for World Needs until the Year 2100 – An Outlook," 2007]). According to this near-consensus, coal output in China, the world's foremost producer, could begin to decline within just a few years. MuseLetter 196.