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interview > greene > greene 1

Greene 1 (1:38)
Topic(s): Biofuels / Electric & Hybrid / Future Transport
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Greene

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I think the first is that our transportation system is almost entirely fueled by petroleum, more than 95%, and it's been that way for the past half century. We're now facing a situation where we're approaching a time when oil production outside of the OPEC countries is likely to reach a plateau or peak, some people think. And when that happens, we will have a growing gap between what the world can supply itself in oil and what the growing mobility demand will be, not just in the United States and in Europe and South America, but also in Asia, China, India, very rapidly increasing demand for mobility.

And we will have to find sources of energy for transportation other than conventional petroleum. We're already beginning to do that in places like Alberta, Canada, where we're tapping into oil sands, which a couple of decades ago were not considered to be suitable sources of petroleum for transportation systems. But now we're producing more than a million barrels a day of oil from oil sands. And those other sources are there (things like oil shale, things like coal-to-liquid fuels), but they're much more damaging to the environment, and especially to the climate. If we were to produce gasoline from coal, for example, without trying to capture the carbon emissions, there would be about twice as much greenhouse gas produced per vehicle mile as we produce now, using gasoline.

So on the one hand we're facing a situation where petroleum is going to become increasingly scarce. We're going to have to find other sources of energy. And the most convenient, most easily usable sources of energy are the ones most damaging to the global climate.

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