Bush acknowledges peak oil
Jerome a Paris, European Tribune
The Coal Question Revisited
Kurt Cobb, Scitizen ("Bringing science closer to society")
Many people believe the world has enough coal to last hundreds of years. Recent assessments now suggest that coal production could actually start to decline as early as 2025.
Coal, in truth, stands not beside but entirely above all other commodities. It is the material energy of the country--the universal aid--the factor in everything we do. With coal almost any feat is possible or easy; without it we are thrown back into the laborious poverty of early times.---William Stanley Jevons, The Coal QuestionThe country to which William Stanley Jevons refers is Great Britain, and the year is 1865. Jevons investigated whether the coal from British mines would last as long as optimists were forecasting, that is, several hundred years. He concluded it wouldn't. Today, the phrase, "That's like bringing coals to Newcastle," referring to the former center of the British coal trade, has lost all its punch. The last mine within the boundaries of Newcastle closed in 1956. In 2006 the United Kingdom produced only 20 million short tons of coal, one-seventh its production in 1980.
With the concern that worldwide oil production may not rise much from here, and that it may, in fact, begin to decline in the next decade, those looking for alternatives are naturally drawn to coal. Coal is being trumpeted as both abundant and versatile. This is because worldwide reserves are assumed to be very large and because coal can be turned into the liquid fuels we'll need as oil declines.(17 January 2008)