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The energy sector, the driving force for modern civilization, has been giving mixed signals. While oil prices have dropped because of producing countries' desires to maintain income, the latest estimates suggest that global oil production will peak in a decade or two. Falling production will then drive prices up rapidly. On the other hand, changes in technology such as a rapid shift to electric vehicles could cause a fall in demand, which would have severe economic consequences for oil-producing countries. While this would improve air quality in cities, the impact on greenhouse gas production would depend on whether non-fossil energy sources were used to meet the increased demand for electricity (MacKenzie, J., 1996).

References and Sources

MacKenzie, James. 1996. World Resources Institute report, April 1996. Cited in "Scraping the barrel". New Scientist, 20 April 1996, and Matthews, Jessica. "The two-alarm energy crisis". Washington Post, 19 February 1996.


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UNEP/DEWA/Earthwatch 1996-2003