Impact of Energy Crisis on Modern World

Since the second industrial revolution, fossil fuels have been widely used. All aspects of our lives have long been inseparable from fossil fuels. However, in recent years, the word "energy crisis" has gradually appeared in the public view. With the expansion of the earth's population and the industrialization of developing countries, human demand for energy has reached an unprecedented level. However, we all know that fossil fuels are nonrenewable. The more we consume, the less we have left. BP released a report in 2016 that said coal would last us 115 years, oil would run out in 53 years, and natural gas would run out in 54 years. (British Petroleum Company, 2016) We are facing a global energy crisis caused by population growth, increased demand, and dependence on fossil fuels. The energy crisis is not only caused by energy exhaustion, but also by a country's policies or wars. For example, the first oil crisis in 1973-1974 occurred in the fourth Middle East war. In order to fight against Israel and Western countries, Arab countries made great efforts to raise the oil price. The next day, they reduced production and imposed an embargo on western countries, which increased the oil price from $3.01 to $11651 per barrel. With the huge income of $110 billion from Arab countries, western countries' economy was accompanied by Recession. It is conservatively estimated that the oil crisis has set the global economy back for at least two years. There are many more examples of the energy crisis caused by the war. For example, the second oil crisis in 1979-1980 was caused by the Iran Iraq war. The war between the two major oil-producing countries caused the sharp rise of international oil prices, which once again hit the western countries. Take the United States, for example, the GDP growth rate fell from 5.6% in 1978 to 3.2% in 1980, Until 1981, the negative growth rate was 0.2% (Wikipedia, 2019)
Some people don't think that the energy crisis is a very serious thing. In their eyes, the long-term goal of the energy crisis is to make them pay more when filling up their cars. But in fact, the harm caused by the energy crisis is far more serious than we think. Energy has already become the lifeblood of the national economy. The lack of energy is fatal to a country's economic development. In order to fight for the control of world resources and energy, two world wars broke out. In the first World War, 1.5 billion people of 31 countries were involved in the war, with 31 million casualties, 10 million of whom died, and 387.7 billion dollars in military expenditure and war losses. The number doubled in World War II. Sixty countries participated in the seven-year war, with a total of 90 million casualties and 50 million deaths. The direct military expenditure was US $111.7 billion and the material loss was US $3 trillion. (Baidu Baike, 2020) After World War II, the two superpowers of the United States and the Soviet Union launched a cold war for more than 40 years in order to fight for resources and energy. Middle East oil, gold and diamond in South Africa, copper mine in Zaire There is no peace in the oil war! The energy game will become more and more fierce.
The only way to solve the energy crisis is to use new renewable energy. One fifth of the world's primary energy supply has come from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal. By 2040, this area is expected to maintain an annual growth rate of 2.6%. Until recently, the main source of renewable energy was hydropower, and the fastest-growing one was wind power. But with the new progress of solar panel technology, they can generate electricity even in cloudy conditions, so solar power generation is booming. In the UK, for example, solar power has added more than 12 gigawatts to the grid in the past 12 months - the equivalent of a complete coal-fired power station. Global solar power generation increased by 50% last year. (BBC, 2017) Researchers in many countries are studying new photovoltaic cells that can be printed on flexible sheets to further reduce the cost of solar energy. However, renewable energy also has many problems. In addition to coal, there are few that can be used on a large scale. Although solar energy is inexhaustible, its cost is too high, and it can't be developed and widely used in a generation. So are other new energy sources. Therefore, human beings must estimate the possible crisis caused by the depletion of non-renewable mineral energy resources, so as to shift their attention to the new energy structure and explore, research and develop new energy as soon as possible. Otherwise, it may cause serious consequences due to taking too much from nature, and even threaten the survival of human beings.

References:

 

  • The report on how long it will take to run out of fossil fuels was published by British Petroleum Company in2016.
  • The data on the decline in U.S. GDP was published by Wikipedia in 2019.
  • Data on world war losses were released by Baidu Baike in 2020.
  • The use of solar power was announced by the BBC in 2017.