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Jerome, we know the American press's reaction to all this:  oil problem?  huh?  Nah!  

Europe can't be quite so sublimely uninformed, one would hope.  What to you read there on this looming crisis?  

Only connect.

by Maurice Hall on Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 02:00:05 AM EST
To be honest, I don't think it's much better. I watch little TV and my main source of news in France is Le Monde, a high brow paper. They do cover it once in a while, but probably less than the Financial Times. From what little I see of it, I'd say that the French business press covers it very little.

Altogether, but I'll be happy to be corrected by other readers, awareness is pretty low. "We have nuclear and drive small diesel cars anyway" would probably sum it up.

At least, at the EU level, there has been a major push to develop renewable energy and, in the context of the Kyoto Treaty, carbon trading and this has a major impact on the nergy generetors, at least on the electricity side (which, of course, has only little to do with oil, but somewhat more with natural gas)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 02:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There just a few people screaming in blogs for 100USD oil. I think that the "awareness" isn't right word but preparedness is on European level.

Having read EU documents lately it is fairly clear that oil supply is believed to be ultimately constrained.  However, these concerns are more directed towards geo-strategic concerns. Middle-East oil supply is thought to be unreliable due political concerns. The European solution is diversification of importers on short term while searching for alternative solutions in longer term. However, having said this the current energy papers still keep the fossile fuels as cornerstone of energy policy.

Renewable energy sources and various oil substitutes are being developed but they are not yet cheap nor practical to replace oil per se. The main impetus with them is pollution control and climate change, not strategic decision to decrease dependance on oil or fossile fuels.

There are several major renewable energy concepts that are functional in energy production (wind is now proven method and biogas has real potential on local level at least). Renewable energy production is rapidly rising (although from low base) and it is gaining some importance. The current biofuels are effectively used to reduce pollution not substitute oil. Energy conservation is given a lot of thought and there is legal framework necessary to support it.

My own take is that in shorter term the most thought out oil substitute is natural gas and in longer term hydrogen might be used (at least in aircraft). These technologies already exist and they work fairly well. Alternatively you might also produce necessary amount of oil from coal (although very expensively). This has historically been solution in supply crises. I seem to remember a Finnish Defence Forces calculation that this kind of expensive coal gasification became "profitable" when oil cost was something like 120 USD/barrel which makes coal another short term solution while looking for better long term solutions.

by Nikita on Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 04:40:27 AM EST
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