Tuesday, 22 July 2008

World dependent on fossil fuels for 20 years: CSIRO

A CSIRO researcher says the world will be dependent on fossil fuels for energy generation for at least the next 20 years.

Peter McCabe has spent more than 30 years researching the world's use of fossil fuels and will be a keynote speaker at a geoscience conference in Perth today.

Dr McCabe says concerns about climate change should be addressed in the short term by energy conservation and by storing the carbon dioxide that results from burning fossil fuels underground.

He says oil, gas and coal are used to generate up to 86 per cent of the world's energy, while wind, solar and geo-thermal sources account for less than 1 per cent.

"So even if they increase 10-fold or 20-fold that will not actually meet the increased demand for energy in the world," he said.

Dr McCabe says it is unlikely that alternative energy sources can be developed in the next 20 years to meet growing global demand.

He says in the meantime, the world needs to look at cleaner ways of using fossil fuels.

"Clearly there are lots of things that we can do in terms of fuel efficiency and conservation but the other thing that we should do is think about carbon capture and storage," he said.

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