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"out of Gas" Reflection

Essay by   •  December 6, 2011  •  Essay  •  518 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,040 Views

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"Out of Gas" Reflection

The book expresses that the age of petroleum is coming to an end, and that our environment is in danger. So basically, oil supply will shortly begin to decline, introducing a global crisis. He suggests that we have passed Hubert's peak and that we will slowly consume more oil based on our growing need for manufacturing. In this book, Goodstein believes that there will not be an alternative source of energy to continue industrial processes like they are done today. I think one good point is that there cannot be an energy source that is 100 percent efficient due to thermodynamics. Goodstein describes energy itself like: kinetic, potential, thermal and how the law of conservation of energy was discovered, electricity, entropy, and how the greenhouse effect influences our climate. Goodstein explains how heat engines such as steam engines work, turning heat at high temperature into work and shedding some heat at low temperature in order to keep operating. He then contrasts them with electric motors, which, not needing to discard heat, are far more efficient by placing the heat somewhere where it is need inside of the engine or car. The idea that alternative energy technologies will not be effective because of the time it will take to improve them, such as wind mills and nuclear power plants that are unstable. He also writes that methane based fuel will have to be the way to go until we do create an energy source that has longevity.

It is sort of ironic how economists say if oil prices go up, than other fuels then have a chance to compete. The author shrugs that off and says it cannot be compared to when we have a shortage of oil supplies and still have several decades to perfect better resources. We as a society have the ability to create different sources, but civilians or those not partaking in the creation dislike the idea of living near facilities that have a nuclear fission process or ugly pieces of metal sticking out of the ground. Goodstein concludes that our civilization will cease to exist unless we can find a way to live without fossil fuels and perfect alternative energies. I understand his idea that fossil fuels will not last for hundreds of years, which is based on the growth in consumption of fuels and how much the global economy depends on it. However, the belief of the extinction of oil as an energy source has been around for decades and yet we still have managed to keep a supply, on the other hand, the economy has increasingly changed and who knows how our world will be or look like in 50 years. The fact that he put science based fact into his book helps explain not only why he believes his point is valid, but also gives the reader a better knowledge of science. Over all, I agree that we need to start acting responsible for our environment and start seriously thinking about what we need to do to create a better and more abundant energy source.

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