No One Energy Source for Future Economy

The National Petroleum Council says powering the world's growing population and economy could require 50 percent to 60 percent more energy by the year 2030. That means more use of fossil fuels, biomass, nuclear power and alternative energy.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Crude oil prices are pretty fat again. And with oil prices hovering near $75 per barrel this week, a panel of energy experts and industrial consumers and environmentalists is calling for some strong medicine.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY: The global oil and gas report from the National Petroleum Council is called Facing the Hard Truths about Energy. One of those truths is we're likely to need a lot more.

Powering the world's growing population and economy could require 50 to 60 percent more energy by the year 2030. Dan Yergin, one of the vice chairmen of the council, says there's no single energy source that can meet that growing demand. Instead, it's likely to take more fossil fuels, more biomass, more nuclear power and more alternative energy.

Mr. DAN YERGIN (National Petroleum Council): This is a wake-up call. It's looking at the scale of the energy challenge over the next 25 years or so, and it's very big.

HORSLEY: All the bigger as the world tries to cut back on greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels - or at least keep them out of the atmosphere. One of the council's key recommendations is to stretch energy supplies further by boosting efficiency. Yergin suggests fuel economy standards could be raised so that by 2030 cars and trucks go twice as far on every gallon of gasoline.

Mr. YERGIN: About one out of nine barrels of oil that's used in the world every day is burned as gasoline on American highways. What we drive is something that really moves the needle.

HORSLEY: The council's report was commissioned by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. Yergin hopes it will inform policy in this administration and the next.

Scott Horsley, NPR News.

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