"The human proclivity for capturing an ever larger fraction of the total flux of the energy of the earth, and eventually for tapping the large supplies of stored energy, has had the effect of continuously upsetting the ecological equilibrium in the direction of an increase in the human population."? M. King Hubbert in "Energy Resources," A Report to the National Academy of Sciences? National Research Council.
The worldwide population and energy explosions are like the hen and the egg. However, today, the question "Which came first?" is academic. Experts tell us that by the year 2000 United States population will be up 40 percent (to about 280 million people), and our energy needs will be up 40 percent per person (to about 315 million Btu).
Recently, the population and energy explosions have been joined by another? worldwide pollution of our environment. A start has been made on pollution but much more must be done, as we shall see. Industry can, and will, supply the needed energy, but the problem is complex and will require careful planning. Periodic inventories of all energy available at current prices and operating conditions must be made.
In order to keep up with the fast-changing energy industry of the future we must learn to think in terms of the energy available from each fuel ? Btus instead of tons, cubic feet or barrels. Such terms as "reserves" must have the same meaning throughout the industry or costly miscalculations can result. Here are three examples of what is already happening.
First, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has announced that by 1980 nuclear power plants will be generating about 25 percent of the nation's electric power ? yet the total U.S. reserves of uranium ore available at today's prices and technology are about one-fourth the requirements of the planned reactors.