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Growth of industry and commerce during the last century have been accompanied by a significant increase in the use of natural gas and petroleum. Today's growing consumption of fuels indicates that, in the next SO years, the world's petroleum resources will be approaching exhaustion. For example, suppose that every family in China had two cars that are driven everyday as far as American family cars are driven today. Then, China would need 80 million barrels of petroleum each day. However, the world's current production of petroleum is only 74 million barrels per day. China's approach to their air-pollution and energy problems is constructing new nuclear power plants plus the 18.2 gigawatt Three Gorges hydro-power-plant. The increasing carbon dioxide content in our atmosphere, and a rising global temperature, accompany the world's growing fuel consumption. Archeological evidence relates the growth and decline of the ice ages to air temperature. Many popular techniques for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions have defects. For example, replacing nuclear power plants with wind-power plants is proposed in Germany. During no-wind conditions, hydropower would be imported from Switzerland. At night, the Swiss would pump, with nuclear power from France, water from the lake back up into the high-elevation storage reservoirs. These and other power-generation technologies are evaluated in this report.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2003