Introducing the Energy Geoscience Series
Journal name: Petroleum Geoscience
Issue: Vol 25, No 3, August 2019 pp. 323 - 324
Organisations: Geological Society of London
Info: Article, PDF ( 195.92Kb )
Price: € 30
I am pleased to announce that, during our 25th anniversary year, Petroleum Geoscience has decided to introduce a new series of papers on the theme of Energy Geoscience. Here, I briefly explain why we are doing this and why we think it is important for development of the Journal. If we imagine ourselves 25 years into the future, we might well look back on these years (2020 ± 5) as the turning point when human society transited from the petroleum age to the age of sustainability (see Grubb 2014 and Sachs 2015). This change is primarily being driven by the need to severely curtail and reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (the climate change challenge), but also because of many other harmful impacts of modern human society on the biosphere (e.g. species and habitat loss) and the hydrosphere (e.g. water quality and spread of plastic waste). Human society needs to change its behaviour into more responsible practices, and that includes how we use energy. In responding to these challenges, we can already see an acceleration in what we now call the energy transition. Deployment of renewable energy has grown dramatically over the last decades. Globally, the world produced c. 5.9 TWh of renewable energy in 2016 (ourworldindata.org), with hydropower representing almost 70% of this and the rest being a mix of power generated from solar, wind and geothermal sources. This represents a six-fold increase since the 1960’s. Future projections anticipate that electricity (rather than fossil fuels) will become the main global energy carrier by 2050 with renewable power sources able to provide the bulk of global electrical power demand (IRENA 2019). Global demand for fossil fuels, which currently provide around 80% of global energy, is expected to peak sometime in the next decade (Goldthau et al. 2019), and although there are many different opinions on how soon these changes will occur and what the future energy mix will look like, rapid change is clearly under way. During the coming decades, energy supply will most likely be based on hybrid systems, for example, with gas-based power generation complementing fluctuating renewable energy sources. Ways of using fossil fuel-based energy with reduced (or net zero) levels of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere will also be in focus.