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Published on May 18th, 2014 | by James Ayre

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EU Facing Severe Fossil Fuel & Natural Resource Shortages In Near Future

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May 18th, 2014 by
 
Many of the constituent states of the European Union are facing severe, critical shortages of fossil fuels and other natural resources in the near future, a new report from the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University warns.

Some of the numbers are quite stark — though not really surprising to anyone who’s already familiar with the subject. When you place a country’s rate of consumption against its rate of production, the picture painted is often quite bleak for many of the old world’s remaining powers.

Image Credit: Hot via Flickr CC

Image Credit: Hot via Flickr CC

The UK has, apparently, only 5.2 years left of oil, 4.5 years of coal, and 3 years of gas. To put that another way, if the UK was put in the position where it could no longer import its fuels (much of which currently come from Russia and the Middle East), the country would more or less come to a complete halt 5 years from now.

Now, of course you’re probably thinking, “well, they could always just import their gas and oil from us here in the US, right?” Well, they could, but then that would drive the prices of said resources up here, wouldn’t it? There’s only so much oil to go around, only so much natural gas, and only so much of any other natural resource for that matter. And, more importantly, there’s only so much that’s cheaply, economically recoverable.

Image Credit: Anglia Ruskin University

Image Credit: Anglia Ruskin University

That’s the reality that’s facing many import-dependent countries — which many European countries will soon be — when there’s only so much that’s available. And as it’s becoming more and more expensive to extract/produce, how do you maintain the status quo, and your privileged position in the global trade and economic hierarchy? If Russia, Norway, and Saudi Arabia have all of the reserves of the resources that you’re dependent upon, what leverage do you have in your relations with them?

Some of the other interesting figures from the report: France has less than a year’s worth of its own reserves of oil, gas, and coal. Italy has less than a year of gas and coal, and only one year of oil. While many of the leading powers of the last few centuries are nearly out of reserves, some of the ‘poorer’ countries are in somewhat better positions. Bulgaria, for example, has about 73 years left of coal, Poland has 34.

That said, that’s 34 years at the internal rate-of-use, if there were no exports — and in a relatively moderate-sized country like Poland.

Image Credit: Anglia Ruskin University

Image Credit: Anglia Ruskin University

Now, compare that to a country like Russia, which currently possesses “over 50 years of oil, over 100 years of gas and over 500 years of coal, based on their current levels of internal consumption.”

Dr Aled Jones, Director of the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin, explains: “These maps show vulnerability in many parts of the EU and they paint a picture of heavily-indebted European economies coming under increasing threat from rising global energy prices. It is vital that those shaping Europe’s future political agenda understand our existing economic fragility. The EU is becoming ever more reliant on our resource-rich neighbours such as Russia and Norway, and this trend will only continue unless decisive action is taken.”

Professor Victor Anderson of the Global Sustainability Institute concurs: “Coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are running down and we need alternatives. The UK urgently needs to be part of a Europe-wide drive to expand renewable energy sources such as wave, wind, tidal, and solar power.”

Image Credit: Anglia Ruskin University

Image Credit: Anglia Ruskin University


Of course, even with such a push, it seems unlikely that the current economic status quo can be maintained for many of the countries currently on the receiving end of the industrial world’s wealth pumps. That said, there isn’t much of an alternative for many countries, is there? So, why the political deadlock? Is political disfunction, and a largely apathetic populace, just in the nature of a prosperous country (or countries) on the decline?

Considering that many of the leading military think-tanks of the world have openly acknowledged these issues, as well as the issues surrounding climate change and its effects, why are said issues continually brushed off in public and political discourse, with the ever-present phrases: “They’ll think of something” and “Technology will fix that” and so on?

Simple denial?

Those interested can find the full report at the Global Sustainability Institute’s website. The full-report also explores other issues, such as food and water insecurity in North Africa and the Middle East, and economic inequality in South and Central America.

The full GRO database of social, environmental, and economic data will be made available to download this summer.

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Rick Kargaard

    A point that is often missed. Those resources that are being used for fuel are important for other reasons and will be needed for hundreds of years. It is less important when they will run out, than that they will run out, if we continue to burn them at anything near current rates. It is not only europe that faces eventual severe shortages. The recent push for self sufficiency in th U.S. means that domestic oil will be used up that much sooner.Yes, some new sources will be found and technology will enhance production, but it is already evident that this is not meeting demand and prices are continuing to rise. The only technology that has any hope of filling future energy needs are the renewables and it is necessary to implement them before we run out of the fuel to do it.

  • JamesWimberley

    The EU does actually have quite ambitious targets for shifting to renewable energy. Germany and Denmark have even higher ones. The authors would have more impact if they presented a reasoned case for raising these targets.

  • Russland Nachrichten

    why dont you also post the debt map they have shown in their report? that would maybe answer your question about renewable energy

  • Jonas Doran

    Hello my name is Jonas and Ive got an idea for a LENR that if Im right on how it would work it could take care of the worlds energy problem. Thing is its just a basic out line at this time and needs the help of a person, that has a decent amount of cash, to help develop it. Ive had some problems getting people to help me with this (probally because Im a amature witth no degree). Like I said its in laymens, is a bit long and needs alot of work. I just post what Ive got here and leave a way to contact me. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

    (This is a copy of a email I had sent to a previous reader and may contain other content related to the subject)

    One day I was thInkIng about nuclear reactIons and how the atom, what I call, lIkes to be
    happy. MeanIng that a atom, wIth all a atom Is (charge, dIstance from nucleus lIke the
    shell, how many electrons In a shell, the spIn, ect) the atom trIes to stay balanced. When
    a partIcle Is Introduced to a atom It causes a Imbalance and a nuclear reactIon happens.
    Now we have fIgured out how to do fIssIon thIs way but not fusIon. The only example (that
    I know of) of fusIon happens at hIgh temperatures lIke what happens at the sun. What
    happens at the sun Is what they call plasma. SO I was thInkIng about heat and what heat
    and cold does. When somethIng Is super cold all motIon In a atom stops. ThIs means
    electrons do not move to hIgher shells. The more energy put Into the atom, the more the
    electrons move to hIgher shells. tIll (thIs Is questIonable) there Is so much heat, energy
    or frIctIon because of electrons bumpIng Into other partIcles makIng them move because the
    electrons are goIng to hIgher shells that electrons leave the atom because of thIs
    expansIon (goIng to hIgher shells whIch makes them further and further from the nucleus
    and the protons In that system), causes reactIon In other atoms In a element (makIng theIr
    electrons go to hIgher shells) that sooner or later the electrons leave theIr atoms thus
    causIng a Imbalance In the atom and the nucleus brIngs In another proton to balance the
    atom because If a electron Is In a hIgher shell than It was the atom compensate by
    changIng a condItIon In the atom to create balance. If you can pull the electrons away
    from the nucleus then your goIng to create a nuclear reactIon. ThIs nuclear reactIon Is
    opposIte than how fIssIon Is done. Youve got to thInk backwards. You would, I you was not
    a physIcIst, that you add a proton to a atom by shootIng It at the nucleus to add It to
    the atom lIke takIng a apple and placIng It wIth another apple makIng two apples but In
    scIence we know thIs does not happen. When we do thIs wIth a atom you splIt the atom. ThIs
    Is kInda backwards so you have to thInk of the whole thIng backwards. If thIs does fIssIon
    than my logIc says to me that to do fusIon It would be the opposIte procedure of fIssIon
    and be backwards Itself. Instead of adding to the nuclous you take away from it thus
    having to bring nother particle in to the nuclous or pulling other electrons into the
    nuclous (if it just pulls in another electron then this whole idea is useless unless you
    control how the fields and their Tesla on the particles in a atom which I will get into in
    the next section). ThIs would be pullIng the partIcles apart Instead of addIng them
    together to create a fusIon reactIon. Now wIth that I wIll explaIn how we do thIs wIthout
    a large amount of energy. A LENR.

    What I thInk scIence Is just startIng to learn about Is the condItIon of partIcles In the
    atom known as spIn (whIch my other energy Idea deals wIth spIn too). I was thInkIng about
    thIs (I thInk In opposItes and neg and pos all the tIme for reason I may get Into at
    another tIme) and examples of thIngs I have read or watched. One was a lecture on youtube
    from Harvard UnIversIty about Quantum Entanglement (whIch I lIsten to about 45 mIn. and
    dIdnt get to the Quantum Entanglement part whIch Is stIll confusIng to me) and the lecture
    was talkIng about a electron In a North fIeld alIgns wIth the fIeld and releases a photon
    (whIch I use thIs concept In my other energy Idea because I have spent some tIme comIng up
    wIth energy Ideas, whIch was my IntentIon when I started In physIcs where I could come up
    wIth somethIng to make cash for myself and my famIly. ThIs Is weIrd that the other Idea I
    had other than Cold FusIon took me a long tIme but thIs Idea took about 5 mInutes
    contemplatIon and then just refInIng It over about 2 months. Actually puttIng It asIde for
    the other Idea). Then I looked at other concepts lIke frogs floatIng In a fIeld and how a
    MRI works and came to the realIzatIon that all partIcles are magnetIc and theIr posItIon,
    eIther a up spIn or a down spIn determInes how fIelds react wIth them lIke how two magnets
    work wIth each other. Even the earth Is magnetIc (north pole and south pole) and reacts
    wIth other thIngs In space, that the solar system Is set up lIke atoms. That gravIty
    Itself may be magnetIc In nature or even If It Isnt can be manIpulated by understandIng
    the magnetIc part of mass. Boy If you could attach or compare gravIty wIth magnetIc you
    would have the UnIfIed theory. Anyways the partIcles In a atom Is magnetIc and are
    effected by fIelds. If we know thIs a formula of the certaIn amount of Tesla compared wIth
    each fIeld (north and south) could be used to pull the electrons away from the atom to
    create a LENR reactIon that results In fusIon. The thIngs to remember (and thIs Is where I
    need help) Is that one: For each element lIke hydrogen then helIum and so on and so on.
    The formula of North Tesla to South Tesla to do the reactIon Is goIng to be dIfferent from
    element to element because the condItIon of balance In that atom Is dIfferent from each
    one (Instead of one South and one North In a hydrogen atom, If that Is the way Its set up,
    the helIum has two of each and thIngs lIke charge, shell, ect. Is dIfferent so each
    element has a dIfferent mIx of Teslas, North and South). The amount of atoms of the same
    type In a element also has to be thought about too, Though I dont thInk thIs Is a problem
    though that there would be a base number or what I thInk they call, squared could probably
    be formulated. Two: Both North and South fIelds have to be used at the same tIme somehow
    because If you use one fIeld to pull electrons away from a atom the rest of the atom Is
    goIng to follow the partIcles to keep the atom In balance so you have to use one fIeld to
    keep the rest of the partIcles In place whIle the other fIeld pulls the electrons away. A
    formula of the amount of force of North compared to the amount of South force to do thIs
    for each element. I dont know math so thIs you wIll have to fIgure out. The two questIon
    that come to mInd Is the fact that my fIgurIng Is that for each partIcle that has a
    certaIn spIn adds the amount of Tesla for that amount of force needed, so ten partIcles
    (that Is all partIcles In the whole mass, proton,neutron and electron) that have a up spIn
    then that Is lets say ten unIts of that forces Tesla. ThIs goes so on and so on wIth the
    opposIte force too or the controllIng force opposIte the sustaInIng force. One thIng I
    forgot Is that wIth havIng to calculate all factors In the formula of how much force Is
    needed of each force. That Is thIngs lIke charge, shell posItIon of all partIcles, spIn
    and all other thIngs I forget or dont know Is also the weIght or mass of the partIcles.
    Now one other thIng. I do not know what the over all reactIon or chaIn reactIons may
    happen when you start messIng around wIth thIs Idea. Who know what could happen so be
    aware. ThIngs lIke heavy radIatIon, black holes,wormholes, almost anythIng could happen so
    be careful. One chaIn reactIon that could happen could be InfInIte fusIon of partIcle due
    to a chaIn reactIon meanIng goIng though the elements lIke wIld fIre. One rIght after the
    other. Hydrogen then helIum and so on to God knows what (lIke I saId before InfInIte
    energy, black holes, wormholes, radIatIon, ect). LIke I saId before the addItIon of Tesla
    may be wrong In the sense just because there Is 5 partIcles wIth a up spIn does not mean 5
    Tesla (I dont know the rIght terms or measurements to explaIn thIs, lIke I saId I thInk In
    laymen’s terms and dont have any formal educatIon except for GED, a month of college and
    my only Independent study In physIcs and frIends knowledge too).

    I thought about thIs later after I wrote thIs emaIl. For thIs to work all partIcles In a
    atom has to be fIgured In. All theIr propertIes (spIn, weIght, dIstance, charge, maybe
    theIr quarks, ect.) Included. The second thIng I thought of Is the factor that the fIeld
    and fIeld strength used (after all Is fIgured In) has to be stronger than the holdIng
    fIeld. Not the same strength. A Imbalance to cause the reactIon. Even at thIs the Idea
    mIght not work. The Important thIng here Is one: The fact (at least In my mInd) that
    partIcles (among most everythIng else In the unIverse. Ill explaIn later) are magnetIc and
    can be manIpulated by fIelds and two: That the opposIte of fIssIon (fusIon) can probably
    be done by not addIng partIcles to the atom but by the process of removIng partIcles from
    the atom. The complete opposIte of how fIssIon Is done.That’s all for now. I felt the need
    to clear that up. I also later after thIs wrItIng thought about a few new thIngs. Another
    problem I came across was the factor of all partIcles In a atom are magnetIc so holdIng a
    proton to remove electrons may be hard (keepIng the nucleolus In place) because of havIng
    spIn on all partIcles. WeIght may have somethIng to do wIth It If gravIty Is magnetIc and
    It could by the factor of one: That the larger somethIng Is the more magnetIc It Is
    because of all the partIcles It has adds up the Tesla. And the larger somethIng has the
    more gravIty It has. and two: If lIght (photons) Is magnetIc and can be effected by
    gravIty there Is a connectIon. Though both these Ideas are questIonable. A fusIon reactIon
    could also come from lasers at hIgh frequencIes (the hIgher the frequency, the more
    partIcles can fIt In that wave) because of the photoelectrIc effect (photons beIng able to
    move electrons). ThIs movement could also be because electrons absorb photons thus
    movement to a hIgher shell In a atom (because of energy). The last thIng for now Is how to
    stop a fusIon reactIon of thIs type. All you should have to do Is remove the force or
    fIeld. The questIon Is wIll a reactIon stop after the varIables of FusIon one Is meet
    (lIke Hydrogen to HelIum) or If the fIeld Is not removed that the reactIon wIll keep goIng
    addIng partIcles up from one element to another tIll the atom gets so heavy tha It falls
    apart (for any amount of reason that thIs could happen) or add up tIll It creates a
    sIngularIty or so much mass that It starts a black hole. One other thought that occurs to
    me Is what If a partIcle Is such a small thIng that could It be consIdered the smallest
    poInt thus a sIngularIty meanIng a hydrogen atom Is a sIngularIty or another Idea that a
    photon Is so small that thats the reason It has no mass thus one photon (energy) Is a
    sIngularIty and or the start of a blackhole. LIke I saId there Is probably varIables that
    I havent even thought of (and wIll express as I thInk of them. Thats all for now. (ThIs
    was a emaIl I made earlIer)

    Now wIth thIs explanatIon I wIll go on to the next part:

    The reason you are havIng a FusIon reactIon at the base and under the ground Is not just
    because of the heat that Is beIng created It Is photoelectrIc. Electron In the atoms under
    the reactor Is adsorbIng photons (radIatIon) at hIgh energy levels (frequency). The hIgher
    the frequency (the more space In a wave, because closeness of peaks, to have more photons
    In that wave) the more photons a electron adsorbs thus the more photons adsorbed by the
    electrons to hIgher shells they go untIl they get so far away from the nucleus the atom
    can not keep balance and thus separates thus makIng a condItIon for FusIon lIke I explaIn
    In the fIrst part of thIs emaIl. Now wIth thIs here Is your solutIon.

    Some how you need to fInd a way to surround the plant or reactor or whatever Is gIvIng you
    the problem wIth atoms or a element that has low energy atoms. Atoms wIth electrons In the
    lowest shells. Use these atoms to asorb photons (radIatIon) to a certaIn poInt (before
    fusIon happens) then use the rIght combInatIon of magnetIc fIelds (probably North fIeld)
    and theIr Teslas (I fIgure the hIgher the Tesla the hIgher amount of photons or the hIgher
    frequency Is released after alIgnment. thIs I dont know but just guessIng. You wIll have
    to play around wIth thIs) thus control rate of radIatIon release and the IntensIty
    (frequency) of that radIatIon. (Got the Idea o magnetIc fIeld releasIng photons from a
    electron when It alIgns In a fIeld from a on lIne lecture from Standford UnIversIty. I
    added the rest about amount of Tesla to regulate how much radIatIon released. lIke I saId
    thIs Is just a braInfart) (another questIon Is does the protons In the atoms beIng used
    asorb photons or release them as a opposIte reactIon to what electrons do and are they
    magnetIc to, they do have spIn, whIch can effect fIelds and theIr strengths beIng used but
    can be fIgured out. one other thIng If reactIon Is not controlled a FusIon chaIn reactIon
    can happen)(The Ideas of partIcle spIn beIng magnetIc come from the lecture I talked about
    and how a MRI works)

    A another problem that could occur Is that you have to fIgure In that atoms share
    electrons so that has to be fIgured In any formula.

    The reason they can not cool the reactors over there Is that they are not gettIng rId of
    the radIatIon. If you dont get rId of thIs you wIll never be able to cool anythIng down.

    FusIon In my Idea may not happen. All It may do Is make a Isotope. and: MagnetIc alIgnment
    (when the electron alIgns In a fIeld and releases a photon) may only stop the electrons
    and or protons (?) and release one bIt of radIatIon or all radIatIon at once. Thus
    defeatIng the purpose. The qustIon of protons asorbIng and releasIng photons may be wrong
    because the partIcle Isnt free lIke a electron. The protons In the nuclease couldnt move
    because they are all held togehter and not a Independant partIcle at thIs poInt before a
    ny nuclear reactIon. If you can control the rate

    FusIon In my Idea may not happen. All It may do Is make a Isotope. and: MagnetIc alIgnment
    (when the electron alIgns In a fIeld and releases a photon) may only stop the electrons
    and or protons (?) and release one bIt of radIatIon or all radIatIon at once. Thus
    defeatIng the purpose. The questIon of protons adsorbIng and releasIng photons may be
    wrong because the partIcle Isnt free lIke a electron. The protons In the nuclease couldnt
    move because they are all held together and not a Independent partIcle at thIs poInt
    before any nuclear reactIon. If you can control the rate or frequency of radIatIon beIng
    released then you could jerry rIg a solar panel to pIck up that radIatIon and make energy.
    ThIs Is because radIatIon Is lIght and a solar panel uses lIght and or photons.

    I had one other idea to share after I wrote this email. Another way to do this could to
    be pump photons into electrons so they start going to higher shells. The higher the shell
    the more the atom tries to compensate and maybe the electrons could seperate to cause the
    atom to pull in another proton. This may be done with lasers. The whole thing is that a fission reaction is E=mc2 and that a fusion reation would then thus have to be the opposite of this (instead of creating energy you are creating mass, instead of drawing energy from mass, adding energy to mass which can be done by adding photons to electrons so they jump to a higher shell and keep on doing this until they get so far away from the nucleous that the atom is not balanced anymore thus wanting to bring in other particles from else where. The question is can you do this from a field and if the field strenght can be compared amps. I looks like it might be possible to many ideas like the one at Havard I talked about and the example of a MRI. This concept would have to be experimented with).

    The point is if Tesla can be traded for amps and all particles are magnetic (which is shown in other examples of devices) thus with the right mix of polarities you would be able o create a nuclear reaction without energy thus dismissing the laws of Thermaldynamics.

    Thats all on this subject for now but Ill have more later. Plus Ive got other ideas in physics that might interest you. Thanks for your time and hope to hear from someone soon. (Contact me at DrMario@inbox.com)

  • spec9

    Solar PV, offshore wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, solar thermal, onshore wind, geothermal, tide, waves, and nuclear. With those, they should be able to generate the electricity they need. Don’t let yourself become dependent on the Russian bear. That will not end well.

    • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

      Mutual dependency is the best guarantee for peace.

  • Banned by Bob

    One could have written this in the 1930′s and it would have been worse. At least a few countries have North Sea reserves.

    Europe is in a world of hurt for a variety of reasons, but they’ve been a significant net buyer of imported fuels for a long time.

  • dango-man

    This is just a headline grapping report. Note the report says proven reserves, companies are finding new viable oil and gas sites each year so the date and which they run out is far off. While the gas will certainly run out in the next 10 years as production has been steadily dropping over the past few years and I doubt shall gas will be able actually come to fruition. Oil has far longer production run as it has been pumping out of the north sea at a steady rate for the past few years and sem to continue to do so.
    I don’t even know why coal is a concern considering that many coal plants are shutting down by 2015 so are demand for coal will be further reduced. Even if they weren’t shutting down we are closing two of the three of our deep coal mines as they’re not profitable and so we will not be able to get the remaining coal that is in the ground. Importing coal is not a big deal either compared to gas and oil considering that there are so many countries that supply it and the price has dropped due too the future demand not as being as high as predicted since China is refocusing where it gets its energy from.

    Edit: I’m mainly talking about the UK here.

  • Omega Centauri

    Simple denial? I think its strongly aided by deliberate misinformation, which even if its not very credible/convincing creates just enough doubt that people are willing to put off any action that will cost more near term. Why pay more today, if fracking/abiotic-oil/pixie-dust might make that sacrifice unneccesary tommorrow?

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