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Whatever Happened to the Energy Crisis?

The term energy crisis was apparently first used in the later 1960s, by whom I am not sure. Presumably it means a situation where the available energy supplies are so low as to prevent or even reverse economic growth. The underlying idea is that energy is mostly derived from fossil fuels which will be exhausted within relatively few years. Although since the 1960s there have been one or two episodes that are occasionally interpreted as energy crises, it is by now clear that whatever it is that ails the world economy, it is not a shortage of fossil fuels. In fact, popular discussions have recently turned from the oil "shortage" to the oil "glut."In retrospect, it appears that predictions of an energy crisis were just another example of a resource scare, of which there have been many in the past. As long ago as 1865, the great English economist William Stanley Jevons worried about the consequences of Britain running out of coal. As it happens, Britain is still producing large amounts of coal and has also gone into oil and gas in a big way.

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Energy Specializations: Energy Security and Geopolitics – Geopolitics of Energy

JEL Codes: Q40: Energy: General, Q35: Hydrocarbon Resources, Q38: Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy, Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices

Keywords: Energy crisis, Resource scare, Energy supply

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol4-No2-1

Published in Volume 4, Number 2 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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