The end of the oil era is in sight.
That, at least, is the prediction of internationally known geologist Dr. Poorna Pal, chairman of the Geology and Oceanography Program at GCC, who to a capacity crowd of GCC students, staff, faculty members and administrators Feb. 27. The speech, delivered in SG205, was part of the GCC Science Lecture Series.
In his lecture titled, “Dateline 2010-Energy Boom or Crunch,” Pal said that one-half of the world’s petroleum may well be exhausted by 2040. “We will start running out in 2010,” he said.
Pal argued his point through diagrams and charts showing that the decline of oil production will impact the world economy in the foreseeable future.
He indicated that a U.S. war against Iraq would have little immediate effect on this situation. Hydrocarbons (petroleum and natural gas) are the principal sources of energy, and, according to Pal, they will continue to be for a number of years.
However, in the long run, he said, resources are being depleted faster than they are being discovered.
Pal, who holds five degrees, including a doctorate in geology, said one sports utility vehicle alone can use up as much energy in a week as the planet produces in years.
“Oil is a source of energy we know we are going to run out of,” said Pal, who has held visiting or professorial appointments at UCLA, Cal State Sacramento, the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and universities in Sweden, Brazil, Mexico and India.
Pal also introduced U.S. Energy Consumption History and Outlook data to the audience.
United Nations sanctions against Iraq, the strike in Venezuela and other global events have caused an appreciable drop in oil production worldwide, he said.
Emphasizing the importance of oil as an energy source, Pal said, “We even have to have energy to produce water.”
Oil is the United States’ major source of energy, said Pal.
Fortunately, Pal said, the United States will be able to soften the crunch of the impending energy crisis if it diversifies oil supplies, uses strategic reserves judiciously and boosts energy efficiency.
A native of India, Pal recently co-authored “Wealth Forever-The Analysis of the Stock Market” with Professor Chenshung Zhao of the University of Beijing and Professor Sarkis Khoury of UC Riverside.
In addition to lecturing in finance at the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at UC Riverside, Pal has been widely published. He has more than 150 entries in the Science Citation Index and 55 research papers ranging from mineral exploration and investment strategies.