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  • In the early 2000s, news of the end of the oil age was everywhere. "No more oil!"

    21 世紀初期,到處都是石油時代即將結束的新聞。「沒有油了!」

  • Yet here we are a decade later, "Oil everywhere! Well never run out of oil!" So, which is it?


  • Right now, the world produces a whopping 93 million barrels of oil every day, but more than a trillion barrels still sit in Earth’s crust.

    現在世界每天製造大量的 93 百萬桶油,但是有超過一兆桶的油還儲藏在地殼中。

  • Weve already gotten most of Earth’s "easy" oil, but new technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are giving us to access more and more of it.


  • But considering the impact of fossil fuels on the climate and environment, we have to ask, "When will we be done with oil?"


  • If the history of energy is any guide, how much oil we pump up to the surface and ultimately into the atmosphere, depends a lot on what other energy options we have.


  • In the 17th century, there were 820 million acres of virgin forest in the United States,

    17 世紀時,美國有八億兩千萬英畝的原始森林,

  • but after a few centuries of burning wood for heat, energy, and cooking, that number had dwindled to just 138 million.


  • At some point in the mid-1800s we reached "peak wood."

    在 19 世紀中葉的某個時期我們達到了「木柴的高峰」。

  • Luckily, we had an alternative fuel that, at least at the time, promised to be environmentally friendly and save the forests: coal.


  • Likewise in 1846, thanks to the popularity of whale oil as a smokeless lamp fuel, we reached "peak whale."

    同樣地,在 1846 年,歸功於鯨油這種無煙燈油的普及,我們達到了「鯨魚高峰」。

  • Whales are a decidedly non-renewable resource. Our love of lamp almost drove them extinct.


  • I love lamp. I love lamp.


  • But it wasn’t simply dwindling supply and increasing demand that saved the cetaceans.


  • It was the discovery of a new lamp fuel called kerosene, distilled from a black liquid that we’d recently learned how to pump out of the ground.


  • Now, if oil saving the whales seems like an odd idea, that’s because the history of energy in America tends to be solving one problem by introducing another.


  • We used to think that tool use was our defining human characteristic, until we saw chimps do it.


  • Then we claimed language as our own, until we met a gorilla named Koko.

    接著我們宣稱語言是我們特有的能力,直到我們遇見了一隻叫 Koko 的大猩猩。

  • But the ability to intentionally manipulate energy to do stuff seems to be a distinctly "us" thing. Although, there’s those beavers.


  • Anyway, how a society uses energy is one of its defining characteristics.


  • Humans first harnessed thermal energy, and then kinetic energy, but there's no easy way to convert one to the other, until the steam engine.


  • This ability to convert and control energy led to the Industrial Revolution, which was a pretty big deal.


  • As a rule in history, as a society gets more advanced, it consumes more energy, and were no different.


  • The story of the 20th century is one of more energy, for more people, used for more things.

    20 世紀的故事就是生產更多能量,給更多人用,用在更多東西上。

  • But that’s not the only trend.


  • The past centuries have seen a general trend from wood to coal to oil to renewables, and today we get our energy from more sources than ever before.


  • Renewable energy in particular has grown in the past ten years.


  • Were also getting more energy per unit of CO2 than ever before.


  • We hear a lot about reducing carbon today, but weve been on that path for a long time.


  • But even though more efficiency and less consumption means that were using fewer fossil fuels over the past decade,


  • total consumption has gone up faster, so emissions are still higher than they were 4 decades ago, and fossil fuels are still number 1 by a big margin.

    總消耗量仍上升得比以前快,所以二氧化碳的排放量還是比 40 年前高,而化石燃料依然大幅度領先位居第一名。

  • U.S. energy use matches the rest of the world pretty closely.


  • I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but it means that my problems are your problems are everyone’s problems.


  • Unfortunately, the Energy Information Administration projects that where we all get our energy won’t change much over the next two decades,


  • and well, have you heard about this whole climate change thing?


  • The history of energy transitions has been one of new energy sources taking the place of dirtier, scarcer ones.


  • But considering that with the exception of nuclear, all of our energy technologies date from the 19th century, inventing new energy sources is a thing of the past.

    但是除了核能以外,我們其他的能源科技都是從 19 世紀開始。發明新能源已經是過去的事了。

  • But as CO2 levels continue to climb past 400 parts per million, waiting for peak oil might not be an option.

    但是隨著二氧化碳量繼續攀升過 400 ppm,等待「石油高峰」不會是個選項。

  • For the first time in our history, we might have to invent a peak of our own.


  • Be sure to check out the other videos in the series about energy by clicking above or you can check down in the description.


  • The world of energy is really complex and confusing, but we should know how it works.


  • Luckily, the Webber Energy Research Group with the University of Texas has put together an amazing online course called "Energy 101."

    幸運地,Webber Energy Research Group 跟德州大學一起組織了一個叫「能源101」的線上課程。

  • They got versions for desktops, mobile devices, everything.


  • If you wanna know more about that massive machine that exists behind your electrical outlet and inside the gas pump, it's really really awesome. You'll understand like all of energy.


  • They also regularly publish a poll of what people think about energy is. Objective, scientific. And if you like polls, its a good one.


  • There's links to all that stuff down in description, along with lots more. Stay curious.


In the early 2000s, news of the end of the oil age was everywhere. "No more oil!"

21 世紀初期,到處都是石油時代即將結束的新聞。「沒有油了!」

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