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1.2: Increasing Energy Demand

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  • The energy needs of most of the developed countries in the western world are increasing at a modest level. However, in underdeveloped countries, where the economy is booming, energy demands are increasing dramatically, e.g., in China and India. Figure 1.2 shows the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of the countries of the world in 2009. Most of the growth occurred in Asia. Africa and South America experienced some growth in areas, while the US did not experience much growth. However, if many of the third world countries were to dramatically increase their standard of living, there are estimates that worldwide energy consumption would double (the world uses ~13 TW). But where would that energy come from, particularly since there aren't huge stockpiles of crude oil sitting around? Petroleum cannot supply it all, and neither can natural gas or coal.

     world map showing GDP growth rate as described in the text above
    Credit: GunnMap via Wikimedia Commons
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