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Planet Earth – Resources

The United Nations International Year of Planet Earth (2008) received its Global Launch at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, on February 12 and 13.
This article appeared in Vol. 5, No. 1 - 2008

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Oil sand is part of our future energy supply. Photo: Halfdan Carsten The aim of the Year is to persuade public and governments worldwide to make better use of Earth science when framing planning decisions, and by using Earth science to inform the sustainable use of Earth resources, including conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons.  

The IYPE secretariat makes it absolutely clear that geoscientific knowledge is needed to sustainably satisfy the growing need for Earth's resources by more people.

Science for Energy

The International Year support research projects within eight broad themes. One of them is resource issues, including fossil fuels such as oil and gas. Without repeating the "peak oil debate" it is safe to say that our future needs will be increasingly dependent on unconventional resources, including gas hydrates, heavy oil, tar sands, oil shale, coal bed methane and tight-gas sands. Experts claim that such unconventional resources will become major components of world energy consumption in only 50 years' time, and perhaps even before that. Looking even further, we certainly do not know what the most important energy resources will be in 100 years from now.

There is, however, no doubt that society will need energy. Lots of energy. During the next 100 years some of this will most certainly be fossil fuels extracted from reservoirs in the subsurface. This is why we need geoscientific knowledge at a high level.

This is also why we should all support the International Year of Planet Earth initiative. This is an excellent opportunity to go public with geoscientific knowledge, thereby increasing the public awareness of the complexity of the fossil future.

A sustainable society in the future depends on our ability to extract resources in an environmentally safe manner. Knowledge is the key.

Support your local International Year of Planet Earth activities!

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