The End of the Fossil-Fuel Age
Imagine what your life would be like if the world suddenly lost its hydrocarbon power. If, for some reason, all the supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas on our planet vanished, you would be faced with life far different from the one you now know. Flick the light switches in your home and you would still be left in the dark. No matter how hard you pressed the buttons on the remote control of your TV set, Survivor, American Idol, and every other broadcast show would still fail to appear on the screen. You wouldn’t be able to listen to music, from Bach to Bruce Springsteen, on your living-room stereo system. You wouldn’t be able to surf the Internet, because your personal computer or laptop would sit on your desk as a useless piece of high-tech rubbish. And you wouldn’t be able to call friends or family members, because the global phone system cannot function without energy. Your morning shower would be an unpleasantly frigid one, because no electricity or natural gas would be available to operate your hot-water heater. But most likely no water would come through your home’s plumbing anyway, because it takes power to pump it to your neighborhood from the municipal reservoir or a well. Much of the food in your refrigerator and freezer would spoil after a few days, because there would be no electricity to run those kitchen appliances.
Whether you live in a small town or a major metropolis, your community could rapidly collapse into disorder without fossil fuels. After sunset, streetlights would stand useless, and crime could increase dramatically.