UC Berkeley professor Daniel Kammen outlines the energy challenges facing North America and the world in the coming decades.
The current increase in energy costs is the second large-scale upheaval we have seen in the energy sector. The first “shock” was the OPEC oil crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s. In retrospect, it is clear that the OPEC crisis was driven by economic and political factors rather than an absolute scarcity of resources. In many ways, this distinction is akin to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s classification of famines which differentiates between those caused by a shortage of absolute food resources and those prompted by a lack of “food availability,” with the latter a matter of politics and logistics, not total global resources.