As we entered the 21st century, the world was guzzling oil, coal and gas like never before. Despite fears of ‘peak oil’, Professor Iain Stewart discovers that while huge technological advances are helping extend the life of existing oilfields, new unconventional oil and gas supplies like shale gas and tar sands are extending the hydrocarbon age well into the 21st century.
Given there’s plenty of fossil fuels still in the ground, the spectre of climate change has forced many to ask can we really afford to burn what’s left? In this concluding episode, Iain Stewart argues we face a stark choice.
Do we continue feed our addiction - suck Planet Oil dry - and risk catastrophic climate change, or do we go hell for leather for alternative energy sources, such as nuclear and renewables, to make the transition from our fossil fuel past to a low-carbon future. In which case, how do we make that shift?
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BBC - Planet Oil: The Treasure that Conquered the World - Professor Iain Stewart
Ep1 -Iain Stewart visits places that gave birth to the earth's oil riches, discovers the people who fought over its control and explores how the need for oil is changing the planet. Ep2 -By the early 1950s, a holy trinity of oil, plastics and fertilisers had transformed the planet. But as Professor Iain Stewart reveals, when the oil-producing countries demanded a greater share in profits from the western energy companies, the oil and gas fields of the Middle East became a focus for coup d'etats and military conflict. Ep3 - Professor Iain Stewart examines the situation in the 21st century, at which point the global consumption of oil, coal and gas is at an all-time high.
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