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Environment

Speaking Of Peak Oil

December 22, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 51

I WANT TO COMMENT on the editorial, "Energy Sustainability" (C&EN, Oct. 6, page 3). As a chemist, I still believe in the truth of an often heard opinion during the earlier oil crises in the 1970s and thereafter: Oil is too valuable as a chemical feedstock to be burned in power plants and car engines.

The two words I was missing in that editorial, however, were "peak oil," the crucial point in time when overall oil production per unit of time reaches a maximum. C&EN has done a good job in providing a forum to discuss the pros and cons of biofuels. Owing to the extreme importance of the peak oil problem and the large cultural differences between optimistic and pessimistic experts who have written about this subject on the Internet, I think it is a good idea to provide a similar forum to discuss this matter in the pages of C&EN.

Alfred Waterfeld
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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