Worldwatch Institute Tells Oil Executives and Energy Ministers That Fossil Fuels Set to Become Relics
''Energy markets are about to experience a seismic shift,'' Christopher Flavin, president of the Worldwatch Institute, told oil executives and energy ministers in Johannesburg, South Africa, site of the 18th World Petroleum Congress.
''The question for oil executives is whether you're in the oil business or the energy business.''
The conference's 5,000 participants included ExxonMobil President Rex Tillerson and Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi.
Flavin cited the fact that oil production is falling in 33 of the 48 largest oil-producing countries. These include six of the 11 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
At the same time, production of biofuels, wind power, and solar energy are all growing at rates of 20-30 percent per year.
These percentage growth rates are somewhat misleading, however, since renewable energy sources only account for 2 percent of world energy production.
The optimistic view also ignores the many other uses oil and natural gas are used for, from fertilizers to plastics.
Nonetheless, it was an important message for oil executives to hear.