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Etienne Bernier, Jr. Eng., M. Sc., is a Chemical Engineering Ph. D. student at École Polytechnique de Montreal, with awards from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council and the Fonds de recherche sur la nature et les technologies. He has joined the Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) in 2005. He holds a master’s degree in Physics from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from Polytechnique. His main study interests are energy systems efficiency and the relationship between thermodynamics and the environment.
The price of oil has been swinging for a number of years. Alarmist talk about resource depletion and overpopulation is coming back into fashion after an earlier peak in the 1970s. However, the Earth contains all the resources required to produce oil (synthetic oil, if need be) in any quantity demanded. Economic logic indicates that lack of demand, rather than of supply, will cause oil production to decline, with no particularly harmful impact on our standard of living. Let's take a look at what could well be the non-event of the century.