tern? Moreover, can this development maintain the cost-competitiveness of these fuels (absent the imposition of large carbon taxes) and their reliability as primary energy sources for a substantial share of the useful energy services required by the various end-use sectors over a long enough period—say, 100 years?
Global ecology versus human needs: Will the benefits of continued reliance on largely fossil-fuel-based energy abundance (as the engine of human economic and social progress and the foundation of improvements in the human environment) exceed the likely costs of any associated long-term ecological consequences in terms of their impact on biodiversity and other environmental values and their impact on future human well-being?
Developing versus developed world equity: Are the industrialized countries of the Western world and the Pacific Rim willing and able to help the developing countries and the nations of the former Soviet Bloc achieve eventual parity of economic and social well-being by providing them with the technical and financial assistance required to meet their energy needs in ways that are as efficient, cost-effective, and pollution-free as possible? Doing so would avoid the creation of regional and global 'environmental problems that could easily overwhelm any conceivable improvements in energy supply and use practices of the advanced industrial countries.
In brief, the major findings concerning these key issues are as follows:
Remaining fossil fuel resources—including petroleum liquids and natural gas—could meet the major share of global energy needs at costs competitive with nonfossil-fuel options during the likely transition period to a sustainable global energy system. This would be the expected outcome of continuing advances in fossil fuel extraction, conversion, transport, and end-use technologies that are enhanced by the large price and technology elasticities of energy supply and demand, and by the efficiency gains inherent in the ongoing global trend of electrification of stationary energy uses.
There is ample evidence that the benefits of increased energy consumption measured in terms of human well-being have outweighed any quantifiable environmental costs and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future. The substitution of commercial energy commodities and energy-intensive technologies for human and animal labor and primitive renewable energy forms has been a key factor in the evolution of modem democratic societies. It has reduced the need to exploit human labor pools as evidenced by the abolition of slavery, serfdom, and child labor and, more recently, the emancipation of women (an important step in population stabilization). Increased energy Use will also be essential in curing the developing world's economic and social ills, which mirror the conditions in much of the Western world before the Industrial Revolution. However, more than a trillion metric tons of additional carbon would be released into the biosphere over the next 100 years if fossil fuel use continues to be determined by least-cost energy service considerations. The long-term ecological consequences of that release