In early January, 1997, at the 76th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Research Council, a special session was conducted that struck a familiar chord for many of us in attendance. It was not the title so much that attracted our attention--in fact, in a way, the title seemed somewhat ethereal--Energy Supply and Demand: Policy Issues for the Next Millennium. It was, instead, the underlying and recurring themes of nonrenewable energy resources--themes with which so many of us are familiar by virtue of lifelong work and interests-that drew us into that very large hall in the Washington Hilton and compelled us to listen. Here, in a rather inconspicuous setting, at a conference generally more noted for its emphasis on topics like steamship freight tonnage, light rail ridership, and the structural mechanics of concrete pavement, were people talking about fossil fuel energy, the inevitability of our declining resources, and the myriad of impacts that such a decline will have on society--particularly one that relies so heavily on personal transportation. Suffice it to say it was a very good session. Organized and chaired by Mike Lawrence of Jack Faucett Associates, it successfully spanned the spectrum of issues--from estimation of remaining oil and gas resources, on one end, to transportation policy implications, on the other. The presentations focused not only on the United States, but encompassed a global perspective as well. The session was cosponsored by two TRB committees--the Committee on Transportation Energy and the Committee on Alternative Fuels. Because of the situation and environment in which these presentations were made, we felt compelled to include them in the record of this journal as a means of providing our readers access to the thoughts and ideas of individuals not normally represented in Nonrenewable Resources. We think you will find the diversity of ideas to be fascinating, and perhaps even troubling, as you witness participants from various organizations, backgrounds, and disciplines discuss the penetrating and intertwining impacts of United States and world energy resources on such an important economic sector as transportation. The session actually consisted of two parts. In this issue we bring you the four papers from the first half of the session, which was more directly resourceoriented. We also include one paper from the second half of the session, which was aimed more at transportation economics and policy, and which, of course, are inevitably impacted by resource issues. In a Forum article, Mike Lawrence summarizes all five papers from his own vantage point. Also included is a slightly abridged transcript of the audio tape of the questionand-answer session that followed the first half of the session. To round out this special issue of Nonrenewable Resources, we return to our roots a bit and include an article by Schmoker and Crovelli that extends their work on estimating the future growth of oil and gas reserves. We hope you enjoy reading the entire issue, and that you come away with a deeper appreciation of the perspectives of others as they consider the breadth of issues pertaining to our precious nonrenewable energy resources.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call