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Energy and development go hand in hand. The choices countries make about energy will profoundly affect not just economic growth, but the state of the environment and even national defence concerns.

In this article, Jeffrey Chow and colleagues from Resources for the Future in Washington, DC, examine our global energy resources — where they are, how they are used, and what this means for all of us. They found, for instance, that large fossil fuel reserves do not constitute a fast track to development: Nigeria is energy-rich but lacks an adequate socioeconomic system to deploy its wealth.

Given the environmental problems inherent in fossil fuels, will we turn to renewables? Chow and colleagues say we will, but perhaps not for another 50 years. In the meantime, both infrastructure and interests are geared to supporting fossil fuels, and only political will and financial support will change the picture.

Link to full article in Science

Reference: Science 302, 1528 (2003)