An article by Thomas K. Grose in National Geographic says that the United States will become the world's top energy producer in less than a decade, overtaking Saudi Arabia in oil production in 2017 and Russia in natural gas production by 2020. And in another 15 years, the United States will achieve energy self-sufficient and become a nation that will export its surplus energy. All this is contained in a predictive report published by the International Energy Agency:
The bottom line for the United States is fulfillment of a goal that eluded seven presidents over nearly four decades: energy independence. The U.S., which imports 20 percent of its total energy now, will be come largely self-sufficient by 2035, concluded the IEA’s annual World Energy Outlook, often viewed as the Bible of the industry. Add in Canada, which has its own unconventional production boom in Alberta’s oil sands, and the continent is set to be a net oil exporter by 2030.
“North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world,” said Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA, a Paris-based organization charged with maintaining global energy security. (Related Interactive: Breaking Fuel From Rock)That the United States and Canada can eventually achieve energy independence is a good thing, especially if it means weaning themselves from unstable Mideast regimes. And yet it raises other environmental issues. Where will all that surplus Mideast oil end up? Chiefly in Asia. The increase in energy consumption in Asia, in particular, in China and India, will also result in increases in greenhouse gas emissions, the article adds: "IEA projects that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will rise from an estimated 31.2 gigatonnes (Gt) last year to 37 Gt in 2035, which could cause a long-term average temperature increase of 3.6 degrees Celsius."
You can read the rest of the article at [National Geographic]