The world runs on energy, primarily energy generated from coal and petroleum. The global war against terrorism and the tensions in the Middle East have raised new questions about the reliability of America?s oil supply from that region. Concerns about global climate change have focused increased attention on the search for cleaner fuels and energy generating methods. Russia?s determination to become a major petroleum supplier, OPEC?s periodic moves to restrict oil production, and rising energy needs in China and other developing countries are further complicating the situation.
A panel of Brookings scholars and outside experts will discuss these and other issues and answer audience questions at this National Issues Forum at the Brookings Institution. Among the issues to be addressed are:
- Is the United States overly dependent on Middle East oil? If so, what can it do to diversify its supply sources? Is conservation or exploration for new domestic sources the best approach for America to meet its energy needs and reduce dependency?
- Has Saudi Arabia sold the United States oil at artificially low prices over the years in order to maintain a friendly political relationship?
- What help does Russia need to become the world?s #1 oil producer? How dependent should the United States become on Russian petroleum?
- Is it realistic to think that nuclear power, fuel cells, natural gas, and other alternative sources of energy can reduce the use of fossil fuels like oil and coal?
- Do petroleum and coal pose serious environmental problems? If so, how can they be solved?