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Researchers warn of energy crisis

09:49 16 May 2014

A study has warned that UK reserves of oil, gas and coal could run out in just over five years

A study has warned that UK reserves of oil, gas and coal could run out in just over five years

© Andy Buchanan 2014

East Anglian researchers are warning of a looming oil, gas and coal crisis as reserves run out.

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A report launched today says a number of European Union countries, including France, Italy and the United Kingdom, face critical shortages of natural resources.

According to natural resource maps produced by the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, some countries have less than a year of energy resources remaining and are almost entirely dependent on imports from the likes of Russia, Norway and Qatar. Using most recent data on known reserves and current consumption, the maps show that France has less than a year’s worth of its own reserves of oil, gas and coal. Italy has less than a year of gas and coal, and only one year of oil. The UK fares only slightly better, with 5.2 years of oil, 4.5 years of coal and 3 years of gas remaining.

Dr Aled Jones, director of the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin, said the EU was becoming more reliant on resource-rich neighbours.

“These maps show vulnerability in many parts of the EU and they paint a picture of heavily-indebted European economies coming under increasing threat from rising global energy prices,” he said.

Some Eastern European members fare much better, with 73 years left of coal in Bulgaria and 34 years of coal in Poland. Meanwhile, Germany has over 250 years left of coal but less than a year of oil and only 2 years of gas. By comparison, Russia has over 50 years of oil, over 100 years of gas and over 500 years of coal, based on their current levels of internal consumption.

Professor Victor Anderson of the Global Sustainability Institute added: “Coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are running down and we need alternatives. The UK urgently needs to be part of a Europe-wide drive to expand renewable energy sources such as wave, wind, tidal, and solar power.”

The full report, which also highlights issues such as food and water insecurity in North Africa and the Middle East, will be available to download at www.anglia.ac.uk/gsi/our_research/resources

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