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The theme title of this annual meeting demands an answer to the question: what will be the principal energy source for mankind in 50 years? In 100 years? When our petroleum supplies are gone or so reduced as to be unimportant, what will be the alternatives? Geothermal and other minor sources will help, but the major possibilities are our other fossil fuels (oil shale, tar sands, and especially coal), nuclear energy, and solar energy. Because the other fossil fuels are also nonrenewable resources, they can only serve as a bridge to the ultimate major source: nuclear or solar. An examination of these in terms of adequacy, effects on man's environment, and the quality of human life, indicates that solar energy is the logical choice. It is not true that solar power is inadequ te; recent studies indicate that solar energy could provide liquid and gaseous fuel and electricity, not only for the present world population of about 4 billion, but for the 10 billion forecast by the demographers by 2080, if adequate planning and development are started now. Present policies seem to be locking us into a nuclear future, with all of the major problems and dangers it entails. Rational, realistic decisions are needed, and we geologists can provide valuable advice to the policy makers.
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