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Great Decisions concludes its run
Final talk covers energy geopolitics
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Forsyth County News


If you’re not carpooling to work, it might be time to think about starting.

Anna Rulska, assistant professor of political science at North Georgia College & State University, stressed the need for conservancy Thursday night during a lecture on energy geopolitics.

The talk was the final installment of the school’s eight-week Great Decisions series at the Cumming Library. This year’s program focused on foreign policy issues relevant to the United States.

“We’ve always looked at oil as affordable and we’ve always looked at oil as accessible,” Rulska said. “When looking at the future of oil, it is both unaffordable and inaccessible, one way or the other.”

In explaining how much the demand for oil has risen, Rulska noted that 25 percent of total oil production happened in the past 10 years. About 50 percent of total oil production happened in the past 17 years.

In addition, while the demand for oil in the western world has peaked, it is on the rise in the developing world.

“In the U.S. right now, we’re spending $1 billion a day just for the cars and trucks running,” she said. “So we’re looking at a very high cost of production and the high cost is on the rise because we’re looking at unconventional oil production.”

She added that unconventional oil is unfinished and mostly really dirty and requires much more energy to produce usable oil as conventional oil.

She said the majority of oil is used for transportation, but can’t currently be replaced by alternatives.

“Nothing is comparable to oil at this point,” she said. “We can talk about electric energy, or renewable energies or alternative energies, there’s nothing like [oil] right now that we can use.”

Rulska fielded a variety of questions from those who attended the free lecture.

The group discussed nuclear weapons, oil reserves, rising food costs and other matters.

She ended the talk with a few notes on conservation. She shared how she encourages her students to ride together and only allows them to turn in their work electronically.

“There are a lot of things we can do, but then again, you’ve got to start with education,” she said. “And the problem is that there is no emphasis or policy from the government to do that.”