People around the world have written Forbes with queries about the future of energy. Experts generally agree that our current reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable. Clean energy sources like wind and solar power--not to mention still-unproven hydrogen technology--are gaining popularity, especially in Western Europe. But even as prices approach $50 a barrel, the alternatives don't yet make enough economic sense to replace oil. Will that change? What are the most promising innovations to use alternative energy sources? And what about hybrid options like `green' gizmos and the popular Toyota Prius? Here are the responses to some of those questions from Newsweek Middle East regional editor Christopher Dickey and Forbes.Com editor Paul Maidment. http://www.forbes.com/2004/09/22/cz_0921energychat.htmlQuestions fielded include:Will the move to alternate energy sources destroy the economies of the Middle East oil exporters? How might they respond? Why is the United States lagging behind other countries in these endeavors (switching to automobiles fueled by alternative energy sources)? How about a hydrogen economy? Do you think that Ford and GM are stonewalling on the hybrid car? Why are these U.S. automakers not making them if Toyota has a big waiting list for the Prius?What is the latest on the "strong" hybrids that can be switched to run on electricity or fuel? I hear these class of hybrids would be able to run around town at speeds of say 35 to 40 mph on electricity and not go to fuel unless it had to run at higher speeds for a long distance trip. Are these going to be made any time soon? Critics say that wind power is unlikely to account for more than one percent or so of the world's energy anytime soon. Why is that? Why aren't the United States and other countries putting more resources into developing this environmentally friendly source of energy? It should be pointed out that unlike wind and solar, hydrogen does not generate clean energy. At best it is a (possibly clean) battery, which can be used to transport energy from another source. Although, for cars, one would have to solve a myriad of problems, not least the problem of its volume.
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