World Energy Crisis
A Reference Handbook
by David E. Newton
November 2012, 334pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-147-5
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-148-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Experts contend that global oil reserves are sufficient to meet the world’s need for oil for as much as 80 years, while proven reserves of natural gas are expected to last at least 60 years, and coal reserves are predicted to meet demand for up to 160 years. So how can there be an energy “crisis”?

This book provides a historical background for the world's current energy problems, describing how the Industrial Revolution has led us to the impending end of the "Age of Fossil Fuels," and describes possible solutions for averting a global crisis.

World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook provides a thorough investigation of a controversial topic: our current global energy situation, and what actions should be taken to prevent a crippling fuel-supply catastrophe in the future.

The book presents a historical background for current energy problems that discusses the supply and consumption of various forms of energy at different periods of history, covering the evolution of energy use in civilization beginning with human muscle power, the successive eras of mechanized industry and transportation, and our current dependence on fossil fuels. The author explains geopolitical factors regarding energy; details controversial new ways of extending the fossil fuel supply, including the exploitation of tar sands and oil shale as well as new technologies like hydraulic fracturing; and examines the various environmental concerns that are integral to extracting energy from natural resources—and the results of consuming them.


  • A bibliographic chapter devoted to print and electronic resources on the topic useful to readers interested in continuing their research on world energy issues
  • Profiles of individuals and organizations with special interests in the world energy crisis
  • 20 tables providing relevant data, such as a list of the years various countries hit "peak oil" (the maximum amount of oil produced in a single year)
  • Primary documents relating to the world energy crisis
David E. Newton, EdD, is a prolific author with more than 400 books to his credit. He was formerly professor of chemistry and physics at Salem State University and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. His previous works include Same-Sex Marriage: A Reference Handbook; DNA Technology: A Reference Handbook; Encyclopedia of Cryptology; Environmental Justice: A Reference Handbook; Violence and the Media: A Reference Handbook; The Ozone Dilemma: A Reference Handbook; and Gay and Lesbian Rights: A Reference Handbook, Second Edition, all published by ABC-CLIO. Newton holds a doctorate in science education from Harvard University.


"Easy to read and informative, World Energy Crisis: A Reference Handbook is a great place to start your research on this divisive topic."—Booklist, April 1, 2013

"All in all, this handbook makes a wonderful resource for those starting research on energy-related topics. Highly recommended."—Choice, April 1, 2013

"The inclusion of the current state of energy, along with statistical data, contributes to the value as a single source of coverage on the problems the world faces today meeting its increasing energy demands."—ARBA, January 1, 2013

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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