Underlying global demand for energy by 2050 could triple from its 2000 level if emerging economies follow historical patterns of development. In broad-brush terms, natural innovation and competition could spur improvements in energy efficiency to moderate underlying demand by about 20% over this time. Ordinary rates of supply growth — taking into account technological, geological, competitive, financial and political realities — could naturally boost energy production by about 50%. But this still leaves a gap between business-as-usual supply and business-as-usual demand of around 400 EJ/a – the size of
the whole industry in 2000. This gap – this Zone of Uncertainty – will have to be bridged by some combination of extraordinary demand moderation and extraordinary production acceleration. So, we must ask: Is this a Zone of Extraordinary Opportunity or Extraordinary Misery?