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Exxon Mobil rep discusses the future of energy

| Monday, February 3, 2014

Vice president and treasurer of Exxon Mobil Corp. Robert Schleckser spoke at the Mendoza College of Business on Friday as the first of seven lecturers for the one-credit course “Notre Dame Ten Years Hence Speaker Series: The Future of Energy.”
The series aims to “explore issues, ideas and trends likely to affect business and society over the next decade,” according to Mendoza’s website.

Schleckser, a Notre Dame graduate who earned a degree in chemical engineering, said investments his oil company makes will cause effects well beyond the year 2040. Gas companies are looking and planning ahead in a world suffering from an energy crisis and unprecedented human population growth, he said.

“There is no purpose in us to be self-serving … because we look at the prospect of getting a good return over time,” Schleckser said.

Schleckser said Exxon believes in “letting market force dictate the solution” to the environmental issues. Since “global progress drives demand,” he said he considers the world’s expected population growth.

There are approximately 7 billion people in the world right now, but by the year 2040, the world population is expected to be 9 billion, Schleckser said. Energy consumption is also expected to change due to global urbanization and the growth of major cities.

The energy consumption for a person living in an urban area is about three times as high as it is for someone living in a rural area, Schleckser said. As the world continues to become more urban, Schleckser said energy use is expected to increase.

“[The goal is] to grow the economy without changing the amount of energy used,” he said. “[Because] as much energy as the world uses today in total … the largest source of new energy is saving the energy that we are using today.”

Schleckser said this goal is achievable by making the process of transmitting energy more efficient and by increasing the percentage of energy that comes from cleaner sources. He said vehicle efficiency is expected to increase to 45 miles per gallon by 2040.

Projections that extend to 2040 show that energy demands will increase along with population growth and urbanization, Schleckser said, but saving energy and increasing the efficiency of technology are important to creating a sustainable future.


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