The Shell Oil Co. executive president of supply and distribution said the economy should be twice as efficient as it is now.Mark Williams spoke to students in Sid Richardson Hall on Wednesday night about the issues facing oil in his speech titled, “The Future of Oil: Hard Truths about the Choices.”
Throughout his career, Williams has explored and sold oil. Currently, Williams is in charge of the global oil supply for Shell Oil Co.
In his lecture, Williams said the issues that come from oil arise because people are overly dependent on oil and because some countries are politically unstable.
Williams said energy use and development are strongly linked to the emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by fossil fuels that pollute the air. If less developed countries increase population growth and development, carbon dioxide rates will significantly increase, Williams said.
In order to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, Williams said, people must start acting now to make a change.
“We need to make substantial changes in the way we produce and use energy,” Williams said. “We need to start now to achieve this.”
Williams said change must start now because the rate of technological change is related to a lifetime of change in equipment.
“Technology moves very slow,” Williams said. “If you were to try to improve a vehicle now, even with reasonable amounts of change, it will still be a long road, and it probably won’t be completed until 2050.”
By using natural gas, nuclear power and renewable bioproducts, Williams said, a difference could be made. He said the major problem is the amount of energy people waste every day.
“We have to make all of these things happen simultaneously,” Williams said. “That’s the test of political will that the globe faces.”
Though Williams said oil has its issues, he would not apologize for it because of its many benefits.
“Oil is one of the greatest gifts to humanity,” Williams said. “It has propelled the global economy for the last 50 years. It’s provided us with an unprecedented amount of freedom, movement and economical development.”
Byron Henderson, a senior environmental science major, said he found Williams’ lecture compelling and informative.
“It’s amazing how much something hits you when all of the facts are thrown out to you,” Henderson said. “Pollution is a major issue facing us today, and hopefully people will step up to take care of our future.”
Drew Mayer, a junior criminal justice major, said he attended the lecture because he believed oil was something everyone should know more about.
“I’m not an expert on the subject, but now it’s clear that oil does a lot more than just fuel my car,” Mayer said. “It’s amazing how much it runs our world.