Will there be Life after
Yes. The twentieth century was the century of OIL; but the twenty-first
will be the age of cleaner types of fuel.
It will have to be.
Oil will not last for ever; and extracting it will become much more
To start with, we cannot
using oil for ever. We can
do so for a few more decades
- perhaps until 2070, then it will
be none left - or at least, there will
hardly any left.
At present, there is still plenty of oil
under the ground. There is oil under the North Sea and under the
Atlantic Ocean. Engineers keep
finding new sources of oil. But there are some realities which cannot
a) The quantity of oil under the ground
and under the sea is not infinite. It will
b) As oil becomes rarer, it will
harder to extract
also become more and more expensive. It will
therefore become more expensive than other fuels.
c) Oil will
Of course, there are also other truths:
d) Scientists are making new forms of
oil, using plants.
e) Most of the oil that we eat comes
from plants; and it is sometimes possible to make petrol from this oil.
some types of diesel-fuel already contain sun-flower oil.
Sunflowers produce oil too;
but most of this oil is needed for cooking.
Sun-flower oil is cleaner than mineral
oil, so it causes less pollution. But perhaps, in the long term
vegetable oils are not a good solution for the future; in the
future we may
need all the land for producing food.
In reality, the future will have to
be a future without
oil - or with very little oil.
Scientists are already developing cars,
houses and plastics that do not use oil. Electricity will
energy of the third millennium, but it will have to
be clean electricity.
Today, electricity is produced in
Britain in several different ways; some of it is produced using oil;
but already oil-burning power-stations
are being closed. Nuclear power-stations will
closed too, because they are very expensive and people do not want them.
Tomorrow's electricity will
from gas, and from "renewable sources".
In the short term, gas will
important source of energy. It is cleaner than oil, and easier to
extract. There is also a lot more gas than oil under the ground! Gas can
in cars and houses too.
In the long term, all our energy will
from "renewable sources" - including water! The sun, the
wind, the rivers and the oceans will
all the energy that we need! It will
energy - with no pollution - and it will
We are not there yet, however! The
twenty-first century will
be a century of change. People who are over 50 today are not going to
see a world without oil. Those who are under twenty may
do so...... if they live long enough.
gas or liquid that can be burned for energy - decade:
of 10 years - keep:
to - avoid:
not mention - infinite:
endless - extract:
of the ground - for
for example -
in the long term:
in the long distant future - power-station:
place where electricity is made.
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Will there be Life after Oil ?
Modal verbs : will and
Choose the most
suitable modal verb in each of the following sentences: these sentences
are not necessarily related to the article
People who live in New York can
/will / must see the Statue of Liberty.
2. You will / may / must
/ can pass your driving test before you will / may / must / can
3. In 2100, people cannot
/ will not can / will not be able to use oil as we do
4. In 15 years’ time, people must / will have to / will must
use more electric cars.
5. I am 15 today, so I will
/ can / may / must still be alive in the year 2050.
6. If I buy a lottery ticket, I may
/ can / must / will win the jackpot. If I don’t,
I may not / will
not be able to / must not.
Reusing information :
résumé of the article, putting appropriate words
in the blanks
Oil is one of the most important __________ of
___________ in today's world; but unless we ____________ finding more
and more, it will not ___________ for ____________. In less than a
century, it will ______ ______.
Most of the oil we _____ comes from the
ground, but some comes from _______ . But plants cannot produce all the
oil we ________.
In tomorrow's world, we will use ______
oil and more ____________, but most of this will have to come from
In the _______ _______ we will use a lot
of ___________, but later we will have to get our _____________ from
Ideas for teachers
Simple technical English
Remember.... When you study an article in class, it is often useful to
have students analyze the language and the structure of sentences.
Often students are put off by articles because they imagine that they
look hard — however easy they may really be.....
This article is technical; but it is not in difficult English.
► Will and
This text is a good illustration of
when to use "will
to form the future in English. Remember that will
is by no
means the only way to express the future in English. For more on this
see the Future in English
Discuss "oil" with your students. What is it?
Where does it come from? What do we use it for? Could we do without it?
(Pupils should learn do
a useful prepositional verb). How long will it
last? Can we make it?
If you talk about all these points in
class, then the article should be very easy to follow.
Note the use of modal verbs
in this article.
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teaching
materials or exercises.
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