This paper reviews the broad trends in world markets for primary commercial energy. It assesses, in particular, developments and changes in all primary energies in the period since the oil price decline in 1986. It also presents data on the growth of C02 emissions from the use o f fossil fuels over the same period. The paper then considers the future by querying whether the recent trends can continue into the long term. A range o f economic, technological and political forces are assessed.