Well, the first day of blogging about 21st Century Energy issues was really gratifying. About 250 of you showed up to say hi and see what this is–thanks.
It strikes me, however, that I might have a better chance of getting people to come back for a second visit if I lay out my plans and hopes for this little enterprise. This is something that could actually be shaped by your opinions, especially since it’s early days here. So feel free to let me know what would be useful and interesting to you in this regard.
Most of what is below this post is material I gathered together in hopes of submitting a paper to a journal or maybe a magazine as an article. I’ve got quite a bit of it left to post, so I’m going to look a lot busier than I actually am.
This part of the blog is intended to lay out my case–that we’re going to be using a lot more energy than people think. I will post tables and make my data available, and will be happy to discuss it, but I’m pretty sure the case I make is convincing (with some caveats where I will be specifically asking for your help). You’ll see an example of this about an hour after I post this, as I’m going to put up some figures about China as soon as I can.
That part of this weblog will be about 10 or 15 more posts at this stage. I will then start discussing with you what the consequences of this energy consumption are, what the world will look like when we’re consuming 3,000 quads every year. I expect elements of that discussion to be ongoing.
After we lay that out coherently (I say we because I hope to be working with you by that point, as opposed to simply laying out results of my research), I would like to start a discussion on alternatives–if we don’t like the way the future looks without real changes, what real changes can/should we make? I think at that point we’ll start having a lot of fun.
When I came back to San Francisco from Europe a couple of years ago (because I had just predicted a huge recession and thought I should act on my own beliefs), I resolved to choose between focusing on either health care issues or green technology for the next stage of my career. My previous focus on information and communications technologies had started to seem like looking at a plumbing trade magazine–I was sick of looking at routers and virtualization schemes and wanted something fresh.
I chose green technology after writing some industry research reports on both sectors. Both healthcare and green technology are geared towards prevention in the early part of the 21st Century. Healthcare has adopted the philosophical stance that making us stop smoking, drinking to excess, eating sugary foods, etc., is the most effective use of their limited resources for now. Green technology is oriented towards preventing consumption of fossil fuels and emitting CO2. Not that big a difference. But green technology is going to need innovation as much as changing behavior, while healthcare at this point seems to be just going after the way we live.
I’m really happy with my decision–for now. I think healthcare will get interesting again soon, after biotechnology, nanotechnology and robotics combine to redefine it. But those new sectors will affect green technology as well, and I have no doubt we will be discussing them here.
I am going to have a great time writing about all this. I hope that you’ll have a good time contributing to this effort and reading the results.