I think it’s time for a general discussion of the major theme advanced here in the early stages of this blog.
I am seriously suggesting that the world will use six times as much energy in 2075 as it does today. In the posts below I’ve tried to show why. In this post I would like to discuss what it means.
I think to a certain extent we’ve been sleep-walking into the future, because we’ve been distracted by two arguments that are important in themselves, but peripheral to this larger issue.
The first argument was about peak oil, the idea that the easy oil had been dug out of the ground and future supplies were going to be harder to find and harder to extract, driving up the price.
The second argument was that the cumulative concentrations of carbon dioxide since the industrial revolution had already started significant global warming and that far from planning to use more energy, we needed desperately to reduce our current emissions.
Those are real arguments and I don’t want to minimize them. (Nor do I really want to get sidetracked into re-fighting those wars.) But they have obscured the reality that the developing world is charging ahead into a future where they are determined to live the way we do. One aspect of living the way we do is consuming energy at the same rate we do.
We burned 500 quads of energy in 2010. My calculations show that we may well burn 3,000 quads in 2075. I’d really like to get some feedback on what this may mean for us all.
How many Thorium power stations would it take?
That would be a good place to start, perhaps.
Mainly wanted to say what a pleasure it is to see you blogging again. Your well reasoned articles and observations are always a breath of fresh air. I’m glad to have another quality blog to read and i’m very happy you found a quality company to work for……. or they found you.
In response to this article I don’t see any single supply of power is going to be the solution, it’s going to take many solutions fitted to individual regions. It’s going to mean fierce competition in some areas for resources, which has always meant war. I don’t expect the next 50 years to be especially pretty.
Thanks for the kind words.I agree emphatically with you–our challenge is to configure the right mix of potential sources, not to choose a winner.
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