Update: Just for clarity’s sake, I do not in any way think that Roger stole my idea or plagiarized my report. I honestly don’t, and I’ll put a ‘Willis Eschenbach’ style of memoir post explaining why. Roger emailed me assuring me that was the case and I believe him.
Over at the Breakthrough Institute, Roger Pielke has published an interesting article that basically replicates the work I’ve done here at 3,000 Quads.
In arriving at his projected totals for future energy consumption, he uses the exact same methodology as I did in my report–picking a country that has ‘x’ level of energy consumption and calculating the result if the developing world reaches that level of prosperity. It’s sobering stuff.
I sent Roger the report
a year ago in November of 2011 and a couple of weeks back he mentioned that he was working on something similar. He came up with similar answers, although he doesn’t use a timeline for achievement the way I did–I predicted 947 quads by 2030, roughly 2000 quads by 2050 and 3000 quads by 2075. (Not that I’m claiming the idea is my intellectual property–Dan Nocera has been writing in a similar vein for several years as well. But a hat tip would have been nice.)
Here’s his chart:
And here’s one of mine:Good to know great minds think alike.
Another thing besides future use of energy…. decarbonization.
Energywise, the big goal is to decarbonize electricity generation. Especially since electricity is supposed replace carbon fuels in many areas. However, there are already many countries, usually with high GDP, that have reached 50-100% levels of carbon-free electricity production. However, their emissions per capita are still around 5-10 tons. Just wondering what else can be be decarbonized?
“However, there are already many countries, usually with high GDP, that have reached 50-100% levels of carbon-free electricity production.”
Huh? Tonga or the Malvinas? Not an industrialized, and not on an actual used basis (forget faceplate numbers for solar, wind and tidal).
So far we have never had a nation or civilization that failed to grow because of a lack of fuel. Food, yes, and water (which lead to food shortages). Cold weather killed the Icelandic and Greenland societies, only Iceland surviving, but that was because they couldn’t grow the food they needed or keep it from freezing (Iceland, northern Scotland at times during the LIA). But energy to run things, to keep the homes warm …. I dunno.
While firsts are always possible, it will be interesting to see how this would play out for energy. The world is awash in coal, even if the eco-green see it as death-fuel. A country – say China or India – would have to decide to commit suicide if it didn’t develop coal-fired power plants as its population grew and demanded a higher standard of living. Solar and wind aren’t coming up with the massive power generation that is dependable and affordable for the less-developed countries. Which is why the First World was supposed to hand out trillions of dollars to the developing world.
As if that is going to happen: Europe is going to beggar itself so it can be economiically ruled by India? or the US, militarily by China?
The demand for energy will be met. Prior fears of everyone burning wood until there wasn’t a stick left, like on Easter Island, seems only likely in Germany and Britain, where the poorest classes are small. Natural gas may be a big, big seller coming out of Indonesia and offshore Australia, but the costs of LNG include the development of pipeline infrastructure. Electricity infrastructure is cheaper and faster. And coal is everywhere there are ships and trains to move it around.
Rapidly increasing energy demands will be met. By fossil fuel. Only the developed world can afford non-fossil fuel, but it is hurting economically, like Germany and Britain. Green energy will falter when costs are high and the externalities of climate change are perceived as coming to others – the ones going for coal and NG because they can afford to build the powerplants. And nobody is going to cough up more than a token amount for money going to countries even more open about how badly they spend revenue than we are.
In case you think I am too cynical: ask WWF and Sierra Club and Audubon Society members to each kick in $1300/ family to pay for even one specific atoll nation to have solar power, an achievable goal. Those societies wouldn’t, either.