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Energy

Thinking about Energy and Wealth

It is commonly accepted that the accumulation of wealth will lead to a better life. We are  told that consumption leads to a higher standard of living.  But let’s examine this a little closer.

Definition of Wealth

When you think about it wealth is really the ability to do things:  the ability to grow crops, to make products, to move goods, to improve efficiency, to pass on information, to help others.

Energy

To do anything takes energy.  So it follows that creating more energy and using the energy we have more efficiently will create more wealth.

An attempt at showing world energy usage types...

An attempt at showing world energy usage types with a bar graph. (Meant to replace Image:Cascading Pie charts.png by User:Mierlo, which uses a pie chart with misleading numbers like 41% for solar heating, when it’s actually 41% of 9% of 14% = 0.5%.) Values are taken from the pie chart, which is originally from the data in REN21 2006 global status report on renewables and the BP 2006 Statistical review (most recent data available at http://www.bp.com/statisticalreview) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fossil Fuels

A hydrocarbon deposit, such as coal, petroleum,

or natural gas, derived from living matter.

A diagram of the basic fossil fuel life-cycle

A diagram of the basic fossil fuel life-cycle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coal

Coal is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide.

World coal consumption was about 6,743,786,000 short tons in 2006 and is expected to increase 48% to 9.98 billion short tons by 2030. Approximately 40% of the world electricity production uses coal. Collective projections generally predict that global peak coal production may occur sometime around 2025.

Collective projections generally predict that global peak coal production may occur sometime around 2025.

Oil

Currently, the world consumes an estimated 88,000,000 barrels per day worldwide.

The United States is the greatest consumer of petroleum in the world consuming over 20,680,000bbl/day as of 2007.  China is a distant second consuming 7,578,000bbl/day.

English: United States petroleum production an...

English: United States petroleum production and imports, 1920 to 2005; data from the Energy Information Administration of the United States Department of Energy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The highest regarded prediction by the International Energy Agency (IEA) says production of conventional crude oil peaked in 2006.

International Energy Agency prediction of futu...

International Energy Agency prediction of future oil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nuclear

English: Total world nuclear power capacity, i...

English: Total world nuclear power capacity, in GW, and generation, in TWh for the years 1980 to 2007. Capacity increased by 12.3% per year from 1981 to 1987, and by 1.3% per year from 1987 to 2007, post Chernobyl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As of October 1, 2010, 30 countries have 441 nuclear power plants with an installed electric net capacity of about 375 GW in operation. Sixty plants, with an installed capacity of 59 GW, are currently under construction in 16 countries.

The United States has the most of any country with 104!

Church of the Holy Shitters

Energy Position

We are using our fossil fuel reserves very rapidly.  Coal and oil have pollution, environmental degradation and health risks associated with their extraction and use.  The operation and waste from nuclear power poses the greatest long-term threats to our environment.  It therefore cannot be viewed as the solution to our future energy needs.    We are wasting our energy up front with our insatiable consumptive appetite and we are generating huge amounts of waste in the process of producing the energy we demand to fulfill that appetite.  It is totally ass-backwards and demands a comprehensive reassessment of both our thinking regarding energy and our approach to its generation.

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