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Impending Global Energy Consumption Explosion

by mel starrs on April 17, 2006

in Climate Change

Came across some scary figures via this article (opens a pdf file) written by 2 Stanford MBA students.

By their reckoning, the US accounts for 4% of the world’s population and uses 25% of world energy consumption. A sobering thought on it’s own. But their point is that in general global ‘economies’ appear to be holding the US pattern of consumption as their ‘goal’ or ‘aspiration’. If they succeed in emulating US consumption (and at this stage I’m not saying they shouldn’t), then global energy demand will increase by a factor 6.25. This assumes that the US have reached a peak, and that the population of the world holds steady (we know the world population is predicted to increase).

This scenario raises huge questions, not least:

  • where is this energy going to come from?
  • what effect will this have on climate change?

Economics, politics, and demographic issues all contribute to issues of sustainability. Building low energy buildings in the developed world may contribute to reducing demand, but the reality is that global demand is rising at a greater rate. My current favourite definition of sustainability is:

Living off the interest without spending the principal via Yahoo answers

The key to sustaining the global economy will in all eventualities lie in solving the conundrum of how we produce enough energy for the growing population, without destroying the planet which supports us in the meantime.

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    I don’t get this. “If they succeed in emulating US consumption (and at this stage I’m not saying they shouldn’t), then global energy demand will increase by a factor 6.25.” Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this.

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