I assume you still move around though. Even if you travel via bus, plane, or boat rather than car, oil is still consumed. The goods you buy travel via truck. The plastic in bags, plumbing, insulators on electronics, etc etc come from oil. and so on and so forth.Originally Posted by BadJuJu
Equally, as I've noted before, you're a young single guy (I believe). The means by which you get around aren't so attractive for families with kids, seniors, those who have to travel to customers (vocations like plumbers, electricians, etc), and so forth.
You are somehow not equating human and animal labor as energy. Food is merely one form of energy - as the ethanol conversion shows.Originally Posted by necron99
Equally so it is a mistaken assumption to think that somehow manufacturing in the past didn't involve energy - I suggest you look at the Peak Cheap Peat example.
Be that as it may, the assumption that energy is the basis of everything is wrong because it discounts the impact of technology and innovation.
The reality is that the amount of energy used to make most industrial products is far less than it used to be. The processes by which 1 kilogram of steel is made today consume far less energy than the equivalent 20 years ago or 100 years ago. This difference is innovation.
Thus the massive amounts of energy you cite today are not a function of the efficiency of the processes, but rather the volume of the products.
The volume of products are a function of affordability and prosperity - yet prosperity itself is not a measurable indicator. Was the massive 'prosperity' of the 2003-2007 real estate bubble in the US real? clearly not.
I'd also point out that energy consumption isn't entirely, or even mostly household product or even private durable goods. The United States expended enormous amounts of energy to build the interstate highway system; this system requires much energy to maintain but much less than the original construction. The same can be said for bridges, dams, and other major forms of infrastructure, and also apply to things like building out telephone/cellular systems, electrical grids, sewage/water, and so forth.
China's massive energy expenditure at present is as much because of their build out of the above as much as it is because of overproduction of apartment buildings.
Our finance system has zero basis on energy. Energy does have a relationship to the P/C (i.e. production/consumption) economy, but iTulip among others have long noted the divergence between FIRE growth and P/C growth.Originally Posted by necron99
Equally I'd disagree with the notion that FIRE growth is in any way related to economic growth. The United States has not been significantly economically growing for well over a decade, but FIRE is doing just fine, thank you.
I've posted a number of articles before on CTL - the fact is that CTL is nominally competitive at $60/barrel oil price. However, the cost of CTL plants is in the order of a coal fired electricity plant: $500M. The fact is that there isn't a strong incentive for capitalists to build such plants until it is absolutely certain that the investment will be profitable. I do think another 5 to 10 years of $80+ oil will do the trick, much less oil at $150 or $200.Originally Posted by necron99
Thus scalability isn't nearly as much of an issue as you make out. The CTL plants can be built where the coal is, and pipelines can be built to take the CTL outputs elsewhere even if the existing coal transport infrastructure is not used. No new technology must be invented. No exploration/drilling deep sea or deserts. No foreign adventures. etc etc.
Would the output be cheap and allow the FY2000 oil lifestyle to resume, much less the FY1970 oil lifestyle? no
But that's a far cry from not being a viable economic alternative, especially if we're looking at $150/$200 or more oil.
Note that the above doesn't take into account any actual national program to build out CTL infrastructure. If even 1/10th of the resources that went into solar or wind were devoted to CTL, they'd be all over the place.
As for Germany in World War II: let's not forget that Germany was being bombed. This makes it quite challenging to build up an alternative liquid fuel ecosystem. Despite being cut off from oil, the accounts of German bombers, ships, tanks and so forth running out of fuel are quite few.
Some info on German CTL: http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies...uid-fuels.html
I agree, forecasting doom is very difficult - if for no other reason than nobody really wants it.Originally Posted by necron99
It is, however, incumbent to look at realistic scenarios rather than linear extrapolations.
My original point was also that the 'energy consumption' progression you note was almost entirely over a period where energy was cheap. From the advent of the oil age to the 1970s, energy was dirt cheap - so it isn't at all surprising to me that this wasn't taken advantage of.
Even the 'oil shock' of the 1970s wasn't an existential threat; it was simply the sudden onset of 'cheap' oil suddenly becoming 'less cheap'.
Put another way - energy costs for the US despite profligate American usage is quite far down the list in overall spending.
It would seem housing cost is the far bigger issue!
Lastly population. I'm a lot more sanguine about this than most.
In my view, when we get to the point of too many people, that problem resolves itself. I am adamantly opposed to any person, group, organization, or whatever which proposes to 'solve' the population problem because every single one of these has turned out to be just using this as an excuse to crack down on 'unacceptables', to gain influence/power/money for themselves, or some equally repugnant objective.