[ExI] Wash post comment

Jeff Davis jrd1415 at gmail.com
Sun May 20 01:25:49 UTC 2012

On Sat, May 19, 2012 at 3:31 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, May 19, 2012 at 2:59 AM,  Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at gmail.com> wrote:
> snip
>> And on my own, I find this EROEI business a bit suspicious. I wonder
>> if it's just an artfully authoritative-sounding but irrelevant
>> "metric".
> No, it is a real problem.  Sets the lower limit on what is useful.

Sets the lower limit.....  Yes, it does that.  The lower "limit" is
1:1.  That's where you put in as much as you get out, so you actually
get nothing out.

Yes this is informative.  Yes, this is helpful,... educationally,... I
suppose.  But, with respect, as long as one gets 2, or 3, or 4:1,
what's the problem?  If abundant tar sands and abundant shale oil/gas
mean even 100 years of affordable energy -- ie sufficient for steady
global economic growth -- then we have plenty of time to transition to
replacement energy sources, and the whole "We're doomed, we're
doomed!" thing is commercial and political hysteria fomented for
commercial and political profit.

Your "real world" example ***explains*** EROEI well enough, but can't
make it relevant if there is not no chance of getting to 1:1..
***IF*** food gets to 1:1, people are in trouble.  ***IF*** energy
gets to 1:1 modern civilization is in trouble.  But these things are
not happening, so it's like saying "If an asteroid strikes the earth,
we're in trouble."  So what?  It's not happening.  Going from an EROEI
of 100:1 to an EROEI of 5:1 is irrelevant if we never get to 1:1, and
as long as there is enough at 5:1 to do the job. Sure, 1:1 is doom,
but since we won't ever get there, it's just scaremongering.


For the record, I'm on board with your space solar advocacy, though
personally I value it more for its usefulness in space than down here
in the gravity well (where it's also useful).

Best, Jeff Davis

"When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only
think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the
solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
               - Buckminster Fuller

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