[ExI] Extensive vs. intensive causes of energy demand

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sat May 11 17:28:32 UTC 2013

On Sat, May 11, 2013 at 6:43 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

>> standpoint this is a very important distinction: The former could mean
>> decreased energy per capita, while the latter could not. Decreased
>> energy per capita is, after a point, indeed horrifying. Increased
>> wealth among the poor is a reason to rejoice.
> You seem to think that agriculture and industry needs no energy
> input.

### Look at it this way:

If you have population growth, this comes with increased demand for
absolute necessities (food, shelter, sanitation) which means that
fluctuations in energy supply may cut into these necessities,
producing starvation, unrest, war, possibly a vicious cycle of damage
to energy production, triggering further starvation, etc.

But a stable or slowly growing population that increases its energy
demand due to industrialization and increasing affluence does not put
itself at increased risk of starvation due to fluctuating energy
supply. If there is a problem with slower than expected energy supply
growth, well, some luxuries get trimmed off the list, to much gnashing
of teeth, but nobody starves among this population. This is Maslow's
hierarchy of needs in action, not a belief in energy-independent
agriculture and industry.


> Yes, it can be economically used. To the tune of TUSD/year, for
> the next 40 years to assure 1 TW/year conversion rate.

### A TUSD is just 2% of the global economy, or something thereabouts.



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