To Catarina Tully at From over Here
Sir David King has just made the following statement: Sir David King lambasts Treasury for preventing green economic recovery http://bit.ly/M1AxgG
How do we get the message across that it is not about ‘resource efficiency’ but about the ‘effective’ use of resources creating ‘essential value’. This is not an easy discussion to have, but if we don’t face up to this as a society we will end up in the situation in the book just released. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jun/08/why-uk-no-longer-superpower
If we continue to muddle along on the basis that completely free enterprise can find a way forward when the marginal cost of producing a barrel of oil is over $90 and the useful energy remaining is on a downward trajectory, we are deluded. http://vimeo.com/43261566
We see in Greece the effects of the reducing Energy and Resource Intensity of a Society and Economic Block that does not recognise what is really happening.
Chandran Nair does recognise this and is doing his best to make Asia aware of the situation: as Asia tries to grow using the multi-planet paradigm this contagion can only spread. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_CL2imxmeE
These are Global issues but we must act as SystemUK if we are to be competitive and provide inspiration to others on the art of the possible. Are we the innately ingenious people we think we are, or was our prosperity purely a result of the Energy and Resource Intensity we were able to exploit?
The answer is probably a lot of both and we need to recognise this if we are not to squander this innate creatively and ingenuity as the Energy and Resource Intensity of SystemUK inevitably falls.
My letter in the Professional Engineering Journal 2007
Engineers are supposed to be mathematically literate but a simple understanding of compound interest is all that is needed to see that the current predictions of growth are the pipe dreams of economists.
Take a chess board and put one unit on the first square, 2 on the second and 4 on the third and continue doubling up. The time to each doubling is 70 divided by the rate of growth i.e. 7%/annum is equal to 10 years.
Add the squares together 1+2+4 = 7 i.e. the sum of all previous doublings is less than the value on the next square – 8
Oil was first commercially exploited in 1859 and we are now at around 30 billion barrels/year and on the 32nd square. At the present rate of growth we will need more oil in the next 20+ years than in the previous 150!
Even if this amount of oil exists, finding, extracting and applying unknown technologies to turn the poor quality, heavy, and polluted crude we obtain into useable product is clearly not possible on this time scale.
And that’s without the climate crisis and the fact that we need a fair amount of the remaining oil to create a low carbon future.
Derek Deighton MIQA AIEMA AMIMechE
Coordinator, Northwest Engineering Institutions, Sustainability Joint Venture
Northwest Energy Forum
Trailblazer Business Futures, Business and Built Environment Systems Integration
Helping create the One Planet World through creative partnerships