Sweet Energy Perspectives 1

Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s, when I was living happily ever after in Newport RI, US of A, I published a newsletter on my faithful MacPlus called the New Hydronics News. The NHN dealt with America’s appalling approach to energy use in the very specific domain of residential and commercial confort control, aka HVAC, aka heating/cooling systems.

I had 2 reasonable motivations for creating that monthly journal. One was that I was considered by some to be the ‘guru of heating in America’, and sustaining that honorific required that I publish (to better perish later). The other was that I was considered by most everyone else living in the amber waves of grain to be the devil incarnate, a greenie pinko commie, and thus, un-American in every way. Every month for 4 years, I challenged the heating community for its in-your-face, narcissistic profligacy that so characterized the US of A during the Reagan/Bush I years (and shows few signs of winding down at present), until one day, some guys in a pickup truck yelled out out me, “Hey pinko, if you don’t like it here, why don’t you move to, uh, mmm… France!” Which I think is what I did.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

I remember in one issue of NHN, around the time of GBush I’s war on Iraq, I quoted Meyer, Travis McGee’s best friend in John MacDonald’s wonderful series of thrillers, when he said something like

The US has 6% of the world’s population and uses 30% of the world’s oil, plywood, white paint, peanut butter, rubber bands and suntan lotion. We want the rest of the world to love us, to emulate us. What happens if the wish comes true? Will 100% of the world’s population need 500% of the ressources we Americans use now? Has anyone besides me thought this through?

This he said in 1965 or thereabouts. When I quoted this 25 years later, the message was still as futile amongst the grass-roots of l’Amérique profonde.

Fast forward almost 20 years and no one outside the US of A doubts the wisdom of these words (even Australia is coming around). Incredibly, within the States, there are still so many people who can’t get their head around all this. Twenty years ago, GBush I famously said as he cheerleaded Iraq war I: ‘the American lifestyle is not on the table’.

With this as backdrop, and as we speed into the peak-oil era, where the only real comfort is the deeply human thought that catastrophe is only catastrophe if I’m still alive to see it, I want to start writing again about living in the world as though these things really matter.Maigret’s Night at the Crossroads film download

I’ll conclude this first post with a citation from Berkeley Professor Tad Patzek, who writes about biofuel issues (thank you Oil Drum). He analyzes how much of the earth’s surface would be required to generate the energy requirements to drive a car 23000 km (15000 miles) a year with diverse energy options presently being considered by non-deniers.

1 m2 of medium-quality oil fields needs 620 m2 of corn fields to replace gasoline with corn ethanol and pay for the free energy costs of the ethanol production. [Putting this in perspective…], one can drive our example car for one year from ~30 m2 of oil fields, 90 m2 of photovoltaic cells, 1100 m2 of wind turbines, and ~18000 m2 of corn fields.

Has anyone thought this through?


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