Energy

Good News: Global Energy Intensity Continues to Decline

Energy demand projected to increase by nearly 50 percent by 2040

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EnergyMoneyFengYuDreamstime
Feng Yu/Dreamstime

The Energy Information Administration has just released its new data on energy intensity trends. Basically, the agency finds that humanity overall is using ever less energy to create more value. How much less? About a third less energy is being used to produce a dollar's worth of goods and services than was being consumed in 1990. In the meantime, world GDP nearly doubled and world population increased by 40 percent. This does not, however, mean that humanity is using less oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewable energy. In fact, the amount of energy being consumed globally increased by 60 percent between 1990 and 2015. On the other hand, U.S. primary energy consumption has been essentially flat since 2000 while the economy grew by more than 30 percent and U.S. population expanded by around 14 percent.

EnergyIntensityDecline
EIA

Is it possible that energy efficiency gains could become so great that that the absolute amount of energy consumed by humanity will begin to fall sometime in future? All things being equal—especially the price—this is not likely because energy freed up through efficiency would be used to fuel other new activities. The plain fact is that the only way to reduce energy consumption (like the consumption of any other normal good) is to increase its price relative to other goods. Ultimately, the EIA projects that world energy demand will increase by nearly 50 percent by 2040.

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  1. “About a third less energy is being used to produce a dollar’s worth of goods and services than was being consumed in 1990.”

    I bet Barbara Boxer is worried about Reason publishing facts again.

    Meanwhile, the biggest obstacle to climate change policies is the persistent belief that economic growth and increasing standards of living are incompatible with declining CO2 emissions.

    Climate change deniers (despite what they say) mostly oppose polices to address climate change because they believe that addressing climate change will necessarily mean a lower standard of living–and yet environmentalists keep pushing that false narrative themselves.

    I’m convinced that climate change deniers are right when they call the alarmists watermelons–if the solution to climate change is capitalism, it seems there are plenty so called environmentalists who would rather see the planet bake instead.

    1. Small nuclear reactors for neighborhoods, my friend. Decentralizes the power grid (good). Decreases inefficiency (good). Very clean (with the exception of burying some rods under Yucca Mountain, still good).

      So, let’s do this already. What? Greenies don’t like this nearly perfect energy source?

      It’s hard not to conclude that greenies want to degrade quality of life or just make energy more expensive for no damn reason.

      1. I do think that most “greens” are really just neo luddites. That explains their policy positions better that any real environmentalism.

        1. Or perhaps they are just fucking proggie assholes.

          1. You forgot insufferably ignorant.

            1. That would have been redundant, but it does add emphasis.

              1. I don’t know. I kinda like the sound of Insufferably ignorant, neo-luddite, proggie asshole, watermelons.

          2. Not mutually exclusive.

        2. “Luddite” isn’t quite the word. Luddites were afraid that industrial machinery would put people out of work. Enviro-leftists are something else, but I’m not quite sure what to call it.

          I think the modern equivalent of luddites are more the “they took our jobs” kind of trade restrictionist.

          1. Historically illiterate and contemprarily unself-aware. Why else would you believe that the world is horrible place and would only get better is you could make the world back into the subsistence living utopia of yesteryear?

      2. There is a damn reason alright. Humanity is a disease that is destroying the planet. The cure is poverty and death. On those rare moments when you catch environmentalists being honest, they will tell you that the human population must be drastically reduced. You can’t do that and have an increased standard of living at the same time. No. Living standards must be reduced. Severely. To cause poverty and death, and correct the imbalance of nature. They won’t be satisfied until humanity is one with Mother Earth. You know, like the people of the Stone Age.

        1. “No. Living standards must be reduced. Severely.”

          Yes but not for everyone of course.

          The one’s advocating this stuff have no intention for the deleterious effects of it to apply to them personally.

          They will get a pass by buying indulgences from the church – oops, I mean carbon offsets from the state.

          1. Of course, they (or those who don’t have their own armies anyway) will be unpleasantly surprised when they discover that their lifestyles are only sustainable when you have a productive workforce making shit and using energy.

            1. They aren’t capable of thinking that far ahead about the consequences of what they advocate.

              If they were, they wouldn’t be leftists to begin with.

      3. But…..

        RAIDYAISHUNZ!!!!1111

      4. The intellectual backbone of the environmentalist movement, if you can call it that, are Marxists. Even if every idiot who goes along isn’t one, they end up adopting some simplified version of the same rhetoric.

        1. What bothers me is that most “environmentalists” don’t actually have any science education. I have two degrees in ecology, but I would never call myself an “environmentalist” because the term has become completely synonymous with superstitious behavior, and as others point out, a death cult like belief that we would all be better off living in the stone age. Not that any of them really understand what that would entail, or could do it themselves….

          1. It’s really just mostly a romanticized view of the world that has little to do with science or reality. It’s close to the religious view of the world where humans are separate and special and not part of the whole system, which is a little ironic as so many of those people want to think that they are the fact based community.

            I’m a nature lover and conservationist, but I’ll never identify as an environmentalist.

          2. “People are so wasteful with their consumption of harmful dirty energy.”
            – Some guy tweeting through a site with servers powered by dirty energy through an internet connection powered by dirty energy on a handheld computerphone powered by dirty energy and manufactured in a factory powered by dirty energy using parts forged with dirty energy and shipped a thousand miles right to his door using dirty energy, while sitting in a coffee shop powered by dirty energy drinking a beverage that was mixed and heated using dirty energy out of beans that were grown using dirty energy, harvested using dirty energy and shipped a thousand miles right to his neighborhood using dirty energy.

            1. Don’t be so certain about the mixing and heating part. I know of some coffee shops that use solar panels for their power.

    2. “Climate change deniers (despite what they say) mostly oppose polices to address climate change because they believe that addressing climate change will necessarily mean a lower standard of living”

      Quite a few of the proposed polices do exactly that.
      Jack posted a link (obviously without reading it) headlined that Germany was going to use some radical new approaches to address the lack of supply from wind and solar. The ‘new approaches’ were all various forms of rationing.

      1. No question the left’s proposed policies to climate change hurt our standard of living.

        And that’s an excellent reason to oppose them.

        Most people’s understanding of the science is extremely limited–and that’s not just on the denier side of the debate. Most progressives who support climate change legislation that would hurt our standard of living don’t understand the science either.

        The support is mostly about appeals to authority.

        The deniers are mostly about non-sequiturs–oppose the science because of the economic implications.

        At least the deniers are getting it half-right.

        I don’t care what the science says either way–so long as the solutions are non-authoritarian and capitalist. You can always tell a libertarian science denier because they’re the ones for whom opposing authoritarianism and socialism isn’t enough–you have to disbelieve the science, too.

    3. Watermelons?

      1. Green on the outside. Red in the middle. Commies.

        1. Only if there is fried chicken too.

    4. the biggest obstacle to climate change policies is the persistent belief that economic growth and increasing standards of living are incompatible with declining CO2 emissions.

      I would say that the biggest obstacle to climate change policies is the very apparent absence of any problem justifying such policies.

      1. ^This.

        The world is a cleaner place than it has been since the advent of humanity, there are more trees and animals in NA than ever before, more clean water etc etc etc.

        If you want to see environmental disaster take a look at the third world or any commie hellhole.

        1. That’s a big thing that a lot of people miss. As living standards improve, energy use becomes much more efficient and people demand a cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing environment. Environmental protection is a luxury good. Desperately poor people don’t give a shit about the environment. Feeding your family is a much higher priority.

          1. I saw a shantytown in Lima that literally threw all their trash into the river that supplies the city with water. Luckily the government built a fountain park and giant soccer stadium, so it’s all good.

            1. Their trash isnt all they are throwing in there. Blackwater fever still a thing down there?

              1. Probably. I got typhoid, hep A, yellow fever, and malaria immunization/prophylaxis before I went. No one, not Peru or USA, checked my immunization papers.

      2. “I would say that the biggest obstacle to climate change policies is the very apparent absence of any problem justifying such policies.”

        That explanation would be more persuasive if the relationship between solutions and problems were consistent that way, but people can be and have been easily led to support all sorts of misguided solutions to manufactured crises.

        What’s so different about climate change?

        The difference is that people are reluctant to support climate change policies because they believe those policies will necessarily hurt their standard of living. One of the important reasons they believe that is because the supporters of climate change policies persist in the notion that sacrificing our standard of living is ultimately the only solution to climate change.

        Perhaps some skeptics believe the problem is insignificant; regardless, they still fall under the umbrella of those who think the solution is going to be harmful to the standard of living.

        1. The achilles heal of the entire climate change movement is that all of their proposed “solutions” necessitate a reduction in the self-same standard of living that makes environmentalism possible in the first place.

        2. Perhaps some skeptics believe the problem is insignificant; regardless, they still fall under the umbrella of those who think the solution is going to be harmful to the standard of living.

          Kenney Schultz now thinks he can read minds. Pathetic.

    5. Thankfully we have ken to call these deniers out. Tell me again how supercaps make energy, ken.

      1. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Maybe you’re talking about ultra-capacitors like the ones that were hyped from EEstor?

        When Lockheed-Martin signed an exclusive contract with them, yeah, I got pretty excited about that technology. That was eight years ago.

        They never demonstrated their most important claims, but I still prefer venture capital and technology solutions to socialist solutions, don’t you?

    6. Climate change deniers (despite what they say) mostly oppose polices to address climate change because they believe that addressing climate change will necessarily mean a lower standard of living–and yet environmentalists keep pushing that false narrative themselves.

      Bull shit. You’re an ass Ken. First for calling people ‘deniers’. Second for not having a clue what the scientific objections are.

      1. “You’re an ass Ken. First for calling people ‘deniers’

        I may be an ass, but it isn’t for calling deniers what they are.

        “Second for not having a clue what the scientific objections are.”

        That’s because the scientific objections are mostly irrelevant.

        If new data becomes available tomorrow that proves the alarmists’ worst fears are absolutely so, are you going to throw the towel in on your objections to socialist solutions?

        I don’t care what the science says–I oppose socialist solutions anyway.

        Whether we should sacrifice our standard of living to socialist solutions for future generations isn’t even a scientific question. Why would I care what scientific objections are to non-scientific questions?

        1. I may be an ass, but it isn’t for calling deniers what they are.

          You are no better than the useful idiots who think “the science is settled”.

    7. The greatest portion of us ‘deniers’ (that’s right we understand environmentalism is a false religion) don’t give a shit and understand that ‘climate change’ not only is not a problem but if it were it’s not one that can be fixed.

      1. “The greatest portion of us ‘deniers’ . . . understand that ‘climate change’ not only is not a problem but if it were it’s not one that can be fixed.”

        Do you understand these things intrinsically, or are these understandings based on observations of the natural world?

        1. What I understand is the those making the affirmative condition claim regarding man made global warming haven’t proven it to be so with exactly the same level of certainty that I can prove that my car has 4 wheels attached to it.

          And therefore that means that they haven’t proven it at all. There are only two categories of proof regarding affirmative condition claims about any conceivable aspect of existence – absolutely definitive proof or absolutely nothing.

          So until they prove that there exists a perfectly linear one for one correlation between variations in man-made so called greenhouse gases and variations in global temperature that tracks consistently over every single second of the entire time span of human existence on the planet, then they proven nothing. Absolutely nothing other than that would ever be definitive enough to prove it exists at all.

          And I’m going easy on them by not requiring them to parse it at the nanosecond level.

          1. After that, you’re supposed to put your fingers in your ears and go, “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA . . . “.

            1. After that I will tell them that it doesn’t matter what they can prove or not prove because as far as I’m concerned, the only purpose for the existence of the Universe is my own personal comfort, convenience and amusement.

              So anything that interferes with the furtherance of that is never warranted under any circumstance.

        2. Do you understand these things intrinsically, or are these understandings based on observations of the natural world?

          Please learn how science works. The models, which is what the hypothesis is based on, have been falsified. Real world observations are not doing what the models predicted.

        3. Do you understand these things intrinsically, or are these understandings based on observations of the natural world?

          Please learn how science works. The models, which is what the hypothesis is based on, have been falsified. Real world observations are not doing what the models predicted.

  2. Hey Ron, you are missing a number…. “and world population increased by _____”

    1. B: Yes. Just fixed. Thanks much.

  3. Also,large parts of Africa and South and Central America are doing their part to hold down ‘energy’ use. Unless you count dung and wood.

    1. And parts of Asia, with a big shout out to the Indian sub continent .

    2. No love for Kim Jong Un and Maduro? What’s a socialist dictator have to do to get props around here?

      1. Institute gay marriage and get rid of sex-specific bathrooms?

        1. Those are indeed the most pressing issues of our time.

          1. Unless Christians start believing in hard work and capitalism. Then we’ll have real problems.

      2. Hey,if all those people started to use tractors tillers,harvesters and trucks the ‘global energy use’ would go through the roof. They’d also have irrigation and fertilizer usage. You want to live with that? Hell,they may make enough to buy consumer goods.

    3. Unless you count dung and wood.

      Which, of course, are much dirtier and less efficient energy sources than fossil fuels.

  4. About a third less energy is being used to produce a dollar’s worth of goods and services than was being consumed in 1990

    Out of curiosity, is that inflation adjusted?

    1. I clicked through. Looks that way to me.

    2. I would be pretty useless if it wasn’t.

    3. It also shows the completely subjective nature of value. Facebook, pokemon go, etc. are the drivers of that growth.

  5. Good News

    This is as far as Barbara Boxer’s staff gets. At that point they decide you are a spreading disinformation and need to be silenced.

      1. Everyone should be addressed by the title they’ve earned.

        1. Cunt? Cunt seems appropriate. I’m gonna go with cunt.

          1. No – she lacks the warmth, and the depth.

          2. I like “stupid twat” because it sounds funnier.

  6. BREAKING: Baltimore police Lt acquitted of all charges in death of Freddy Gray.

    1. That was a close one. *wipes brow sarcastically*

    2. Wasn’t there another killing where the corpse was shot by multiple cops, it was pretty well agreed that the killing was a murder, but they couldn’t identify the precise shot that killed the guy, so they said “well, we can’t tell which of these 3 guys who shot him actually killed him, so everybody walks”?

      Seems like similar reasoning here. I wonder if any subjects (as opposed to armed agents of the state) have gotten off on the same way.

      1. So felony murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy don’t apply to cops then.

    3. So it was a suicide. I knew it!

      1. Only a suicidal idiot would jump in the back of a police van for no apparent reason at all.

    4. Look, he was judged by a jury of his peers. Don’t you rush to judgment because you obviously don’t have all of the facts.

  7. Ron,as per my posts,energy use needs to rise in many parts of the world.By ‘energy’,I mean fuels and green energy’s not going to cut it to feed these people and rise them to a level we take for granted.

    1. They had better get to work setting up their infrastructure then.

      1. I agree,bad government and ‘foreign aid’ given to to them has made the problem worse. Giving these same governments money to for ‘climate change’ damages will not help.

        1. Hey, If everything we have was given to us then why cant it be their turn? Do you really think we could have taken this continent if it weren’t for the power grid and paved highways?

          *I saw an illustration once depicting a pre-columbian Indian farm. It had split rail fences, corn fields, cattle, pigs, chickens, and a horse pulling a wagon past a western style barn. It was in support of the argument that whitey was just a thief who told lies about the natives being uncivilized to justify their theft.

  8. Actually it is entirely possible that if current population trends continue between a declining global population, increasing wealth in the 3rd world, and technological advancement driving energy efficiency that sometime in the 2100’s global energy consumption will indeed begin to fall.

    They key is the declining population which should begin to happen somewhere between 2050 and 2080 and will likely continue for quite some time beyond that till we stabilize at probably around 4 or 5 billion somewhere in the 2200’s (with the one caveat being the speed with which we are able to begin to colonize the solar system and how much emigration to those colonies happens).

    1. But Singularity! Transhumanism! People living forever!

    2. Barring some catastrophic decline in population i find this unlikely. We continue to substitue capital for labor and that will always demand more energy. CA and AZ are proof that we want to live in places that are simply unsuitable without modern, energy-expensive tech. Aside from green stupidity, do you really think CA wouldn’t go for massive desalination plants if they were cheap enough?

      1. Check the Demographic trends.

        If current trends hold then the global population could be half of what it is today by 2200.

        It is possible that those trends could be reversed by some future technology that greatly extends human life into the multiple hundreds of years range but with birth rates rapidly declining in the 3rd world and already far below replacement level in the 1st and 2nd worlds and the economic drivers behind those low birth rates looking likely to remain in place for at least the next half century and possibly much longer odds are very good that we will see declining global population by sometime right around 2050 and the rate of decline continuing to accelerate for the next 50 years or so beyond that.

        The only likely way we return to a steadily growing population is if we do get technology that allows people to be as healthy as they are in their 30’s well into their 70’s and then culture evolves so that marriage as a life long commitment ceases to exist and becomes about having and raising children and then most people live as singles until they decide to have kids then they stay together till that kid reaches adulthood and then they go their separate ways sometime after that leading to women having multiple children again only they will likely be decades apart in age

        1. Did you post all of that in one breath?

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