There are simply not enough BTUs to meet rising global deman
Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:26 PM
I want to take the lowest risk approach to the future. So much is riding on it.
Personally I feel that the scientific progress we have made over the last few hundred years is astounding. I don’t want to lose that. I think that is a gift to the future and I don’t want to run the risk of a collapse that could destroy all that we have.
Even if you think the collapse is a low probability -- let’s say it's 5%, 10% probability -- it is an asymmetric risk. The downsides of not treating it seriously are huge.
I mean, you buy fire insurance for your house even if it is a 0.1% probability that your house will burn down in your lifetime. But the consequences are so negative that you do it. And when you are talking about the accomplishments of all civilization, you need to buy insurance and treat that with the respect it deserves.
Tom Murphy -- associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego -- has mapped the distance between the earth and the moon to within a millimeter, and built instruments to study colliding galaxies. We feel comfortable saying he's a pretty smart guy, as well as an optimist about what human ingenuity and technology can do for the advancement of society.
In 2004, he became intrigued with the global energy situation and brought his disciplined, empirical approach to bear. He set out to determine which new sources were going to pick up the slack once fossil fuels began becoming scarce. Looking back, he says the theme underlying his findings was "disappointment."
The math showed him that there simply will not be nearly enough BTU yield from alternative energy sources to meet the rising global demand. In fact, if anything, his investigation made him realize how few minds today are truly aware of the extraordinary energy throughput we are getting from fossil fuels. » Read more