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Science communication is important in today's technologically advanced society. A good part of the adult community is not science saavy and lacks the background to make sense of rapidly changing technology. My blog attempts to help by publishing articles of general interest in an easy to read and understand format without using mathematics. I also give free lectures in community events - you can arrange these by writing to me.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Energy has been too cheap...

There are over 7 billions of us in the world today and we are living very well thanks to the available cheap energy. 
How under priced is the energy?
About a factor of 500 relative to manual labour - this is how it works out...

A gallon of petrol costs £6 in the UK (about £3 in the USA!) and provides energy equivalent to 500 hours of human labour worth £4000.
The amount of work that oil performs for you is equivalent to having hundreds of slaves working round the clock.
Thanks to cheap oil, even the kings did not have the comfortable life style that an average middle class family now enjoys. 

It is one of Ravi's laws of nature that when something is cheap, it is bound to be misused
Coal, gas and oil are no different.  Humans have wasted energy as if it is unlimited, ignoring the damage to environment and climate.  Cheap energy has also fuelled overconsumption.

Did you know that only humans and their pets suffer from obesity?
Have you heard of a wild animal being fat?

Cheap energy has also prevented development of plentiful, unpolluting renewable energy like solar and wind. 

Global power consumption is 15,000 GW.
Solar power falling on the Earth is 120,000,000 GW!
This is 8000 times greater than what we consume. 

But, humans have failed to tap this unlimited source of energy because buried under ground they found a heap of fossil fuel that will do them for another 100 years or so. 
Never mind the damage - lot of it irreversible - that is being caused by the folly.

Some people are asking - is it too late?  Most do not care.
I do not know the answer but feel sure that soon it will be too late.

Enjoy the lifestyle while it lasts!

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