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View Diary: The roads to our alternative energy future (58 comments)

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  •  Tipped and saved for future reference (3+ / 0-)
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    barath, JeffW, PeterHug

    Thanks for sharing the research.

    May I ask your professional background in regard to this subject matter?

    "The real power is in the hands of small groups of people and I don't think they have titles." -- Bob Dylan

    by nonprofit jim on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 07:19:24 AM PDT

    •  I'm a researcher... (4+ / 0-)
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      JeffW, nonprofit jim, PeterHug, Athenian

      These days I do academic research at the intersection of technology (computer networking) and energy.  I'm interested in questions like: how do we redesign / change the Internet for a low-energy world?  how do we make computing sustainable?  in what ways does technology help vs. hurt the cause of sustainability?

      contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

      by barath on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 07:23:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you. The reason I ask (4+ / 0-)

        is I recently read a draft of a report being prepared for a nationwide network of non-profit agencies, and that report was fairly apocalyptic in nature.

        Its premise was that the decline of oil was going to lead to widespread societal disruption, and much sooner rather than later. In other words, your "Unmanaged Descent" scenario.

        Your calculations seem to back that up.

        Granted, there are other (rosier) outcomes, but for obvious reasons it's difficult to put a whole lot of faith that we'll get a rational response from national/world leadership.

        "The real power is in the hands of small groups of people and I don't think they have titles." -- Bob Dylan

        by nonprofit jim on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 07:39:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Definitely... (4+ / 0-)

          I should say that I strive to not fall into binary thinking when doing these analyses - either growth and progress forever vs. collapse and apocalypse.  The former is what we hear from conventional economists and from almost all mainstream media, etc.  The latter has its adherents as well.

          What seems more likely to me due to oil depletion and energy constraints more generally is a slow grinding process in which we have an economic cycle of recession/downturn and partial recovery, with a slow downhill trajectory.  My some of my other calculations, a middle-case scenario is that in about 25 years the median standard of living in the U.S. will be roughly equal to the median standard of living in Mexico today.  Which isn't bad by most of the world's standards, but definitely not something most Americans would like.

          contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

          by barath on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 07:46:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, you ain't doing much (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            barath, Athenian

            to cheer me up this morning!

            Seriously, though, thanks again for sharing your research and thoughts.

            "The real power is in the hands of small groups of people and I don't think they have titles." -- Bob Dylan

            by nonprofit jim on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 07:50:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Re (0+ / 0-)
            My some of my other calculations, a middle-case scenario is that in about 25 years the median standard of living in the U.S. will be roughly equal to the median standard of living in Mexico today.

            And the median Mexican standard of living will be like Bangladesh. And the median Bangladeshi standard of living...?

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Wed Aug 24, 2011 at 07:13:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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