Saturday, August 29, 2009

The carbon-neutral flexible friend - Hot Air Oscar nomination for Barclays

Oh dear... The 'green' twaddle keep on pouring out of the commercial world...
Theo Markettos writes: "I'd like to nominate Barclays for a Hot Air Oscar:
We've launched a new carbon-neutral debit card, which is being rolled out to our debit card users as their current ones expire. ... blah blah ... The Carbon Neutral Company ... blah blah ... reduce carbon emissions in the developing world.
This effectively balances out the harmful emissions of the card's manufacturing process by preventing the release of the same amount of greenhouse gases somewhere else.
Theo continues: "Given the huge influences economics and finance can have on behaviour towards climate change, I'm so glad this bank is focusing on the contribution of the small piece of plastic, silicon and epoxy in my pocket."

Yes, indeed - a fine nomination for the Hot Air Oscar for best emulation of bailing the Titanic with a tea-strainer.

The future of energy

The International Herald Tribune and New York Times published an article featuring my energy consumption versus population density diagram.
Here is the article -
Illuminating the Future of Energy
and here are several alternative versions I made of the diagram -

Friday, August 28, 2009

Servants, LEGO, and Kindles

I'm happy to announce that Sustainable Energy - without the hot air is now available for the Kindle. A lot of Kindle users have been asking for this. I hope it works nicely!
Some helpful correspondents sent me some nice links to other people's estimates of the energy output of a human slave. I've added these links to the SEWTHA wiki. If you have additional data or facts relevant to the book, please add them to the wiki. Thanks!
And last but not least, I've been brainstorming with friends about how to make games for understanding energy and for consensus-building. One such game has already been designed using lego to represent energy inputs and outputs.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A new graph, showing countries' power per unit area

When I gave my energy talk in Cambridge two weeks ago, one member of the audience objected to my figure (page 13) showing per capita emissions by country. It would be fairer, she said, to show the emissions or energy consumption of each country per unit land area. (Guess her nationality... Australian!) I've made a few figures following her suggestion, and I'm displaying my favourite here. This figure shows population density on the horizontal axis and power consumption per person on the vertical axis. The diagonal green lines indicate the power consumption per unit land area, in W/m2. This is precisely the same unit in which I measured or estimated the power per unit area offered by renewables (page 112). Most renewables offer between 0.5 and 5 W/m2.
Conclusion: All countries whose power consumption per unit area is bigger than 0.1 W/m2 are countries who should expect renewable facilities to occupy a significant intrusive fraction of their country, if they ever want to live on their own renewables. Countries with a power consumption per unit area bigger than 1 W/m2 (eg UK, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Belgium) would have to industrialize most of their countryside, if they want to live on their own renewables. Alternatively, their options are to radically reduce consumption, use nuclear power, and/or to buy renewable power in from other countries.

(Image can be downloaded from here).
PS - I posted another article about this diagram in 2013