Getting Real About Green Energy

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I want to be optimistic about the future. I really do.

But there’s virtually no chance of the world transitioning gently to an alternative energy-powered future.

These Are The 'Good Old Days'

I’m often asked where I stand on wind, solar and other alternative energy sources.

My answer is: I love them. But they’re incapable of enabling our society to smoothly slip over to powering itself by other means.

They’re not going to “save us”.

Some people are convinced otherwise. If we can just fight off the evil oil companies, get our act together, and install a national alternative energy system infrastructure, we’ll be just fine. Meaning that we’'ll be able to continue to live as we do today, but powered fully by clean renewable energy.

That’s just not going to happen. At least, not without a lot of painful disruption and sacrifice.

The top three reasons why are:

  1. Math
  2. Human behavior
  3. Time, scale, & cost
I walk through the detail below. I'm doing so to debunk the magical thinking behind the current "Green Revolution" because I fear it offers a false promise.

Look, I’m a huge fan of renewable energy. And I’m 1,000% in favor of weaning the world off of its toxic addiction to fossil fuels.

But we have to be eyes wide open about our future prospects. Deluding ourselves with “feel good” but unrealistic expectations about green energy will result in the same sort of poor decisions, malinvestment, and crushed dreams as fossil-based system has.

As we constantly repeat here at Peak Prosperity: Energy is everything.

Without as much available, the future is going to be exceptionally difficult compared to the present. Which is why I call the time we’re living in now The Good Old Days.

Now is the time to prepare for what’s coming. To acquire the skills, the land, and make the financial, physical and emotional adjustments in your lifestyle that will boost your resilience for a future of less and more expensive energy.


Let’s start with the math.

Suppose we agree on the goal to entirely replace fossil fuel energy by 2050. (We’re going to have to do it by some point, because oil, coal and natural gas are all depleting finite resources.)

With 2050 as a starting point we can run some simple math.

We start by converting the three main fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – into a common unit: the “millions of tons of oil equivalent” or Mtoe.

A million tons of oil = 1 Mtoe, obviously. And there’s an amount of coal, if burned that has the same energy as 1 Mtoe. Ditto for natural gas. If we add up all of the fossil fuels burned in a given year, then we can express that as a single number in the many thousands of Mtoe.

Roger Pilke has run the math for us in his recent article in Forbes:

In 2018 the world consumed 11,743 Mtoe in the form of coal, natural gas and petroleum. The combustion of these fossil fuels resulted in 33.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. In order for those emissions to reach net-zero, we will have to replace about 12,000 Mtoe of energy consumption expected for 2019.


So that’s our starting point. Whatever future alternative energy systems get installed will have to replace around 12,000 Mtoe.

Now, it bears noting that 12,000 Mtoe is a truly massive amount of energy.

To visualize this, let’s use gigantic oil-bearing cargo ships. Here’s a picture of the Ultra Large Crude Carrier, the Oceania, which can hold a bit more than 3,000,000 barrels of oil at a time. That’s a staggeringly massive ship. Ginormous.

We’d need 2.4 of these massive ships to hold 1 Mtoe. Which means we’d need a fleet of approximately 30,000 of these tankers to hold 12,000 Mtoe. (By the way, there are currently only 4 ships in the world of this size).

Because these truly gigantic ships are 1,246 feet in length, our fleet of 30,000 would stretch over 7,000 miles if parked stern to nose in a line.

Are you getting a sense yet for how mind-bogglingly large the world’s annual fossil energy consumption is?

So, what would it take to replace those 12,000 Mtoe with alternative fuels by 2050?

Pilke answers that for us:

Another useful number to know is that there are 11,051 days left until January 1, 2050.

To achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by 2050 thus requires the deployment of >1 Mtoe of carbon-free energy consumption (~12,000 Mtoe/11,051 days) every day, starting tomorrow and continuing for the next 30+ years.

Achieving net-zero also requires the corresponding equivalent decommissioning of more than 1 Mtoe of energy consumption from fossil fuels every single day.

Yikes! More than 1 Mtoe of alt-energy systems would have to be installed every single day? Between now and Jan 1 2050? No resting on Sundays even?

But that’s only half of the story.

We’d also have to decommission and retire an equivalent 1 Mtoe amount of still-functioning fossil fuel property, plant and equipment. Do you have any idea how much money and embedded capital is contained in all the world’s current energy infrastructure – including our cars and homes – that’s built around fossil fuel use?

Somehow, the world would have to replace the equivalent of the energy contained within 2.4 Ultra Massive crude ships. Every. Single. Day. For 11,000 days straight, without missing a single day. A 7,000 mile long cargo train of ultra massive ships retired at the rate of 2.4 per day for the next 30 years.

What would that take? Again from Pilke:

So the math here is simple: to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the world would need to deploy 3 [brand new] nuclear plants worth of carbon-free energy every two days, starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050. At the same time, a nuclear plant’s worth of fossil fuels would need to be decommissioned every day, starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050.

I’ve found that some people don’t like the use of a nuclear power plant as a measuring stick. So we can substitute wind energy as a measuring stick. Net-zero carbon dioxide by 2050 would require the deployment of ~1500 wind turbines (2.5 MW) over ~300 square miles, every day starting tomorrow and continuing to 2050.

So to dismantle that 7,000 mile long conga-line of ultra massive crude carriers, we’d have to build and commission 3 new nuclear plants every 2 days. Or 1,500 very large wind towers installed across 300 square miles every day.

It’s just not going to happen.

Even if the world got totally, completely serious about doing this, it remains an exceedingly improbable task. That’s being kind, too. When something strays this far over the line of improbability, it’s really an impossibility.

Oh, and I started writing this article on Tuesday. Since it’s now Friday, that means we’re already behind by 9 nuclear plants. We’ll need to hurry to catch those up.

But maybe you’re still holding out hope. If all the countries of the world suddenly made this their #1 priority, could we have a shot?

This brings us to complicating factor #2: human behavior.

Human Behavior

One huge reason that an easy, seamless transition to alternative energy won’t happen is because our biological wiring is terrible at responding to such big, complex, long-range predicaments.

A snarling saber-toothed tiger crouching right in front of us? That we know how to respond to. Filling our bellies from a ripe fruit tree to sate our hunger? We’re absolutely wired for solving problems like that.

But organizing ourselves against a faceless distant threat? Not in our wiring. Trying to convince people to make sacrifices today for no immediate or visible reward? Really not at all in our biological wheelhouse.

When united towards a common goal, humans can do amazing things. Simply brilliant and astonishing works exist that inform us of what’s possible when we set our collective minds to a shared mission. The great pyramids. Towering middle-age cathedrals. The Great Wall of China. The Apollo missions.

But far less is possible when we’re fractured and divided. As we are now. We’re currently having trouble trying to agree on which gender(s) should use a particular bathroom. Or being civil when standing in line for a discounted TV.

Given this, it’s impossible to imagine the increasingly-divided populations in the UK, France, America or Germany agreeing on much of anything, let alone a gigantic and massively expensive energy transition.

Each country is currently struggling with its own brew of domestic social and political problems (of their own making, I should add). None really has the appetite or the ability to take on the much more challenging task of a 30-year global energy infrastructure re-build.

Making this energy transition will require an enormous diversion of effort – away from this and towards that.

It will be hard. It will take a lot of political capital and expert leadership. Huge pain and suffering will result as entire industries are shut down and new ones are started up.

Just drive through any former mill or mining region and you can still see the bitter remnants of its abandoned industries. Some have not yet recovered, even hundreds of years after the initial loss.

When the coal mines died out, so did the cities:

Centralia PA

When the mills left, so did the vitality.

Lowell MA


With an energy transition away from fossil fuels, there will be similar examples of ruined economic ideas littering the land. Places where refineries now stand with their thousands of jobs will become rusting derelicts. Ditto for hundreds of other dependent businesses, ranging from Jiffy Lube to Boeing to gas stations to airports.

Which brings us to complicating factor #3: time, scale and cost

Time, Scale and Cost

Suppose for a moment that we did decide This is it!, and began building 3 nuclear plants per day in earnest.

First: how much would that cost? Who would pay for it?

Second: are there enough skilled workers and manufacturing facilities to make and install all of the components?

Third: even after these nuclear plants were all up and running, is there even enough Uranium in the world to fuel the eventual 16,500 new, additional plants?

The answer to each of these questions is some form of “no, that isn’t really possible.”

In the third case, the entire amount of all known Uranium reserves are only currently sufficient to supply the existing ~400 reactors in the world of 90 years.

If we expanded the number of reactors by a factor of 41 (16,500/400), that 90 years of supply shrinks to just a bit over 2 years. Nobody is going to build a nuclear plant with just 2 years of Uranium around to supply it. (that said, I am a fan of researching the use and installation of Thorium reactors, which I’ve explored before)

Similar supply constraints arise if we calculate out the amount of resources required to build the amount of wind towers or solar panels that could replace these nuclear plants. The costs are staggering, the global resources too limited. There aren’t enough new hydro dam sites to even make a dent.

Also complicating things, each of these so-called alternative energy systems requires a huge amount of fossil fuels to mine, manufacture, install and maintain. The world has yet to see a single windmill or solar panel that was mined, manufactured and installed without using fossil energy.

The Vision We Need

The answer to the post-fossil fuel era is not an alt-energy system capable of providing us with the same way of life. Because that's just not feasible.

The answer lies in doing more with less.

We already know how to build structures that will last for hundreds of years and which require almost no energy to operate for heating and cooling. But those are very rarely built today, because they cost more.

We already know how to build small, light vehicles and operate mass transit very energy effectively. But society prefers its huge cars and trucks, because they’re affordable (while debt is cheap) and convenient.

We already know how to grow more food, closer to home, that is far healthier for humans and the ecosystem. But it’s still only done on a boutique basis because it costs a little bit more.

This is why people need to be told the truth and inspired with a vision that we can all share. With a grand cause, anything is possible. Without one, nothing will be done.

The vision we need will align what needs to be done with proper incentives to get those things done. We’ll be told the truth, what is expected, and our role in the project. It will imbue many lives with a sense of meaning and purpose that are currently missing in the lives of most people.

However, given the enormity of the challenge, and the fractured, divisive social and political landscape, you really need to plan for nothing happening. That no vision is coming along, no savior will appear, and that we’re going to merrily continue along until we run out of time and resources to do anything more than regret our mistakes.

Odds are we’re going to keep heading straight along our current trajectory. Until – clunk! – we go right over the edge.


Given the math, human tendencies, and the issues pertaining to time, scale and cost, the current green energy movement currently is little more than hot air. It’s just not going to happen in time.

We’re nowhere close to being able to build out the massive energy projects required. The equivalent of 3 nuclear plants every two days for the next 30 years? That’s a total pipe dream.

We lack the political will, the cultural readiness, the proper narrative. Even the appropriate resources.

Beyond those concerns, nearly everything about how we heat, move, cool and manufacture the components of our modern lives will have to be refashioned (and possibly jettisoned) as part of that project.

Such an ambitious undertaking has no historical analog. It’s a ridiculously complex set of problems (which have solutions) and predicaments (which don’t). It’s exactly the sort of situation that politicians will avoid as long as possible, after which it will be too late to do very much about it.

Which means you need to adjust your expectations and investment of your money and energy, accordingly. The entire world – which is utterly dependent on infinite growth – is only years away from grasping the impossibility of that approach. When it does, everything will change. Quickly.

This is why Peak Prosperity spends so much time and effort alerting people to these realities, and then helping them take informed individual actions that align with the future we all see (or feel) coming.

In Part 2: Reality Shock we examine the most compelling evidence I know of for why taking matters into our own hands is so important now. It explains everything from slowing global economic growth, to the widening wealth gap, to the rising rejection of globalization and the increasingly desperate mad dash (at any cost) for what remains of natural resources.

Humanity is in the early innings of a great transition. Losing access to abundant energy will change things more than you or I can appreciate at this time.

This future is barreling towards us at a furious – and accelerating – pace. Get prepared.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
Surely “someone” is going to invent tabletop cold fusion that costs $999.99 (4 easy payments) which will power your house and electric car for a year on two gallons of tap water as fuel. ?

Brilliant post. You hit the nail on the head when concluding “It’s time to freak out a bit.” That’s why I studied Dark Ages, famines… and all things “Doom and Gloom!”. I personally went through the four stages of grief: (a) Whoah… we’re in serious poop (b) Hey, no one else is getting prepared (c) I’ll grab the best resources while the goings good and (d) get the beers and popcorn ready for the show… and laugh at the 90% dying in their own stupidity while Crapper and his Harem special friends and close mates set themselves up for the new warlords of the local fiefdom.
This civilisation is doomed. Forget about “the science is settled” crap. The decision has been made… and it’s “do nothing about everything”.
Hint to all the Warmists on this site: when you want people to listen to you then don’t insult them as “Deniers”. In the voting booth your political party gets thumped in the eye (ie as the Labor party in Queensland, Australia found out in their recent election). When people sincerely hold a different opinion to you then it’s YOU who has to offer a strong argument for them to change their mind. Saying “The science is settled” when it clearly isn’t if solar and planetary cycles are considered is just intellectual arrogance. Did you know that 97% of scientists believe that holding the wrong political position on Global Warming will destroy their careers? (I just wanted to put that “97%…” myth in perspective).
Back to our Doom. We’re too far gone down this blind ally for it to turn up peaches and cream. Death, violence and starvation are guests at every civilisation’s last hoorah. But Crapper doesn’t like to post without giving some good advice, so here it is:
Look for a great survival property that would serve well in an “end of the world” scenario. Ensure that it’s in an area populated by people who racially resemble you but not the owner: if you’re white and live in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc, then rent from someone Chinese. If you’re Hispanic, rent off a wealthy white person in South America. When the SHTF occurs, shoot the owners when they come to visit the property. Now it belongs to you! That’s the new rules for the Dark Age. And you’ll thank Crapper for getting you and your family a “Get out of Jail” card for free when the Four Horsemen ride into town.
When old civilisations die, chaos reigns. You only own what you can protect. And being a member of the local tribe will be paramount in who is allowed to own what. Good grief… for someone who posts such great comments and advice I’m sure low on the “thumb up” scores. But hey, he who laughs last, laughs longest… and the Decent and coming Dark Age will out-last the life of every person reading this post.

This essay states a focus on the problem of “the world transitioning gently to an alternative.” This is misleading doom porn. I think that you need to be more honest/accurate by stating your focus is on the inability of “the American way of life transitioning gently…” The majority of the “world” is now already at a perhaps 10x lower energy level than that of the narcissistic, over-fed Americans and actually, are increasing their quality of life due to renewables. Their future looks brighter due to renewable energies and they are going for it. This is the real world. That is, the real “world” (in contrast to the minority of over-privileged Americans) will have a better future than what they have now, due to renewables. We see this in Africa and other 3rd world countries where night time lighting and cell phone charging is raising standard of living due to very low resource inputs courtesy of renewables.
I just returned from a trip to Nepal, where more than 95% of the electricity is renewable and most of the people have it, while the government and utilities (while well known as corrupt) are expanding service and exporting their renewable energy. Their use of energy is increasing and their quality of life is increasing. Similar stories can be said for more than half of the planet and contradicts this lament of the passing of an unreasonable American lifestyle. Most people on the planet do not drive to big stores in big cars for entertainment and relaxation and do not live in isolated McMansions separated by long roads. Lessons can be learned from these other countries. Why not pay attention to what the majority of the people on the planet are doing.
Two observations lead me to think that this more representative country (Nepal) of “the world” will get to a better future before the Americans do. One, everyone I asked about family, said that they only have 1 or 2 children. I am sure that there must be 3+ children families somewhere but I did not see them. Two, when I asked people what they do for fun on the weekends, no one said go shopping or go driving. All said that they enjoy being with family and relatives for free time relaxation.
The American constant focus on buying and driving more, more and more, and keeping the more shopping and driving game up is not an indicator of the good life. Instead of lamenting the inability to burn gasoline to drive a 150 kilowatt motor driven 1.5 ton machine to the store for endless shopping of stuff (in turn provided by endless amounts of diesel and gasoline transportation) that is not needed, it might be better to focus on the real world that in some ways will be improved over the materialistic, cold, isolated crazy and unsustainable American life style. Americans need to let it go.

Hey Mots, it’s you’re who’s being “narrow minded”. You make sweeping statements that are blatantly untrue; so many in fact that I will draw attention to the fact that the bedrock of your assumptions comes from this sweeping garbage:
“… The majority of the “world” is now already at a perhaps 10x lower energy level than that of the narcissistic, over-fed Americans and actually, are increasing their quality of life due to renewables.”
You obviously didn’t include Europe and Japan in your “rest of the world”. You obviously ignored that world oil consumption (ex-USA) is going UP, not down. The fact is that the rest of the world happens to be human and part of their human nature is to increase their standard of living which will include consuming more oil and living in bigger houses (aka the American dream: “… constant focus on buying and driving more”). I don’t live in the USA (or Canada) but my BS detector (always set on hyper sensitive when reading posts on this site) began howling off the scale when I read your “anti-American” drivel. You’re just like Greta Thunberg … condemned everyone on emissions but the Chinese… it didn’t fit her narrative.
Controversial ideas are tolerated on this site (kudos to PP), but you let rip with vitriolicly loaded BS which is typical of someone willfully blind. The Nepalese, like every other race on earth, are desperate for the American lifestyle… but Chris’s argument is that renewables just cannot deliver it. We’re all doomed… including almost every third world country because they rely on petrochemical produced food imports… like the Nepalese! All national populations exploded beyond carrying capacity… the greatest catastrophe ahead will correct it.

I’ve been to Nepal also. Fine place, really kind people, at least from what I saw.
But. My issue is that Nepal couldn’t possibly come up with the technology to implement all those renewables. Their society just isn’t complicated enough. All their tech comes from somewhere else. (Heck, their “high end food” comes from Thailand). My sense is that it took a wasteful crazy society like America to invent all this stuff, and my concern is that if that complexity goes away, and we all become “like Nepal”, then the underpinnings of our renewable tech will also vanish - along with any hope of improvement of said tech.
That said, I spend a fair amount of my time in the developing world, so I agree that people can get by with a whole lot less. That 110 cc scooter can actually work as “the family car” as long as the police are flexible about helmet laws and overloading the poor scooter. It also has to be culturally ok for the 5-year-old to be standing on the running board, grasping the handlebars, while Dad pilots the scooter on the side streets. Most Americans - who think their child must be taken to school in the 2-ton SUV or else they are terrible parents - would be horrified at such a sight.
Most places around the world operate on a far slimmer energy budget. And their lives really aren’t all that horrible.
But I think Nepal is closer to the bottom than the average.
It takes places like America to construct tech so that places like Nepal can improve. How much tech innovation occurred as a direct result of the surplus energy provided by fossil fuels? And will that tech innovation continue if that surplus vanishes?
Yes. Here’s the real point. Ag used to take 60% of our effort. Now, its 2%. That freed up the population to do things like improve tech rapidly. If we go back to 60% Ag effort - we probably lose that tech innovation ability.
As I said before, if we all become “slightly better than Nepal” - tech goes away.

My son spent 27 months in Nepal in the Peace Corps, was there during the earthquake, and also spent additional time trekking in the Himalayas after his stint in the Peace Corps. Wonderful people and a beautiful country but pollution is terrible, solid waste disposal is horrendous, the transportation system is tenuous, the electrical system is primitive, the reliability of the renewables is highly questionable (in terms of quality of construction, monsoons, earthquakes, etc.), etc. Google “electric wires in Nepal” and you get a sense of just some of the problems. I don’t know if I’d hold them up as such a great example.
In my travels, I’ve found Germany to be one of the countries that is the most progressive in its use of renewables.

I’m going to agree with that “tenuous transportation” observation, although my time in Nepal was limited.
When I was at the airport in Pokhara waiting for my flight (PKR-KMT), I saw the (twin engined prop) plane that I was due to board land, and then taxi to the gate area. As it got closer, I noticed it only had one prop spinning. Curious, I thought, maybe that’s some sort of local trick to save fuel.
No. Turns out, the other engine had failed - the plane landed with just a single working engine. They had to fly in a tech from Katmandu to fix it. My outbound flight was delayed until a working aircraft arrived. To my relief, this one landed with two props spinning.
And I have to say, the view out the window of that flight was just spectacular.

This is the second year I’ve participated in the potato harvest in Central Wisconsin. Here is a video I took this evening. The bin in the video was empty when my team started this morning.
My team today included three tractors, a windrower, a harvester, seven potato trucks, three dump trucks and an elaborate portable conveyor system.
As Chris is fond of mentioning, there is a lot of energy involved in current farming practices. My team today was just under 20 people and we harvested and binned perhaps 5 million pounds of potatoes in about 14 hours.
When diesel fuel is no more, potato chips and french fries are going to be a lot harder to come by and a lot more expensive.

Crapper thanks for taking the time to respond. My main point is that Ameri-centric thinking is not necessarily the way forward and is misleading. Regarding facts, America, Japan and Western Europe account for only 8.8% of the worlds population and more than 50% of the earth’s population lives with much less (<10% the energy) yet is improving their life style due to renewables. You called me anti-American without addressing my main point and said that everything I said was false. I considered your response (somehow I had failed to consider Europe and Japan and therefore I am wrong) and don’t agree.
It seems anti American to point out facts that do not comport with America uber alles, but here are some facts: Most of the equipment/machines/technology in Nepal is from India, and much of the rest from China with some from Japan, NOT significantly from America or Europe. It is doubtful that 3rd world countries really need American cell phone apps that much or need new US banking software and new US derivative drugs that differ in minor ways from existing drugs but that provide excuses to force doctors to prescribe exorbitant priced drugs that basically work as old ones.
America was number one in technology for many years but those days have passed. Saying this does not mean that I hate America. Technology, wealth and the future have passed onto Asia. OK, so you can say that I hate America for pointing out the truth, but in fact I am sad about it.
Most technology advances these days (basic electronics, super computers, even biochemistry) comes from China, not from the US, Europe or Japan. I speak from experience. If you try to get a patent in electronics power, green energy, most advanced fields, most of the recent prior art that the US government uses to block you from getting a patent is from China and most of the rest is from Asia. People in the US are living in a dream world. This is a fact but you use my comments to say that I hate America. I am just pointing out that the dream is over. The fact that others in the world still believe in the suburban US dream based on movies does not justify the dying lifestyle or create a validity. Time to move on and recognize the facts of an ascendant Asia and of a majority of the world that is improving its lifestyle with renewables. The vast majority of those renewables are designed, researched and manufactured overseas and most of the advances (and benefits) are happening there.
My other main point was that a large proportion of the world (represented by Nepal) is greatly improving its lifestyle, to a large extent due to renewables. You said that my facts were wrong and instead any improvement is due to the great American technology. But inspection of the technology and machines shows that they were invented and manufactured mostly in India and to a smaller extent in China and Japan. I was surprised by how much the people there have improved their lives over the last generation or two and merely pointed out that in contrast to the situation complained about re. N America, much if not most of the rest of the planet is looking to a brighter future, not a worse one. I think that we can learn from other countries.

We will use less energy in the future, just like we did hundreds of year ago. We’ve only started using vast amounts of energy in the last hundred years, and especially the last 30 years, but we’ve been around for hundreds of thousands of years. Going back to life in the 18th century would not be so bad, especially with the medicine and technology knowledge we have now. In fact, I’d welcome it. So Poof! there goes your 7,000 mile long line of oil supertankers.
And yes, there will be fewer people in the future, because less energy lowers the planet’s carrying capacity. Those of us who realize this have already started restricting the number of children we have. Many are opting for no children at all, as is shown in numerous recent news articles, for example:

Mots, do you actually CONSIDER what other people write before you comment? Chris spent DAYS writing his post, and put forward a solid argument why renewables and oil alternatives cannot save us. You responded with accusing him of being narrow minded (he might well be… but it wasn’t shown in his essay). You then went on to pour vitriol onto Americans:
“… narcissistic, over-fed Americans… over-privileged Americans… drive to big stores in big cars for entertainment and relaxation … live in isolated McMansions separated by long roads… to burn gasoline to drive a 150 kilowatt motor driven 1.5 ton machine to the store for endless shopping of stuff… materialistic, cold, isolated crazy and unsustainable American life style. Americans need to let it go.”
To a thoughtful reader the main thrust of your post could be summed up as expressing contempt for Americans while holding up the rest of the world (especially the developing world) as wonderful eco-orientated societies getting everything right.
I repeat, I’m not from North America so I don’t have an axe to grind; but I call out BS when I see it.
Then you respond to my reply and come out with this:
“You called me anti-American without addressing my main point and said that everything I said was false.”
Your main point was addressed: your comments were anti-American! You called Chris “narrow minded” after DAYS of thoughtful research backed up with math (note to Chris: I loved your numbers!).
Just as with the main article, you were then froward with your reply. I never mentioned technology once in my reply post to you. And the fact that most things are no longer made in America is simple: the incompetent and corrupt elites ship manufacturing and innovation to the third world because they are traitors to their own societies. You wrote:
“Technology, wealth and the future have passed onto Asia”
Let me correct you: Technology was passed onto Asia by our corrupt elite who by consequence passed on the wealth and future that technology delivers!
The business I’ve built over decades is automation engineering… this is one area in which I know my stuff! Everything Chris wrote stands. Technology won’t save us! This civilisation, including the developing world which is seeking the American lifestyle (and not eco-nirvana) is doomed!

All of our problems are inventions of a Elite to keep us Slaves to the system.
It's time to take action and fight these elite conspiracies if we want to be free. here the plan:

My opinion: Crapper, your delivery sucks. I really wish you would just go away. I mean, I disagree with Mots in some areas, but … I’m happy to have him here.
You, not so much.
Just my opinion.

The “miracle” in China is largely due to technology they have managed to steal from us over the last 40 years and we have had our head in the sand making it easy for them. Just look at who is in the high tech labs of our universities.

I just paid my yearly auto registration, in Wisconsin, for my wife’s hybrid. There is a new $75 per year surcharge for hybrids in the state. Talk about absurd laws.

Probably the point that Chris, GerrySM, Crapper, DaveF and Mots all agree on is that life in America and Europe will become much more like life in Nepal–lower tech, less “luxury.”
But, where the Nepalese do the lower standard life gracefully emphasizing the wonderful human aspects of a simpler life (since it is a part of their culture and long history), first world countries will drop standard of living with a bang and react in fury and fear.
Things will be ugly and chaotic as the new low-energy reality is forced upon first world nations.

When the 8+ percent of the population (US, EU and Japan) have to live with less expect a lot of whining and sniveling about how unfair it all is. My concern is that the elite would then use the angst to whip up the winds of war to get ‘our share’ back.
There is nothing new in that playbook. But as duly noted on this site, those in less ‘advanced’ societies such as Nepal do not have as far to fall and at a glance, seem much more humble about the predicament that us ‘westerners’.
I like the idea of choosing a less energy intensive lifestyle as a baseline. That alone is a huge challenge but it is doable.

It may be counterproductive to hybrid adoption but it’s a recognition of the fact that they don’t pay as much in gasoline tax and therefore don’t support the roads at the same rate as fossil fuel powered cars.

I’m sure the war in Iraq was motivated in large part by getting access to their oil (also by Saddam’s insistence on being paid in Euros). When fuel prices skyrocket I wouldn’t bet on the average American being egalitarian about the problem. Taking oil from other countries like Venezuela and Iran through force will be an easy sell to a large portion of the American electorate. The elites of the Western world understand where things are going and are doing what they can to get both of those countries under our thumb. They claim it’s about stopping socialism in Venezuela or stopping Iran sponsored terrorism but it’s not. It’s about getting guaranteed access to their oil.