Spending more than you make leads to bankruptcy. What about energy expenditures? Today, the largest per capita energy consumers use over 160,000kWh/a in some nations. For all 8 billion of us on Earth to consume this amount, we need to produce over 1.28e15 kWh per year. Our current energy production is 627 exajoules; slightly less than a seventh of the desired. This deficit began with the industrial revolution as top consumers continually consumed ever more while every other tried to catch up. In effect, our continual energy deficit has us facing an energy bankruptcy.
Given the climate change challenge and other factors, we expect to never produce enough energy. So, how do we counter this energy bankruptcy? Let’s correlate actions of a business facing bankruptcy to our needs (in italics below):
1. Concentrate Efforts on Best Customers – nurture developed nations
2. Explore Funding Options – look for alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and fusion
3. Cut Costs and Repay Creditors – maximize energy efficiency and rebuild fossil fuel reserves
4. Offer Discounted Prices in Return for Immediate Payment – subsidize renewable energy production
5. Cut Non-Essential Costs That Don’t Contribute to ROI – use energy only where essential
Many of today’s global activities do correlate to an energy bankruptcy. This supports our conjecture that we’re facing an energy bankruptcy.
Can we consider grander actions, including:
6. Revise Business Plan and Budget – have an achievable plan for civilization
7. Evaluate if major stakeholders (nations) will support a restructure
8. Determine if the business (civilization) is worth saving
Is civilization like a business? Can we afford to let civilization go energy bankrupt? If not, how do we recover from our continual energy deficit? Do you agree that our civilization needs a plan? What do you want to see in the plan?