Your Friday Coal Question

I intend to spend some time this weekend with the 1865 classic by Jevons, The Coal Question. You can actually get yourself a free copy of this seminal work electronically in PDF form, from The Online Library of Liberty (see the link to Ebook PDF in the faint blue-block section). To kick off the weekend, I therefore present without comment two charts that measure global energy use by source on a BTU basis. Global Energy Use by Source 1998, and then the comparable chart using the latest available data, Global Energy Use by Source 2008.

-Gregor

  • http://blog.competitivefutures.com/ ericgarland

    Easy: Chinese and Indian coal-fired electrical plants explain the relative increase in coal over petroleum-based fleet fuels. And there's more where THAT came from.

    But don't worry…um…we'll, like, hat and trade or something.

  • http://www.peakprovidence.com/ BMR789

    Great to see renewables ( hydro, wind, PV, ) really surging ahead … Oh Wait.

  • Bob the Builder

    Gregor,

    If you could only read 5 books about energy, which five would you read?

    If you would be so kind, I'd also appreciate a list of 10 books that helped shape your worldview.

    I am rather young and rather enjoy learning from those who have already been through much of what I need to know. If you can spare some time to reply, that would be great. If not, I greatly appreciate the effort you put into your blog posts.

    Cheers.

  • http://blog.competitivefutures.com/ ericgarland

    Yeah, despite all the “green economy” feel-good bloviating, I have yet to see a single forecast that shows renewables increasing. It would be GREAT to see, but there's just no reasonable scenario in which developing economies power up with something other than cheap, available, dirty ol' coal.

    Again, I'd LOVE to be proven wrong on this one.

  • Neil_Shirtliff

    The shift highlighted in the charts shows a 4 percent decline in oil use, and an equal increase in coal. At that rate, and there is no reason to believe the trend has changed, we are on track for coal to overtake oil sometime around 2015.

  • gregor.us

    You got it.

    G

  • gregor.us

    If you could only read 5 books about energy, which five would you read?

    Jevons: The Coal Question (coal, peak coal, peak net energy)
    Yergin:The Prize (history)
    Davis: Planet of Slums (the growth of populations, developing world)
    Diamond: Collapse (resource scarcity)
    Tainter: The Collapse of Complex Societies (systems, available energy supply, complexity)

    If you would be so kind, I'd also appreciate a list of 10 books that helped shape your worldview.

    Jung: Memories, Dreams, and Reflections
    Malcom X: The Autobiography of Malcom X
    Wilson: To the Finland Station
    Camus: The Stranger
    West: Day of the Locust
    Ellman: Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry
    Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment
    Emerson: Collected Writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Marx: various works (use Wilson, listed above, to guide you).
    Freud: various works

    Hope this helps.

    G

  • gregor.us

    What's notable is that hydro power has been fairly steady for a long, long time at around 5% of world primary energy supply.

    G

  • gregor.us

    We can increase them. We just need to sit society down first in a comfortable chair, and them the bad news. That you'll need Himalayan sized amounts of the renewable stuff to replace the BTU in energy-dense oil. :-)

    G

  • http://www.peakprovidence.com/ BMR789

    Well for some local context renewables are increasing in NZ at least. Small fry I know – but – well every avalanche starts with a one snowflake.

    A new 140 MW geo-thermal plant was opened last week – another 400 MW being built.

    Have got some related video that I'll post in the next couple of days on my youtube channel

  • ppearlman

    lol!

  • http://www.peakprovidence.com/ BMR789

    Well for some local context renewables are increasing in NZ at least. Small fry I know – but – well every avalanche starts with a one snowflake.

    A new 140 MW geo-thermal plant was opened last week – another 400 MW being built.

    Have got some related video that I'll post in the next couple of days on my youtube channel

  • ppearlman

    lol!

  • http://twitter.com/Dibbill David Henderson

    Where are renewables – solar, wind, biofuels etc?  They aren’t even on the chart.  Looks like a fossil fielled future unless there is some sort of technical break through – but what?

  • http://twitter.com/Dibbill David Henderson

    Where are renewables – solar, wind, biofuels etc?  They aren’t even on the chart.  Looks like a fossil fielled future unless there is some sort of technical break through – but what?

  • gregor.us

    See recent 2011 posts here at gregor.us that show recent data on the fast growth of wind and solar. That said, it is my position that there’s no such thing as an energy breakthrough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Hesse/100001376527164 Joe Hesse

    Too bad Obama didn’t spend all those wasted billions on coal gen. exhaust scrubbers.  They can bad mouth coal all they want but when oil and NG is all used up we will be back on coal fired electricity and nuclear also.  It’s just a matter of time.