Sunday, November 7, 2010

How to voluntarily limit energy use?

I the longer term it is likely that solar energy can provide us with most of the energy we need. On the other hand, energy scarcity is the only “natural” limitation to a total human expansion and conquest of everything on the planet. Perhaps we should be happy that energy is not in unlimited supply. With our tendency of exaggeration we most certainly will destroy the basis for our own survival says historian Janken Myrdal and I agree with him. If we first adapt ourselves to a non-expansionist way of living, then cheap and easily available energy can be a boon. In a simple analogy it is like eating sweets. It was just natural for humans to have a predisposition for sweet food, energy was always short in supply and our predecessors were rarely in the risk zone for diabetes. In modern society, where sugar is cheap and abundant, however, the craving for sweets needs to be kept in check. The consequences of not doing it are fatal. It is the same for our society at large. Too much cheap energy screws up the metabolism and we have to voluntarily restrict our use.It seems to me that the easiest way to get there is by taxing energy radically in the high income and middle income countries. The fact that some are obese doesn't mean that all should eat less; similarly, one third of the globe's population could do with an increased use of energy to improve their quality of life.

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