The Wrong Way

September 3, 2013 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Daily Email Recap

The Wrong Way

As science warns of impediments to business as usual (BAU) both major parties seem oblivious or uncaring about these warnings. Nor does the main-stream media pay much attention and rarely draws conclusions from these warnings that bear on the imminent federal election.

An appropriate label for the election coverage would be the traffic sign on many freeway interchanges ‘Go Back You are going the Wrong Way’.

Energy (joules and kilowatt hours) is what drives the human enterprise. It is not money. Without an energy flow nothing changes. About eighty per cent of global energy is presently derived from fossil fuels. Humanity exploits these energy sources in exponentially increasing amounts. But the higher grades and more easily accessed of these resources are rapidly being exhausted. The harder to get deposits require more energy to obtain and to use. We are rapidly approaching a time when the energy costs of getting energy will greatly reduce the availability of this one resource that makes all other resources available.

The fundamental flaw in the thinking of both main party leaders is their failure to understand the impact of exponential growth occurring on a finite planet. Both continue to link Australia’s future to the continual growth of the Chinese economy. This is growing at 7% pa which means that it will double in size in just ten years. A most important but little recognised characteristic of exponential growth is that within each doubling period more resources are consumed than in all previous history.

Both Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott will try to achieve a growth rate for the Australian economy of 3%. If achieved the Australian economy would be twice as large 23 years from now and in that 23 years more resource would flow through the economy than in all previous history. Most other countries will try to achieve similar growth. These enormous demands on a finite planet cannot and will not be met.

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