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Energy and the Economy

The Basics
  • Energy is needed to produce food and for basic transportation. It takes 10 calories to produce 1 calorie of food.
  • Our economy is based on the consumption of billions of products. They take energy to build, transport to consumers and in many cases use energy to operate.
  • The International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) projects that world energy consumption will grow by 56% between 2010 and 2040.
  • Cars and trucks consume the greatest amount of oil. Agriculture is the second greatest consumer.
  • Supply estimates are based on how much of a non-renewable source is left. The estimates almost never include the amount of energy it takes to extract, process and transport that resource to the consumer.
  • In the 1930’s, it took 1 barrel of oil to obtain 100 barrels of oil. In the 70’s it took 1 barrel to obtain 25. In 2010, it took 1 barrel to obtain 3. The Tar Sands use 1 unit to 5. Shale oil uses 1 unit to 2.
  • There is only 50 days of oil consumption available, above ground, at any given time.
  • Petroleum is a major source for farm inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. They can, however, be replaced with alternative farming practices like permaculture.
Alternative Energy
  • If solar or wind power grew at 25% per year, it would take 14 years to supply 1% of the world’s electricity.