Cafe Scientific August 13th

I will be giving a Cafe Scientific talk at the Southwestern Arms, Southampton on Monday 13th August. I think things kick off around 7pm. Perhaps it depends on how much people have been drinking! I’m going to be talking about peak phosphorus and so will include some material from a previous post.

Come along and find out if I got round to producing more than a title slide.

Exponential energy

Here’s a remarkable fact.

In the years since 1990, our global civilisation used more energy than had been used in the previous several hundred thousand years, possibly since modern humans first evolved.

No, really. All the energy extracted by burning wood, coal, gas, oil and obtained from wind, solar, hydro and nuclear fission up to 1990. That same amount of energy used again plus a bit more in a little over 20 years.

How on Earth is that possible? To begin to answer that, we need to acknowledge that we are living in a period of quite incredible change. Yet this rate of change is something that we have gotten used to. Indeed, it was something that we were born into: a period of exponential growth. What does this exponential growth in energy look like? Something like this:

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