Scary Energy Consumption Trends

Per capita energy

Data courtesy World Resources Institute. As you can see, the people of up and coming powers India and China use barely use 10% the energy per person compared to the US/Canada and will be thirsting for more in the coming years. Of course, they will never get to the same per capita use because population density and crowded housing makes for a lot of energy efficiency.

China is going coal in a big way. A NY Times article last week spent 5+ pages on this subject. Coal is dirty, dirty, dirty. Coal puts out copious amounts of CO2. Of course, conventional coal fired power plants also pollute in ways that temporarily mask greenhouse effects, both from direct particle emissions and sulfate formation from sulfur in the coal. These effects are localized and temporary, and have pretty serious short term health consequences.

India is going coal too, being the third largest producer in the world. At least, there is lip service being paid to clean coal/gasification, and increased use of natural gas.

The world is going to get worse before it gets better…

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