Here's the big "energy problem"... The biggest profiters from pollution and fossil fuel use are also the ones with big money, and that equals lobbying power

Lets take the Superbowl, Cruise ships, airlines, etc, the majority of which are used quite frivolously... but heaven forbid you seriously tax jet fuel

Expand full comment

As I am reading your work I am finding some gems, cows are solar powered rechargeable batteries. As a battery guy that is awesome haha.

Expand full comment

Thank you for at least pointing out that basic human existence requires energy, but that the wealthy will always have far more than they need.

I have nothing ideological against alternative energy - but the present push to force energy prices higher will result in the human costs being entirely borne by the poor.

Expand full comment

Great article. My highly related hypothesis is that the lack of access to energy is dramatically more harmful to humans than the pollution dirty energy is causing. However for those that lack access to energy; dirty energy is driving more of this group into poverty. Yet correctly utilized high density nuclear energy could immediately solve these issues on all fronts. (Access, near zero pollution and safety.) With nuclear at the forefront we can buy time to build out other green energies that will provide abundant energy for everyone in the world. What’s the real human toll going to be? Now is not the time to diminish access to energy.

Expand full comment

Very important topic. You may really enjoy this piece, which looks at the relationship between global GDP and energy consumption (TL;DR: it's the same chart) and the challenges we face in maintaining standard of living when we give up or run out of the uniquely energy-dense and portable fossil fuels that powered the amazing human "superorganism" progress of the last century.

Economics for the future – Beyond the superorganism. N.J.Hagens


Expand full comment

Dear Chicken,

How has technology changed politics in the modern age?

Sen. Blutarsky

Expand full comment

Excellent. Unfortunately you stop precisely where it gets really interesting ! It is basically universally accepted now that some constraints need to be imposed on consumption (I use that term widely). How to manage the transition to those constraints is where the brain starts to hurt and I would have loved to get your views !

My view is a carbon budget per person per year. Do with it what you want. You can't trade it and your savings are capped at 5 years worth. If you're a net saver of carbon through innovation and/or your occupation, same thing.

This needs to go hand in hand with the rise of a new religion where carbon is seen as the body of god and thus needs to be preserved while carbon free possessions (friendships, sports skills...) are cherished beyond everything else or something similar.

The true obstacle to a proper sustainable transition is well and truly cultural before anything else. Change the culture, save the species !

Hoping to get a follow up article to that one.

Expand full comment

I do not accept that premise at all.

I believe in human ingenuity.

Just two possibilities:

Beaming energy from space:


Ultra-deep geothermal:


I find the idea of carbon budgets and carbon credits backward looking, offensive and colonial. Imagine the possibilities with unlimited cheap energy! energy-dense, zero emission hydrogen fuel cell 'batteries' everywhere running everything. Desalination plants everywhere providing clean fresh water for everyone and everything. Fossil fuels being put to high value use, not burned.

Expand full comment

Great topic! Second law of thermodynamics - yes, key! I highly recommend two thinkers on these very topics:



Expand full comment

Holy shit this brought me down a rabbit hole. Basically we need goddam nuclear regulations to be totally rebuilt from the ground up, and aggresive solar

Expand full comment

Thank you - excellent blogs to add to the list!

Expand full comment

this is why this is a strong, even moral argument, for energy creation / production... which includes fossil fuels. huh.

Expand full comment