Op internet is een recent rapport uit de hand van Charles Hall te vinden. Klik hier om het rapport (pdf-formaat) te openen. In de loop van de komende weken zal dit rapport aan de hand van quotes uit het artikel door mij in het Nederlands nader toegelicht worden.
Ook Gail Tverberg schrijft over welk effect flink stijgende energiekosten (met name die van olie) op de economie (kan) hebben. Een aanrader is m.i. dit artikel uit de hand van Gail T.
Alvast enkele quotes uit het rapport van Charles Hall:
If the energy and hence economic pie is no longer getting
larger—indeed, if because of geological constraints
it can no longer get larger—how will we slice it? This
may force some ugly debates back into the public vision.
If EROI continues to decline then it will cut increasingly
into discretionary spending (the engine for economic
growth) and we will need to ask some very hard
questions about how we should spend our money.
A problem with substitutes to fossil fuels is that, of the
alternatives currently available, none appear to have
all the desirable traits of fossil fuels, especially liquids.
These include sufficient energy density, easy transportability,
relatively low environmental impact per net unit
delivered to society, relatively high EROI, and availability
on a scale that society presently demands. Thus
it would seem that the United States and the rest of the
world are likely facing a decline in both the quantity
and EROI of its principal fuels. How we adjust to this
will be a critical determinant of our future.
In real economies, energy is essential for any process
to occur; that is, for the production and transport of
goods and services (even for the production of financial
services). In the United States, that necessary energy
comes from many sources: from imported and domestic
sources of oil (about 40 percent), coal and natural
gas (about 20 percent each), from hydropower and
nuclear (about 5 percent each), and from a little renewable
energy (mostly as firewood but increasingly from
wind and solar).
It is possible to examine the ratio of the cost of energy
(from all sources, weighed by their importance) relative
to the benefits of using it to generate wealth. In 2007,
roughly 9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) was
spent to purchase the energy used by the U.S. economy
to produce the goods and services that comprised the
GDP. Over recent decades that ratio has varied between
5 and 14 percent. The abrupt rise and subsequent decline
in the proportion of the GDP spent for energy was seen
during the “oil shocks” of the 1970s, in mid-2008, and
again in 2011. Each of these increases in the price of
oil relative to GDP had large impacts on discretionary
spending—that is, on the amount of income that people
can spend on what they want versus what they need. An
increase in energy cost from 5 to 10 or even 14 percent
of GDP would come mainly out of the 25 percent or
so of the economy that usually goes to discretionary
spending. Thus changes in the amount we spend on
energy (much of which goes overseas) have very large
impacts on the U.S. economy since most discretionary
spending is domestic. This is why each significant
increase in the price of oil (and of energy generally)
has been associated with an economic recession, and it
suggests that declining EROI will take an increasing
economic toll in the future.
An economy without enough domestic fuels of the type
it needs must import the fuels and pay for them with
some kind of surplus economic activity. Thus the economy’s
ability to purchase the required energy depends
upon what it can generate to sell to the world, as well
as upon the fuel required to grow or produce that material.
The EROI for the imported fuel is the relation
between the amount of fuel bought with a dollar relative
to the amount of dollar profits gained by selling
goods or services for export. The quantity of the goods
or services that need to be exported to attain a barrel of
oil depends upon the relative prices of the fuel versus
the exported commodities.
Estimating the EROI of obtaining energy through trade may be very
useful in predicting economic vulnerability for specific
countries in the near future.
To some degree we have managed to continue purchasing
foreign oil through debt, which gives us a temporarily
higher EROI. Were we to pay off this debt in the
future, and if those who got the dollars wished to turn
them into real goods and services (which seems a reasonable
assumption), then we would have to take some
substantial part of our remaining energy reserves out
of the ground and convert it into fish, rice, beef, cars,
and other products that those people would be able to
buy from us.