Many among us in the advanced countries of the world including Canada believe that electricity is a
source of energy. Further, the belief scenario proceeds that all we need do is switch to renewable forms of electricity such as wind and solar, drive electric cars and get ready for the exciting high tech future that awaits us. After all, we have more computing power in our smart phones than it took to go to the moon and return home safely. However, what if I suggested to you that 99 percent of the Canadian and global population will not be able to proceed along that wonderful idyllic path because of the declining amount of excess energy available to us.
Appreciate that it is not the shortage of money that is the major constraint to reducing GHG emissions but rather the declining amount of excess energy to run our global economy in the manner to which we have grown accustomed. Fossil Fuels, starting with coal but now mainly oil, have been the drivers of our increased global population and economic growth and have created the unsustainable complex high energy use society in which we now live.
Would it surprise you if I further suggested that with, respect to conventional fossil fuels including coal, natural gas, and oil, we humans have already picked most of the low hanging fruit. That is to say that the coal, natural gas and oil that we are getting now in 2021 has a declining amount of energy in each unit of measure, and for good measure each unit of measure took much more energy to discover and bring to the surface and ship to wherever for processing…. to a refinery in the case of oil.
This is the belly of the Climate Crisis that nobody seems to want to face ie the amount of excess energy we have left is not sufficient to build-out renewables in time to reduce GHG emissions on a global scale by 2050; and we as a global society keep on digging the hole deeper and deeper most probably beyond the point of no return before global economic and then societal collapse.
How indeed ..well lets call the hole that is getting deeper and deeper …a series of global societal norms which include all the wars for life essentials all rooted in the Climate Crisis, including for food and clean water rights and access to energy and even the cultural wars emerging in the USA and now in Afghanistan as that country returns to its medieval culture with the belief that it is saving itself as it may well be doing.
We also must include the societal solutions for global peace led by the US military industrial complex standing alone as the number one user of fossil fuels in the world, and then the military of the G20 remaining countries including Canada. Further we have global rescue operations from increasingly severe and frequent climate events, plus the dramatically increasing use of energy by high tech, 5G, the Internet of Things, crypto currencies and the high tech trend of medicine increasing the chance that our modern hospitals are becoming the number one user of oil derivatives in the communities they serve.
The massive transfer of available excess energy from the poor and middle class across the globe to the already rich and the global elite1% accompanied by the wealth it supports is already well underway. The solution for communities everywhere on earth favours those that can reduce per capita usage of all forms of energy and are able to generate all of their energy requirements locally from renewable sources. Within the Transition Towns movement we call that building Community Resilience.