13 Comments
Feb 23, 2023Liked by Ed Conway

Really interesting article - would add that the part about farming is debatable, as far as I know there's plenty of evidence to suggest that modern farming methods are very energy inefficient and that more food could be grown using more sustainable methods, however the central importance of energy is indisputable. I'd also recommend 'A Green History of the World' for this - reframes a lot of global history in tes of energy transition, very interesting, easy to read and touches on a lot of the themes here.

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Feb 23, 2023Liked by Ed Conway

On PV cells and their cost, you might want to take a look at https://powerroll.solar/ they've developed PV film and it appears to be a commercial step forward

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This was fantastic. I’m actually covering the science/fundamentals of why these energy requirements exist in my newsletter tomorrow... I would really appreciate your feedback given how much research you’ve put into your book (which I’m very excited to read, btw)!

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Dr Tim Morgan has been writing about this topic for 16 years at least. Specifically in relation to surplus energy.

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

https://surplusenergyeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2023/02/the-surplus-energy-economy-part-1-1.pdf

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Thanks. Nicely expressed for a non-scientist to follow

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Thanks, it's very interesting!

Two small notes: Europe "exporting most of its ammonia from overseas" probably should be "importing". And the values falling in the UK aren't productivity and manufacturing output but productivity and manufacturing *growth* - I think it's makes a difference...

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Energy is a cost to everything we make and do. Which is why “carbon” taxes are so wicked. Nothing wrong with carbon, but those who collect the taxes and distribute the largesse, after taking their cut, have a big vested interest in making people believe otherwise.

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May 30, 2023·edited May 30, 2023

Reminds me of The Oil Drum and the great writing of Nate Hagens.

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Thanks Ed.

Far cry from Bernard Miles riding into London on his dad's cartload of flowers!

Market gardening collapsed after WW2 when imports resumed. Lea Valley (London and water!) miles of coal-heated glass were derelict late 60s when I was there. A few followed the Dutch into larger modern glass and gas-heat. Presumably early North Sea gas? One or two on the South Coast if I remember; Eurocross BB tomato (pretty horrible) and cucumber.

Needed cheap labour. UK real wages inflection point also circa 2005? See also Prof Helen Thompson's recent book/talks 'Disorder' https://twitter.com/HelenHet20

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You might also want to have a look at his extended appraisal of the GFC and what led to it in relation to energy. This was published ten years ago.

https://surplusenergyeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/tpsi_009_perfect_storm_0093.pdf

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Another way to look at it is that we've not been very good at improving productivity, other than simply trying to make energy cheap again. Is this complacency in political/business leaders, or a fact of life that is shared with other advanced economies?

And what does it mean as the energy transition shifts cheap energy from places that had coal/oil to places with lots of sunshine?

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