Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ETech: Your Energy Identity, and Why You Should Care

I'm in "Your Energy Identity and Why You Should Care" given by Gavin Starks...


For a 2.5kg Mac laptop, you have a 460kg CO2e.

He's started off talking at the macro level and talking about peak oil, peak finance, peak water, peak uranium and peak copper...

The medium surface warming in 2091 to 2010 is 5.1C compared to 2.4C in the 2003 study - MIT

Moving on to possible future scenarios, the most optimistic is efficiency + technology where we have rapid innovation in energy efficiency technology to create a consumerist, low carbon world. here society is increasingly dependent on technology and is delicately balanced. Next is the service transformation, here high-carbon prices mean business sell services, not products. The next is redefining progress, people have to rethink what a fulfilling life means. Meaningful jobs are valued and stronger links with local communities are cultivated. The next step is slightly darker, we've left it too late, this is the environmental war economy. Governments are forced to rationalize whole sectors and take control of citizen's lives. Environmental refugees must find countries willing to accommodate them. Finally, where we actually just end up in a projectionist world. Countries wage war over resources.

The cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90%. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less - Lovelock
If we burn all the coal, we might kick in a runaway greenhouse effect... if we burn all the tar shale wan tar sands we definitely will, leading to a Venus Syndrome - Hansen, NASA

He's arguing that we need to move to a post-capitalist society. The so called triple bottom line economy...

Gavin is discussing the EU policy stack and the carbon reduction commitment; including 30 minute monitoring and mandatory offsetting, and how it's coming to the US...

We're moving to an economic age where we need to start obeying the first law of thermodynamics

The 20 largest cities in the world use 75% of the world's energy, and 500 million more people are predicted to move into cities over the next five years. The current prediction is that the future population is going to be concentrated in many, but smaller, cities.

We need I/O models of everything at the device level. If we're going down the route of micro-generation we're going to have a new sense of democratization of energy, it's a fundamental shift, much like the early days of the web was a democratization of information. Measurement is the key to your energy identity. He seems to be arguing that if you can't measure something, you can't control it. As a physicist I can certainly sympathise with that...

But the amount of data you're going to generate from the new generation of smart meters about you at the device level; the make, the model, the time you switch it on, the time you switch it off is going to tell people a lot about both you and your life style. How do we protect this? We're struggling with you digital identity, what about your energy identity? Whole owns your data? The utilities themselves, you? Everyone else assumes they own your data...