Monday, November 23, 2009

Using Less Energy Uses More Energy

That's one of the controversial findings of the University of Utah's Tim Garrett, who applied simple physics in an unconventional way to look at worldwide energy use.

His new paper, to be published this week in the journal Climate Science , finds that conserving energy actually spurs economic growth and steps up energy consumption.

"Making civilization more energy efficient simply allows it to grow faster and consume more energy," said Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences.


  1. regardless of whether we actually use more fossil energy after conservation efforts or not, the premise of the article is true, that no matter what we do, anthropogenic global warming is already a given; the feedback loops in the arctic are already accelerating the release of methane from the melting permafrost, which is 33x more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2...even if we stopped using fossil fuels altogether right now, there would still be a 2C degree warming within the century...

  2. Another possibility that has been suggested is that the melting ice in the Arctic will release sufficient fresh water into the Atlantic to stop the Gulf Stream causing cold air to come rushing southward from the poles over Europe. This would create an extremely quick freeze and plunge us into another ice age (the premise of the movie "The Day After Tomorrow", which was in turn based on a book by Art Bell and Whitley Streiber. The movie showed it happening over night, and of curse was very dramatic. Artistic license and trying to fit it all into a two hour movie. The book had the process ocurring of a little bit of a longer period.). There is archeological evidence that this cooling did happen before. Other researchers dismiss this argument as fantasy saying that when the stream shut down before nothing severe happened except some regional climat changes in Europe, but NOAA reports otherwise, so I'm not so sure. Also, there is evidence that the Gulf Stream is indeed slowing.

  3. i guess anything is possible; the results of a study out last week: Last Ice Age 'took six months to freeze Europe' says expert