Linking population growth to energy consumption

It's coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It's not just climate change; it's sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.

David Attenborough

The Facts Matter - some things to ponder

In a world where we are bombarded every day by alternative stories it is worth looking at some basic facts and making up our own minds. 

Let's keep things really simple.

Over the past 100 years 1922 to 2022.

  • The population has increased four times from 2 billion to 8 billion or 400%.
  • During this time the energy consumption per capita has increased eight times or 800%.
  • The per capita energy consumption is now double the per capita consumption of 1960.
  • Should this growth continue until 2060 when global population peaks at 10 billion the energy per capita could be three times the level of 1960.
  • Despite our best efforts the consumption of oil, coal and gas continues to increase.  Renewables remain at approximately 10% of this increasing total energy demand.

Questions to ponder 

In my earlier blog today I stated that the two greatest challenges facing humankind are corruption on a grand scale and leadership scientific and environmental illiteracy across 196 nations.

Further I suggested that global leadership is fundamentally incapable of managing a complex planetary system.  And that the world's business schools need to take the lead in this regard.

  • Given the realities however of global corruption and grossly incompetent global leadership what do you think will happen to total energy consumption over the next ten years?  (In TWh.)
  • As the population heads towards 10 billion, what will happen to per capita energy consumption?  Increase?  Decrease?  Remain the same?  And why?
  • The harsh realities in the graph above pose some serious challenges.  What practical structures and steps would you put in place to quickly solve our serious energy challenge?
Global Business Schools - a Dangerous Blind Spot?
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