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Double the Burn Rate, Scotty!

August 22, 2013

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Lots of folks claim that the worst possible thing we could do is to allow the third world to actually develop to the level of the industrialized nations. The conventional wisdom holds that there’s not enough fossil fuels in the world to do that, that fuel use would be ten times what it is today, that it’s not technically feasible to increase production that much, and that if we did that, the world would run out of oil in the very near future. I woke up this morning and for some reason I started wondering if that is all true. So as is my habit, I ran the numbers. I started with the marvelous graphing site, Gapminder, to take an overall look at the question. Here’s that graph:

energy use vs gdp per capitaFigure 1. Annual income per person (horizontal axis, constant dollars) versus annual energy use per person (tonnes…

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