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On Finite Resources and Infinite Growth

"The indefinite growth that can be sustained is not exponential; in percentage terms it asymptotically approaches 0%"  - why would this be true? For me, it's much more idfficult to contemplate reaching a point where, no matter what, we can't find any way to increase per capita consumption with our available energy resources.  Whether that growth rate is small or large is one thing, but the idea that, at some point in the future, we'll reach a point where all the research and development activities cease and we decide that the time as come to 'mail it in" in live as we are now forever, simply replacing each person with another as they die, seems more far-fetched and "academic" than any dicussion to the contrary.

February 7, 2014    View Comment    

On Finite Resources and Infinite Growth

Absolutely.  It's not simply a matter of efficiency of energy generation from finite resources.  It's a matter of increased efficiency,  decreased reliance on finite resources for energy, and likely increased productivity per unit energy in the economy. Combine those three.

February 5, 2014    View Comment    

On Finite Resources and Infinite Growth

This isn't likely as clear as it should be in the post - I was trying not to overlap too much with a related post at Macleans (http://www2.macleans.ca/2014/02/01/what-happens-when-we-run-out-of-oil/) where I did a little better job of making clear that alternative energy sources and reducing our economic dependence on energy as well as improving the efficiency with which we extract and use fossil fuels all play a role at some point along that theoretical transition path.  It's certainly not an issue of simply using the same amount of oil or deriving the same amount of useful energy from oil by using it more efficiently.  So, in short, you're right.

February 4, 2014    View Comment    

On Extraction Vs. Upgrading

It's miniing vs. mining with upgrading. If you did the same analysis with in situ, the extraction rate of return would be higher, so the gap would be larger. There is only a single in situ facility (Long Lake) which is integrated (i.e. with an upgrader), and Suncor processes a significant amount of its MacKay River in situ bitumen at its upgrader near McMurray as well. 

Overall ratio looking ahead is far more in situ than mining.

November 15, 2013    View Comment