Gift of Energy Category Explained:

Energy efficiency is a failure.

It justifies our use of energy, without limit.

We can waste as much energy as we want, as long as we waste it efficiently..

I have chosen articles for this section from writers who agree with me, such as:

”Higher efficiency of energy conversions leads eventually to higher, rather than lower, energy use, and eventually we will have to accept some limits on the global consumption of fuels and electricity.”

Vaclav Smil,  Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003
ISBN 0262194929

Chapter 6
Page 317

Anybody even cursorily familiar with the current state of principal energy conversion techniques appreciates the enormous opportunities for using fuels and electricity more efficiently…. Whatever the future gains may be, the historical evidence is clear: Higher efficiency of energy conversions leads eventually to higher, rather than lower, energy use, and eventually we will have to accept some limits on the global consumption of fuels and electricity.

Energy efficiency regulations have little impact on saving energy, helping the environment or reducing dependency on foreign oil, finds a new CIBC World Markets report

Efficiency paradox: Americans pour cost-savings into more and bigger energy-guzzlers

NEW YORK, Nov. 27 /CNW/ - CIBC (CM: TSX; NYSE) - Energy-efficiency initiatives and regulations do little to cut energy use and often end up increasing consumption, finds a new report from CIBC World Markets.

“While seemingly perverse, improvements in energy efficiency result in more of the good being consumed - not less,” says Jeff Rubin, the Chief Economist and Chief Strategist at CIBC World Markets. He finds an efficiency paradox where consumers have taken the cost-savings gained through greater efficiency and turned around and spent those savings on more and bigger energy-guzzling products.

Stan Cox,  Losing our Cool
The New Press
New York, 2010
ISBN 978-1-59558-489-2

[ This book is heavily referenced by page in a rear section of the book. ]
I suggest you buy or borrow the book to see these many references.

Page x

Some of the ills that follow in the wake of air conditioning - resource waste, climate change, ozone depletion and disorientation of the human mind and body - call for cures more complex than simply producing more energy-efficient devices or more atmospheric-friendly refrigerants. Air conditioning has also been an important tool in creating a society shot through with unsustainable trends: settlements of large human populations and fragile environments; an imbalance between indoor and outdoor life; buildings designed for dependence on high energy input; suburbanization, “masionization,” and the oversized car and commuter cultures; recklessly accelerated production and consumption; enhanced military power; and even the political shocks to this country in recent decades. None of those trends will be reversed overnight.

Page 30

Undoing some of air conditioning harm could require no more than turning the switches to “off,” opening windows, and going outdoors. Other climate control dilemmas are now built so deeply into the structure of society that backing out will be much more difficult. But any energy strategy for the coming decades will be forced to deal with how we handle summer comfort. To ask hard questions about air conditioning need not raise specters of malaise, poor health, social turmoil, and economic collapse; besides, hazards like those are becoming a bit too familiar already.

From the Alliance to Save Energy’s website
January 24, 2004

(dead link)
(Archived working link)

Energy used to heat your home and power your TV is not too different from the energy your body gets when you eat a bean burrito. Your body is like a powerhouse, turning food (fuel) into usable energy— the ability to do work—and eliminating waste byproducts.

A power plant does the same thing: Coal, oil, or natural gas (nonrenewable fossil fuels) goes in and gets burned up to power a big generator that sends energy to your house, with carbon dioxide, some noxious gases, and/or sludge as byproducts.

Ozzie Zehner. Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism.
University of Nebraska Press
Lincoln: 2012
ISBN 9780803237759

Page 154

Massive multinational firms control the bulk of media operations. These multinationals own other companies in diverse sectors such as defense, logging, real estate, oil, agriculture, banking, manufacturing, and utilities. Media boards typically reserve spaces at their weighty hardwood tables for these business leaders.

Start to see the issue here?

These relations assure that the majority of stories, as fair and balanced as they may sometimes seem, are ultimately conceived and developed within the womb of corporate, not public, influence.

Mithra Moezzi and Maithili Iyer, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, “What Else is Transfered Along with Energy Efficiency?” Human and Social Dimensions of Energy Use: Understanding Markets and Demand. 2002 Summer Study of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
Page 8.204

Our argument is not that technologies in general don’t often make people more comfortable or otherwise better off given the subjectivities of these notions.

But perhaps a good deal of the core of this concept of “standards of living” is supplied by mandates to consume and control that inhere in technology, its marketing, and its infrastructure.

Whatever one may think of the morals of this, the idea that promoting control through energy efficiency actually reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions deserves critical and multi-disciplinary reflection.

Jeff Rubin, Why your world is about to get a whole lot smaller
Random House
New York 2009

Pages 88-97

Energy consumption is up over 40 percent despite cutting the energy input per unit of GDP in half. That's why energy intensity targets, commonplace in most countries' energy strategies, have patently failed to restrain energy consumption and the carbon trail that follows from it.

Following the OPEC oil shocks, a few renegade economists, like Daniel Khazzoom. in North America and Leonard Brookes in the UK, argued that improvements in energy efficiency would lead to an unexpected and unwelcome result -? increased energy consumption. Their warnings seemed to fly in the face of all those government policies to encourage greater energy efficiency.

In 1999 the American Water Works Association’s Research Foundation published a study of Residential End Uses of Water.
(dead link)

They studied 1,188 homes in 12 sites, with 28,015 logged days of residential water use. They found that 42% of water use was indoor and 58% outdoor. While variations in water use depended on obvious factors such as lot size and climate, they also determined that:

  • Homes with in-ground sprinkler systems use 35 percent more water outdoors than those who do not have an in-ground system

  • Households that employ an automatic timer to control their irrigation systems used 47 percent more water outdoors than those that do not

The great water myth -- Mexican farmers are being urged to 'save' water by investing in more efficient irrigation.

Fred Pearce reports on the makings of an environmental disaster. 28 January 2004
Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

But the initiative may have the opposite effect.

In a world of growing water shortages, farmers are becoming convinced that they need to grow, "more crops for every drop." Water efficiency is all the rage in an industry that uses two-thirds of the world's water. But could the farmers be wrong?

From the corn fields of Mexico to the paddy fields of China to the lettuce plantations of California, farmers are discovering that a few simple inexpensive techniques, such as lining irrigation canals to prevent leaks and delivering water directly to plant roots rather than flood fields, could cut world water use by a quarter or more.

The World Bank and aid agencies are pouring money into water efficiency. The water saved is being earmarked for growing more crops; for refilling empty rivers; and even for resolving international disputes. It could solve the US's current dispute with Mexico for not delivering all the water to Texas which was promised under a 1944 water-sharing treaty.

The Top Ten Reasons Why We Need a Renewed Commitment to Energy Efficiency  2.16.04
Bill Prindle Deputy Director
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

(dead link)

Looking back on the energy events of 2003 and recent years, with an eye toward the future, the energy policy experts at ACEEE offer their top ten reasons for renewing America’s commitment to energy efficiency.

10. Efficiency is much more than a personal virtue. In the spring of 2001 senior Administration officials opined that energy efficiency, while a “personal virtue”, is not a serious energy policy solution. That same year, the state of California, faced with an electricity crisis, mounted a multi-pronged energy efficiency program that achieved an unprecedented 7% reduction in electricity demand, corrected for weather and economic factors []. This reduction in demand succeeded in preventing any further blackouts in the state and was the major factor responsible for reducing excessive wholesale prices in the California power market, saving customers billions of dollars.

On and Off are Not the Same: The Case for Conservation in an Efficient World
by Paul Grover, Kilawatt Partners 444 Juniper Ridge Shelburne, VT 05482
802 985-2285

The State of Vermont has the nation’s first statewide energy efficiency utility. This was a landmark development, but now it is time to take the next step.

Hopefully, no Vermonter gets up in the morning and says, “Today, I am going to waste energy.” We are smarter than that: we see the value in using only the electricity we need. Our motives to use less energy may be ethical or practical. Some say that exhausting our non-renewable energy resources is robbing future generations of the same benefits we have enjoyed. Others know that reducing electricity costs increases profits and visibility.

When discussing the future of Vermont’s energy challenges, most people, even those in the “business”, use the terms “efficiency” and “conservation” interchangeably. This may turn out to be a grave mistake.

Roseland, Mark. Toward Sustainable Communities
Canada: 1998
ISBN 086571374X

Pages 1 and 2

Canadians and Americans consume more energy per capita than any other nation. Environmental impacts of our consumptive lifestyles include ozone layer depletion, acid rain, smog, potential climate change, and other forms of pollution and environmental degradation. Our addiction to energy also manifests itself in congested roads, urban sprawl, excessive heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation expenditures in buildings, costly inefficiencies in commercial and industrial equipment, weaker local economies, and excessive taxes.

Campbell, Colin J., and Jean H. Laherrere. The End of Cheap Oil
Scientific American, March 1998

Page 81

Predicting when oil production will stop rising is relatively straightforward once one has a good estimate of how much oil there is left to produce. We simply apply a refinement of a technique first published in 1956 by M. King Hubbert. Hubbert observed that in any large region, unrestrained extraction of a finite resource rises along a bell-shaped curve that peaks when about half the resource is gone. To demonstrate his theory, Hubbert fitted a bell curve to production statistics and projected that crude oil production in the lower 48 U.S. states would rise for 13 more years, then crest in 1969, give or take a year. He was right:

J. Robinson West,  “Paying the Pumper” 
Friday, July 23, 2004

Page A29 <>

With the return of the highest oil prices since the energy crisis of the early 1980s, there are growing cries of alarm that the world is running out of oil. Some speculate that Saudi Arabia has reached maturity as a producing state and that its production will decline. Others cite the Hubbert curve, which postulates that once more than 50 percent of reserves are produced, output inevitably declines.

The world will not run out of oil soon, but there’s still good reason for alarm. What the world is running short of is production capacity. There’s plenty of oil—we just can’t get it out of the ground. It’s important to understand some history to appreciate the problem.

Peering into oil’s future
Experts try to predict when the world will start running low on the natural resource that keeps all the engines running
Verne Kopytoff, Chronicle Staff Writer
<mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Sunday, March 21, 2004

The world began running out of oil soon after the birth of modern drilling during the 1850s. The question since then has always been: When will the spigot start drying up? Mounting evidence suggests that an important turning point may be close. According to several studies, oil production is expected to begin a permanent decline within a few years, prompting social and economic upheaval across the globe.
Or maybe not. A rival school of thought says that oil’s imminent demise is exaggerated and that crude will be plentiful into the near future.

Whom can you believe?

It all depends on how accurate researchers are in calculating such complex variables as future oil consumption, production and discovery.

Kenneth S. Deffeyes,  Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage.
New Jersey
Princeton University Press 2001
ISBN 0-691-09086-6

Page 149

The resulting estimate gives a peak production year of 2003 and a total eventual oil recovery of 2.12 trillion barrels. The peak year, 2003, is the same year that we got by fitting Campbell’s 1.8-trillion-barrel estimate to the production history. Other published estimates, using variations on Hubbert’s methods, give peak years from 2004 to 2009. I honestly do not have an opinion as to the exact date for two reasons: (1) the revisions of OPEC reserves may or may not reflect reality; (2) OPEC production capacities are closely guarded secrets. If your country has surplus production capacity you are A Player in the global oil game. If your wells are currently producing to capacity, you are merely a spectator.

Romm, Joseph J.   Industrial Management. 
New York: Kodansha America, 1994
ISBN 1568360371

Page 72

Energy efficiency means providing the same or better energy services using less energy; indeed, the latest efficient technology typically provides more pleasing light, more reliable production, and greater comfort and control. In contrast, energy conservation achieves lower energy use by giving up some quality of service. Energy conservation is turning down the thermostat and donning a sweater. Energy efficiency is insulating a building or using new high-performance windows.

Richard Heinberg,  The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrialized Societies.
Gabriola Island, BC, Canada:
New Society Publishers, 2003
ISBN 086571482-7

Page 163

The inescapable implications of these findings are first, that many efforts toward energy efficiency actually constitute a kind of shell game in which direct fuel uses are replaced by indirect ones, usually in the forms of labor and capital, which exact energy costs elsewhere; and second, that the principal factor that enabled industrial countries to increase their energy efficiency in the past few decades - the switch to energy sources of higher net yield - does not constitute a strategy that can be applied indefinitely in the future. Thus the curtailment of energy usage offers clearer benefits than improved efficiency. …