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Make Pt0513
One of my favorite talks at ETech this year was Saul Griffith’s – approaching our power needs as an engineering problem, while I think there are a lot of talks devote to identifying the problems this might be the first one that has a goal and actionable plans. But, it’s not pretty and it’s not easy.

The average American uses 11400 Watts of power continuously. This is the equivalent of burning 114 x100 Watt light bulbs, all the time. The average person globally uses 2255 Watts of power, or a little less than 23 x100 Watt light bulbs.

What are the consequences of us all using this much power?

What is the implied challenge of global warming in terms of how we produce power?

What are the things we do as individuals in terms of using power that we might change?

Wattzon.org hosts a document that gives us a framework for thinking about these challenges, and how we might change our behaviours as individuals as well as our collective behaviour as societies and global citizens, if we are to meet the great challenge of the 21st century – how to live in a world where we increasingly understand the resources to be finite, and the consequences of our actions complex & inter-twined.

What temperature do we set climate change at? What CO2 concentration does this imply we need to aim at? How much power can we get from fossil fuels while still meeting this goal? How much power do we need to install and produce from non-carbon technologies? What does this mean for countries, corporations, and individuals?

Game Plan Energy Literacy via Radar.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. fred says:

    That chart kind of scare me. I had no idea the renewable energy sources were that small in comparison to the other energy sources.

  2. bob says:

    I am surprised the growth of renewables is that small, I had an impression renewables were seeing much faster growth. I don’t think it is fair to compare the U.S. to global energy consumption. I would like to see us compared to other industrialized nations. Perhaps the G8 countries? Then compare the G8 countries to the rest of the world. It really aggravates me that Natural Gas Consumption is that high. Natural Gas is a really expensive way to produce electricity. I would like to see Nuclear realize some serious growth. It is cheap, clean and modern systems are safe. I think it is crime that we have not built a Nuclear Power Plant in the U.S. since the 70′s.

  3. Michael says:

    Every thing except for nuclear power and geothermal energy is solar energy.

    Fossil fuels ARE solar energy, albeit highly concentrated and refined over millions of years. There is also no energy shortage, since it is neither created nor destroyed.

    I think it would be worth while to cultivate or genetically engineer plants that absorb above average amounts of CO2 and then use them for fuel. Imagine a plant that produces “seed pods” of coal from the excess CO2 it has collected.

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