The Bubble Economy: Is there a way out?

Ayres on Environment, Exergy, Economy & Growth

The United States may not be the most admired country in the world today, as once it was. Bubble Economy book cover - top halfBut the economic decline of the US is still capable of doing much harm outside its borders as well as internally. Part of the underlying  problem is an extremely unrepresentative  government system of the US.  Congress is currently  dominated by entrenched special interests – “big money” —  that want to preserve the status quo. This reality makes it very difficult for the executive branch  to function day-to-day, still less respond creatively  to new challenges.

There is a weak economic  recovery under way. It is weak because most OECD  governments have been persuaded by conservative economists that government debt is now much too high and that government deficits have to be cut by cutting welfare spending.  As a direct consequence of austerity policies, unemployment is still too high, especially when under-employment and…

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The Economic Growth Enigma: Capital, Labour & Useful Energy*

elsevier energy policy coverABSTRACT: In this article we show that the application of flexible semi-parametric statistical techniques enables significant improvements in model fitting of macroeconomic models. As applied to the explanation of the past economic growth (since 1900) in US, UK and Japan, the new results demonstrate quite conclusively the non-linear relationships between capital, labour and useful energy with economic growth. They also indicate that output elasticities of capital, labour and useful energy are extremely variable over time. We suggest that these results confirm the economic intuition that growth since the industrial revolution has been driven largely by declining energy costs due to the discovery and exploitation of relatively inexpensive fossil fuel resources. Implications for the 21st century, which are also discussed briefly by exploring the implications of an ACEGES-based scenario of oil production, are as follows: (a) the provision of adequate and affordable quantities of useful energy as a pre-condition for economic growth and (b) the design of energy systems as `technology incubators’ for a prosperous 21st century.

* From Energy Policy, Elsevier. 13 July 2013.  Vlasios Voudouris, Robert Ayres

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Ayres on: Powering the Economic Growth Engine

A 15 minute interview of Robert Ayres and Benjamin Warr appearing in the INSEAD Knowledge series posted on 16 September 2009, in which the authors are quizzed on the key findings of their then just published book, ‘The Economic Growth Engine: How Energy and Work Drive Material Prosperity’ (Edward Elgar Publishing).

Click HERE for 15 minute video

ayres insead video Powering the economic growth engine

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Toward a more rational distribution of electrical generation

comCHP graph world capacityThe best way to maximize overall national energy efficiency is to decentralize the electric power production and locate it very close to heat users. Since quite a lot of our electric power is actually used to generate heat (e.g. in electric furnaces, or electrically heated buildings) it is entirely possible that a more rational distribution of electrical generation would actually cut electric power demand, while simultaneously cutting energy (exergy) use and carbon dioxide emissions.
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IPCC: Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100

wind energy  horizon EBRD

 – BBC Science & Environment News reports on 2 Nov. 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the world’s electricity can – and must – be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050.If not, the world faces “severe, pervasive and irreversible” damage.  The UN said inaction would cost “much more” than taking the necessary action.

The IPCC’s Synthesis Report was published on Sunday in Copenhagen, after a week of intense debate between scientists and government officials. It is intended to inform politicians engaged in attempts to deliver a new global treaty on climate by the end of 2015.

The report suggests renewables will have to grow from their current 30% share to 80% of the power sector by 2050. In the longer term, the report states that fossil fuel power generation without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology would need to be “phased out almost entirely by 2100”.

– – – > Full article at

                              – – – > IPCC longer report here.