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Energy Realities 2: Canada - How Long Can the Lights Stay On?

Energy is the most critical building block of modern societies because of the work it allows us to do.   No energy, no lights, no camera, no action.  And no food.
Canada has an enviable range of rich energy resources.   Besides some of the world’s largest per capita reserves of oil and natural gas, we have considerable hydro electric capacity.  These resources allow Canada to be one of the largest energy exporters in a world where most nations are now net energy importers.

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Why Climate Matters to Civilization

Next to the oxygen in the atmosphere, climate is the most important factor in human life because climate determines food availability, clean water and favourable temperatures upon which all healthy bio-systems depend. It determines the proportion of the planet which will support human life.

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Energy Realities 1: How energy is measured: EROI

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Measuring Energy

Energy is the most critical building block of modern societies because of the work it allows us to do. For commercial purposes, energy is measured in fiat currency per unit of energy ie $ per litre of gas or cents per kWatt hour of electricity.

But on a national policy basis, energy must be measured in its own terms. Currency can be printed whereas energy cannot. So, to measure the real cost of producing energy, the ratio of EROI Energy Return on Energy Invested was developed.

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Is this generational transfer?

Generational transfer is the passing down of assets, rights and privileges from one generation to another. 

Everything can be thought of as part of the transfer including:

  • All personal goods
  • Public infrastructure
  • Natural capital
  • Debt or savings
  • Social cohesion

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A Reality Check on Green Energy from David MacKay, a Renewable Activist Physicist

David MacKay was one of the UKs top physicists and took a lead role in the introduction of green energy initiatives and energy conservation.

“Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air”

Sadly David passed away in the spring of this year but part of his immense

legacy is a book on energy production and use in the UK titled “Sustainable Energy without the hot air”.   This book, free to download, is simply the best energy reference produced to date and provides both great detail and a

broad overview of how a modern society consumes energy.  Anyone interested in the subject at whatever level will find it extremely interesting and useful.

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Aging is a Transition, Not a Crisis

Aging is a natural trend towards an increase in the proportion of older people in our population and will continue until the Canadian population stabilizes.

The aging trend is merely part of the much larger demographic transition which has accompanied the development of our modern societies.  In this transition, life expectancy has increased from under 40 years in the 1700s to nearly 80 and the number of children per woman has decreased from 6 to near 2.

This demographic transition features:

  • lower fertility rates
  • longer life spans and
  • higher proportions of seniors


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