as a chemical engineer, you are well placed to deal with my article and my response — I would welcome that, though I am equally surprised that you fail to recognise the problems we face.

first, look around where you are right now, mentally remove everything that has been put there by an input of coal oil or gas. Be honest — and ruthless.

That exercise will leave you sitting naked on bare earth, starving/freezing to death — -literally

Now, mentally replace everything that can be replaced using electrical power alone — ie the product of windfarms, nuclear and so on. Nothing else.

No other inputs allowed, and you must use existing technology, not theoretical physics that could, given time, deliver all that our civilisation needs for BAU. (reconfiguring carbon molecules out of the atmosphere isn’t going to cut it. Even though the known laws of physics say it can be done.)

Bear in mind that ALL the technology we currently have at our disposal is derived from the products/usage of fossil fuels, developed over the last 200 years or so. That doesn’t work in reverse I’m afraid.

Then you fall into the ‘transport trap’ — -in which pit you are far from alone. Greater minds than yours and mine are in there too. Heinberg et al are typical. Hawking and Musk are in there too.

We will have electric cars, buses trains, planes, ships. And then all will be well. Modern man has come to equate wheels with wealth. Few grasp that it is not the journey that produces wages, it’s what we do at either end of the journey that produces wages.

We produce wages by converting one form of energy into another, for which we get paid in energy tokens. We take those tokens and buy the results of someone else’s energy conversion, — the butcher, the baker — even the candlestick maker. — again — no exceptions.

The conversion process can only work if the energy input constantly increases. That increase compensates for the laws of thermodynamics.

If it doesn’t the system collapses beneath our feet.

That is how ‘civilisation’ exists. And has always existed. We cannot step outside it into some theory of ‘negative energy’ — ie always running on batteries. Having formulae that ‘prove’ that energy is infinitely recyclable does not make it happen in real terms.

Transportation consumes, it doesn’t produce.

No electric vehicle can function outside a fossil fuel based environment, unless the hoverboard figures in your calculations. A powered vehicle is constructed of metal, glass, plastics and rubber (plus other odds and ends.) And there’s some way of constructing a hard surface using electrical power alone.

No doubt the formulae for doing so can be proven.

The ‘alternative vehicle’ is made of wood and needs a horse to pull it.

As a scientist, I fear you are locked into the mindset of ‘wish science’ — which is understandable. Wish economists and wish politicians suffer from the same problem.


co-author of The End of More, in paperback and kindle on Amazon email

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