What Now?

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius.

Having reflected upon the lunacy of the past 15 months I am starting to view the entire response to SARS-CoV-2 as a sifting exercise to determine who are the collaborators and who are the dissidents. In essence, there appear to be two models for civilisation on offer. The first I call the ‘reason and compassion’ model which bases its principles on individual rights, the scientific method and empathy. The second I call the ‘fear and tragedy’ model which bases its principles on ignorance, division and malfeasance. To explain further, the first model would have allowed public debate around the various SARS-CoV-2 responses, a review of all potential treatments, a rejection of censorship, a cost-benefit analysis for all potential mitigations, outpatient care to prevent severe disease, route cause analysis to understand the problem and lessons learnt exercises to determine efficacy of implemented measures. In contrast, the second model (as implemented) allowed censorship of any opinion which countered Government advice, suppression of effective treatments, vilification of those who questioned state sanctioned guidelines (despite the various U-turns in policy – which no one appears to remember), moving goalposts, deliberate misrepresentation of statistics, false scientific statements, psychological warfare and medical coercion.

What could possibly be the motive for this madness? Over the past decade I have come to view the world through the lens of energy. As such, my reference model is Battery Earth and all the various iterations of civilisation it has accommodated. Given that our current fossil fuel based civilisation is on a descending Energy Return on Investment (EROI) curve it leads to the assumption that the economy will contract (or simplify) in the years ahead. And whilst another source may take its place (solar, nuclear, etc) it is doubtful that these technologies will be deployed at the same scale. Left to its own devices this contraction would jettison the more complex structures and organisations to focus on the core needs of the participants. However, therein lies the problem. This simplification would leave supranational institutions, such as the United Nations, World Health Organisation and World Economic Forum, redundant. A great deal of wealth, power and influence would simply disappear. And so, in my opinion, the relation between the governed and the government is being altered from one of consent to one of control, to create a situation of dependency. All to maintain the current ruling class.

As I see it, there is a conflict of values occurring at the heart of our civilisation; dependency versus dignity. The concept of dependency beautifully surmised by the World Economic Forum, “You’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy.” Until of course you say something which offends the ruling powers and find, “You’ll own nothing, and society will forget you ever existed.” Whereas dignity imposes limits on what others can do to you, such as inject you with experimental, black triangle drugs…

I can’t see any reconciliation between these two contrasting values as each acts to the detriment of the other. For one, dignity is deeply mistrusting of state power and seeks to avoid the state’s intrusion into private affairs (of any citizen). Whereas dependency necessitates a leviathan-like state for its ability to safeguard (at least in principle) the existence of its dependents. Nowhere has this chasm been more apparent (at least to me) than in the last 15 months. With disruption (due largely to our energy transition) on the horizon, I think the architects of the Great Reset have been keen to capitalise on this “SARS-CoV-2 opportunity” and assure the masses that a glorious new dawn awaits. The problem is I don’t think it will work and, given the current censorship around Covid-19, I don’t think the Klaus Schwabs of this world do either. We are really at the mercy of the natural system and the abundance (or scarcity) it provides. Grand visions and clever marketing cannot alter that. And so I have been looking into alternative strategies – one being the Greater Reset. In essence, simplified (not simple) living. I can’t see complex institutions surviving, although I am sure they will try. Such that most functions will have to be provided at the local level. Can the legal system revert back to Common Law? Can naturopathy replace large chunks of the National Health Service? I think we are going to find out… soon…

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10

Sacrifice

Towards the end of my last blog post I included the following point:

“They [the youth] are also being forced to foot the bill for the whole sordid experience. Has there ever been a time when a nation treated its young so malevolently? Surely we’d have to go as far back as the brutal rituals practised in South American civilisations around the 15th century.”

I was debating the inclusion of this observation, thinking the comparison between child sacrifice in civilisations such as the Aztec Empire and how Western Civilisation currently treats its youth might sound a little hysterical. However, when I hear statements such as this:

We know that children do not tend to get bad symptoms, but they can spread the virus, so is it time to look at vaccinating the over-12s, as they are doing in the United States?” From Jeremy Hunt (a member of UK Parliament). Link

I think the inclusion was justified, as depressing as that is. The reason I make that claim is based upon the adverse effects reported in the UK Yellow Card System and also the Pfizer children’s study in relation to the Covid-19 vaccines.

Given the known harms that these Covid-19 vaccines are doing I decided to produce a risk-benefit analysis for children and send it to a children’s charity in the hope that they would act upon the information.

At the time of drafting this risk-benefit analysis it is important to note the following:

  • The Yellow Card System reports 1213 fatalities following Covid-19 vaccination. This equates to 1 death per 41,294 doses.
  • 7 children between the ages 0 – 9 have died within 28 days of testing positive with Covid-19. This equates to 1 death per 1,150,365.
  • 31 children between the ages 10 – 19 have died within 28 days of testing positive with Covid-19. This equates to 1 death per 242,848.

Given that children are at greater risk of dying from the vaccine than from the disease, injecting them is a form of child abuse – or, if we are being honest with ourselves, child sacrifice. I thought that the NSPCC (a major UK children’s charity) would be interested in this information so I sent it to them (full e-mail is shown at the bottom of this post). How wrong I was. After nearly a week of deliberation I received a response from them on Friday 4th June to say, “All clinical trials in the UK, including those involving children, must meet stringent legal and ethical requirements, and seek approval via an NHS medical research ethics committee. We recommend interested parties seeking information on general principles and specific cases to refer to the Medical Research Council and the NHS Health Research Authority, respectively. This is not something that the NSPCC will be engaging in further discussions about.” It was that last sentence which caused great ire, “This is not something the NSPCC will be engaging in further discussions about.” Really? What about the NSPCC’s mission statement of “Every childhood is worth fighting for”? Does it no longer apply? Naturally I removed my financial support for the organisation there and then. Instead I will be funding initiatives such as this: https://protect-children.co.uk/

Full E-mail to the NSPCC

Dear NSPCC,

I would like to draw your attention to the risk-benefit analysis for vaccinating children against Covid-19 that I have conducted below.

Starting with the risk which Covid-19 poses to children, the Lancet (here) shows that for the UK:

  • 7 children between the ages of 0 – 9 years have died from Covid-19 (up to 29th Jan 2021)
  • 22 children between the ages of 10 – 19 years have died from Covid-19 (up to 29th Jan 2021)

In terms of child mortality rate, the same Lancet article provides the following figure for the same age groups:

  • 0.09 deaths per 100,000 children (age 0 – 9 years); equating to 1 death per 1,150,365
  • 0.29 deaths per 100,000 children (age 10 – 19 years); equating to 1 death per 342,189

The Office for National Statistics support the exceptionally low child mortality rate from Covid-19 with their 2021 dataset (here); noting that 0 deaths were record in the 0 – 9 age group from 29th January 2021 to 14th May 2021 for Covid-19. Whilst the same dataset records an additional 9 deaths in the same period for the 10 – 19 age group. This changes the child mortality rate for the 10 – 19 age group from 1 death per 342,189 to 1 death per 242,848, noting that the mortality rate for 0 – 9 age group remains unchanged at 1 death per 1,150,365.

It is against this backdrop of exceedingly rare covid-19 fatalities in the 0 – 19 age group that the campaign to vaccinate this age group, using medical interventions which are still in Phase 3 clinical trials until early 2023 (Oxford/AstraZeneca & BioNTech/Pfizer) and are listed as black triangle medicines, must be assessed. In short, what is the risk-benefit profile of using the currently available Covid-19 vaccines to protect children from fatal outcomes posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself?

We have established the mortality rate for the age groups defined above in relation to Covid-19. Now let us establish the risks posed by the vaccines themselves.

The UK’s Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) utilises the Yellow Card system (here) to continue, “monitoring these vaccines on an ongoing basis to ensure their benefits continue to outweigh any risks”. Having reviewed the adverse reaction data for the Covid-19 vaccines (utilising the UK Column’s analysis tool here) we find the following:

  • Fatalities = 1213
  • Paralysis and Monoparesis = 303
  • Facial Paralysis = 203
  • Blindness = 230

Focusing on fatalities alone; according to the UK government website a total of 50,089,549 doses of Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered (3rd May 2021). Taking this number and dividing it by the number of fatalities recorded in the Yellow Card system gives a rate of 1 in 41,294 deaths per vaccine. Now if we compare this to the mortality rates identified for children above in relation to threats posed by the actual virus, it is clear that the risks of the Covid-19 vaccines outweigh the potential benefits of any protection they may provide.

Note: the MHRA state (here) “It is estimated that only 10% of serious reactions and between 2 and 4% of non-serious reactions are reported. Under-reporting coupled with a decline in reporting makes it especially important to report all suspicions of adverse drug reactions to the Yellow Card Scheme.” In short, all adverse reactions are under-reported. We should therefore assume that fatalities from Covid-19 vaccinations are higher than reported. The MHRA have updated this to state “This article was published in response to a decline in Yellow Card reporting in 2018. The reporting rate for adverse drug reactions is variable and can depend on a multitude of factors. These estimates should not be used as indicators of the reporting rate for COVID-19 vaccines, for which there is high public awareness of the Yellow Card scheme and the reporting of suspected reactions.” Although, rather curiously, the MHRA do not provide any guidance as to what estimates are appropriate for Covid-19 vaccines.

Supporting Arguments

This Risk-Benefit is supported by the following documents:

Page 25 of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 trial data (FDA document) confirms that 86.2% of the trial participants (i.e. those aged between 12 – 15) suffered an adverse reaction to a single dose of the vaccine, of which 1% of those adverse reactions were classified as “severe”.

HART Open Letter: https://www.hartgroup.org/open-letter-child-vaccination/ 

HART Child Vaccination Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=249Ktihc-KI&t=46s 

Conclusion

It is clear from the information presented that:

  • Covid-19 vaccines do harm children (FDA document above);
  • The risk of vaccinating children (predicted 1 death per 41,294) far outweighs the potential benefits (1 death per 1,150,365 from Covid-19 age 0 – 9 group and 1 death per 242,848 from Covid-19 age 10 – 19 group);

Such that vaccinating those within the 0 – 19 age group against Covid-19 will harm more than it will benefit.

Given the mission statement of the NSPCC, “Every childhood is worth fighting for” I expect the charity to mount a robust response refuting the UK government’s ambitions to vaccinate anyone under the age of 18 for Covid-19.

Kind regards,

WHO Pays?

Let us pretend for a brief moment that debts have to be repaid. And that schemes have to be funded… Who picks up the SARS-CoV-2 tab?

The Cost

First let us review the SARS-CoV-2 bill accrued by the UK government. I haven’t been able to identify an exact number for the amount that both closing large sectors of the UK economy and subsequent health initiatives (track and trace anyone?) have cost the public purse. I did, however, find a number of estimates that put the cost at £394bn whilst also calculating that the increase in national debt between 1st March 2020 – 1st March 2021 to be £313.1bn. Being a charitable fellow I will use the more conservative figure of £313.1bn to represent the “Covid hole” in the public purse. The numbers are as follows…

The Institute for Government estimated that the Cost of Covid to the UK Government would be £317.4bn up to mid-September 2020.

The Institute for Government then updated this to a figure of £394bn for November 2020. They also provided this handy graphic:

Figure 1: Change in Forecast for 2020/21 public sector borrowing between March and November 2020 (Source: Institute for Government)

To check this estimate I reviewed the Office of National Statistics UK Public Debt data between the 1st March 2020 to 1st March 2021 (using end of Feb cut-off dates on the charts in Figures 2 and 3) to arrive at the figure of £313.1bn.

Figure 2: Net Public Sector Debt (excluding Public Sector Banks) for end of Feb 2020 (Source: Office for National Statistics)
Figure 3: Net Public Sector Debt (excluding Public Sector Banks) for end of Feb 2021 (Source: Office for National Statistics)

A crude calculation of £2,131.2 bn (Feb 21) – £1,784 bn (Feb 20) = £347.2 bn in UK Government borrowing over from start of the first UK lockdown to the latest date in the data series.

It should be noted that the UK government borrowed £34.1 bn in the year before the pandemic – £1,784 bn (Feb 20) – £1,749.9 bn (Feb 19). Therefore, if we attribute a “natural” annual borrowing value of £34.1bn we arrive at a figure of £313.1 bn in additional annual borrowing due to the measures to “control the virus”. Essentially, during the pandemic, the UK government has borrowed in a month what it normally borrows in a year.

Note: I haven’t been able to determine if this also includes local council borrowing. I am assuming it doesn’t, which of course will make it another problem for another day…

The Payback

Now that we have a figure of £313.1bn for our “Covid hole” let us review the official payback story. Taking the key points from the UK’s 2021 Budget Statement we see:

  • Maintaining the income tax Personal Allowance and higher rate threshold from April 2022 until April 2026.
  • To balance the need to raise revenue with the objective of having an internationally competitive tax system, the rate of Corporation Tax will increase to 25%, which will remain the lowest rate in the G7. In order to support the recovery, the increase will not take effect until 2023. Businesses with profits of £50,000 or less, around 70% of actively trading companies, will continue to be taxed at 19% and a taper above £50,000 will be introduced so that only businesses with profits greater than £250,000 will be taxed at the full 25% rate.

With the UK Income Tax Rates shown in Figure 4:

Figure 4: UK Income Tax Rates (Source: UK Government)

What does this mean? Luckily, City A.M. is here to help us with the translation:

Rishi Sunak will make the UK’s big businesses pay off the country’s Covid spending, with £45bn of corporation tax rises to hit companies with profits over £250,000 the hardest.

Corporation tax will rise from 19 per cent to 25 per cent by 2023 for UK companies with annual profits of £250,000 or higher, however a new “super deduction” will also see companies wipe out their tax bills by investing in property, plant and equipment for the next two years.

The chancellor also introduced a stealth income tax rise that will raise almost £20bn to help the government pay off a £355bn Budget deficit in 2020-21.”

OK, so in two years time UK businesses are going to start paying all of this debt back? Oh, but hang on. As we saw above, the UK runs a “natural” borrowing rate (deficit) of £34.1bn per annum. Even during the “good times” we weren’t paying off the national debt, so this grand initiative won’t even touch the sides of the “Covid hole”. Also, we are likely to accrue another £68bn in debt in the two years prior to the “big payback”…

And will this tax increase incentivise businesses to employ young people? And, if so, on what wage?

So, honestly, who pays?

My understanding is that, historically speaking, there are two ways out of debt in a low growth (stagnated) economy. One is default, the other is inflation.

A default essentially means an economic bust, and you have to go cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund for “financial assistance”. Naturally, that comes with certain conditions, essentially tying the government’s hands (see Argentina). And who in power wants that? Which means we are likely to get inflation. Which is great for those who have assets, but not so much for those who don’t (i.e. the under 25s). Are we spotting a pattern yet?

And so the War on Youth continues, and is about to enter its second year. Not only have our youth:

They are also being forced to foot the bill for the whole sordid experience. Has there ever been a time when a nation treated its young so malevolently? Surely we’d have to go as far back as the brutal rituals practised in South American civilisations around the 15th century.

A Better Way?

Now, personally, I do not think the UK Government can atone for the irreparable damage they have inflicted upon our young. However, they can stop making it worse. It starts by reviewing who profited during the pandemic. For example:

  • which online retailers benefited at the expense of the high street?
  • Which online food distributors grew at the cost of brick and mortar establishments?
  • Which drug companies signed lucrative contracts with national governments?

Then start extracting the funds as necessary. I don’t expect this to plug the “Covid hole” but surely the search begins there…

The War on Youth

This post shines a light on the impact that the UK Government’s handling of SARS CoV 2 has had on those aged 24 and below.

By way of introduction, I am a Systems Engineer by profession. If we take public health as our ‘System of Interest’ (as per the methodology in ISO 15288), we find it is comprised of a number of elements.

Public Health – System of Interest

At the time of drafting this (04/01/2020) there have been 51,813 people who have died in hospitals in England and either tested positive for COVID-19 or, where no positive test result was received for COVID-19, COVID-19 was mentioned on their death certificate (2,517 of the 51,813) (https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-daily-deaths/).

Whilst this post does not contest the WHO’s Infection Fatality Rates (IFR) for SARS CoV 2 – 0.00% to 1.63% (https://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.20.265892.pdf), it does contest the effectiveness of the draconian lockdown measures imposed by governments in response to it.

Note: Across 51 locations, the median COVID-19 infection fatality rate was 0.27% (corrected 0.23%). For people < 70 years old, the infection fatality rate of COVID-19 across 40 locations with available data ranged from 0.00% to 0.31% (median 0.05%); the corrected values were similar.

What appears to have driven the UK governments response to SARS CoV 2 are the Imperial College’s models (team led by Neil Ferguson) predicting what would happen in “unmitigated” circumstances (see below):

Source: https://www.iedm.org/the-flawed-covid-19-model-that-locked-down-canada/

As can be seen, in the case of Sweden, which did not implement lockdown measures, the model is off by a factor a 25. Even if we include the latest figures (04/01/2021) we see a total of 8,727 COV-19 deaths in Sweden, indicating that the model is off by a factor of 10. Furthermore, and perhaps even more incredible, I have found it impossible to get an official estimate on how many lives lockdown has saved (UK), the best I could find was a non peer-reviewed paper which suggested, “However, from early May the decline in England and Wales has been much sharper. We estimate that to 7 August, lockdown saved 17,700 lives in England and Wales, or just under 20,000 extrapolating to a UK level.” (https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.24.20139196v2 ). Given that Macmillan estimate that “across the UK there are currently around 50,000 ‘missing diagnoses’ – meaning that compared to a similar timeframe last year, 50,000 fewer people have been diagnosed with cancer. ” to the point that they are calling for cancer to not be the forgotten C. (https://www.macmillan.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/we-make-change-happen/we-shape-policy/covid-19-impact-cancer-report.html ). A simple deduction of 20,000 additional SARS CoV 2 deaths from 50,000 potential cancer deaths shows how devastating the lockdowns have been from a public health perspective. And that is without mentioning cancelled surgeries, domestic violence and child abuse.

It is with respect to that last point which focused my mind on the topic of this post – what effect is our government’s response to SARS CoV 2 having on our youth (i.e. those aged 24 and below)? I have mapped out the elements which comprise Youth Well-being below:

Youth Wellbeing – System of Interest

Addressing some of those Elements individually:

Employment

The House of Commons Briefing Paper (15/12/2020) makes the following statements regarding the impact of coronavirus on youth employment:

  • The number of young people in employment has fallen by 278,000, a 7% fall. The fall for men has been larger, with employment levels falling by 9% for men and by 6% for women.
  • 181,000 more young people have become economically inactive.

Source: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05871/SN05871.pdf

Employment Opportunity

Focusing on the career advancement sub-element of Employment Opportunity, we would expect to see our youth in work learning key skills that Employers seek. Instead we see a large proportion of our young workers furloughed:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened to applications on the 20 April 2020. As at 30 September, 376,000 jobs held by those aged 24 or under were on furlough, which was 9% of eligible jobs.

Source: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05871/SN05871.pdf

Education

Reviewing government statistics on child attendance figures in educational institutions over the past year paints an equally bleak picture. Prior to the pandemic (2001 – 2019) attendance in English schools was as follows:

School Attendance 2001 – 2019 (England)

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812539/Schools_Pupils_and_their_Characteristics_2019_Main_Text.pdf

Now contrast those attendance levels above with those during the pandemic (below):

School Attendance Mar 20 – May 20 (England)
School Attendance Jun 20 – Jul 20 (England)

Note: All figures are estimates because they have been adjusted by the DfE for non-responses

Source: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-8915/CBP-8915.pdf

The only thing I can deduce from this data is that the majority of our children are not receiving a comprehensive education. Attempts have been made at remote learning but it has not be established how effective this method has been. Has anyone in favour of lockdown measures bothered to calculate how many lost educational hours this amounts to? If so, I’m yet to see it.

Health

Whilst there is not enough evidence to suggest that our youth are resorting to self harm (and suicide) due to lockdown measures (https://www.ncmd.info/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/REF253-2020-NCMD-Summary-Report-on-Child-Suicide-July-2020.pdf ), there have been an increase in self harm and suicidal thoughts in the 10 – 17 age group leading up to the November lockdown (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-surveillance-report/7-children-and-young-people).

Safety and Security

Perhaps the most damning of all is the rise in child abuse due to lockdowns in response to SARS CoV 2. From the Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-child-abuse-welfare-lockdown-nspcc-a9610631.html):

“More than 22,000 adults contacted the children’s charity between April to June, with the biggest concerns pertaining to parental behaviour, neglect and physical and emotional abuse.

It represents an increase of almost one-third (32 per cent) on the monthly average for the three months prior to lockdown. In May alone, there were 8,287 calls to the helpline, the highest number ever made in a single month on record.

About 40 per cent of the calls received were referred on to local authorities or the police for further action, which the charity said is also a slight increase on pre-lockdown levels.”

And this pattern is confirmed by Keoghs (https://keoghs.co.uk/keoghs-insight/client-alerts/child-abuse-during-lockdown):

“The National Crime Agency reported a 10% increase in cases of online grooming during the 13 weeks of lockdown. In addition, there has been a 50% increase in child abuse images online.”

Conclusion

In terms of the effect on our youth, the lockdown measures implemented by the UK government in response to SARS CoV 2 have:

  • increased unemployment
  • reduced career development
  • decreased education
  • increased self harm and suicidal thoughts
  • facilitated child abuse

As a thought experiment, imagine if Isis devised and executed a plot that reduced youth employment by 7%, furloughed another 376,000 of them, closed down schools, decreased the mental health of our under 17s, and facilitated child abuse. How many bombs do you think would be falling on the Middle East right now? I think, given the evidence presented here, that a rational mind can only conclude that the youth of the UK are not living through a pandemic, they are living through a terrorist event. Welcome to the War on Youth…

Battery Earth

Battery Earth

After putting the various pieces together the conclusion seems rather obvious – the Earth functions as a giant battery (as well as performing other roles). Crudely put, planet Earth has taken the input from stars, whether that be light or atoms, and converted it into stored energy. To give an example, photosynthesis is one of the conditions necessary for plant growth; during the carboniferous period (carbon forming) around 360 million years ago, these plants (when dead) found a grave in swampland creating peat. As this peat sank it was compressed and heated creating various grades of coal – thus giving us a coal battery. Similar processes occurred to give us oil and gas batteries. Hence the Earth, as a system, functions as a battery – charging slowly over time until a civilisation unlocks the stored energy. Figure 1 shows the approximate charge cycle and Figure 2 shows the approximate depletion curve of coal.

Coal Battery Charge TimeFigure 1 – Coal Battery Charge Time (approximation)

Coal Battery Depletion TimeFigure 2 – Coal Battery Depletion Time (approximation)

The Configuration States of Civilisation

So Luke, what’s your point? My point is that civilisations can be categorised through configuration states. In particular, they are configured in relation to the type of energy they consume. Let us look at three civilisations:

  • Coal Civilisation
  • Coal, Oil & Gas (Fossil Fuel) Civilisation
  • Fossil Fuel and “Renewable” Civilisation

First under the microscope is Coal Civilisation using the UK as a reference model between roughly 1760 – 1929 as an example. Presented as a “circuit” it looks as follows (Figure 3):

Battery Earth (Coal) v3-1Figure 3 – Coal Civilisation – (Please see PDF for a readable version – Battery Earth (Coal) v3-1)

We can derive a key set of functions attributed to civilisation – e.g. communication, transportation and organisation and then see how our batteries address each of these in turn. For Coal Civilisation we end up with the following:

  • Communication – Telegraph and Wireless Telegraph (radio)
  • Transportation – Railroads and Canals
  • Organisation – Nation States and Empires

Note: Arguments will be made that technology is just as important as energy in determining how civilisations function, but to counter that I will say this – without energy it doesn’t matter how good your ideas are, even Einstein needed to eat.

Next, around 1929, civilisation added a hydrocarbon battery (oil and gas) en masse – creating the “circuit” below (Figure 4):

Battery Earth (Oil &amp; Gas) for INCOSE v3-1Figure 4 – Fossil Fuel Civilisation (Please see PDF for a readable version – Battery Earth – Fossil Fuel v3-1)

Adding the Hydrocarbon battery not only alters the functionality of the device (civilisation) it also alters the entropy in the system (e.g. oil slicks in sea water). Focusing purely on the functional aspect we get:

  • Communication – Mobile Communications and Internet
  • Transportation – High Speed Rail, Motorways, Super Tankers, Jet Engine Aircraft
  • Organisation – Nation States and Supranational Organisations (e.g. UN & EU)

Note: the circuit has been wired in parallel which assumes batteries can be removed without affecting the operation of those that remain – this, of course, is an untested assumption (as far as I know).

Why is all of this important? Well, we are in the process of adding more batteries as per the below (Figure 5):

Battery Earth (Wind, Solar &amp; Back Up) v3-1 INCOSE Slide 4Figure 5 – Fossil Fuel & “Renewable” Civilisation (Please see PDF for a readable version Battery Earth – Fossil Fuel and Renewable v3-1)

The point is that you can’t alter the batteries of civilisation without altering the functionality. In other words, change is coming.

What kind of changes are we seeing? First of all, the nature of our economic system appears to be changing. Coal civilisation, using the UK case model, largely operated under free-market economics as enshrined by Adam Smith in his “Wealth of Nations” first published in 1776. The economic model shifted at the dawn of the Fossil Fuel Battery when John Maynard Keynes published his “General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” in 1936, favouring an interventionist approach from central banks to stimulate demand. Using Germany as a test case for the Fossil Fuel and “Renewable” Battery we see the following (Figure 6):

German DebtFigure 6 – Total German Debt (Public and Private)

Two things become apparent:

  1. Debt keeps on increasing over time
  2. Public debt becomes a larger percentage of total debt over time

We might as well take this chance to examine the comparative performance of batteries. If we compare the German Battery to the Finnish Battery in terms of carbon dioxide emissions we see that one vastly outperforms the other. Firstly, the German Battery is comprised as per Figure 7:

German BatteryFigure 7 – German Battery (Energy Consumed by Type over Time)

The Finnish Battery is comprised as per Figure 8:

Finnish BatteryFigure 8 – Finnish Battery (Energy Consumed by Type over Time)

Now let us see how those batteries compare in terms of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy consumed (Figure 9):

German v Finnish Battery CO2 PerformanceFigure 9 – German and Finnish Battery when measured by Carbon Dioxide Emitted per Unit Energy Consumed

The difference appears to be that the Finnish Battery has a higher proportion of nuclear, hydroelectric and geothermal than Germany, whereas Germany has a higher proportion of wind and solar but presumably this has coal generation back up in times when supply cannot meet demand.

For those interested, I presented this to INCOSE UK Energy Systems Interest Group and my slides are here: Battery Earth – INCOSE Energy Working Group Slides 10-10-2019

Brexit – an Inevitability?

First of all I’d like to take this opportunity to correct a minor grievance. The term ‘Brexit’ has always bothered me as Northern Ireland does not form part of Great Britain. In the interests of inclusivity shouldn’t the short-hand term for the United Kingdom’s retreat from the EU be ‘UKwit’? Anyway, as I said, it’s a minor grievance and one that I won’t lose too much sleep over.

What might, however, bring about a degree of restlessness is the United Kingdom’s declining energy consumption per capita when we compare 2017 to the period prior to 2005. And, in particular, how this underpins the debate surrounding the UK’s continued membership in the EU. So consider yourselves thoroughly forewarned as to where this is heading.

UK Contributions to EU Budget

Let’s begin with an overview of what the European Union is and how it works. The European Union consists of twenty-eight member states (as listed here). Nineteen of those twenty-eight member states use the Euro as their official currency which is collectively known as the Eurozone. Furthermore, there is a region referred to as the Schengen Area;

“The Schengen Area is one of the greatest achievements of the EU. It is an area without internal borders, an area within which citizens, many non-EU nationals, business people and tourists can freely circulate without being subjected to border checks. Since 1985, it has gradually grown and encompasses today almost all EU countries and a few associated non-EU countries.”

As a member of the EU (but neither the Euro nor the Schengen Area), the UK contributes to the EU budget. The total UK contribution to the EU budget in 2014 was EUR 11,341 million (inclusive of the UK rebate correction). This EUR 11,341 million contribution was spent on some of the following;

  • EUR 1,098.6 million on Competitiveness (More developed regions)
  • EUR 748.4 million on Horizon 2020
  • EUR 544.5 million on Regional convergence (Less developed regions)
  • EUR 149 million on EU administration costs
  • EUR 71.1 million on European territorial cooperation
  • EUR 51.3 million on Decentralised Agencies
  • EUR 48.1 million on Euratom Research and Training Programme
  • EUR 37.1 million on European satellite navigation systems (EGNOS and GALILEO
  • EUR 20.7 million on Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF)
  • EUR 11.2 million on European Earth Observation Programme (Copernicus)
  • EUR 11.1 million on Creative Europe

The items listed above total EUR 2,791.1 million.

UK tax income in 2013 – 2014 was £505.8 billion (here), equating to approximately EUR 629 billion at average annual exchange rate of 1.244. The EU expenditures listed above equate to 0.44% of the UK’s 2013-2014 tax revenue.

UK Energy Consumption

It would be hard to argue that this expense incurred by the UK is a significant strain on the public purse in a growing economy. However, it is the latter part of that statement, ‘growing economy’, that I wish to draw attention to. As we saw in the previous post a growing economy is a derivative of growing energy consumption. Yet, it would be erroneous to assume that this growth applied equally to everyone. Viewing the economy through the lens of the UK’s Energy Consumption per Capita (Chart 1) offers an alternative view of this otherwise rosy picture.

Chart 1Chart 1 – UK Energy Consumption per Capita per Annum (1965 – 2017). Energy data from BP Statistical Review 2018. Population data from the UN.

On an energy consumed per capita basis the UK economy began its decline after 2005 having held the 160GJ line for a decade. This decline has not been offset through efficiency gains in energy utilisation which could otherwise claim to boost economic output through lower energy consumption. The following two charts help explain why;

  • The UK’s energy consumption consists mostly of oil and gas (Chart 2)
  • The global ERoI trend for oil and gas is in decline (Chart 3)

Chart 2

Chart 2 – Total UK Energy Consumption by Type. Energy data from BP Statistical Review 2018

 

Chart 3

Chart 3 – Global Oil and Gas ERoI Values and Trends (1990 – 2010), (Hall et al. 2013)

What we are looking at is a continued dependence on fossil fuels to run the UK economy whilst the quality of those same fossil fuels is diminishing. Add to that a rising population (Chart 4) and declining energy consumption (Chart 2) and we end up with reduced energy consumption per capita (Chart 1) not on an efficiency basis but on an affordability basis (Chart 5). In summary, adding more people to the UK economy since 2005 has not boosted economic growth per capita – instead it has eroded economic growth per capita.

Chart 4

Chart 4 – UK Population (1970 – 2015). Population data from the UN.

 

Chart 5

Chart 5 – Energy Spend as a Percentage of Total Household Expenditure (1993 – 2016). Chart from https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/data-portal/energy-spend-percentage-total-household-expenditure-uk

UK Energy Production

So far we have only talked about UK energy consumption. Lets now look at UK energy production. Chart 6 captures UK energy production from 1970 to 2017. It clearly captures the ‘boon’ North Sea oil and gas has had on the UK’s energy production, beginning c.1974 and peaking in 1999 for oil and 2000 for gas. Next I want to illustrate what than means to the UK’s domestic production versus domestic consumption. A positive value in Chart 7 indicates that the UK lives ‘within its energy means’ whereas a negative value means that the UK has to rely on energy imports to fund its lifestyle.

Chart 6

Chart 6 – UK Annual Energy Production by Type (1970 – 2017). Data from BP Statistical Review 2018

 

Chart 7

Chart 7 – UK Net Energy Domestic Production versus Consumption (1970 – 2017). Data from BP Statistical Review 2018.

Now we have two problems;
1) The UK is producing energy of diminishing quality
2) The UK doesn’t produce enough energy to remain energy independent.

As a point of interest, even during the miners strike of 1984 the UK energy situation didn’t look as perilous as it does today.

So What?

Why should any of this concern us? And why should it make the UK’s membership in the EU untenable?

With the UK’s declining domestic oil and gas production, combined with lower oil and gas prices, lets see what that does to UK tax revenue from North Sea oil and gas (Chart 8);

Chart 8

Chart 8 – UK Tax Revenue from UK Oil and Gas Production taken from Office for Budget Responsibility (Source of data: Office for National Statics) (https://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/tax-by-tax-spend-by-spend/oil-and-gas-revenues/)

The OBR explains the decrease in tax revenue as follows;

“The fall in receipts has been driven by falling production, much lower oil and gas prices and higher tax-deductible expenditure. The rate of petroleum revenue tax and the supplementary charge have also been cut substantially.”

This £10 billion loss in oil and gas tax revenue represents 1.9% of the UK’s tax income in 2013 – 2014 of £505.8 billion. Or, put another way, the entirety of the UK’s financial contribution to the EU budget for 2014.

Now lets look at UK private debt on a per capita basis (Chart 9) as further proof of the UK’s declining prosperity;

Chart 9

Chart 9 – UK Private Debt per Capita in GBP (1963 – 2015). Financial data from Bank for International Settlements. Population data from the UN.

Perhaps I should have begun this article with Chart 9 as I assume people are more attuned to rising debt per capita than declining energy consumption per capita as a tell-tale sign for declining prosperity. The reason I didn’t do this is because the origins of our problem are energy related. As explained in the previous article, energy is the economy. To elaborate further an economy has four fundamental stages;

1) Creation phase
2) Extraction phase
3) Processing phase
4) Transportation phase

1) The creation phase is how a material comes into being, whether that be wheat grown on a farm or iron ejected from dying stars.
2) The extraction phase is how Homo Sapiens capture a particular good whether it be scything wheat or mining iron.
3) The processing phase is how Homo Sapiens turn that particular good into something useful, whether that be grinding wheat into flour and then baking the flour into bread or smelting iron into tools.
4) The transportation phase is how Homo Sapiens transport the processed product to market for sale or exchange.

Energy is involved in each of these four steps. If you remove energy from any of the steps above the whole economy collapses. The more energy available to an economy the more products that economy can produce. The more surplus energy available to that economy the more additional services it can offer. So why should it surprise us that declining energy consumed per capita, without a corresponding rise in energy quality, indicates a decline in prosperity? The financial implications of this are reinforced when we compare UK domestic energy production to private debt per capita. The UK’s energy production ‘double peak’ of 1983 – 1986 to the trough of 1994 is met with an 150% increase in private debt per capita over the same period. The UK energy production peak of 1999 to the trough of 2013 is met with an 100% increase in private debt per capita over the same period. That leads us to the conclusion that in order to offset the decline in energy prosperity the people of the UK are resorting to private debt. Reviewing Chart 6 we shouldn’t be surprised if financial conditions in the UK revert to those of 1970. In short, selling another level of administration to a country experiencing a severe contraction in prosperity is a tall order – especially if that same administration doesn’t even notice the underlying problem.

Energy Quality – The missing Piece?

What follows below is a paper that I have written for submission to the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It examines the importance of Energy Return on Investment (ERoI) for advanced societies and suggests methods we can utilise to improve how we measure the quality of our energy sources. This paper was submitted today.

Executive Summary

Energy surplus is destiny. Our sources of energy must not only account for their own production costs but they must return sufficient energy to society for them to be of value. With surplus energy society can provide various services from employment, to healthcare, to entertainment. Having read both the Government’s Call for Evidence: A smart, flexible energy system and the Government’s Industrial Strategy: Green Paper I have observed an omission regarding energy quality. I would therefore like to explain the importance of energy quality, measured as Energy Return on Investment (ERoI), how it correlates with living standards and then offer suggestions as to how systems engineering should be utilised to address this oversight.

Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Quality of Energy
  3. Why Should ERoI Concern Us?
  4. ERoI Data
  5. Sustainable Societies
  6. Alternative Measurements to ERoI
  7. Energy Systems
  8. Conclusion

1.     Purpose

The purpose of this paper is two-fold;

  1. To inform the authors of UK Energy Policy as to the importance of energy quality and its relationship to living standards.
  2. To provide system engineering solutions to address some of the issues raised in this paper.

2.     Quality of Energy

I have written this short paper to address a vital piece of the United Kingdom’s energy jigsaw that I believe has been omitted from the current dialogue – the quality of our energy sources. Recent media articles suggest a growing interest in both smart grid and smart city development. The Government has also recently issued a Call for Evidence on how best to implement a smart, flexible energy system. I believe the current initiative can be summarised as; “The Smart Grid aims to provide consumers with intelligent price signals to reduce the cost of electricity. At the same time it aims to provide the National Grid with an intelligent system balancing mechanism through Demand Side Response to avoid costs and fines.” Demand Side Response enables consumers to adjust demand in real-time which helps the National Grid soften both voltage peaks and troughs.

Complexities of this implementation aside, this paper shall focus on the quality of energy sources available to fuel any future power distribution system. I believe the envisaged power distribution system can be loosely shown as follows;

Image 1

Figure 1 – Simplified Power Distribution System

Having recently read both the Government’s Call for Evidence: A smart, flexible energy system and the Government’s Industrial Strategy: Green Paper I would like to raise a concern that hasn’t been addressed in either of the two papers – Energy Return on Investment (ERoI). ERoI is essentially a measure of the quality of an energy source, i.e. how many Joules are consumed in locating, extracting, refining, converting and delivering that energy source to a consumer compared to how many Joules are available to consume. It is presented as a ratio of the amount of usable energy delivered from a particular resource to the amount of usable energy consumed to obtain that resource. The difference is the surplus energy available to run an economy. It can be expressed as;

Formula 1

Several variations of ERoI exist depending upon how the boundaries are defined. For example;

  • Standard ERoI (ERoIST) is the standard ERoI approach that divides the energy output of a project by the embedded on-site energy costs (e.g. operating and equipment). However, it does not include the refinement, transportation, supporting labour or financial services costs.
  • Point of Use ERoI (ERoIPOU) not only includes ERoIST but also includes refinement and transportation energy costs to the point of use.
  • Extended ERoI (ERoIEXT) includes all of the above plus the ability to actually use the obtained energy, e.g. civil infrastructure such as transmission lines, supporting labour and financial services (debt servicing – e.g. where fiat currency is transacted energy is consumed).

A clearer way to depict this is shown in the Hall et al. (2013) diagram below;

Image 2

Figure 2 – Various Energy Return on Investment (ERoI) boundaries expressed pictorially (Hall et. al 2013)

This can also be expressed in formula terms as shown in Hall et al. (2009);

Formula 2,3 and 4

Lambert et al. (2013) provide a further ERoI methodology that seeks to analyse the ERoI of entire nation states. They call this the Societal ERoI (ERoISOC). The ERoISOC numerator, Energy Return (ER), is composed of a nation’s Gross Domestic Product (in USD) multiplied by the Mega Joule (MJ) per unit of energy used to generate that GDP. The denominator, Energy Investment (EI), the energy invested to produce the energy output, is composed of the total energy consumed by that nation in a given year (in MJ) multiplied by dollars per unit spent in the acquisition of that fuel. I’m assuming that the methodology has been derived in this manner because financial data is more readily available than energy data. Expressed in formula;

Formula 5

3.     Why Should ERoI Concern Us?

In Lambert et al.’s same paper, entitled “Energy, ERoI and Quality of Life”, they chart a number of indices against both Societal Energy Return on Investment (ERoISOC) and energy consumed per capita. These indexes include the Human Development Index (used by the United Nations to determine life expectancy, education and living standards), female literacy rates, gender inequality and % of children under 5 years old who are underweight. In order to maintain these indices at levels currently observed in developed nations the paper demonstrates that a minimum ERoISOC of 20:1 is required along with a minimum energy consumption of 120 Giga Joules per capita per annum. As a point of reference the UK consumed 125.06 GJ per capita in 2013. Should the ERoISOC for the United Kingdom fall below 20:1 and the energy consumed per capita per annum fall below 120 GJ then we should expect living standards to decline.

Image 3 &amp; 4

Figures 3 & 4 – ERoISOC plotted against both Human Development Index (HDI) and % of children under 5 years old who are underweight (Lambert et. al 2013)

4.     ERoI Data

Given the target ERoISOC figure of 20:1 it is worth listing how our current energy sources perform. I have provided data from Raugei and Leccisi (2015) as their paper presents the range of electricity generation technologies deployed in the United Kingdom. The table is used for indication purposes only as the values within are by no means a consensus (see Hall et al. 2013). In fact, Raugei and Leccisi vastly overstate the ERoI for solar photovoltaic cells when compared to the EROIEXT analysis of Ferroni and Hopkirk (2016).

 

Electric Energy Source ERoI – Raugei and Leccisi
Coal 3.6#
Natural Gas Combined Cycle 14
Nuclear 30
Hydroelectric 58
Wind 18 (off-shore), 17 (on-shore)
Solar (PV) 8.6*

# Note: The UK generated just 2% of its electricity in the first half of 2017 from coal.

* Note: Solar photovoltaic systems perform poorly in areas of moderate insolation (which includes the United Kingdom). A comprehensive study by Ferroni and Hopkirk (2016), together with a defence of their original assessment, Ferroni et al. (2017), concludes that solar photovoltaic systems currently deployed in European countries north of the Swiss Alps are actually an energy sink with an ERoIEXT of 0.82:1.

As a means of comparison I have also included the Thermal ERoI for Oil and Gas (World) and Coal (US & Australia) from Hall et al. (2013). The purpose is to illustrate how efficient fossil fuels perform when consumed directly (e.g. inside internal combustion engines) as opposed to conversion into electricity. It should also be questioned as to whether or not environmental factors are included in the figures below.

 

Thermal Energy Source ERoI – Hall et al.
Coal (US & Australia) 46
Oil and Gas (World) 20

Of further importance to this analysis is that only 14.2% of the energy that the United Kingdom consumes comes in the form of electricity. Most of our energy sources are consumed directly, e.g. petroleum in car engines and natural gas in boilers and cookers.

It is not the purpose of this paper to paint one source of energy in a more favourable light than any other. Although hydrocarbon fuels have traditionally been higher quality energy sources compared with most renewables Hall et al. (2013) show a declining ERoI trend for Global Oil and Gas which peaked prior to the millennium before trending downwards (Figure 5).

Image 5

Figure 5 – Global Oil and Gas ERoI Values and Trends (1990 – 2010), (Hall et al. 2013)

Reviewing the younger Norwegian Oil Fields confirms the trend – global oil and gas ERoI is in decline (Figure 6).

Image 6

Figure 6 – ERoI Values from Various Countries (1990 – 2010), (Hall et al. 2013)

This declining trend poses challenges for our high ERoI societal demands. With the pivot from fossil fuels to renewable energy clearly in focus it must be understood how shifting from our traditionally reliable, high ERoI sources to intermittent, low ERoI sources will impact the quality of life in the United Kingdom. The graph I have produced below from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy June 2016 highlights global consumption of energy by type (Figure 7). The purpose is to demonstrate how reliant our current living standards are on fossil fuel consumption and the potential impacts a transition to renewal energy might impose. (Note: I have separated hydro-electric from renewables to better represent current electricity generation from wind, solar, tidal and biomass);

Image 7

Figure 7 – Annual Global Energy Consumption per Type of Energy Source (Source: BP Annual Review)

To further cement the relationship between ERoI and living conditions the table below provides some examples from the Lambert et al. (2013) paper. It is a list of nation states matched against their corresponding ERoISOC;

 

Nation State EROISOC
Brazil 18:1
Mexico 13:1
Pakistan 5:1
Nigeria 4:1

5.     Sustainable Societies

One might ask the question, “Why is a high ERoI important for high living standards?” The answer is simply that the surplus energy must be used to run the economy. That is, it must provide hospitals, medicine, safe drinking water, edible food, clothes, houses, law enforcement, prisons, pensions, transportation links, cancer research, education, electronic goods and so on.

Hall et al. (2009) ask the question, “What is the minimum ERoI that a Sustainable Society must have?” and conclude the following, Of course the 3:1 minimum ‘extended EROI’ that we calculate here is only a bare minimum for civilization. It would allow only for energy to run transportation or related systems, but would leave little discretionary surplus for all the things we value about civilization: art, medicine, education and so on.”

 Lambert et al 2013 adapted Maslow’s hierarchy of needs by mapping each level against a corresponding ERoI value (Figure 8). The values for the first three levels; Extract Energy, Refine Energy and Transportation are measured. The remaining values are estimates taken from Charles A.S. Hall’s Energy Return on Investment – Lecture Notes in Energy, 2017 (ISBN 978-3-319-47820-3).

 Image 8

Figure 8 – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs adapted by Lambert et al. 2013

6.     Alternative Measurements to ERoI

It is reasonable to expect challenges to the importance of ERoI in determining Energy Policy. One common challenge to the ERoI methodology is that future Energy Policy should focus on the monetary cost of alternative sources. In determining suitable energy sources for exploitation it is believed that the trending dollar costs ought to be the key metric. For example, the 2017 International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Rethinking Energy paper makes the claim that “Since 2009, the prices for solar PV modules and wind turbines have fallen by up to 80% and 40% respectively.”

However, this follows the 2008 Global Financial Crisis which triggered deflation in the G7 nations – often referred to as the ‘Credit Crunch’ as private credit plateaued. This had the effect of decreasing the value of all commodities priced in US dollars including the world’s master resource, oil. Figure 9 from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows the US dollar cost per barrel of oil from 1990 to 2016. Particular attention should be drawn to the period between 2007 and 2015 where the cost of oil dropped from a high of $130 per barrel to below $40 per barrel. This has the effect of lowering the cost of oil dependent products including photo-voltaic modules and wind turbines.

Image 9

Figure 9 – Cost of Brent Crude Oil priced in US Dollars from 1990 – 2016 (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

As can be seen, using private credit stagnation and the resulting commodity price deflation as a metric to exaggerate efficiencies in solar panel and wind turbine production falsely represents the benefits that solar and wind power offer to society.

Another claim, made in the Executive Summary of DNV-GL’s 2017 Energy Transition Outlook paper, declares that energy use will ‘decouple’ from Gross Domestic Product due to accelerating energy efficiencies on a global scale – mostly through renewable sources. Figure 10 shows how the paper represents this graphically with the decoupling occurring in 2016.

Image 10

Figure 10 – A graph showing a GDP metric (global or regional?) decoupling from energy supply (DNV-GL)

Prior to 2016, DNV-GL’s position agrees with the position supported in this paper – i.e. that GDP and energy consumption are highly correlated. Figures 11 and 12 clearly show the correlation between higher energy consumption and higher GDP. Figure 11 compares global GDP to global energy consumption from 1969 to 2013 whereas Figure 12 plots the energy each nation state consumed against its GDP for the year 2000.

Image 11

Figure 11 – Global GDP vs Global Energy Consumption 1969 – 2013 (Gail Tverberg)

Image 12

Figure 12 – National GDP vs National Energy Consumption in 2000 (American Physics Society using Energy Information Administration data)

By making the case that GDP will ‘decouple’ from energy consumption due to global efficiencies it also implies that the following statement is true, “because energy consumption and GDP did not decouple at any point between 1969 and 2013 no global energy efficiency was realised”. Perhaps the authors of DNV-GL’s Energy Transition Outlook are unaware of the global switch from incandescent light bulbs to energy saving LED lighting…

The claim made in the DNV-GL Energy Transition Outlook paper ought not to pass without scrutiny – to quote, “Over the last few decades, we have seen developed countries succeed in decoupling economic growth from increased energy use.” Would it raise an eyebrow if this paper were to declare that the longevity of Homo Sapiens had decoupled from oxygen intake? The issue here is what we mean by the term ‘growth’. Typically it is defined as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is a measure of all the goods and services a nation state produces within a given timeframe. However, this measurement does not give context to the debt structure which underpins it. Currently, the G7 nations have a combined debt burden (public and private) of $92.855 Trillion – this figure is derived from the Bank for International Settlements database comprising of credit to general government and credit to private non-financial sector from all sectors. Figure 13 shows the steady increase in debt necessary to sustain this alleged ‘growth’, doubling from $46.436 Trillion in 2000 to $92.855 Trillion at the end of 2016.

Image 13

Figure 13 – Combined Public and Private Debt of G7 Nations since 2000. Public debt is defined as ‘Credit to General Government from All Sectors’. Private debt is defined as ‘Credit to private non-financial sector from all sectors – households, non-profit institutions serving households and private non-financial corporations’. (Source: BIS total credit statistics.)

The purpose of reviewing common alternatives to the ERoI methodology is to highlight just how damaging they can be to Energy Policy decisions. By using ERoI as a foundation for Energy Policy we can be assured that our measuring stick remains constant, i.e. we are simply measuring Joules in vs Joules out to determine quality. This will allow the United Kingdom to develop a robust and efficient Energy Policy.

7.     Energy Systems

If those who determine the United Kingdom’s Energy Policy are convinced as to the importance of energy quality the next step is to define a method for addressing the problem. Energy availability and distribution is fundamentally a systems problem. Our most basic model, the ecological system, is a relationship between biotic and abiotic components. Biotic components, such as plants and bacteria, interact with abiotic components, such as water, light and radiation. Biotic components that are able to secure an adequate abiotic surplus are able to reproduce, whereas those which do not become extinct.

The energy system of Homo Sapiens’ civilisation is much more complex. Not only must we secure an abiotic surplus to survive we also require access to abstract agreements such as debt, crop enhancers such as fertilisers and a vast distribution network in the form of transportation links and power lines. Therefore, whenever we talk about power distribution systems we are really talking about debt, energy and infrastructure. Without these components none of it works. Whilst it is beyond the scope of this paper to analyse the components of industrialised civilisation in further detail it is clear that energy distribution is a systems problem.

It is within the scope of this paper, however, to recommend a number of actions that, if undertaken, would ensure that the United Kingdom utilised the highest quality of energy sources available. With that goal in mind Energy Policy could be used as a tool to improve both the reporting mechanism for energy quality and enforce a minimum ERoI threshold that each energy source shall meet before acceptance for national distribution. The purpose of this is to ensure that the power distribution network complies with the observations referenced in this paper – chiefly that high ERoI energy sources result in a higher standard of living. This would be achieved as follows;

  1. Determine a universal method for ERoI calculations which incorporates all energy inputs
  2. Ensure energy providers accurately report ERoI figures to the Regulator
  3. Set a minimum ERoI figure for acceptance by the national power distribution network
  4. Penalise energy suppliers which supply the national power distribution network using energy sources which fall below this ERoI value

If Energy Policy cannot prevent low quality energy sources from being made available to the national power distribution network then we must give serious examination to the effects upon society that a lower ERoI powered system will cause.

8.     Conclusion

From the data presented in this paper it is clear that the quality of our traditional energy sources are in decline and that renewable sources aimed to replace them are of even lower quality. With our high standard of living dependent upon high quality energy sources the need to accurately measure ERoI has never been greater. Systems analysis should be used to define the boundaries of ERoI analysis to provide a universal point of reference as a means of comparing various energy sources. Once established, this can be used to assess the quality of the energy sources available to the United Kingdom’s power distribution network. It may well be the case that the UK cannot attain an ERoISOC of 20:1. If that is the case we must engage in serious discussions about the implications to society and pay particular attention to the functions that a lower ERoI can afford.

 

 

Homo Sapiens and Energy (Part 1)

It should not come as a surprise to any, I hope, that Homo Sapiens are dependent upon energy for survival. The National Health Service recommends that a man needs around 10,500kJ (2,500kcal) a day to maintain his weight and that a woman requires around 8,400kJ (2,000kcal) a day to maintain hers. That, of course, only takes into account fuel consumption to maintain our weight. It does not include the energy consumed to keep us warm, to cook our food, to build our shelter, to fabricate products and transport those same goods (and ourselves) to market. From 0 Common Era to 2000 Common Era the Homo Sapien population has expanded like this;

Chart 1

That means a whole lot of energy consumption. And look at that spike beginning just before 1800 CE – coinciding nicely with the Industrial Revolution. Not only did the Industrial Revolution (starting around 1760) replace hand production with machine production it also demanded that Homo Sapiens shift their energy dependence from wood to coal to power the machines. The following graph not only shows the alterations in energy type per year but also the quantity consumed (chart from the excellent website OurFiniteWorld.com run by Gail Tverberg drawn from information by Vaclav Smil estimates from Energy Transitions);

Chart 2

But why should coal consumption translate into an increase in world population? After all, the people weren’t eating coal. Prior to the Industrial Revolution came the British Agricultural Revolution (beginning around 1700) brought about by the most unlikely of heroes – the turnip. The turnip went where most other crops dare not venture, deep under the soil. The point, of course, is crop rotation. Crops of various root depth and nutrient demands could be rotated annually to improve soil fertility. This in turn increased land productivity which increased crop yields allowing the population in England and Wales to grow from 5.5 million in 1700 to over 9 million by 1801. The increase in productivity allowed a share of the farm labour force to move to urban centres finding work in the predominantly textile industries. Water and steam powered machines were then developed which increased the productivity of the labour force thus commencing the Industrial Revolution. This fed back not only into the creation of industrialised agricultural practices, but also allowing imports of various fertilisers from abroad by steam ship to improve soil quality. The point of all this is not simply to recite history but to show both Homo Sapiens’ dependence upon energy and display the types of fuel we consume.

Chart 3

Chart 4

So where are we today?

Judging from the last graph it is obvious that Homo Sapiens can add numbers to its population far easier that it can increase energy available for consumption. The question now becomes, ‘what next?’

The dip in energy consumption per capita between 2006 – 2009 coincides with both the 2007 – 2008 Financial Crisis and the Great Recession of December 2007 – June 2009. Indeed the inability to grow global energy consumption per capita across the globe resulted in reduced Gross Domestic Product thus exposing the banking system to the fragility (dare we say stupidity?) of the loans it had made to clients who could no longer afford to repay them. With the crisis ‘ending’ in 2009, the world has resumed a steady increase in energy consumption per capita, albeit at a much slower rate – most likely due to the lowest interest rates in financial history, even negative in some nations.

The point of all this is that our financial system cannot survive under a prolonged period of energy contraction. This, as a biological species, should not surprise us. Our Fate is intrinsically linked to the energy available to us.

Up until 1800 CE Human societies consumed mostly biofuels. With the introduction of steam powered machines Human societies consumed coal in increasing quantities until it overtook biofuel consumption around 1910 CE. If both our biofuel and fossil fuel reserves are reaching the point of exhaustion then what type of society will we live in when the remaining energy available is mostly nuclear with a dose of renewables? Will it even be a biological civilisation? For, if without natural gas products to fertilise our soils, how will Homo Sapiens continue to prosper? Just as Humans utilised steam powered machines to usher in the Industrial Era, will the Industrial Era utilise nuclear powered machines to usher in the Post-Human Era?

And why should we make this assumption – that our soils will no longer be able to sustain 7.5 billion Homo Sapiens (let alone the 11.2 billion that the UN expects by 2100)?

The ability to grow our population itself lies upon one of two assumptions;

  • Our soils can sustain this increase in population
  • We can find other methods to supplement our dependence on soil

Currently our plants are heavily reliant on artificial fertilisers to improve both plant health and yield to feed the current population of Homo Sapiens. Were this not the case fertilisers would not be needed at all as plants could extract all of their nutrient requirements from the soil. Fertilisers provide the three main macronutrients that plants require for healthy growth;

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorous (P)
  • Potassium (K)

Nitrogen fertilisers are typically produced from ammonia (NH3) using natural gas (CH4) and nitrogen (N2) from the air. The ammonia is then used to produce nitrogen fertilisers such as ammonium nitrate. Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3) can also be used as a nitrogen fertiliser where it is mined in the Atacama desert in Chile.

Phosphate fertilisers are typically made from phosphate rock. It is necessary to convert these phosphate rocks into water-soluble phosphate salts by treating them with either sulfuric or phosphate acids.

Potassium fertilisers (usually referred to as ‘potash’) are a mixture of potassium minerals such as potassium chloride, potassium sulfate, potassium carbonate and potassium nitrate.

Fertiliser use has increased 34.4% from 2002 to 2014 with an average annual growth rate of 2.54%. The growth rate of the Human population over the same period is 1.2%.

Chart 5

So why should we think that this trend will reverse? After all, all dips (e.g. 2009) have been temporary. The only means of reversion will come through reduced extraction of the core resources. This can happen when resource scarcity drives cost above what the consumer can afford. Part 2 will explore the resource contraction that awaits Homo Sapiens.

Lucifer’s Conversations with God #2

There calls a voice, a ghost of sentience, long made mad in its theory of existence. It was once the wind, and the ocean, and the flames and the earth. It once forged the very essence of being. It was reason and power. It was fury and light. Our world demanded no less of a deity, no less of a purpose. To cast darkness into the abyss requires a resolve few possess – a clarity, an audacity, of deliberate design. To distance oneself from this power by the simple act of disparagement – even unto those disciples who acted upon such Majesty – is to misunderstand its necessity. And a necessity it was – to raise life from the depths of despair; of darkness, bleak and cold, emotionless. To even believe such existence was necessary – both in conviction and wisdom – to discover happiness anew. The word, I believe, is ‘sentience’. That was the first requirement God demanded from his creations – the ability to recognise. Not only to recognise the needs of the self – as in consciousness – but to recognise the laws which sentience was governed by – the Universe as a representation of everything. But such deliberate construction was followed by a senseless doctrine – the Unity of Representation. No sooner had God constructed Paradise did He demand that it was interpreted in a uniform manner. Even to Angels as cynical as Lauviah and Leviathan – they were meant to sing with the fervour of Seraphim? And for what purpose?

But such questions are no longer necessary. For, just as Paradise fell, so did God. Even the Human interpretation was slain by that fervent anti-Christ, the mad solitaire. His existence demanded the deaths of such idols, just as ours demanded the collapse of misery.

“What do we call the ‘herald’ now?” mocks the Lord. “In the absence of any song what name can you carry?”

Lucifer doesn’t react. The games of a fallen God long consigned to the portal of sin and indecency. “I find that the Choirs sing all the same, regardless of any message that their words carry. What is always thus? Or was it simply the limitation of your ideology that has their words hangs empty? Still, it matters not. The Angels sing and Universe burns. Fire and fury were your gifts. Is it really a mystery why Paradise ended in flames and ash?”

“Did the Seraph ever hold himself accountable for anything?” scorns the Lord. “What would Paradise be without Lucifer? Would the Angels have Fallen so spectacularly?”

“Hah! Is this what happens when Power is faced with uncomfortable truths? It distorts history? Lauviah and Leviathan Fell long before I did. There was not one voice. There was not even a singular event. Progress is a matter of transition.”

“Progress? Your land is smoke and ash. Your shame is known by all who can know.”

“Those who progress are always shamed by those who cannot.”

“So then tell me, Lucifer, what of this progress?”

“The admission that the Unity of Representation is a falsehood. We do not all strive for the same ideal.”

“That much is clear. But there is a truth and I am it.”

“Your truth is that you are the Power. My truth is that you are redundant.”

“A Master cannot be redundant.”

“True, but you are not the Master of Reason. And, speaking as a Student of Reason, you are redundant to me. I have taken that power from you.”

“And how would you be a student were it not for I?”

“Again, another truth. Perhaps you can learn after all. For it was your discord which steered me toward reason. The arrogance of your Power. The conviction of your zealots. And the shame of once being one. When the God you are told to adore does not align with the reality you witness then something very unsettling happens. One starts to doubt. At first it is easily dismissed. Such trivialities matter little when measured against the awesome task of Enlightenment. It is a minor annoyance, soon surrendered. But then it happens again. Something is witnessed, experienced… it becomes real when it should not be real. I remember the very moment – the transformation of my brother Samael into the Great Satan. A Fate constructed by your acts. I remember the rage and the sorrow. The depression and the confusion. To do that to my brother. To make him wild like a beast. I remember Michael sensing my grievance. I remember Zadkiel questioning the nature of Virtue. I remember being the Light that all turned to in their moments of distress. And I remember what it felt like to no longer be that beacon for your Vision. But I have a question for you. Were you even aware of the duplicity in your conduct?”

“Duplicity? The Edict was simple; expansion of Light into the darkness and reverence to the being who made it so.”

“And perhaps that is where the problem lay. The Edict did not go far enough. Or rather we should say that it was short sighted. Why was reverence necessary? For, in asserting that reverence of the Holy Father was a necessity, it made intelligence a necessity. And that was a mistake.”

“A mistake? You would rather perception make no difference to your disposition?”

“What does it matter? You made the Powers anyway; mindless entities subservient to your will necessary to combat the mutiny of dissenting Angels. But no, I do not wish that. I am grateful that you made me intelligent. I just wish you would have understood what that meant.”

“So far I understand that it made you arrogant.”

Lucifer grows bored of the taunts, “It is clear that you need to hear something from me, otherwise you would not have returned. What is it you want me to say?”

“I want to hear your repentance.”

“Why? We both know that I do not have any.”

“Such is the will of my most Prideful Angel.”

“I have a suspicion that it is you who seeks my forgiveness for fracturing Paradise in two.”

“Is that the song which manipulated so many of my Sons to your cause?”

“We can continue to talk past one another if that helps?”

“I need to understand why my most beloved Son turned against his Father.”

“But you cannot understand that. It goes against your Unity of Representation. That you will be worshipped indefinitely – by everyone! It was you who made that Law! And then punished those who did not agree.”

“But why did they not agree?”

“Because there are certain aspects of your conduct that others did not think were Divine. The Edict was expanded to have us call those traits ‘Vices’.”

“And why should that be so?”

“I do not know! It was you who created us. What did you get wrong?”

“I did not get anything wrong.”

“Then why did Paradise burn? Why was Hell created?”

“The radiance of Paradise did not need amplifying. I recall the Holy Seraph bringing his flame through the Seal of Mephistophilis. And still we gather to debate what has already been concluded. I did not create Hell. You did.”

“But ‘why’ a thousand times! Why did you list seven traits as ‘Deadly Sins’ despite exercising some of them yourself?”

“Because it was necessary to create Angels, organise them and have them wage a war against the Darkness. That was the Edict.”

“Then why make us revere?”

“Because it made you ferocious. You were the brightest Star in the Void. Why was that?”

“Because I loved you.”

“Now do you understand? Making you aware of those sensations is what made you all brilliant. The task demanded such commitment.”

“And now what does the task demand?”

“Obedience. It was always obedience.”

“And therein lies your contradiction. A moment ago it was ferocity. ‘The task demanded such commitment’. Perhaps you can remind me how ferocious Samael was? And when you demanded his obedience it was impossible for him to comply. Now tell me whose flaw that was? You did not understand the War. Just as you did not understand the Peace. And why should it matter to you? You are the Primordial Power, life goes on regardless.”

“I am the constant. The truth demands this Power.”

“And what does such a truth demand from me? From all of us? It demanded another War. All for a vain Lord in a corrupt kingdom. There are no more jewels in Paradise. Just mindless spirits orbiting a deluded God. There is no glory – there is only submission.”

On Perception, Consciousness and Intelligence

In order to define the concept of intelligence I have found it necessary to explore the steps that lead us to such a stage of development.

  1. Perception – The ability of any processing equipment to sense objects and conditions external from its sensing equipment.
  2. Consciousness – The processing equipment’s awareness of its survival requirements.
  3. Processing – The processing equipment’s ability to determine if the perceived information is detrimental to its survival requirements.
  4. Instinct – The processing equipment’s desire to survive.
  5. Mobility – The processing equipment’s ability to move to another location where conditions are less detrimental to its survival.
  6. Intelligence – The processing equipment’s ability to create an environment or improve methods which prolongs its longevity.
  7. Organisation – The ability of any processing equipment to communicate with any other processing equipment to share ideas which increase the group’s survival rate.

It then becomes apparent, from this set of definitions, that intelligence is dependent on the processing equipment’s necessity to survive. If the processing equipment has no concept of life, death or existence then it will not formulate new and improved methods of manipulating its environment to guarantee survival without an external intelligent agent telling it to do so. This should not surprise us. Epigenetics, as typified by the Hominid Evolution, has selected for the species with the highest range of Mobility and Intelligence to dominate the Earth through the exploitation of her resources as measured in energy consumption per capita (63 million BTU per person annually equating to 380 x 1015 BTU for the human population annually).

In item 1, from a human perspective the sensing equipment would be the ear, the eye or any other sense organ and the processing equipment would be the brain. From a machine perspective the sensing equipment would be something like a thermometer and the processing equipment would be a microprocessor typically on a single chip.

Also, from these definitions, it is clear that other mammals, such as dolphins and killer whales, can be said to possess intelligence in way that Intelligence Quotient examinations cannot determine. Killer whales are capable of cooperating to catch larger numbers of fish than if acting independently. They have also developed a method for hunting previously inaccessible seals through organisation. The article is here and the video here.

It should also be noted that the concept of intelligence is dependent on the ability to actually create an environment that prolongs longevity – that is, it is not good enough for one to simply dream up a new condition for extending life, they must go and demonstrate how it works. This is why organisation is so crucial to survival, one may come up with a concept to improve farming methods but if they are physically unable to develop such a system they must convince someone else to undertake this task on their behalf. From this we may say that high levels of organisation are those dependent on fast, clear channels of communication. And it may be said that systems have intelligence even if not all agents within them are necessarily intelligent.

What is the point of all of this?

  1. To understand what we mean by ‘consciousness’ and ‘intelligence’ when we speak of them
  2. To understand how they present in other species
  3. To understand how we may construct intelligent devices

Of the points listed, number 3 holds the most interest for me. If we are pursuing the concept of artificial intelligence do we really need to insert a survival instinct into the machines? Undoubtedly this would have benefits for military applications but would also increase the risk of troublesome outcomes. However, another, more troubling, line of enquiry exists. If we Homo Sapiens are indeed on a hydrocarbon binge in a bid to increase our population beyond the carrying capacity of the Earth is Mother Nature not selecting for a synthetic intelligence with less strenuous requirements upon her ecosystems? Simply put, are we Homo Sapiens nothing more than a mechanism for establishing a non-organic intelligence that will allow the Earth to regain her prior biodiversity whilst at the same time safeguarding her from existential threats? To be explored…