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Examples include the Black Thunder coal field (USA), the Ghawar oil field (Saudi Arabia) and the Urengoy gas field (Russia) to name but a few.But these supergiant deposits are now to varying degrees used up.
But in fact humans produce very little energy, but what distinguishes us from other species is that we have become very efficient at gathering energy that already exists and building machines that can convert the energy to goods (motor cars, televisions and computers) and services (heat and light and mobility) that collectively define our wealth.This began by gathering fire wood and food and progressed to gathering coal, oil and natural gas.This led to gathering U and Th and learning how to convert this to enormous amounts of thermal and electrical energy.I had never contemplated the concept before and I was immediately struck by its importance.If we used more energy to get the energy we need to survive then we will surely perish.The only variation is that the vehicles setting up the impassable wall might change slightly...
the Washington minivan, and the Oregon semi pulling 3 trailers seemed to make a great team. A bonus was that I was driving all the way through Oregon into Washington with a 1 year old, a five year old, and a 89 year old grandma.
And this goes on, mile after mile, after ridiculous mile.
And if by some fluke, I can get around one of them, I end up within 30 seconds back in the same predicament.
This marks the edge of The Net Energy Cliff and it is clear that new Green technologies designed to save humanity from CO2 may kill humanity through energy starvation instead.
Fossil fuels remain comfortably away from the cliff edge but march closer to it for every year that passes.
And as global population has grown together with expectations of prosperity that are founded on energy gathering activities, humanity has had to expand its energy gathering horizons to nuclear power, solar power and energy from waste.