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No holiday for nation’s 2-4/7 ‘energy slaves’
Carl Etnier, Times Argus
Labor Day honors the workers who have built our country. But neither Labor Day nor any other holiday honors the “energy slaves” – the machines that have worked hardest to build our economy. And now those slaves are starting to leave us.
Energy slaves don’t look like the workers honored on Labor Day: the lineman restoring your power after a storm, the backhoe operator digging a house foundation or the nurse changing a patient’s bandages. They symbolize the energy sources that heat and cool the buildings and power the machines that run our society. One energy slave represents the power output from a human working as hard as a slave driver might drive a slave. A strong human working hard all day can put out roughly 100 watts of power. Working hard 12 hours per day, six days per year, 50 weeks per year, a human can produce about 1 million BTUs of energy – the amount of energy contained in eight gallons of gasoline.
From oil alone, 150 energy slaves serve the average person in the United States. The electrical line worker drives a truck everywhere; the backhoe makes digging a foundation in flinty soil seem effortless compared to digging by hand in sand; and the nurse uses bandages and medicines made with and from oil, in a hospital heated with oil.
But now the slaves are starting to slip away.
World crude oil production peaked in May 2005 and is down 2 percent – despite record-high oil prices and economic growth that normally translates into increasing use of oil. This world peak and decline has been forecast for over 50 years.
(2 September 2007)
Carl Etnier has been a contributor to Energy Bulletin.
A Fit of Peak
John Hockenberry, Blue Egg
Recommended by Dave Cohen in today’s Drumbeat at TOD:
A tragic-comedy video about peak oil by investigative reporter John Hockenberry. Highly Recommended. I couldn’t stop laughing as the intrepid reporter visits the High Sierras of California to find out if anyone knows what “peak oil” is.
This is why that I continue to write about the subject although many here will assume that the peak has already been passed.
I’m still waiting for NPR to “get religion” about peak oil and stop interviewing Daniel Yergin, just as they have with climate change this year.
The Round-Up: August 31st 2007
Stoneleigh, The Oil Drum: Canada
Energy and financial news from a peak oil perspective.
(31 August 2007)