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So energy is the potential to produce anything though devices (as said in the definition). Better said: the possibility of using external energy sources has brought us prosperity. The availability of cheap energy has boost our prosperity severely. Reversed said: if the energy becomes more expensive, prosperity levels will decline, if external energy resources are running out, prosperity will be gone. But what is energy really? People mostly will describe energy by the source they're using. In the days before mass industrialization the answer should be: wood (you burn it and you've got heat), horsepower (just feed them, and they the heavy part work for you if you manage them) and windmills (just build and operate them and they work for you). After that period (in the days of the first mass industrialization) the answer will be: coal (it fuelled heating and steam engines). Since the 20th century the answer will be crude oil, coal, tarsands, gas, biofuels and uranium (and we use the oil, gas and electricity for running all devices in our economies/societies/households). As the sources of these three energy streams are finite resources, and the world population and world prosperity (as in: energy demand by those two) grows energy gets more and more expensive and this start to threaten global prosperity. We need to find new energy sources, a longer walk on the oil, coal, tarsands, gas (fossil) and uranium (fission nuclear) road will bring us in severe problems and could end our economies/societies and give a world that is only capable of feeding 2 billion instead of the current 6.7 billion and the future 9 billion. They growth curve of the population is almost identical to the growth curve of the population. The reversed look to it gives the hard conclusion that if we don't find/explore other sources of energy the world population will go back to the 2 billion level of before the energy availability explosion. And this simple line stands for famine, chaos and enormous loads of human suffering. Energy doesn't only give prosperity, it also is the maintainer of life conditions.

Author: Gijs Graafland

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