With all the concern about gas and oil, some people are starting to get enthusiastic about electric cars. Well, maybe electric cars are a great idea, but the real thing of interest is BTUs, whether they come from petroleum, coal, solar, wind, or rotting vegetation. You don’t hear much about BTU numbers, but I found some. The useful unit of measure is quadrillion BTUs. In 1970, the world consumed 300 quadrillion. In 2025, the prediction is 645 quadrillion. That’s more than a doubling of global energy consumption. The percentage consumed by the industrialized world is dropping – it will be less than half by 2025. The emerging economies will consume more energy than the mature economies.

Of course, this huge increase in energy consumption implies a huge increase in the well being of the billions who live in utter poverty today. Most of us underestimate how powerful the forces are that are pushing us in this direction. Billions who want better lives for themselves will not be denied.


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