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Wattzon.org – How much energy we consume and what to do about it

Saul Griffith has published a version of his talk at ETech as a website, wattzon.org.

Saul’s key points: Solving global warming is an engineering problem. We know the connection between greenhouse gases and global warming, and can determine just how much carbon we’re allowed to put into the atmosphere to give us the temperature we can live with. The answer isn’t pretty. He looks at it from both a personal point of view (how do I need to change my lifestyle to use only my fair share of the global carbon allowance) and from a global policy point of view (what are the available sources of clean energy, how big are they, and what is the scale of the industrialization effort required to harness them?)

From Wattzon:

114 light bulbs

The average American uses 11400 Watts of power continuously. This is the equivalent of burning 114 x100 Watt light bulbs, all the time. The average person globally uses 2255 Watts of power, or a little less than 23 x100 Watt light bulbs.

What are the consequences of us all using this much power?

What is the implied challenge of global warming in terms of how we produce power?

What are the things we do as individuals in terms of using power that we might change?

Wattzon.org hosts a document that gives us a framework for thinking about these challenges, and how we might change our behaviours as individuals as well as our collective behaviour as societies and global citizens, if we are to meet the great challenge of the 21st century – how to live in a world where we increasingly understand the resources to be finite, and the consequences of our actions complex & inter-twined.

What temperature do we set climate change at? What CO2 concentration does this imply we need to aim at? How much power can we get from fossil fuels while still meeting this goal? How much power do we need to install and produce from non-carbon technologies? What does this mean for countries, corporations, and individuals?

Click a lightbulb to continue.

(See also Ethan Zuckerman’s great summary of Saul’s talk and the video interview done by TechwebTV.)

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  • http://www.myspace.com/benjaminkwilliams Benjamin Williams

    Global Warming is not a problem because it is not happening by our hands or engines. The Earth has periods of warm and cool, and if it gets warm enough in Canada to grow oranges then I think they would welcome the development. Just think of American’s Agri-Business growth if they didn’t have to take winter “off”. Two crops a year, three crops a year, we would have so much grain we would have to turn it into ethanol just to keep the markets flowing.
    Oil comes from plants just as it comes from the Earth. Peanut, soy, olive, coconut all can produce oil which can be be turned into energy. With all this warmer weather, we can have “Oil Farms” a huge, huge Agri-Business boom if we don’t get pessimistic and alarmist about the whole thing.