In reply to Paul's message of Fri, 12 Jan 2007 07:16:25 -0800 (PST): Hi, [snip] >Sounds exactly what you said. Our rate of energy >production is exponential. Given >unlimited "free energy" such energy usage will explode >worldwide. > > Actually, our collective rate of energy usage depends upon three things.
1) What we can use it for. 2) How much each of us has available. 3) How many of us there are. Number 1 is dependent upon level of technological development. As our technology becomes more sophisticated, we tend to find more uses for energy, but also each use tends to become more efficient. Number 2 could become nearly unlimited with various sources of new energy. Number 3 may actually be self-limiting. In a number of modern western nations with a high standard of living the population is actually falling. If we can inject wealth rapidly into the third world nations, and raise their standard of living up to our own, then there is a good chance that their populations will also stabilize. A stable planetary population is the most important factor limiting energy usage. We also need to stabilize the global population for other reasons, e.g. esthetic (who wants the whole world to be "concrete jungle"?), biodiversity etc. New sources of energy are the surest means by which we can achieve the rapid increase in standard of living that is necessary to achieve a stable population. The alternative is that nature continues to regulate the population according to the tried and true method known as "boom and bust". Regards, Robin van Spaandonk http://users.bigpond.net.au/rvanspaa/ Competition provides the motivation, Cooperation provides the means.