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Alternative Energy Futures Study Questions, Week 6
- What is the rough average rate of adult energy consumption in the form of food in Watts?
- What are the OECD countries? Roughly what is their population? Roughly what is the population of the "developing countries?"
- What is roughly the current average per capita rate of consumption of commercial energy in: a) the US, b) Western Europe and Japan, and c) the developing countries?
- Roughly what fraction of U.S. primary energy is used to generate electric power? Roughly what is the average efficiency of fuel-burning power plants in converting fuel energy into electrical energy?
- What was the generally prevailing relationship between economic and commercial-energy consumption in the industrialized countries before 1973 (the year of the first energy crisis)? What has happened to this relationship since 1973? Why was the pre-1973 correlation broken?
- If energy-efficiency improvements are a better investment than new energy supply, why doesn't the "invisible hand of the market" result in investments being distributed appropriately? What policy tools are available to rectify these "market imperfections?"
- The world's fossil-fuel resources are large enough to support human commercial energy use at current rates for hundreds of years. What is the principal obstacle to the full exploitation of this resource?
- What is the basis of the concern that a long-term, large-scale dependence on fission energy could make nuclear terroism more likely? What about fusion?
- What "external" costs of energy supply are not paid for in the price of energy?
- Passenger cars and "light trucks" (vans, etc.) account for almost one half of U.S. oil use. How has the U.S. tried to reduce the oil consumption of this fleet? How successful have we been? How much further could we go?
- What, in your view are optimistic and pessimistic scenarios for the future of world energy use?