Teetering on the brink of the ‘energy cliff’

Declining ERoEI – energy return on energy invested – is a worrying trend

corn-ethanol-refinery
A corn ethanol refinery

The incredible progress that human civilisation has made over the centuries can be attributed to two technological breakthroughs. One is the emergence of the food output surplus. The other is the harnessing of energy trapped in fossil fuel deposits.

Thanks to the increase in the productivity of labour employed in agriculture, humanity was able to divert resources from hunting, gathering and farming to more sophisticated pursuits, including manufacturing, scientific research and education. More r

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