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What's all the energy for?

(This could be considered a 7th  Critique of the Model )


Since En-ROADS is primarilly an "energy system model", it provides only a limited, coarse view of _why_ energy is needed and what it is used for. In the Reference Guide there are three "end use sectors" that together make up the "energy consuming capital": Residential & Commercial, Industrial, and Transport. On the dashboard these are further consolidated into the "Transport" and "Building and Industry" sections; the energy they individually use is displayed in "Final Energy Consumption by End Use--Area".

So, the built-in economy provides a pre-set "basket of goods and services" from Transport, Building, and Industry. The scale of that economy is mostly determined by the GDP-per-person which is constrained to a path determined by the Economic Growth values.


In the short term (< 2030), this monolithic, GDP-controlled economy imposes scenario limitations, effectively ruling out ambitious consumption-change scenarios. For example, it would be nice to have a "Wealthiest 10% consumption" slider to show the effect in the 2020s of "not consuming certain goods and services, from living space (overly large homes, secondary residences of the wealthy) to oversized vehicles, environmentally damaging and wasteful food, leisure patterns and work patterns involving driving and flying" [From the "Scientists' warning on affluence"]


In the long term, we'd like to be able to model Decent Living Energy of 15 to 40 GJ/cap/yr in 2050 which coresponds to an En-ROADS Final Energy Consumption of around 150 to 400 ExaJ/yr. Setting the minimal GDP growth parameters of 0.5, 1.7, 10 gives 418 ExaJ/yr in 2050 -- this is just at the upper end of the range, and/but if there had been more progress in the 2020s then it would be lower.

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