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Yes, comparing the net energy yield to GDP is a useful comparison.

The other way to write (EROI-1)/EROI (the simplest way to compute it on a hand or simulated hand calculator, since you can subtract 1 in your head) is 1-(1/EROI), which actually makes it clearer what it consists of.

1/EROI is the input energy relative to the output energy, equivalent to depreciation.

So 1-(1/EROI) is basically a steady state energy yield, energy output after returning energy consumed in energy production back to the energy production system.

Just looking at energy output from various energy producing systems has the same flaw as just looking at GDP and assuming that changes in GDP tells us about changes in standard of living, since both explicitly accounted for depreciation and also the hidden depreciation of shifted and hidden costs of production means that the Real Net Domestic Product can be declining even as the GDP is rising, if the rise in GDP is at the cost of an even greater increase in hidden or shifted costs of production.

On any reasonable value of the benefits to us of the ecosystem support services provided by a hectare of rain forest, biodiesel palm oil plantations in Indonesia planted through destruction of the rain forest is an example of a contribution to Indonesia's GDP that is a net subtraction from Real global NDP, so any subsidies that encourage that production would be global acts of vandalism.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 24th, 2013 at 09:32:06 AM EST
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