How much will the sequence of events differ in different areas around the world?

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Mhallrad's picture
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Joined: Mar 17 2014
Posts: 3
How much will the sequence of events differ in different areas around the world?


Thought I should write my first post here, if I remember correctly.

During my years of following our civilizations reaction to the predicament we are in I have often wondered and discussed with my friend how things will play out. While studying this subject one thing that stands out is that most of the English information is centered around the situation in the United States. I live in Sweden and I have a had a hard time trying to sift through information that is applicable on the whole world or just a specific area of the world. This has made me wonder how the sequence of events will differ around the world and if something that might be a predicament in one part of the world is as problem or even not a problem in another part of the world.

I now this can be the case during a world crisis as my grandfather died in Belgrade by an airstrike during world war 2 whilst my grandmother grew up in Stockholm barley registering the war.

As a maintenance engineer working in the energy industry (formerly nuclear and currently biofuel powered combined heat and power) I found an report regarding the issue I mentioned above. It´s an report written by the world energy council where they have ranked countries in three areas they call the trilemma index.

The report writes the following about the trilemma index:

“ABOUT THE ENERGY TRILEMMA INDEX The World Energy Council’s definition of energy sustainability is based on three core dimensions: energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability. Balancing these three goals constitutes a ‘trilemma’ and is the basis for prosperity and competitiveness of individual countries”

One might of course argue over the setup of the report and the corresponding work, but I think the report is interesting in regards to the issue I raised above so I wanted to share it here, links bellow.

I wonder if anyone here has a take on the index and the issue I raised above. For example how will a country ranked in the top on environmental sustainability fare compared to a country ranked in the bottom?

Full report:

Trilemma index web page:

Best regards


cmartenson's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5074
That's interesting...local mileage *will* vary

Okay, first of all, putting together such a study is a difficult task.  Data is hard to come by, judgements have to be made, and there’s really no way to keep subjective decisions out of the mix.

So I’ll commend the WEC for trying.

But my view is that it may well be the countries lower on their list that fare better in the future than those higher on the list.

One reason is that the energy poor countries could not make terrible decisions such as putting the jobs, food and housing all over the place very far from one another.

Also, the expectations of the ‘poorer’ countries are lower than those of the wealthy nations, meaning the people won’t have to go through soul-wrenching adjustments when the time comes.

My biggest concern with the WEC study, and other like it, is that they all assume that either fossil Fuel (FF) energy will be there, or some other form will come along to take its place.

Maybe, but really maybe not.

Currently there are exactly zero alt-energy installations that got there 100% using alt-energy.  There are , as yet, no closed loop systems to study.

Which means, as of now, the assumption is that FF energy will always be there to subsidize the installation of alt-energy. 

I very much doubt that.  Alt-energy requires a complex economy intact and functioning just to manufacture the components, as well as ship them, install them, and maintain them.  Lots of moving pieces. 

I think humans act dumb, pretend none of this is important, and then are quite disappointed in future decades when declining net FF BTUs means there’s not enough energy to:

·       Feed 9 billion people (in 2050) who are used to having 10 FF calories subsidizing each food calorie

·       Dismantle the FF system (including hundreds of BWR nuclear units)

·       ‘Fund’ the militaries of the world

·       Pay off the retirees of the developed world

·       Cope with climate disruptions

·       Replace all of the concrete that was poured in prior decades

·       Keep supporting the vast criminal skimming operations otherwise known as big banking

Something has got to give.  Without a plan it probably means blundering into a default future where there’s lots of confusion and blaming the wrong parties. 

Just a guess.

Mhallrad's picture
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Joined: Mar 17 2014
Posts: 3
Some more thoughts

Thanks for the reply, I mostly agree. The report is stuck in the fossil age mindset. I think that the decline will see islands where different scenarios unfold. Al from areas with high amounts of conflict and destructive behavior to areas where more or less successful transitions occur. It is hard to predict what level of technology that can be uphold, I think a lot of technology could be upheld in an sustainable society if it was found useful.

You are right that the developed countries has further to fall. But that also makes it hard to factor in the fact that so much of the energy use is unnecessary, this gives us a possibility too drastically cut a lot of the wasteful activities. For example say that America, China and Europe cuts down on al unnecessary use of fossil fuels then much would still be left to manage a transition.

We humans definitely act dumb and people will be disappointed, but people can also accept a new situation surprisingly fast sometimes. My thought regarding the points you mentioned.

- Food scarcity will be at the epicentre of the storm. It should therefore be of the highest priority to handle with the utmost of our human ingenuity and capabilities.

-The systems will most probably not be fully dismantled, nature will take care of that. Nuclear power plants can be unloaded from fuel and decontaminated, materials that can be recycled can be sold, then the structure could be "permanently" sealed. I think that's one of the most probable solutions in the future, people will prioritise harder, what seams like a problem today might not be seamed as a problem tomorrow. It's cheaper then dismantling them and putting them in a final repository. My girlfriend works with design of the final repository for the Swedish NPP:s and the spent fuel. Before my current job I also worked in the nuclear industry, partly with the final repository. The spent fuel is the hard nut in the nuclear story. I think that if you dig deep and encapsulate the fuel in the most suitable geological formations we have done the best we can.

-I believe pensions won't be paid in full, if at all. Better to be positively surprised.

-Climate is a hard one to predict, it might wipe us out or just create large dislocations of people. I think a food and energy crisis will hit faster and harder and to deal with them in suitable way deals in with the climate in second hand. A suitable way would probably be a transition to sustainable and more local societies.

-A lot of concrete structures are unnecessary and can be left to the elements.

-It's mind blowing how people accept the current financial system. I guess it's an combination of many factors. The key support is that people can ignore it if they have a decent life of their own.

I think your guess is good. Things are starting to change, people are mostly unaware, the blame game is on and light is pointed in the wrong direction We will see how things develops.

Thank you for the great work you do!


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