It is great to see this discussion, from what Ted and Loran say I would
probably come down with Odum. Include the energy embodied in the machinery
used to produce.
From another angle, I drive old cars which no doubt emit more pollution,
but I drive fewer miles and the embodied energy in the machine is already
amortized. On the whole I think it makes energy sense to continue
operating old equipment.
As suggested, this conversation is not new, and it is not over by a long shot.
At 12:51 PM 5/18/00 -0700, Loren Muldowney wrote:
>I hope you will not misunderstand or take personally my attempts to be
>very explicit about what a person means, in this case, what you mean. I
>have wasted altogether too much time trying to be "polite" and avoid
>pinning people down, and I'm not going to bother any more. All I can say
>is that I am willing to be subject to the same. With this preface, I
>request even more clarification.
>Ted Rogers wrote:
> > My exposure to this methodology was through H. T. Odum who
> > continues to push the envelope. If I remember correctly it was absolutely
> > critical that embodied energy in equipment and structures be properly
> > included and amortized in the accounting.
>You do remember correctly. What is not 100% clear is whether you agree
>with Odum and accept Odum's view in this or whether you are simply
>reporting what Odum's position is. It is, of course, part of our
>academic training to be very "passive voice" about things, but after a
>point I find that this inhibits, rather than enhances, one's ability to
> > I am glad that this dialogue has begun
>I first subscribed to this list with the expectation that this kind of
>dialogue would be the norm! Boy was I surprised to discover that some
>call this "controversial"
> > and would like to point out, Loren,
> > that I believe that it needs to be maintained for the next couple of
> > decades...
>Ted, I agree with the above up to a point. However, some of us (at
>least myself) have ALREADY spent a couple decades engaged in the
>dialogue and are inclined to continue it ONLY if some action seems
>likely because of continued investment in the dialogue. Otherwise it
>just seems like time wasting. Howard Odum's "Energetics of World Food
>Production" dates from 1967. I am getting pretty tired of hearing about
>the wonderful discovery of things which have been known for decades.
>One of the barriers to engaging in this kind of dialogue is that it is
>actually quite a bit of work to remain on top of the subject matter and
>the literature to date. I have here Odum's "Environmental Accounting"
>from 1996 and I am finding that it is darned hard to read. Another is
>that many people seem extremely reluctant to take a position and explain
>how they get there. I don't go too far in trying to guess why that is,
>but all of the possibilities I can imagine are rather disturbing.
>Loomis and Connor (Crop Ecology, 1992) make no bones about the fact that
>they don't agree with Odum. They refer to his analysis as "energy
>fundamentalism" and take an alternative view of embodied energy. I
>personally think it's an "apples and oranges" problem, where each is
>applying the embodied energy concept in a different context, not
>recognizing the essential difference in the context or in what he
>considers to be the boundary conditions of his system. So each may be
>"correct" within his own context. This creates a problem for
>discussion, since they use the same words to mean different things.
>I'd love to see a group here take on this subject in a serious way, but
>it would require substantial effort on the part of the participants, so
>I am doubting that it will come to pass, based on my observations to
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