World Energy Production, Population Growth, and the Road to the Olduvai Gorge

  title={World Energy Production, Population Growth, and the Road to the Olduvai Gorge},
  author={Richard C. Duncan},
  journal={Population and Environment},
The Olduvai theory is defined by the ratio of world energy production and population. It states that the life expectancy of Industrial Civilization is less than or equal to 100 years: 1930–2030. After more than a century of strong growth—energy production per capita peaked in 1979. The Olduvai theory explains the 1979 peak and the subsequent decline. Moreover, it says that energy production per capita will fall to its 1930 value by 2030, thus giving Industrial Civilization a lifetime of less… 

Figures from this paper

World energy consumption and resources: an outlook for the rest of the century
Historical data on world energy consumption are discussed with reference to current data on energy resources and general correlations between per capita energy consumption in different countries and
Renewable energy sources today and tomorrow
Renewable energy sources (RES) have significant potential to contribute to the economic, social and environmental energy sustainability of small islands. They improve access to energy for most of the
The impending peak and decline of petroleum production: an underestimated challenge for conservation of ecological integrity.
It is crucially important to wisely manage ecosystems during the transition period to an economy based on little or no use of fossil fuels, and the development of resource-constrained scenarios should be addressed immediately.
Energy sustainability through domestication of energy technologies in third world countries in Africa
Access to reliable and adequate energy is a compulsory step to industrialization, improving the living standards of the people, enhancing safety and security, and preserving a healthy environment.
Energy in Life and Society
This chapter is concerned with the use and impact of energy on life and society. All activities of life and society are energy-based and energy-handling processes. The energy for all life on Earth
US Energy Conservation and Efficiency: Benefits and Costs
With increased energy conservation plus the adoption of diverse energy efficient technologies, the US economy could save about 32 quads or about 33% of its current energy consumption, if sound
Cities as Dissipative Structures: Global Change and the Vulnerability of Urban Civilization
Techno-industrial society and modern cities as presently conceived are inherently unsustainable. This conclusion flows from the energy and material dynamics of growing cities interpreted in light of
A transversal perspective on global energy production and consumption: An approach based on convergence theory
Abstract The transformation of economies and societies associated with technological advances made during the 20th century has not only significantly increased global energy consumption but also
On Prediction of Depreciation Time of Fossil Fuel in Malaysia
Problem statement: The fossil fuels play a crucial role in the world e nergy markets. Demand for fossil fuels become increasingly high an d worrisome, because of fossil fuels will be significantly
Sustainability of metals production: the case of copper
Economic and engineering models are developed for the cost of copper production in the USA in an attempt to answer the question: is copper mining sustainable, particularly if energy costs increase? A


The life-expectancy of industrial civilization: The decline to global equilibrium
A new paradigm is needed for industrial civilization, because neither the traditional theory of exponential industrial growth nor the more recent steady-state hypothesis can satisfactorily explain
Beyond the limits: confronting global collapse envisioning a sustainable future.
The authors of the 1972 book entitled The Limits of Growth published this 1992 sequel which shows that many resources and pollution flows of the computer simulation have surpassed their sustainable
Strategies for energy use.
Nuclear power, solar cells, wind, and tide will all have roles in supplying energy for growth and development without aggravating the greenhouse effect. Yet exotic new energy sources alone cannot
World dynamics
World Dynamics shows the opportunity for bringing the world of man into equilibrium with the forces of his environment while there still remains time and maneuvering room for growth and expansion to give way to equilibrium.
Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos
Part 1 Entangling Alliances 1. The Challenge of Limits 2. Overpopulation: Escape to the Stars? 3. Uneasy Litter Mates: Population and Progress 4. Population Theory: Academia's Stepchild 5. Default
Elements of Physical Biology.
The author has the problem of evolution always before him, and considers analytically the effect on population of a change in the behaviour of individuals in Elements of Physical Biology.
The Collapse of Complex Societies
Acknowledgements 1. Introduction to collapse 2. The nature of complex societies 3. The study of collapse 4. Understanding collapse: the marginal productivity of sociopolitical change 5. Evaluation:
The human use of human beings - cybernetics and society
This book examines the implications of cybernetics for education, law, language, science, technology, as Norbert Wiener anticipates the enormous impact--in effect, a third industrial revolution--that the computer has had on the authors' lives.
The Limits to Growth
In spite of the preliminary state of our work, we believe it is important to publish the model and our findings now. (...) We feel that the model described here is already sufficiently developed to
The tragedy of the commons.
  • G. Hardin
  • Political Science, Sociology
  • 1968
The population problem has no technical solution; it requires a fundamental extension in morality.