The world media is full of optimistic talk of a future hydrogen economy and soft energy paths courtesy of Amory Lovins. Most famously he coined the term 'negawatts' to describes energy savings from energy efficient gizmos. For some reason, otherwise intelligent people have jumped on board the scam train and preached that the best thing we can all do is use energy more efficiently, and there will be not need for more energy generation capacity.
Rather than waste more time, I will bluntly show the absurdity of this claim. I currently eat one banana a day, but could eat them more efficiently, resulting in me eating just one per week! Each week I am now producing 6 negabananas! Surely there is no reason to clear the forest for banana planations since we can all consume them more efficiently! Lovins however takes the whole 'negascam' thing even further. He says that consumers should be paid to produce negawatts. Seriously, I produce an thousands of negawatts - I could plug in flood lights into all the electricity sockets in my home, using thousands of real megawatts (hours that is) but I don't. Therefore, I am instead producing thousand of negawatts. Where is me cheque?
The reality is our global economic system requires energy, and for the system to grow, we either need more people, or more energy available per person. It is a simple as that. Our choices are to continue using more energy each year and maintain growth, or use less energy and have negative growth.