Future energy development faces great challenges due to an increasing world population, demands for higher standards of living, demands for less pollution and a much discussed end to fossil fuels. Without energy, the world's entire industrialized infrastructure would collapse agriculture, transportation, waste collection, information technology, communications and much of the prerequisites that a developed nation takes for granted.
A shortage of the energy needed to sustain the world's infrastructure could lead to a Malthusian catastrophe.
Our standard of living is based literally on two factors, emotions and a multitude of "things." Emotions (thoughts, love, hate, greed, values, religion, etc.) are actually free. All humans since caveman days have all, and sometimes more, emotions that can be handled rationally. All "things" that form our physical standard of living must be produced and that requires energy.
Unfortunately politicians deal almost entirely on emotions. This is why our current ever expanding government has not and will not develop an effective energy policy.
Engineers build things. All building processes require energy. We all desire a higher material standard of living. The American standard of living was increased from rudimentary frontierism to the highest in the world based on individual invention, hard work and low cost plentiful energy. Washington has promised us a lower standard of living due to a failed energy program and ever increasing energy costs.
Ethanol Is a prime example of the political ignorance of a dysfunctional government..
Both Democrats and Republicans are using tax dollars on the promotion of ethanol as a significant fuel for the future. It makes no sense attacking the food supply when so many in the world do not have enough to eat. Most importantly there is more fossil fuel energy required to make ethanol than the ethanol energy produced. Cornell University has summarized this net loss of energy as the following,