Armed with 2015 data (found on page 40 here, for “Total World”), we can calculate the latest Kardashev score for human civilization. Further, the new data slightly revises previous years estimates, and so I’ll calculate the values for the past few years (while also taking the additional leap days into effect).

While there was a 1.0% increase in total world primary energy consumption in 2015 over 2014, that wasn’t enough to tick over the Kardashev score giving my three decimals of precision standard.

I guess I haven’t addressed issues with this score yet, so now is as good a time as any. The main problem with the Kardashev scale is the same with all other simple measures of civilization, like GDP or HDI: what you want to know might not be and probably isn’t exactly what you’re measuring. Imagine two civilizations; each produces the same amount of stuff and each happens to produce the same cultural output (same songs, same movies, etc). The only difference is that one uses twice as much energy as the other. We would conclude that the more energy-efficient civilization is the more advanced, right? But the more wasteful civilization would have a higher Kardashev score.

It’s therefore worthwhile to note while the energy consumption of Earth is still increasing, there is another trend where the energy intensity (the amount of energy needed to produce one unit of GDP) is *decreasing*.

Source: EIA

### Like this:

Like Loading...

Pingback: World Energy Intensity | duanetilden