Guest lecture given to first-year engineering students at the University of British Columbia, 2013 Sept 10. (APSC 150)
Title: A sustainable (energy) future
After a brief preface on intellectual self-defense, the presentation discussed the science underpinning our understanding of climate change, followed by an analysis of worldwide energy use.
The experience curve was introduced as a force arguably more powerful than Moore's Law (because it applies in virtually every manufacturing sector) and the main reason that renewables (wind and solar, for the time being) are likely to displace fossil fuel and nuclear power in the coming decades -- not for reasons of conscience, but reasons of cost.
Lastly, the metaphor of the "utility death spiral" was introduced to explain the probable impact of efficiency and renewables, on the fossil-and-nuclear dominated utility sector, in coming decades.