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Carey King Research Newsletter - June 2016

Three topics for you in this newsletter:
Click each link above to read further (or scroll below).
Thank you very much for your time.  As always, please contact me for more information about how you can be involved in and contribute to my research program and student researchers (they need food!). 


Carey W. King, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Assistant Director, Energy Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, 512.471.5468,
,  @CareyWKing

Website (personal)
Website (personal)
Website (University of Texas)
Website (University of Texas)
My research takes a systems approach to describe the role of energy and energy technologies in our past and future. This approach provides the best way to both address questions about our future economy and environment as well as understand how individual technologies can and cannot affect the macro-scale and long-run trends that will frame our future options. I seek understanding of the relationships among:
  • energy resources and technologies,
  • population demographics,
  • water and food,
  • macroeconomic factors, and 
  • implications of internalizing environmental externalities.
Carey presents at French Conference "Science for Energy Scenarios" (March 2016)

In March I attended one of my most enjoyable and enlightening conferences to date.  What is not to like about discussing energy and economic modeling in the French Alps!

My presentation focused on how to link net energy and economic metrics: Suppose we agree how to calculate EROIs … so/now what? 
Presented at Science for Energy Scenarios, the 3rd Science and Energy Seminar at Ecole de Physique des Houches, Les Houches, France, March 6th-11th 2016.

Presentation: here,  Video of presentation: here

Presentation timeline:
0:00 - 23:25: Historical trends of energy and food costs
23:25 - 37:10: Explanation of how IPCC economic modeling of a low-carbon transition does not make sense

See conference link for more videos and presenations.  I thank the tireless work of Charles Hall and Jacques Treiner for helping to make the conference happen.  If you have time and a drink, I recommend also viewing the following videos and presentations (I give a hint of their topic):
Susan Krumdiek - Transition Engineering (the role of engineers in a sustainable world)
Jean-Marc Jancovici - A good summary of how we need to phrase our energy and science modeling in the language and perspective of others
Michel Lepitit - Discusses how neoclassical economists cannot properly explain our current high debt, low interest rate, and low productivity situation
Charlie Hall - The ever-present background and thinking on biophysical economics and "energy return on energy invested (EROI)" trends

As always, you can view my Presentations page on my website to access presentations and videos.

Graduating Students - Spring 2016
In May 2016 two students that were working with me graduated from the Energy and Earth Resources program within the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin.
  • Tess Haegele  - Tess assessed the layout of the Austin Water pipeline networks (treated drinking water, wastewater, and reclaimed water) using network theory and information theory metrics of network structure.  The long-term goal of this type of research is to in order to inform decisions about future investments in water systems as well as networked systems in general.  As networks (such as water supply pipelines) grow in size, it is important that we understand how it is evolving in a balance between efficiency and resilience, and by using these methods, we can assess how water networks reside within this balance and how that balance has changed over time. 
  • Kristin Abbott - Kristin investigated the enhanced risk to corrosion of water network (wastewater) pipelines that reside in floodplains. Using data from Austin Water, she assessed the location and quantity of pipelines (length of pipelines) that reside in flood-prone areas in tandem with the pipeline material and makeup of the surrounding soil. These are major factors that contribute to enhanced corrosion potential.
Congratulations to Kristin and Tess!

Macroeconomic Modeling
The problem
Monetary models of finance and debt assume that energy resources and technology are not constraints on the economy.  Energy transition scenario models assume that economic growth, finance and debt will not be constraints on the energy transition.  These assumptions must be eliminated, and the modeling concepts must be integrated if we are to properly plan for and understand the dynamics of a low-carbon and/or renewable energy transition.

The Solution
As we attempt to transition to a low-carbon energy supply, largely again based again on renewable energy flows, it is paramount to have internally consistent macro-scale models that track flows and interdependencies among money, debt, employment and biophysical quantities (e.g., natural resources and population).  

Fund my students Harsh Jayaswal and Prathaj Haputhanthri who are both working with me to create an integrated framework to address the problem stated above.  Click here to go to the University of Texas gift giving page.  The Energy Institute will already be selected as an option, and simply list "King Research" in the lower right text box to funnel your funds to Harsh and Prathaj.

Harsh's and Prathaj's research is developing a framework to describe our contemporary and future macroeconomic situation that is consistent with both biophysical and economic principles.  Unfortunately, this fundamental integration does not underpin our current thinking. This improved framework can contribute to more robust policy-making ability under changing circumstances.

Contact Carey to learn more!

Upcoming Speaking Events and Conference - June 25-29, 2016 in Washington, DC

From June 26 to June 29 in Washington DC Carey attends the joint conferences of the International Society for Ecological Economics and the International Society for Biophysical Economics

Just before these conferences, Carey will be co-leading a discussion on energy and the economy, organized by the Energy Xchange: Conversations about Economy, Security, and Sustainability

Energy + the Economy: A Roundtable Discussion

June 26, 12:30 - 5:00 pm
University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
4340 Connecticut Ave NW, Room 214, Washington DC 20008 [map]

In conjunction with International Society of Biophysical Economics 2016
(Registration for this event is separate from ISBPE-ISEE conference)

Carey King – Assistant Director, University of Texas Energy Institute
David Daniels – Chief Energy Modeler, Energy Information Administration
Steven Kopits – President, Princeton Energy Advisors
Charles A.S. Hall – Co-author, Energy and the Wealth of Nations

How will changing dynamics regarding energy shape our economic future?

The world has experienced profound changes in recent years regarding both energy and the economy. Fossil fuels, while still abundant, are becoming more costly to develop as the most easily-accessible resources become depleted. Many renewable energy technologies are becoming less costly, but would still require massive capital investment to replace fossil fuels at current scale. Global demand for energy continues to climb but, at the same time, advanced economies are becoming less energy-intensive (less energy used per unit GDP).

Meanwhile, a global financial crisis, mounting public and private debt, and other headwinds have cast a shadow of lingering uncertainty over the world economy. Conventional thinking presumes an eventual return to “normal.” But slowing growth, increasing inequality, and a sense that an apparent recovery remains fragile are driving concerns that the world had entered a new era, where the usual economic rules and tools may no longer apply.

This interactive event will explore how these trends may be related and converging to define a new normal for the 21st Century.

To learn more about Carey's research, visit his website or contact him using this information:
e:      |  web:    |     ph: +1 512-471-5468    |    t: @CareyWKing
The University of Texas at Austin, 2304 Whitis Ave, C2400, Austin, TX 78712-1718

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