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Carey King Research Newsletter - December 2017:
Two items for this newsletter:

1: Friday Dec. 15 online presentation: Energy and the Economy

I will be presenting at the Friday Seminar Series of the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) here at the University of Texas at Austin. The BEG does a great job of hosting and archiving these presentations, and I thank them for the opportunity.

Title: Energy and the Economy over the Long-Term: Size and Structure

Date: December 15, 2017

Time: 9:00 am - 10:00 am (central time zone)

Streaming Link:

View the presentation live or watch the video archive later:
The presentation can be viewed live on this coming Friday, December 15, morning and it can also be viewed later by clicking on the link below or visiting their seminar webpage:

This presentation will be a mixture of discussing findings from much of my research and publications over the last 3 years. I will explain how the net energy of the economy is linked to its structure.  In particular I will discuss how my 2016 paper in Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality explains that the U.S. economy became less "complex" after 2002 and that this finding is explained by the rising cost of food and energy, and also translated to a lower state of "net energy" of the economy. 

Abstract: A long-term and systems-oriented perspective on the role of energy resources and technologies shows that they play a fundamental role in enabling the physical and economic growth of the Industrial era.  Yet, most economic modeling approaches do not even consider that energy availability and constraints fundamentally affect the size and structure of our economies.  This lack of energy-economic coupling means that most economic frameworks cannot even consider the energy system as an explanatory factor for the Great Recession and the economic “secular stagnation” since 2008.  In addition, mainstream economic frameworks cannot explain future implications of large scale changes in the energy system (e.g., a low-carbon transition), even though they are used for this purpose. This presentation shows data to make the case that (1) the declining cost of energy (including food) is an apt explanation for historical growth, (2) worldwide energy and food costs reached the lowest point in history around the year 2000, and (3) the cessation of the decline in energy and food costs (within the U.S.) helps explain structural changes within the U.S. economy.

2: New article: A Net Energy calculation for China 

In April 2017 I visited Professor Lianyong Feng at the Petroleum University of Beijing.  He, his colleagues, and students are performing research in relating the economy to energy and net energy metrics. After discussing the research with he and his students, they were kind enough to include me as a co-author on their paper, linked below. The paper shows that the net energy of the energy system in China has declined considerably over the last 20-30 years. 

I congratulate Jingxuan on the publishing of this paper during the pursuit of his PhD.

Contact me if you would like to learn more about this paper.

Feng, Jingxuan, Feng, Lianyong, Wang, Jianliang, and King, Carey W.  Modeling the Point of Use EROI and Its Implications for Economic Growth in China, Energy, (in press), available online November 11, 2017:
online link.

Abstract:   Energy return on energy invested (EROI) might be considered a measure of net energy, and most current studies focus on standard EROI (EROI-ST), which characterizes the net energy output of the primary energy. If the energy inputs required to obtain a fuel was extended from a wellhead to the point of use, the energy delivered decreases, and the energy input of delivering the fuel increases. These factors combine to reduce the EROI-ST to what is referred to as the point of use EROI (EROI-POU) that characterizes the net energy output of the energy system after it delivers fuels to consumers. This study calculates the direct and indirect energy (embodied energy) inputs for energy production sectors (including extraction, processing and delivery) by means of an Input-Output table to calculate China’s EROI-POU and the net energies from 1987 to 2012. Based on calculations in this study, the EROI-POU of China’s energy production sector declined from 11.:1 to 5.3:1 between 1987 and 2012. In 1987, the energy production sectors consumed 1 ton standard coal equivalent (TCE) energy inputs for every 10 TCE of produce net energy. However, in 2012, this number declined to 4.3. Additionally, this study simulates and forecast economic Gross Domestic Product (GDP) trends in China using net energy production function. The results reveal how declining EROI-POU for Chinese fossil fuels influence China’s GDP growth.
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. 


Carey W. King, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Energy Institute and Jackson School of Geosciences
Assistant Director, Energy Institute
Lecturer, McCombs School of Business & LBJ Schol of Public Affairs
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.
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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