Primer: energy and power.

If you would like to quantitatively understand the relationship between your lifestyle, global energy use, and climate change, you need to establish the language with which you can translate between these things. There are many different ways we use energy, many different ways we produce energy, and many different consequences environmentally. Power and energy are being measured around us all of the time. You get your electricity bill in kilowatt hours (kWh), your gas bill in Therms or British Thermal Units (BTUs), your car’s performance is measured in horsepower, and your lightbulbs are rated in watts. To compare these things you need a common set of units. The first problem with comparing these things is that some of them (BTUs and kWh) are measures of energy consumed, and some of them (horsepower and watts) are measures of power. To understand the rest of this book, you need an intuition for […]

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