Energy and growth are tightly correlated. The more energy consumption a society has the greater their GDP. Producing more energy does not grow the economy, but the relationship shows that, while there has been tremendous growth globally, we are not any more efficient in using energy.
This is an important relationship that needs to change if we are going to be effective at combating climate change.
Links to this note
The Kardeshev scale measures the advancement of civilization based on energy consumption. It’s a useful way for thinking about where extraterrestrials might be but also where we are in the progress of human civilization.
Making complicated things seem simple involves abstracting over reality in such a way that is clear and actionable. Often times, that means reducing things down to one number going up or down. People are drawn to (fixated even) clarity of a single number going up or down.
Fermi Paradox and Pessimism of Energy Economics
A possible explanation to the Fermi Paradox can be found in energy economics. As a civilization progresses the cost of producing energy decreases which also reduces the cost of a world-ending event such as nuclear war. The pessimistic view is that civilizations eventually reach a point where they destroy themselves and therefore never make it to the point where they can achieve interplanetary communication or contact.