1. There is increasing evidence that natural gas and coal reserves have been grossly overestimated and that 'peak oil' will be followed by 'peak gas' and 'peak coal' within a few decades.

2. The idea that economic progress is explained mostly by capital investment, while long since abandoned as regards the industrialized countries, was still taken very seriously by many development specialists until very recently. The Harrod-Domar model predicts that the rate of growth of an economy in a year is proportional to the capital investment during the previous year. Harrod intended this as a way of explaining short-run fluctuations in output of industrial countries and disavowed its use for developing countries. Yet it was widely adopted by international institutions in the early 1950s for purposes of growth accounting and to estimate the so-called financing gap for developing countries. This capital investment-centered approach was supported by the stages of growth model of W.W. Rostow, who asserted that takeoff into sustained growth occurs only when the proportion of investment to national income rises from 5 to 10 percent (Rostow 1960). Several econometric studies have failed to find any evidence for this theory, however (for example, Kuznets 1963; United Nations Industrial Development Organization 2003).

3. Exergy is the technical term for available energy, or energy that can be converted into useful work. Energy is a conserved quantity, which means that it neither increases nor decreases in any process. By contrast, exergy is not conserved: it can be used up.

4. The most spectacular economic growth in East Asia, outside of Japan and Thailand, has been achieved by totalitarian or quasi-totalitarian regimes, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and the People's Republic of China after the death of Mao Tse Tung. Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea are now multiparty democracies, and Singapore is governed by an 'iron fist in a velvet glove'. Thailand has relapsed into authoritarian rule by a military junta.

5. Urbanization, another plausible choice, turns out to be very closely correlated with electricity consumption.

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