[FoRK] FoRK Digest, Vol 73, Issue 26

Wulf Losee wulfconsumer at gmail.com
Mon Oct 26 12:57:28 PDT 2009


Ken Ganshirt wrote:

> The thing I find most scarey, from my vantage point of 62 years,
> is that people think reserves of 30 years or 100 years are a Good
> Thing. It seems like the average person reacts to these numbers
> as if they are a really really long time.

I agree. However, what I find scary is that the average economist has no
clue what's coming down the road when all the inputs of cheap energy dry up.
Bye, bye global economy, because shipping will become enormously more
expensive. But even as manufacturing localizes, manufacturing costs will
sky-rocket. What happens when the world's economy contracts by 80 percent?

I read an estimate up on the oildrum.com (sorry I don't have the link) that
current daily energy usage equals something like 2500 Gigawatts -- daily!
That would require 2500 Gigawatt nuclear reactors running without down-time
to produce our world's daily energy consumption. But, guess what? -- even if
we got over our fear of nukes, there's not enough uranium to build 2500+
nuclear power plants. Fusion? It's always 30 years around the corner.
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar -- probably good for small
scale local needs -- but you're not going to be able to run a late 20th
economy on the energy these sources will provide.

BTW: Do these climate models that everyone quotes include the variable that
our civilization is pumping out 2500 Gigawatts worth of heat daily? Paul
Krugman, an economist whom I otherwise respect, pointed out on his blog a
few months back that we could obviously see the signs of global warming in
the higher yearly average temps of New York City. Good lord, man -- Global
warming? That's local warming! Civilization pumps out heat. Anyone who's
been in a computer room when the AC goes down should know this
instinctively.

Of course the "green revolution" will soon be over -- because that was
largely based on petroleum inputs (fertilizer, pesticides, transport,
packaging). Very likely we'll see billions of people starve -- probably
including US citizens. And please don't start preaching to me about
sustainable agriculture. I grew up on a hobby farm that my family was
passionate about (they did the whole Rodale thing). It's very labor
intensive, and the outputs just don't compare to petroleum driven big-Ag.

Frankly, I'm glad I probably won't be around in 30 years.

--Wulf


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