[ Note: The most frightening article FTW has ever published is now a free story for all to read. Our paid subscribers read it last October. As Peak Oil and its effects become a raging national controversy it's time everyone reads the story that puts the most serious implications of Peak Oil and Gas into perspective. Your biggest problem is not that your SUV might go hungry, it's that you and your children might go hungry. What has been documented here is no secret to US and foreign policy makers as China experiences grain shortages this year and, as CNN's Lou Dobbs recently reported, the US and Canada will soon no longer be the world's breadbasket. - MCR ]
Eating Fossil Fuels
by Dale Allen Pfeiffer
© Copyright 2004, From The Wilderness Publications, www.copvcia.com. All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.
[Some months ago, concerned by a Paris statement made by Professor Kenneth Deffeyes of Princeton regarding his concern about the impact of Peak Oil and Gas on fertilizer production, I tasked FTW's Contributing Editor for Energy, Dale Allen Pfeiffer to start looking into what natural gas shortages would do to fertilizer production costs. His investigation led him to look at the totality of food production in the US. Because the US and Canada feed much of the world, the answers have global implications.
What follows is most certainly the single most frightening article I have ever read and certainly the most alarming piece that FTW has ever published. Even as we have seen CNN, Britain's Independent and Jane's Defence Weekly acknowledge the reality of Peak Oil and Gas within the last week, acknowledging that world oil and gas reserves are as much as 80% less than predicted, we are also seeing how little real thinking has been devoted to the host of crises certain to follow; at least in terms of publicly accessible thinking.
The following article is so serious in its implications that I have taken the unusual step of underlining some of its key findings. I did that with the intent that the reader treat each underlined passage as a separate and incredibly important fact. Each one of these facts should be read and digested separately to assimilate its importance. I found myself reading one fact and then getting up and walking away until I could come back and (un)comfortably read to the next.
All told, Dale Allen Pfeiffer's research and reporting confirms the worst of FTW's suspicions about the consequences of Peak Oil, and it poses serious questions about what to do next. Not the least of these is why, in a presidential election year, none of the candidates has even acknowledged the problem. Thus far, it is clear that solutions for these questions, perhaps the most important ones facing mankind, will by necessity be found by private individuals and communities, independently of outside or governmental help. Whether the real search for answers comes now, or as the crisis becomes unavoidable, depends solely on us. – MCR]
October 3 , 2003, 1200 PDT, (FTW) -- Human beings (like all other animals) draw their energy from the food they eat. Until the last century, all of the food energy available on this planet was derived from the sun through photosynthesis. Either you ate plants or you ate animals that fed on plants, but the energy in your food was ultimately derived from the sun.
It would have been absurd to think that we would one day run out of sunshine. No, sunshine was an abundant, renewable resource, and the process of photosynthesis fed all life on this planet. It also set a limit on the amount of food that could be generated at any one time, and therefore placed a limit upon population growth. Solar energy has a limited rate of flow into this planet. To increase your food production, you had to increase the acreage under cultivation, and displace your competitors. There was no other way to increase the amount of energy available for food production. Human population grew by displacing everything else and appropriating more and more of the available solar energy.
The need to expand agricultural production was one of the motive causes behind most of the wars in recorded history, along with expansion of the energy base (and agricultural production is truly an essential portion of the energy base). And when Europeans could no longer expand cultivation, they began the task of conquering the world. Explorers were followed by conquistadors and traders and settlers. The declared reasons for expansion may have been trade, avarice, empire or simply curiosity, but at its base, it was all about the expansion of agricultural productivity. Wherever explorers and conquistadors traveled, they may have carried off loot, but they left plantations. And settlers toiled to clear land and establish their own homestead. This conquest and expansion went on until there was no place left for further expansion. Certainly, to this day, landowners and farmers fight to claim still more land for agricultural productivity, but they are fighting over crumbs. Today, virtually all of the productive land on this planet is being exploited by agriculture. What remains unused is too steep, too wet, too dry or lacking in soil nutrients.1
Just when agricultural output could expand no more by increasing acreage, new innovations made possible a more thorough exploitation of the acreage already available. The process of “pest” displacement and appropriation for agriculture accelerated with the industrial revolution as the mechanization of agriculture hastened the clearing and tilling of land and augmented the amount of farmland which could be tended by one person. With every increase in food production, the human population grew apace.
At present, nearly 40% of all land-based photosynthetic capability has been appropriated by human beings.2 In the United States we divert more than half of the energy captured by photosynthesis.3 We have taken over all the prime real estate on this planet. The rest of nature is forced to make due with what is left. Plainly, this is one of the major factors in species extinctions and in ecosystem stress.
The Green Revolution...'
Lees verder: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100303_eating_oil.html
Voor meer peak oil:
Association For The Study Of Peak Oil
Book: Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, Matt Simmons - Energy Banker http://www.twilightinthedesert.com/
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Thom Hartmann http://www.thomhartmann.com/last.shtml
Life After the Oil Crash
Post Carbon Institute
Jay Hanson website
Book: Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World, Heinberg http://www.richardheinberg.com/endorsements/powerdown
Book: The Party's Over: Oil, War and The Fate of Industrial Societies New Revised 2nd Edition, 2005 , Heinberg http://www.richardheinberg.com/endorsements/thepartysover
Book: The Coming Oil Crisis, Dr. Colin Campbell, 1997 http://www.oilcrisis.com/library/cccrisis.htm
The End of Cheap Oil, in Scientific American 1998. http://www.oilcrisis.com/sciam983.htm
US Army Corps of Engineers and Peak Oil
In a report from US Army Corps of Engineers we can read the following statement: “Peak oil is at hand with low availability growth for the next 5 to 10 years. Once worldwide petroleum production peaks, geopolitics and market economics will result in even more significant price increases and security risks. To guess where this is all going to take us is would be too speculative. Oil wars are certainly not out of the question.”
"By some estimates, there will be an average of two-percent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with, conservatively, a three-percent natural decline in production from existing reserves.That means by 2010 we will need on the order of anadditional 50 million barrels a day." Dick Cheney, in a 1999 speech he gave while still CEO of Halliburton http://www.peakoil.net/Publications/Cheney_PeakOil_FCD.pdf
The Empty Tank: Oil, Gas, Hot Air, and the Coming Financial Catastrophem, Jeremy Leggett http://www.macleans.ca/topstories/world/article.jsp?content=20060213_121197_121197
A March 2005 report prepared for the US Department of Energy confirmed dire warnings of the investment banking community. Entitled "The Mitigation of the Peaking of World Oil Production," the report observed:
"Without timely mitigation, world supply/demand balance will be achieved through massive demand destruction (shortages), accompanied by huge oil price increases, both of which would create a long period of significant economic hardship worldwide. Waiting until world conventional oil production peaks before initiating crash program mitigation leaves the world with a significant liquid fuel deficit for two decades or longer.
"The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past 'energy crisis' experience will provide relatively little guidance. The challenge of oil peaking deserves immediate, serious attention, if risks are to be fully understood and mitigation begun on a timely basis. . . the world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary. Previous energy transitions were gradual and evolutionary. Oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary." http://www.peakoil.net/USDOE.html