RE: Was Fusion Reactors, Now Agriculture

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 23:49:35 EDT

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    Joel wrote:

    >While on one hand I think Glenn is a bit alarmist in his outlook, on the
    >other hand, I think he's much closer to being right than those who blindly
    >assume that our current petroleum-supported system will last forever (or
    >even for another 50 years).

    Several comments.
    1. One is only alarmist if one turns out to be wildly wrong. Could I be
    wrong? Yes, a major recession would push back the date at which we peak oil
    production or a major conservation effort would do the same. But saving a
    billion barrels a year would only move the peak back by about 2 months.
    2. I am convinced of the effects I predict from a decline in oil production
    because I have seen what happens when oil disappeared in England in Sept
    2000 during a refinery blockade. In less than 2 weeks the society was about
    to disintegrate. Emergency services couldn't run, food was observably less
    in the shops and people were unable to get to work and many places were
    shutting down for lack of supplies. Oil is absolutely essential to our
    society. What will replace it?
    2. Everyone says that oil will be in serious decline in 50 years. I am
    fifty-two years old and I can personally testify, fifty years ain't long.
    3. Coal and some natural gas can help close the gap, it won't totally
    replace it. Coal mines in England are closing at a rate that would make
    insecticide's effects on flies look mild. In 1981 the UK produced 127
    million tonnes of coal; last year only 32! The last underground mine in
    Scotland closed this year as did the deepest coal mine in England. And some
    people say that by 2040 the coal in the US won't yield more energy than the
    energy it takes to dig out of the ground. All the US anthracite is gone
    already--simply dug up and burned.

    Alarmist? Only if I am wrong.

    PS, I like your farming idea. It is indeed what we will need to go back to.


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