Population and Oil

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Bheithir's picture
Bheithir
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Joined: Nov 2 2008
Posts: 24
Population and Oil

It was hard to see when the first One Billion people became a reality on the chart that was shown. It was 1850. Now on the oil chart, we can't see the detail either. Commercially exploited oil became availible in 1859, in Pennsylvainia. The transition to petroleum powered farm equipment took some time after that, but also petroleum derived fertiliziers, herbicides and incecticides, but when it was in full swing farm yeild shot up, and of course population with it. What happens without these petroleum inputs? Population crash. Nice clean term right? Put another way, starvation on a massive scale. Not good.

HarryFlashman's picture
HarryFlashman
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Joined: Aug 1 2008
Posts: 53
Re: Population and Oil

@Publius

You won't get any arguments from me.Start getting at least 6 months food ready,until you can grow your own.

krogoth's picture
krogoth
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 576
The main problem with oil

The main problem with oil is our total world dependence on it, obviously. I don't need to explain this because we all know this. We also know the problem is growing, with China and other larger countries coming on the grid finally and buying cars for the first time.

I have stated many times on this website about cutting back as much as possible, and it did have an effect. Prices dropped because of less driving. But the powers that be (OPEC) will simply cut production whenever we do this, so it's a losing battle no matter what.


I think we should be studying OPEC a bit more, because this cartel makes the bankers look like angels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

srbarbour's picture
srbarbour
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Joined: Aug 23 2008
Posts: 148
Re: Population and Oil

[quote] I think we should be studying OPEC a bit more, because this cartel makes the bankers look like angels. [/quote]

OPEC is perfectly in its rights to do whatever it damn well wants with its oil. If we don't like it, then we should stop using oil by shifting to alternatives as fast as possible.

We have no one but ourselves to blame, especially with an administration idiotically spending 600 billion dollars on a military that can be crippled so easily by oil wielding foreign nations. You'd think an expenditure of 100+ billion a year on alternatives would count as part of our national defense strategy... but I guess that'd be a strategy based on foresight and intelligence rather than really cool guns and big booms.

--

Steve

 

Akrotiri21's picture
Akrotiri21
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Joined: Jul 10 2008
Posts: 15
Re: Population and Oil

[quote=Publius]It was hard to see when the first One Billion people became a reality on the chart that was shown. It was 1850. Now on the oil chart, we can't see the detail either. Commercially exploited oil became availible in 1859, in Pennsylvainia. The transition to petroleum powered farm equipment took some time after that, but also petroleum derived fertiliziers, herbicides and incecticides, but when it was in full swing farm yeild shot up, and of course population with it. What happens without these petroleum inputs? Population crash. Nice clean term right? Put another way, starvation on a massive scale. Not good. [/quote]

As a thought experiment, or "intuition pump", I think it is very useful to consider the extent of our reliance on fossil fuels for enough food to feed our now too-large population.  But I for one do not consider it alarming, nor a a good reason to go buy bulk food for six months (there are other good reasons to stock up: potential short-term supply interruptions, for example).  Why?  Because fossil fuel use in agriculture is relatively small, those fossil fuels are diminishing slowly and will be around for a very long time (in least in the amounts we need for these purposes), and there are other options -- we don't have to be so fossil fuel intensive (we can grow locally).  As fossil fuels get more expensive, we will shift, more or less quickly, to less intensive forms of growing.  That will likely include a significant increase in the number of farmers and the extent to which many of us grow some of our own (victory gardens, or as I prefer, garden cities the way it is laid out in Food Not Lawns).

 As for OPEC, I thoroughly agree with Steve.  I would just add that both parties to the transaction -- importers and exporters -- are addicts.  As soon as price collapsed (to still historically high levels), these exporters started to feel the pain.  I would think that part of a larger solution to oil use is transitioning them off of dependence as well.  That is why I am heartened by statements like "Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Arabia of solar energy".  Mexico, which is in for a world of hurt because of collapsing exports, could also become a significant source of clean renewable energy (via its northern desert). 

AndyB's picture
AndyB
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 12 2008
Posts: 26
Population limits

I wonder where Mr. Martenson did get his Earth population capacity numbers from. Also, no one seems to understand and see that our world is much bigger than Earth. In fact we have only two basic options as a race - become spacefaring or extinct. Going rural won't solve any problems in the long run.

rrabbit's picture
rrabbit
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 20 2008
Posts: 7
Re: Population limits

Earth population capacity numbers have to be considered opinion. For example, they depend heavily on

o what you consider an acceptable standard of living. Is 100 grams of rice per day and a small mud hut acceptable?

Or does it have to be a daily steak, a McMansion, and an SUV?

o the available amount of (net) energy

o how efficiently the available energy is used

 

This is quite different to Peak Oil, where we know there is only a limited amount of oil in the ground, and once thats all used up, it is gone. Peak Oil is a hard, physical limit; we just don't know the number exactly. The population capacity could increase if

o we find some new resource of vast amounts of cheap energy

o we find some way to establish large human populations outside of earth

 

However, there exist other risks related to population growth. Historically, long periods of high population growth rates caused by favorable conditions frequently were followed by severe declines in population caused by famine, war, and diseases when conditions were less favorable. Overall, conditions were quite favorable in the 20th century

o medical improvements, and other technology improvements

o abundancy of energy due to cheap oil

o abundancy of food due to cheap energy

I consider it likely that conditions in the first half of the 21st century will be less favorable, simply because of the way mankind collectively mistreated this planet, and overused both renewable and non-renewable resources.

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