Thu, Jan 27, 2011
From bison survival blog
A guest article was posted earlier this morning. After this article, scroll down.
Okay, let’s say that you haven’t been giving these kinds of things much thought, unlike myself whose life is, let’s be honest about, sad and pathetic and so I have nothing better to do than mope around and ponder about crap that may or may not happen, and so you are preoccupied with much more important matters such as whether the office slut would look good in the passenger seat of your jacked up Honda Civic because every time the fat bitch of a wife sits there the shocks take a hell of a beating, but then you have to also think about knocking off the wife and making it look like an accident because otherwise she’ll use the kids against you in divorce court, which seems like a lot of work so instead of trading up in models you just pay $75 for the crack whore to service you as you wear an extra condom against disease. Because you’ve had other things on your mind, I’ve been thinking of the Chinese rare metal monopoly for you. These kinds of things are like trying to remember where you left your car keys. Don’t directly think about it, just let your subconscious do the work for you. Which is how this brilliant theory came to me, unbidden. Sure, it took awhile, but genius can’t be rushed. While most of the coal and oil runs out more and more people are going to be in a panic about keeping the lights on. The market for solar panels and their batteries could be huge. Perhaps far more profitable than the auto market ( since their won’t be anything other than dung fire steam engines left for locomotion soon ). And what do thin film solar panels and batteries need in their construction? Rare metals the Chinese have in abundance. Monopolize those and you monopolize the energy production that uses far less fuel to produce than traditional panels. Even gasoline refineries use the rare earth metals.
we have the following Freakishly Fun Filled Fact. In the last 72 months, global oil production has increased a whopping 0%. Nada. Goose egg. Not-a-gottdamn-thing. If you can’t believe that we are Peak Oil plateau after Six Friggin Years of evidence ( if oil is now almost $100 a barrel and it was even higher, and that hasn’t lead to an increase of production, then obvious to even the Pollyanna’s out there, we don’t have any extra to pump ) than I see little hope for you. Sell your prep supplies and move back to suburbia selling your soul to a corporate master. At the same time as oil production has stalled, population globally has grown 6.5%. I’m sorry, let me add a few exclamation points to underline the importance of that statement. !!!!!!!!!!!! We have 6.5% less energy to grow the food the population needs. Now add in weather damage of crops AND nearly decimated stockpiles. Which brings us to today’s article, why you can’t compare a solar civilization’s collapse to a petroleum civilizations. There is no denying the basic fact that despite a lot of differences between the two, there are also enough similarities to help confuse the issue. First, it is true that petroleum and coal are the basis for every product we have and every service we perform. 10% of global GDP goes just to buying oil and the other 90% is based on using it. We literally eat our oil. But that is no different than ancient societies that had the basis of everything they did and everything they owned in the energy output of the sun. Secondly, the ancients were just as prone to ignore upcoming depletion of energy as we are. Their solar energy continued, but their soil and water issues were the same as our oil decline.
Those are the similarities, and just that would be enough to make you conclude that we will repeat the oft quoted 300 year collapse. Even though, as talked about yesterday, it was only a decline most of the way, then a short collapse. The US has been in a decline for forty years. The world about thirty, as measured by energy availability. But that doesn’t mean that we have 260 years to go. In a solar civilization the capacity for growth is limited. You can settle a virgin area, slaughter your neighbors and take their land, chop down the forests for more fields and perform plenty of other acts that in the short term allow more people to be fed. But even if you double or triple your population you are still basing your growth on the original carrying capacity of solar energy. Once you mine all the sunk energy and use it up ( as opposed to skimming the annual production ), it is game over. You can postpone the inevitable, but only for so long and to such a degree. Hence, I would say that the increase in population was always in check. It went up and down. If it increased over time it was a gentle rise. Which is why empires lasted so long. They didn’t quickly wear out the soil, chop down hillside forests, silt up the fields. These were slow changes, over many centuries. You knew how many people the land could support and only slowly added more people as you gained slow incremental advantages ( even if they were unsustainable ). Destruction was slow. Probably unnoticeable a lot of the time.
A petroleum civilization has so much concentrated solar energy available that it allows population increases unparalleled in history. Yes, at times and in certain circumstances ancient civilizations might have been capable of almost duplicating these sudden energy bonanzas ( look at the colonization of the Americas and Africa when a solar civilization was killed off and all the untapped energy available for mining was unleashed to Europeans [ skimming the energy is organic gardening, mining is wearing out the soil and moving to another piece of virgin land as was done in the South ] for a small taste of how rich opening the oil taps made us ). But mostly this is a one time deal for humans. And it isn’t just the concentration of energy but also the fact that it went global. We are not one area or one country using up our resources on the way to collapse. It is global. The entire world is dependent on oil inputs to eat, and those few areas left independent to practice traditional farming will not survive the starving hoards nearby come crunch time. Even if an African village is feeding itself just on solar power, the slum fifty miles down the road holding five million non-farmers will wipe it out immediately. When oil runs out, the food runs out and everyone goes hungry. Those areas not affected most likely will still become sterile from nuclear conflict and the fallout.
Before, an area depleted its resources. Most people died. The area was abandoned until the soil regenerated itself. Life went on outside that area. But that was with, say, a doubling of population. Right now our world has about twelve times the population the sun can support. Oil is the only energy feeding 92% of us. Oil won’t last another 260 years. Perhaps twenty or thirty. And our economy will fail long before that. But by all means, keep those 401(k) contributions coming.
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