We're made out of sunlight

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Chapter from book at:
We're made out of sunlight

... [snip from end of excerpt...]

Its worth noting that its unlikely that well be soon finding easily-accessible new pools of oil. Most of the world has now been digitally X-rayed using satellites, seismic data, and computers, in the process of locating 41,000 oil fields. 641,000 exploratory wells have been drilled, and virtually all fields which show any promise are well-known and factored into the one-trillion barrel estimate the oil industry uses for world oil reserves.

And, finally, the oil industrys optimistic numbers say we have 45 years left at current rates of consumption. But according to data furnished by Petroconsultants (among others) world consumption of oil today is increasing at about 2.8 percent per year. If we were to project that out into the future, our 45-year oil-supply figure drops into the range of just over 30 years.

Please also bear in mind that were adding another billion humans to the planet over the next dozen years, while China, India, Mexico, and the rest of the Third World are industrializingadding factories, cars, building highways, and constructing oil-fueled power plantsat a growth rate thats faster than both the United States or Europes over the past century. So our planets use is increasing far faster than current rates of consumption, and our reserves are sure not to last as long as the optimists are suggesting. According to an exhaustive scientific study conducted and released by the British power company PowerGen and reported worldwide by the Associated Press in September, 1997, Global energy demand is forecast to double by 2020 [emphasis added], largely because of the rapid growth of the industrializing nations of Asia, particularly China.

Theres obviously a collision coming between our growing population, with its increasing consumption of dwindling supplies of ancient sunlight, and our ability to sustain that population. And even if vast new stores of oil were to be suddenly discovered (there are voices in the oil industry increasingly suggesting this will happen), or alternative sources of energy such as cold fusion or hydrogen cells became immediately and widely available, their rapid proliferation may actually accelerate the destruction of the planet and the death of billions of humans, in ways which will soon become evident. (On the other hand, there are solutions, as well detail later in the book: but they have more to do with our culture than our technology.)

How did it get this way? And what does history tell us about what can be done?

Well discuss these issues and answers in detail in future chapters. But first, lets step back for a moment and look at an important question: if were headed for trouble, why isnt it obvious?

-- scott (lynx5_5@hotmail.com), March 07, 2000



cannot open the link for the book. Is it correct?

-- aldo (aldo@uneco.org), March 08, 2000.

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