X-Message-Number: 20054
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: Re: Progress stagnating...
Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2002 09:10:09 -0700

In Message #20046, John Grigg wrote,

>Last I heard petroleum reserves on this planet will last till at least 
>2030! lol
And we already have alternatives out there, they just need to be 
Obviously, the oil mega-corporations would rather not see that happen for 

When you're in your 40's, as I am, you realize that 30 years don't seem like 
such a long time, subjectively. If oil is going to get really scarce even in 
30 years, that's an emergency we need to deal with TODAY. For some scary but 
scientifically plausible scenarios about the consequences of declining 
fossil fuels production, refer to http://www.dieoff.org .

Basically fossil fuels represent sunlight stored from past ages that we've 
been using in the last 300 years to supplement the sunlight we're receiving 
now. They've enabled us to circumvent preindustrial limits to our ability to 
grow food and move and process materials for reorganizing the environment on 
a vast scale. They are like the capital in a business startup. If a business 
can't generate enough income to sustain itself after the startup capital is 
spent, then it will fail. Similarly, unless our civilization can tap into 
some substantial sources of energy income after the fossil fuels capital 
becomes increasingly scarce, our civilization will collapse back to a 
preindustrial level. Making liquid nitrogen won't be a high priority in that 
sort of outcome.

More to the point, it's hard not to conclude from current geopolitical 
events that the Bush Administration, run by men from the oil industry, takes 
the depletionist scenario seriously enough to risk hundreds of thousands of 
American lives in an effort to get the Persian Gulf oilfields under U.S. 
military control.  Considering the massive amount of experience the oil 
industry has behind it, I think by now these guys have a good idea how to 
predict the future production of oil, and they don't like what their own 
experts are telling them.

Once again, I refer people to Kenneth Deffeyes's book _Hubbert's Peak_. 
Deffeyes is a retired petroleum geologist with no ideological agenda that I 
can detect.  Deffeyes uses M. King Hubbert's method for forecasting the 
productivity of oilfields to argue that we're going to see a permanent net 
decline in global petroleum production by the end of this decade.  Hubbert's 
forecasting technique is analogous to Gordon Moore's method to forecast the 
increase in computing speeds, which some Transhumanists consider practically 
a divine revelation. Predicting oil production is not Nostradamus stuff:


Mark Plus
It's not "religious" or "science fictional" if you can do it.

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