ColGlobe At The Spoof

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dominoes: Economic Collapse

Author's Note: Click the links. They will open in a new window which can be closed, returning you to this document. Without them, you are missing the rest of the story. I don't claim to know all of the information, but have put together data from all over the world.

The Story So Far
In the first part of the dominoes series, we took a look at peak production of not only peak crude oil production, but precious metals such as copper, fresh water, and food distribution. The overall conclusion was that there are alternative fuels available, but they all come with a price of their own, and demand ever increasing amounts of energy. This commentary will look at the economy of peak production, and why world economies are suffering, including both the obvious reasons, and the actual ones, lurking just behind the public focus.

Hiding In Plain Sight
There is no conspiracy involved with peak production or global warming. The basic knowledge has existed for more than a century, and the U.S. government has been accumulating data for more than 80 years. Likewise, the effects of emissions pollution have been documented for around 150 years, most notably as acid rain. Finally, the world economy has been monitored since the middle of World War II, and artificially manipulated since the end of it. The final outcome has never really been in question, and yet the danger has been all but ignored in the mainstream public view.

Global Change And Cynicism
To begin, approximately 38% of the world has never even heard of global warming. To complicate matters, cynics and skeptics are quick to point out that there's no need to worry because these types of things have always been solved by the technology of the day. It sounds good, except that this type of thing has never happened before in the entire history of humanity, so there really isn't any comparison to base the claim on.

Global Economy 101
The causes of the Great Depression may be our closest comparison to the current economic problems of the world, but those fall short of explaining the nuances involved when peak production meets environmental collapse. It will require a LOT of money to convert to more efficient factories, transportation systems and environmentally sustainable human support systems. This does not apply only to the United States, but to all "industrialized" nations.

What They Do Not Teach In School
There is really not much difference between capitalism and a typical multilevel marketing operation, other than being artificially manipulated to reduce or prevent collapse. Collapses in the system, though,  are inevitable as the bottom levels are reduced to poverty and then artificially raised above it through the issuance of credit, pushing those levels even farther into debt to generate more capital at the upper levels. To complicate matters, much of the value of money is based on nothing other than energy, primarily in the form of fossil fuels. And that is where peak production and global warming meet the global economy.

The Costs of Global Warming
The cost of converting to ecofriendly energy is not paid for by the companies. Instead, that cost is passed down the line to the consumers. This very fact has been the reason big business has fought so hard to resist the concept of global warming. There is only so much that can be squeezed out of consumer pockets before the market implodes in massive lower level debt. The only conspiracy is that you and I can't afford to pay for world-wide upgrades in energy systems without causing the system to deflate, and the financial giants of the world know it.

The Story That Never Changed
For most of a century, government and industry have been aware of the dangers posed by chemical emissions related to fossil fuels. The simple truth is that there is no way to make the needed changes without causing global economic stress, possibly even bringing about another Great Depression. Entire financial sectors must switch from fossil fuels to other energy production methods, and that may be even more complicated than developing those new forms of energy production.

The Endangered Industry List
Oil companies will have to rework their entire business model, or be replaced by emerging ecofriendly companies such as solar and wind power companies. All petroleum dependent companies are going to have to develop new material sources. This includes automobile makers, most food production and distribution centers,  many medical and healthcare companies, and just about every other facet of life.

How Global Warming and Peak Production Connect
Our planet contains a limited supply of the elements contained on the periodic table. All of them. When fossil fuels are burned, they are converted from one form to another. The atmosphere, a very delicately balanced bubble on the skin of the planet, is really quite easily contaminated by artificial conversion of liquid or solid materials into gaseous ones. The result is that industrial nations are speeding up natural processes that should take millions or even billions of years, and the balance of the atmosphere is unable to readily deal with the phenomenon. It WILL return to a balance eventually, but the cost to the existing life on the planet is as yet unknown.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dominoes: Global Resources And Peak Production

Author's Note: Click on the links to expand on the subject matter being discussed. The data is taken from all over the world, including government agencies, research institutions and other top organizations, such as Forbes, the IEA, and more. Unless you follow the links, you are only getting a portion of the information.

Some of the best minds in the business have calculated that peak oil production probably occurred in 2008. That in itself is not really important, it merely marks a tipping point. What matters to you and I, and our children, and all the generations that follow after them, is that once that peak production was reached, the world will never again see the prosperity brought on by fossil fuels during the 20th century.

Yes, there are several prospects for alternative fuels. What most people do not realize is that production of alternative energy almost always requires the expenditure of fossil fuels or other non-renewable respurces under the constraints of our current technology. Hydrogen is hyped as the best chance replacement for crude oil, but commercial hydrogen production is really quite expensive and generally requires platinum. And platinum is becoming very rare already, as it is a crucial component of ordinary catalytic converters, among many other things.

We can, however, get more production out of our oil fields, which will sustain or even increase production for a short time. Doing so causes two problems, though: 1) It requires the use of other non-sustainable resources, such as rare earth elements. 2) Increasing the production once peak production has been reached hastens the end of crude oil. Unless you watch the news closely, you probably don't even know that we have already passed peak production of some rare earth elements. It isn't widely publicized.

Take note of the dramatic (and magical) increase of oil production from 2008 forward

For a graphic example, press the button in the center of a tire valve on one of your car's tires, and you will hear the air coming out, consistently slower as the tire deflates. This is equivalent to projected post-peak oil production. Now, go around to the other side of the car, and remove the valve from the tire stem completely. Instead of a gradual decrease, the tire will deflate many times faster. The end result is two flat tires and only one spare. Think about it.

Another theory, the abiotic theory, proposes that crude oil is somehow created naturally within the earth's mantle, and cannot be depleted. I haven't bothered to do much research on this idea, but it sounds like something cooked up by zealots to help explain away paradoxes in creation theory. If you really think that crude oil came from something other than decaying matter, you may want to read about abiogenic petroleum yourself.

But enough about rare elements. Copper is one of the more common metals, and it's usage can be dated back around 5,000 years. It is used in almost every electronic device made, and copper is becoming increasingly non-sustainable.

But, as the above rendention of an old commercial shows so eloquently, what is missing is the human element. At the very best estimates, world resources of water and food distribution will be strained to the limit at a population of 8 billion people. The good news is that we can purify water, and increase food distribution. The bad news is that it is going to require even more energy consumption. Here is the current estimated world population.

Here's how it all works:

From the moment a child is conceived, precious metals and other elements begin being used to support that person. Yes, from conception, through the use of medicinal aids and tools. As we age, we use more of the earth's resources. Then we procreate, renewing the process of using non-renewable resources. Every technological "advance" requires an additional supply of energy, making development of technology a liability in itself.

There is not a point to this entry..and that is the most important point of all.