keskiviikkona, syyskuuta 14, 2005

Eilen A-studiossa tai jossain oli juttu Katrinan tuhoista. Haastateltiin yhtä vanhaa neworleansilaista harvahampaista mustaa ukkoa. Aivan loistava tyyppi! Hän totesi fatalistisen huumorintajuisesti, että sellaista sattuu ja että luontoäidille ei mahda mitään. Päälle hän nauroi hiukan hessumaisesti mutta karheammin ja paljon laveammin ja syvemmin. Minä ja isäni tulimme katsellessamme ja kuunnellessamme välittömästi loistotuulelle emmekä voineet olla nauramatta.

Nimimerkki Teräs Koura kommentoi toista kommenttia osuvasti James Howard Kunstlerin Clusterfuck Nationin viimeisimmän merkinnän kommenttiosastolla:

Son of Samnite:

"Teras, I wish I had your confidence when you say, "our civilization is not going to crash because of a lack of energy"".

Because of the fact that a mere one percent of the world's GDP per capita *per one year* could build all the coal-liquification plants we need to replace *all* crude oil production, I dare say that Peak Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuel will be *much* rounder than Peak Petroleum. I think we have entered a plateau in liquid hydrocarbon fuel production, which is going to last decades. And we're not going to face Peak Coal in 25 years simply because we still have about a trillion barrels of petroleum left to pump, a resource that will not be used up completely until about 35 years from now. That is, even assuming increasing electricity generation from nuclear fission and wind power (+ a smaller amount from other renewables) or efficiency gains will not make a dent in the demand for coal.

I do believe, however, that the cost of energy will rise during the next few decades enough to cause the global economy to cool down. There might even be recession, but no collapse of civilization, not at least because of high energy prices, unless you think having to take the bus to work equals collapse of civilization.

At some point, however, breeder reactor programs together with massive development of wind power in most industrial countries will begin to ease the world's energy problems. That will happen probably around mid-century, in conjunction with the world's population beginning to decline fast owing to the already plummeting total fertility rates almost everywhere in the world. (The cause of the decline is debated, but urbanization is a strong candidate, since having a large number of children is much less of an asset in the cities than in traditional rural communities. Today, over a half of the world's population is urban.)

"Have you read Ronald Wright?s recent book "A Short History of Progress"?"

No, I haven't.

"Interesting how the Easter Islanders cut down the last tree to erect more giant stone statues even as they could SEE with their own eyes that it was the last damn tree?"

Yeah, Easter Islanders were stupid, but countless other civilizations did not crash. They gradually evolved into something else.