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1b. Re: King Corn

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  • Sonya
    1b. Tim Jones deforest@austin.rr.com foxtree2000 Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:34 am (PDT) Hi Sonya, The limiting factor will come about on the downslope of
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      1b.  "Tim Jones" deforest@...   foxtree2000  Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:34 am (PDT)
      Hi Sonya,

      The limiting factor will come about on the
      downslope of Hubbert's Peak, called Peak Oil.
      http://dieoff. org/
      A yahoo discussion group has been into this for years
      http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/energyreso urces/
      One doesn't have to subscribe to read posts to this listserve.

      Tim Jones
      Austin Texas
      Thanks for the links Tim. I am looking through them, a lot on the die off website,  although the following immediately, because of the word
      thermodynamics, popped out at me......(hopefully I can find something more recent later on)

      ...."Consider one of the most important limiting variables—energy. [5] Food grains produced with modern, high-yield methods (including packaging and delivery) now contain between four and ten calories of fossil fuel for every calorie of solar energy. [6] In the 70s, it was estimated that about four percent of the nation's energy budget was used to grow food, while about 10 to 13 percent was needed to put it on our plates. [7]

      There is NO substitute for energy. Although the economy treats energy just like any other resource, it is NOT like any other resource. Energy is the precondition for ALL other resources and oil is the most important form of energy we use, making up about 38 percent of the world energy supply.

      NO other energy source equals oil's intrinsic qualities of extractablility, transportability, versatility and cost. These are the qualities that enabled oil to take over from coal as the front-line energy source in the industrialized world in the middle of this century, and they are as relevant today as they were then. "......"

      In fact, ALL alternative methods of energy production require oil-based energy inputs and are subject to the same inevitable increases in entropy. Thus, there is NO solution to the energy (entropy or disorder) problem, and the worldwide energy-food crisis is inevitable.

      When we can no longer subsidize modern agriculture with massive fossil energy inputs (oil-based pesticides and fertilizers, machine fuel, packaging, distribution, etc.), yields will drop to below what they were before the Green Revolution! [12] Moreover, billions of people could die this coming century when the U.S. is no longer able to export food [13] and mass starvation sweeps the Earth. [14]

      Is there nothing we can do?

      We could lessen human suffering if all the people of Earth cooperated for the common good. But as long as political systems serve only as corporate errand boys, we're dead."....."If one considers the last one hundred years of the U.S. experience, fuel use and economic output are highly correlated. An important measure of fuel efficiency is the ratio of energy use to the gross national product, E/GNP. The E/GNP ratio has fallen by about 42% since 1929. We find that the improvement in energy efficiency is due principally to three factors: (1) shifts to higher quality fuels such as petroleum and primary electricity; (2) shifts in energy use between households and other sectors; and (3) higher fuel prices. Energy quality is by far the dominant factor.—http://dieoff.com/page17.htm#ENERGY "......"

      When I think about this issue, essentially none of it, "it" being proclamations like increased production via efficiency or capital
      improvements reaping increased agricultural outputs, jives or is even mathematically logical, rational, sound, or sane in the end. 
      Perhaps a crop yield could be genetically altered to require
      less water, fertilizer, chemicals (both of which are petro based) but the same seed isn't going to magically yield an increase in the actual amount
      being produced UNLESS, as I mentioned, the seeds were genetically modified, but then again I know in the human procedure that renders a clone, only females can be born, because of the process, so maybe that is the reason for some of the sterile seeds?  Something for me to check on......sorry this is just me thinking on the paper :)
      Anyhow......   And capital improvements almost always goes to machinery, which eliminates HUMAN jobs.  That issue, capital investments, has
      been a hoohaw with the tomato/produce growers because of immigration (both legal and illegal workers), and the so called lack of employees to pick the crops.
      So sometimes when they go complaining to the feds, the government tells them to invest in capital via the way of machinery, rather than people, to increase their efficiency. 
      Even a majority of the orange growers here in Florida use machines rather than people to shake the trees so the oranges fall off, hence the decline in pickers. Most groves, if they are still in business, have outsourced the pickers or labors they do have, eliminating many prior jobs that were good paying and stable so they do not have to benefits and unemployment, workers comp, and in turn, this has eliminated the live breathing people who needed the income, regardless of the physical labor.  Same thing with the steel industry, which relies 90% on machinery rather than people anymore.
      Which does what, in a circular sense?  Since a machine isn't going to receive a wage, the machine doesn't spend his paycheck on rent, mortgages, food, gas, clothes,
      and so forth.  The machine will not be buying Christmas presents, school clothes, taking a vacation.  And since the former people employed no longer have their jobs because the machines replaced them, these very same aforementioned now unemployed people who formerly contributed to their local, state, and federal economies......do not spend money either.
      Because neither the machine, nor the unemployed people do not speed money......this in turn hurts the local, state, and federal economy, but does not hurt the owners of the company.......this, in fact, improves their bottom line....the act of replacing people with machines because
      machines do not need health insurance, workers comp, a salary, complain, show up late, have sick kids, ............ AND the company can get umpteenth
      tax breaks and credits for investing in the said machines, whereas, if there is a tax incentive for a company to employee actual people, those jobs
      are low paying and targeted programs.
      Okay......then we have issues like sterile seeds, terminator seeds ( World braced for terminator 2), and genetically altered seeds being FORCED (or sneaked)  onto developing countries because of treaties, the World Bank and the IMF.  Like, to be in the vernacular, why DON'T we WANT these people to be self sustaining?  How much more inhumane
      could be a  practice of forcing, knowingly, or unknowingly, STERILE seeds for crops on people, forcing countries ? Why does the World Bank and the IMF
      rape a country, essentially, when they force these countries governments, in exchange for monetary LOANS, to give up their natural resources, allow
      private companies to come in and exploit their resources at a profit, and charge them interest on loans they will never be able to get ahead on because of.......
      (a) compounding interest  b) lack of sustainable source and or  means to parlay dollar line repayment of said loan ... c) lack of infrastructure d) lack of development to be able to sustain the means to uphold the technology necessary to be able to repay the loan
      Control of food an ominous portent
      Capital Press, (22 Feb 2008)
      ..."Let's look at the new seed laws imposed on Iraq to see what the future may hold for us all. The former Coalition Provisional Authority's American administrator L. Paul Bremer III enacted 100 laws to restructure Iraq's economy in accordance with new global standards. Order 81 of Bremer's Laws describes the new paradigm for seeds. To put it in layman's terms, to sell seeds in Iraq, the seeds must be registered. To get registered, the seeds must be "new, distinct, uniform and stable." Traditional varieties can't meet this standard, so even if they aren't lost from years of war and upheaval, the traditional varieties are excluded from the market and unable to circulate freely. Seed sales have thus become the domain of foreign agribusiness corporations. It is illegal for Iraqi farmers to save the seeds harvested from the registered varieties, so each year Iraqi farmers will have to buy new seeds, typically genetically modified varieties because that's what the corporations are offering. "..."As corporations develop so-called "terminator" technology (seeds that are genetically designed to be sterile) mankind is hurtling toward uncharted territory. Will the new self-styled gods have compassion when the poor people of the world can't pay for new seed stock? Or will we see the kind of control Kissinger had in mind? Control of the world's food supplies doesn't end with plants, either. Corporations are working to genetically map and engineer animal life in order to claim ownership on that front as well. Imagine a world where plants and animals can no longer reproduce naturally and new stock must be purchased year after year. "...
      Lets consider too, that the developing countries are not using electric power,
      reality is that in 1995, over 2 billion people did not have any access at all to electric power. "..."Another 2 billion people have access to electricity but to a very limited, unreliable extent. Their consumption of this basic utility was less than 20% of similar consumption in the developed world. Comparatively, 1.5 billion privileged people living in Western Europe, North America and Japan, as well as in newly industrialised economies in East Asia and Latin America, have as much access to electricity and energy as they want and can afford." Source: Synergy Power Corp
       or anywhere near the level of natural resources, and or oil that the developed countries
      do........and with the conditions surrounding oil  (limited supply and it's expensive .....and hey we can't all be millionaires right
      Millionaires club gets bigger, members richer
      (The Associated Press - Jun 24, 2008)
      For such an elite club, 10.1 million may seem like a lot of members.
      But the figure represents just 0.15 percent of the world's population
      And honestly I do not think they, or most of us, will EVER be because money has consolidated into a few small elect here
      on the earth.........
      Now If one was honest about this matter, and did a true and fair calculation and calculated
      ALL the populations and economies of the earth and just their basic energy needs in a standard
      comparable to the developed countries in relation to energy or oil margin,
      As it continues to grow, China is projected to increase oil consumption 50 percent or more by 2020. " 
      If all things were equal, then I would hazard a guess that the supply of oil would have been depleted a long time ago.
      So when the earth has quadrupled her population, and even before that..... in a mere fifty years,    7 billion in 2012 , .........what then? 
      Social and civil strife, disease and disease  because of lack of food.......
                                                              FAO - COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY (2003)
      ..."19. The six countries most affected by the Southern Africa food crisis, namely Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique about 15 million people were identified as in need of food assistance. In the same countries, UNAIDS estimates that in 2001 close to half a million people died as a result of AIDS-related diseases, leaving 2.5 million orphans. Three of these countries (Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland) show HIV prevalence rates close to or above one third of the adult population, which suggests that much of the impact on food security is yet to come. Some salient features of HIV/AIDS in the countries most affected by the current food crisis in Southern Africa can be found in Table 2"...."

      21. There is no simple answer to whether AIDS has a more severe impact on food and nutrition security in sub-Saharan Africa than recurrent droughts and other factors. Without AIDS, there would still be food insecurity due to chronic poverty, the degradation of natural resources, drought, inappropriate policies, bad governance and civil strife. However, in those countries and communities worst affected by HIV/AIDS in southern Africa, the pandemic has exacerbated food shortages and reduced resilience to drought. As HIV infection spreads and more people fall ill and die, the impact on food security is likely to increase and outweigh the relative importance of other factors. Thereby, the impact of HIV/AIDS on a population’s ability to acquire and utilise food can be uneven within a country, due to the variation in the severity of HIV/AIDS, as well as its interaction with other factors that affect household food security and nutrition."...

      more global poverty, wars......   or could it come to something like Logans Run or even worse? 
      Even NOW we are having famines, although famines too, has happened
      in the past, but I think, mostly because of different issues.....

      Is Famine Inevitable?

      By Scott Thill, AlterNet. Posted June 6, 2008.

      ...."But someone will have to pick up the pieces, which are going viral fast. In that chaos, food has stopped being our other energy problem and become a chief terror of the future. And considering increasing prices, decreasing dollars and a world that will soon house many more people but feed even less of them, we're probably in for a famine or two before all is said and done."......""The majority of the increase in the cost of food is tied to the rising cost of petroleum used to produce agrochemicals and fuel to produce food staples," adds Patrick Woodall, senior food policy analyst at Food and Water Watch. "....."The point would be probably an obvious one: There's no way we can keep going like this."....." And it's seriously lucrative. Global demand has provided companies like Potash, Monsanto, Mosaic and Agrium with huge returns. Jim Cramer and other Wall Street chatterheads are pushing agrichem as safe havens in a volatile market juggled around by hedge funds, private equity groups and other major players.But even Potash has admitted that stores are already pressed to the breaking point. "..."Alarmists may bray, but Doyle is no alarmist. And he's right."The 2007 agricultural and food staple output in America ran at full-tilt production," Woodall says, "with increased acreage under cultivation and high yields for many food crops. The current high-price environment would only get worse if there were significant downturns in production because of weather or declining yields or disease. Even small declines in production could drive basic food prices beyond the reach of billions of people." "Meanwhile," adds Luescher, "food reserves are at their lowest for 30 years. Commodity markets are extremely volatile, subject to sudden spikes and speculation. The situation has been exacerbated by the falling value of the dollar, which is the currency in which all major commodities are traded. It is a very serious situation." The Face of Famine These inconvenient truths generate a logical but nevertheless callous question: Who will starve, and who will survive? Even that has a profit motive, as it should, considering that the oil sector's economic shenanigans -- occupations, ethanol, record-setting paydays -- under the Bush administration have brought us to this disturbing tightrope.The cold pursuit of profit promises to kick-start further genetic experimentation to make up for what nature cannot provide, thanks to hyperproduction and global warming's incoming floods, droughts and fires"......"Considering that billions are already on the edge of starvation, interest in earnings rather than solutions seems to be the main problem. Until that changes, the poor as always will remain the petri dish for such economic speculations and resource shortages. They are already at ground zero in the war against an inevitable famine."....."But whatever its face looks like, hunger is going nowhere unless we tackle the problem before it tackles us. It won't matter whether you follow the IPCC or CERA once we're past that tipping point. Because once we pass it, there's no going back, frankenseed or not."
      Neverhow.........can I see or find the math whether it is oil, water, or agricultural yield  that would back up the natural resources of the
      earth EVER being able to support 9 billion people, let alone that very same number enjoying the same standard of living levels that Europe and the US enjoys.
      Our natural resources are FINITE and people do not want to seem to believe this and they seem to buy into industry and government propaganda that proliferates
      messages such as more technology will solve the problem, more money will solve the problem, more drilling, more this, more that...... What part of MORE
      makes sense when dealing with a finite matter.  If I am hungry and there is a tree with no fruit on it, no matter how much effort I put into looking for the fruit, because
      it isn't there, I am not going to wind up with fruit, nor something to eat, and I am going to deplete my body's energy stories LOOKING for the fruit.
      The same thing with oil. We are spending energy to look for energy that may or may not be there.  It will take energy to extract the energy from the oil, cracking...
      even worse so with shale.......what a horror.......

      THE NECESSITY OF NUCLEAR POWER: A Global Human and Environmental Imperative

      (Your Industry News ; Jun 11, 2008)

      ...."Between now and 2050, as world population swells from 6.6 billion toward 9 billion, humankind will consume more energy than the combined total used in all previous history.  Under prevailing patterns of energy use, the results will prove calamitous.  The resulting pollution will damage or ruin the health of tens and likely hundreds of millions of citizens, mainly in the developing world.  Far worse, the intensifying concentration of greenhouse gases will take past a point of no return as we hurdle toward climate catastrophe.

      Today the world economy is producing greenhouse emissions at the rate of 29 billion tonnes per year – some 900 tonnes per second – a rate still rising despite rhetoric and negotiation.  An overwhelming majority of climate scientists, and an increasing cohort of world political leaders, agree that we must, by mid-century, cut global greenhouse emissions by a full 60% – even as world energy consumption triples.  In the sheer scope and urgency of this challenge, we face nothing less than a global emergency.

      Our best Earth-system scientists now warn that greenhouse gas emissions, if continued at the present massive scale, will yield disastrous consequences on a global scale:  increasingly radical temperature changes, a worldwide upsurge in violent weather events, widespread drought, flooding, wildfires, famine, species extinction, rising sea levels, mass migration and epidemic disease that will leave no country untouched.

      The Human Dimensions of the Environmental Crisis

      This crisis, it bears emphasis, originates not in human evil, but in human success: humanity’s accumulating, accelerating success in acquiring, disseminating, and applying science-based knowledge.  It is this success – taking form in agriculture, industry, commerce, and medicine – that has spawned the growth in human population and the gathering threat to our environment. 

      Viewed through history’s eye, this success has come in a sudden burst. 

      Through virtually all of the 50,000 years since humans first appeared, world population never exceeded 10 million.  Then, at some point only in the last 2,000 years, something happened.  To take a phase from nuclear science, human inventiveness reached critical mass, and advance led to advance with increasing speed. 

      Within the last 2,000 years – as shown here – these gains in knowledge brought enlightenment and prosperity to hundreds of millions of people.  But the surge of world population also carried a consequence.  Before, humanity’s effect on Earth’s ecosystems was like a flea on a camel – wholly inconsequential. 

      But in just the 200 years we call the Industrial Age – the time frame pictured here – humanity became an influence on Earth’s fundamental mechanisms.  Now this impact – this anthropogenic impact – threatens to destroy the very environmental conditions that enabled human success.

      This map sequence illustrates humanity’s growth over the past two millennia.  Note that it took 50,000 years for population to reach one billion, a little more than a century to reach two billion, 33 years to reach three billion, 14 years to reach four billion, 13 years to reach five billion, 12 years to reach six billion.  Today we are at 6.6 billion people, with 9 billion projected by the year 2050.

      Viewing this population through an economic lens serves to describe the human condition.  What we find is a world of extremes. 

      At one end of the scale are the OECD countries, where global prosperity is centered.  These wealthy nations represent a mere one-sixth of humanity.  At the other end are the world’s poorest.  Here an equal number of people – 1.1 billion – live in destitution with constant hunger, no clean water, the death of a child every 3 seconds, and virtually no income or prospect of improvement.

      Back at the wealthier end of the spectrum, if we add the 300 million semi-prosperous population of the former Soviet bloc, we find that 1.4 billion of the world’s people – just 20% – account for 80% of global economic consumption.  This means that 80% of the world’s people subsist on just 20% of world production of goods and services.

      The 80% of humanity in the poor and developing world continues to increase.  The rate is 20,000 per day.  Think of it as the birth of a new city of 6 million people once each month.  Our problem is not shrinking; it is worsening by the day.

      The poorest 1.1 billion people are categorized as being in “extreme” poverty.  Another 1.6 billion are classified as being in “moderate” poverty – just a small step above abject misery.  They have little sanitation and virtually no money.  They survive amidst pollution and disease.

      The energy dimension of poverty is fundamental.  Poverty correlates so closely to the absence of electricity that access to electricity is the best single gauge of a person’s standard of living.  In today’s world of 6.6 billion, a full 2 billion people have no electricity, and 2 billion more have only limited access.  In other words, fewer than 40% of the world’s people can easily switch on the lights.

      Numbers on the same scale apply to clean water.  Today, world water tables are falling under the demands of expanding human consumption.  As this crisis emerges, we can expect the growing shortage of potable water supplies to produce thirst, disease, and water wars – in other words, a deadly combination of human suffering and human strife.  As a remedy, we have one available tool:  large-scale desalination of seawater, an energy-intensive process that will compound global energy demand.

      Finally, we have the great mass of humanity positioned between poverty and prosperity.  This population, poised for advance, will be the engine of our world’s future economic development. 

      In terms of future energy use, the human condition divides us into three categories:  those with energy access who will continue to use it, those with none who desperately need it, and those poised in between, whose drive for economic advance is producing an expanded use of energy and, with it, an intensified outpouring of greenhouse emissions. 

      The environmental impact of this central group cannot be overstated.  In the very near future, greenhouse emissions from developing nations will equal emissions from the countries we now call developed.  After that, emissions from the developing world will be the major driver of global climate change.


      I saw a picture of Bejing  (Beijing's Population to Top 21.4m by 2020)  a couple of weeks ago, the air is sooty black. 
      I suppose it's like England was during Charles
      Dickens times and the so called industrial revolution, which was the advent of machines replacing mankind........
      And forget our government, even today with dems in congress in control ....... they canceled renewable credits....
      ....."The problem is that a contingent of House Democrats has continued to insist that no renewable energy tax credit extension be passed unless it can be paid for by cutting some other budget item or by adding revenue -- like increasing taxes on Big Oil. ".......
      Sonya mail to: <msredsonya@...>
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