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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Science & Technology, Society, War | 5 comments

Denial is not a River

We have gotten use to peak resources denial from the plutocrats of the Republican party and the people of the western world who simply can’t imagine a world without growth.  But we have this from the United Nations:

The population of the world, long expected to stabilize just above 9 billion in the middle of the century, will instead keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by the year 2100, the United Nations projected in a report released Tuesday.

Of course this projection completely ignores:

  • Peak Oil
  • Peak Phosphorus
  • Peak Water
  • Peak Iron
  • Peak Copper
  • etc.

As Richard Heinberg points out in The End Of Growth our society/economy is dependent on cheap liquid fuels for continued growth and the cheap oil is exhausted.  If the economy can’t grow the population can’t grow.

Norman Borlaug won the Nobel prize for his “green revolution”  which fed billions of people.  Well his green revolution” was not all that green but more importantly was not sustainable – it was dependent on cheap oil, plentiful groundwater and phosphorus,  Oil is no longer cheap, the aquifers are running dry and we have reached peak phosphorus.

As the price of oil increases the price of food increases.   More importantly the price to ship food from regions that have excess to regions that have shortages increases.  The uprisings in the Middle East were not so much about a desire for freedom and Democracy but rising food prices.  Lester R. Brown explains in The New Geopolitics Of Food.

Welcome to the new food economics of 2011: Prices are climbing, but the impact is not at all being felt equally. For Americans, who spend less than one-tenth of their income in the supermarket, the soaring food prices we’ve seen so far this year are an annoyance, not a calamity. But for the planet’s poorest 2 billion people, who spend 50 to 70 percent of their income on food, these soaring prices may mean going from two meals a day to one. Those who are barely hanging on to the lower rungs of the global economic ladder risk losing their grip entirely. This can contribute — and it has — to revolutions and upheaval.

We have peak cheap oil and global climate change combined with a shortage of phosphorus and water.  We have reached the point where we will be unable to feed the population we have.  Expect a decline not a growth.  Some will starve, some will die in the inevitable resources wars and most of those wars will be over water not oil.  I feel confident in predicting there will be less people on this planet in 20 years not more.  We have reached peak people!

Cross posted at Newshoggers

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