Dear Friends, I reccomend two reports that will give an overview of our current situation. They are right on track for today! If you are short on time, at least glance at the graphs.
The first was written a couple of years ago by Paul Chefurka, entitled World Energy and Population Trends to 2100.
He establishes the direct correspondance between available energy and population. Energy is everything that comes from oil, gas, coal and so on. As we seem to have already reached the peak in oil, the major and most versatile energy source on this planet, are we rapidly approaching the peak in population?
He concludes that the human race is now out of time. We are staring at hard limits on our activities and numbers, imposed by energy constraints and ecological damage. There is no time left to mitigate the situation, and no way to bargain or engineer our way out of it. It is what it is, and neither Mother Nature nor the Laws of Physics are open to negotiation.
We have come to this point so suddenly that most of us have not yet realized it. While it may take another twenty years for the full effects to sink in, the first impacts from oil depletion will be felt within five years. Given the size of our civilization and the extent to which we rely on energy in all its myriad forms, five years is far too short a time to accomplish any of the unraveling or re-engineering it would take to back away from the precipice. At this point we are committed to going over the edge into a major population reduction.
The Graphs are clear and graphic (no pun intended!)
The second was written 14 years ago by Richard Duncan, on The Olduvai Theory: Sliding Towards a Post-Industrial Stone Age
With one amazing drawing he concludes that the life expectancy of industrial civilization is approximately 100 years – that is, from 1930 to 2030 (as defined by energy production per capita). There are four postulates:
1) The exponential growth of world energy production ended in 1970.
2) Average energy production per capita will remain on a plateau from 1970 to 2008 (Remember the financial crisis?).
3) The rate of change will go steeply negative from 2008.
4) World population will decline to around 2bn souls by 2050.
and an analysis by Anatoly Karlin http://www.sublimeoblivion.com/2009/06/28/notes-olduvai/
The amazing thing is that his work was remarkably prescient. The precess that we are committed to (since the debacle at Copenhagen) is called overshoot and collapse. I have referred to many studies on this issue in earlier copies of FOOTPRINTS.
This process is intimately connected to Climate Change.
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