We hear a fair amount about global warming from the left, but we don’t hear about something much worse that is more imminent.
To start off let me try and paint a picture for you. Close your eyes and imagine what every room in your house looks like. What do you see? Furniture, decorations, walls, doors, a ceiling, electronics like your computer and television, clothes in your closet and dresser, food stored in a pantry, as well as utilities like your dish washer, refrigerator, washing machine. All these things have become essential to our lives. But what do all these things have in common? They all had to be delivered from point a to point b in a semi-truck at some point in time. But before these materials could be transported to a retailer via truck, they had to be manufactured and before they could be manufactured we had to harvest and transport raw materials.
I bring this up just to highlight the importance of the transportation system. We currently have 15.5 million trucks operating in the United States, and they are transporting roughly 70% of our freight at any given time. Every one of those trucks are running on diesel, a fossil fuel with a higher energy density then gasoline and an engine that produces more torque making it significantly more efficient as a fuel for heavy duty needs in comparison to gasoline. And it’s not just transportation, the diesel engine is also central to any industry dependent on heavy machinery (agriculture, construction and mining to name a few).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the only reason your next-door neighbor isn't trying to kill you is the same reason why you can fill up your gas tank for under $60. Producing fossil fuels at a rate to meet our demands has become just as important as having air to breathe. There is a certain amount of proven oil reserves on this planet. This is the oil that we have discovered and is also economical to extract. Developing a model to predict when we will run out of oil isn’t possible with 100% certainty. The proven reserves vary year to year as more attainable oil is discovered, or we figure out ways to extract oil that we once thought was uneconomical. This is what many peak oil models fail to account for and why they are criticized.
But the governing idea behind peak oil itself is not wrong. At some point, I would guess before the end of the century, civilization will collapse. Now, before you say this is some kind of nutty quack theory, let me explain. It will be mathematically impossible to increase production at some point in the near future, the rate of production will then begin to decrease, governments around the world will have no choice but to enforce restrictions on consumption and heavily regulate the market. This is why we will never leave the middle east.
It’s difficult to say when the global markets will begin to realize what is happening, maybe 10-15 years in advance at best? When that happens we will see a massive shift into renewables and alternative ways of doing things, we are already seeing the beginning of that today. Most economists and especially right wing economists would they argue that these alternatives and substitutes will be developed fast enough and we will transition smoothly. These people are a joke, this isn’t a textbook example of supply/demand, it’s a matter of physics. We are not simply talking about “goods and services”, fossil fuel is the primary building block of the modern economy and civilization itself. One does not simply develop a substitute to oil in a short time frame and implement it on a massive global scale. I mean were talking about re-engineering almost everything on a massive scale, and if it’s not done globally there will be wars that make Iraq and Syria look like child’s play.
So, what’s the solution? Even if I’m wrong and everything works out fine it won’t matter. We will still run out of phosphorous and water. This Is the collapse of global capitalism, that’s why the democrats won’t discuss this, they would prefer to make global warming and climate change the issue. The reason why is because there are capitalist solutions to reducing carbon emissions that allow for economic growth to continue at the current pace. There is no economic solution that would magically replenish the earth of its resources. This brings me to the only solution I can think of, and I should warn you, it’s not something people want to hear.
Let’s start with some simple physics. The sun produces a consistent amount of power, some percentage of this energy in the form of sunlight hits our planet and allows life to grow. In the early 1700’s all the way up to the early 1900’s two things happened. The first was that we invented vaccinations and antibiotics. This meant that most of our children would not die before they reached puberty. This caused the world population to grow exponentially, and how did we keep up with the population growth? Around the same time period we discovered thermodynamics, the science that lead to the invention of engines. We could then develop a much more advanced transportation and agricultural system. In order to do that we had to use fossil fuel. In other words, we used “sunlight” that was trapped inside oil and coal. I hate to say it, but the only way to avoid a crisis involving limited resources it to reduce global population.
There are a number of ways we can reduce population. I think it was Bill Gates that wanted to do this by providing education to women in developing countries. This helps and is a good cause, but it falls short. I propose that we begin development of a virus or parasite that targets the human reproductive system. Bio-engineering isn’t my field so I do not know how it could be done, it seems plausible enough. But it would involve editing the genome of a suitable organism. Something like this would have to be done in secret as the public would never agree to it, and we would have to test it on human subjects which is illegal. Before we release this “organism”, we should have a working vaccine or some sort of cure that would be guaranteed to eradicate it. It is the moral and ethical thing to do, no one has to die, everyone could go on with their lives they just would not be able to have children. We infect every country with this virus, and time it in such a way that the cure or vaccine could be given out before we go extinct.
Such a thing would of course cause additional problems, we would be delaying the next generation and many systems for example social security and medicare in the united states require young people to pay into them. So old people would be screwed, in particular I would be screwed. Because if such a thing were to happen in time it would be my generation (millennials) that gets hit. But if we don’t do it we will all kill eachother in war and possibly destroy the planet in the process anyway. We should aim to do this in a way that would reduce global population back to sustainable levels, about 1 billion. It would then be up to the next generation of young people to decide what kind of world they want and whether or not we repeat the mistakes of the past – a global reset. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make – to not have children and die shortly after I reach retirement age, because as I said, to not do this means we destroy ourselves and the planet in the process.