Comment 41997

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 15, 2010 at 17:24:20

I suppose, zookeeper, that depends on your definition of a "modern farm". I know lots of people who do so, and in fact it's one of the only areas in which any small farms are doing well. People ran farms without petrochemicals for almost ten thousand years, and the economics of financing petrochemical-based farm inputs (tractors, fertilizers, pesticides etc) is one of the main forces driving people out of farming today, as well as destroying they land they're trying to farm.

As for a "sudden collapse" - if what happened last year doesn't scare you, I don't know what will. The system is far too complex to take the kind of shocks which peak oil is coausing. Thankfully oil itself won't run out overnight, as it's liquid (or tar), and both coal and uranium, solids, will take even longer. This isn't to say their supply is safe - both coal and uranium hit the same fundamental hurdle as oil - only areas of high concentration are worth mining, otherwise it takes more money and energy than we'll ever get back. Many estimates put global coal with only decades left, and uranium lasting less than a decade if the world attempted to use it to meet all of our electricity needs.

Natural gas, on the other hand, could very easily run out before we realised what was going on, especially with the boom in use, price and extraction created by the recent oil shocks. And people being forced to park their cars sucks, people not being able to heat their homes can kill them.

Moylek is right on the money - this isn't about oil. This is about using resources unsustainably. Oil lends itself pretty well to unsustainable use, but the Middle East had been desertified by stone and iron-age technologies (irrigation, logging etc) long before anybody knew what that smelly black stuff was.

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