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Saru

When will our population hit crisis point ?

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I stand corrected, "fracking" it is. My English sometimes goes awry.

I see the technology giving a considerable boost to the Vietnamese economy and enough time to convert to solar and a few other sources. We probably have something like 30 - 50 years worth of present Vietnamese use available. Without this technology there is almost nothing.

Eventually we will use biomass if solar doesn't work out, but I don't see that except as an option.

You should not believe the hype. Fracking is extremely expensive to produce and means that current energy prices will have to rise in order to make Fracked energy affordable - this means more expensive food which hits countries like Vietnam doubly hard since many live on very low incomes and cannot afford to buy food at current rates let alone at increased rates.

Fracking is no panacea for any of the problems the world faces and will help to accelerate global warming massively - with significant knock on impacts on agricultural productivity.

Br Cornelius

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Energy is not cheap, so saying we are dependent on cheap energy is misleading. I don't see it getting more expensive, though, and, in fact, unless the Saudis willingly surrender market share it will get cheaper over then next decade or so. Your analysis is concerned only with costs on agriculture and does not consider the costs on the overall society. A country like Vietnam can limit other petroleum uses more readily and divert them to agriculture if a genuine crisis arose, far more easily than most societies could, but that is something I just simply think is fear-mongering and not in the least to be expected.

As a proportion of costs, in Vietnam labor is critical, as the population is rapidly urbanizing. There is, though, still considerable mechanization that is difficult in tropical environment. Fertilizer too is not anywhere near the levels of use in the West, because it is not needed. A sharp rise in energy costs might put some water buffalo back to work, but otherwise would not sharply impinge on agricultural production.

Also, the society does not show the pressure to switch to meat seen in other developing countries, although there is some of that.

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Your negativity about fracking is ideological, and I suspect you limit your sources to people you agree with and hence are mislead by political agendas. The technology is there and will yield increased petroleum production worldwide for several decades if not longer.

Vietnam has a considerable "surplus" population in the countryside -- meaning that the same production with the same input of labor could be achieved with far fewer hands. Everyone though now is well fed and educated and so the urbanization has slowed.

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Look into Peak oil, its real and oil production has already peaked. Saudi production has peaked, and the Iraq invasion was a strategic response to that fact.

As I said, Vietnam is fairly atypical of world agriculture where energy price is the dominant factor. There are two main producers of the staple food crop of the world - America and Russia and they are both experiencing rising energy costs - that will effect world grain prices.

Br Cornelius

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The Saudis keep their data a state secret, but from their spending it does not look like they foresee any peak in their production. Iraq is only beginning to go back on line and we have no idea what may happen there if they get their act in gear.

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Your negativity about fracking is ideological, and I suspect you limit your sources to people you agree with and hence are mislead by political agendas. The technology is there and will yield increased petroleum production worldwide for several decades if not longer.

Vietnam has a considerable "surplus" population in the countryside -- meaning that the same production with the same input of labor could be achieved with far fewer hands. Everyone though now is well fed and educated and so the urbanization has slowed.

I have researched Fracking extensively. It is a technology which only just makes sense after a quadrupling of the wholesale price of Gas/oil over the last decade. The current world recession is at least partly a consequence of that price spike. The simple fact of the matter is that it takes roughly a dozen wells to extract the same amount of oil/gas as a conventional well. each well costs more in the long run because it needs to be Fracked at intervals of a few years (at a cost of about a million dollars per frack) to maintian production at anything like the rates of a conventional well.

Do the basic maths - many times the initial basic cost and an ongoing cost not experienced by conventional wells throughout the lifetime of the well.

Fracking can be done, but the energy is not affordable by most consumers of the product. This matters not to the gas producers who will find a buyer whatever the cost, but the same cannot be said for your Vietnamese peasant farmer.

For these very reasons the main Fracking operator in America has hit a cash flow crisis and almost went bankrupt last year. This is a speculators bubble not an energy revolution. It can make a modest contribution to energy needs - but a world where Fracking makes economic sense will not6 be the world you are used to and will not be a pleasant place to live for any but the Middle classes upwards.

I have not even touched on the likely environmental costs of even trying to square the Fracking circle.

Br Cornelius

Br Cornelius

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The Saudis keep their data a state secret, but from their spending it does not look like they foresee any peak in their production. Iraq is only beginning to go back on line and we have no idea what may happen there if they get their act in gear.

One of the Wiki leaks Emails concerned an American analysis of Saudi reserves and estimated that the main field was already in steep decline due to over pumping of sea water into the wells in order to maintain production at current rates. that is bad practice which smacks of desperation - souring your own oil to hid the fact that there ain't much left.

Thats a fact - look it up.

Br Cornelius

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For some reason I just don't understand a lot of professional experts in the oil industry are investing a lot of money, and finding a lot of oil and natural gas. I think the reason has to do with disappointment among the doom-sayers that their predictions of oil production ending has been put off for a generation or two, if not longer.

To be sure, this oil is much more expensive than what it costs the Saudis to produce the stuff, but the Saudis have kept prices up as the swing producer and now have a huge budget to sustain for political stability. For this reason people who understand the economics are perfectly willing to make the investments. At worst, prices could swing down, bringing increased consumption and swinging them back up.

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I think most of the Wiki leaks were engineered in the State Department to send various messages they couldn't send directly. The pessimism over Saudi production that you refer to could be of this sort, or just a message to the Saudis to clean up their methods and not be wasteful, or just a loose string not really reflecting the complete Saudi picture. The point is the Saudis seem to show no signs of being worried.

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Posted (edited)

Your negativity about fracking is ideological,

You are talking to me??

No, I am neither "negative" about fracking, nor has ideology anything to do with it.

I am simply looking at the facts. I very much wish we would find a new, unlimited source of energy; fossil or otherwise. But fracking simply is not it. Fracking is nothing more than going for the left-overs, after the easy and cheap oil get scarce. Yes, there is currently are fracking boom, but that does not mean that fracking can solve the energy problem.

I suspect you have read some enthusiastic articles about fracking, without looking at the actual figures.

Edited by Zaphod222
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Posted (edited)

For some reason I just don't understand a lot of professional experts in the oil industry are investing a lot of money, and finding a lot of oil and natural gas.

No, they do not (find a lot of new oil for the ever-increasing amount of money they have to spend)..

Your information is simply wrong. Yes, there are new finds all the time (and there have to be, to replace the existing ones that are used up), but there has not been a find of a super-giant field like Gawar in Saudi Arabia for decades. Every time you read in the newspaper about a new exciting oil find, do go through the trouble and look at the actual figures.

It will be an eye-opener for you.

Edited by Zaphod222
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I agree with what Zaphod just said. The first sign of peak oil was the quadrupling of crude oil prices - the economic crash had a number of reasons - but it was precipitated by the commodities spike when people realized that stocks and bonds were overpriced. The thing is if the flight to oil/commodities was just a response then the price should have fallen back to pre 2008 levels, it has not, it has stayed high and shown the first signs of increasing in any rising market. This is a sure fire signal that the market understands the real dynamics of what is happening in the oil market.

You may not think that a qyadrupliing of our primary fuel price is significant but it has driven many business to the wall and cut margins to the bone. Real goods prices will have to rise dramatically to absorb these energy cost, but there just isn't the productive money to allow that to happen. When it does expect another market crash and another wave of business closures and more of the marginal high energy cost industries get winnowed out.

Expensive oil means a complete change to everything we know. Everything has changed and will continue to change as we adjust to the reality of a quadrupled cost base.

The fact that a bunch of market investors are ploughing borrowed money (from the central banks) at zero percent interest into the only commodity which offers a real chance of return on free money should not fill you with confidence in the robustness of the world economy.

Br Cornelius

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We have already reached the crisis point in that we have entrained serious damage to our own ecosystem, as a result of which, the earth will have a lower carrying capacity.

Malthus' model was the exponential growth curve. In its lower reaches it cannot be distinguished from a logistic growth curve. The exponential curve is one of unrestricted growth. But there is nothing that follows that curve all the way to the end. Things like disease and limited food supplies put limits on the exponential curve, turning it into the logistic. Once people are born, it is pretty easy to estimate when they will die. The had part of population estimates is predicting when they will be born. There are a lot of social influences that come into play, making population estimates not real reliable more than twenty years ahead.

That being said, population is expected to top out on a global basis at just under ten billion late in this century. If all goes well, there will follow a long, slow decline that gradually brings our population to a more-reasonable level. If all doesn't go well, that decline will be sudden and dramatic. Either way, in 200 years there will be fewer of us.

Doug

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When I was younger I read a book that said 8 billion would be the tipping point. Something was mentioned about a fertility crisis I would put that down to education and all the chemicals in our food and stuff. It might also be natures way of slowing down population growth.

Japan and south Korea are two countries that will feel the brunt of low fertility. Their economies may fail with no workers because everyone is old or dead and no kids are being born. I live in Australia our population goes up with people coming into the country, but our birth rates have increased because the government has put in cash incentives to pop out babies.

I think we need a age limit rather than a population limit. People are living far too long and the cost of keeping people alive is high. I say when you turn 80 its time to go. Sounds harsh I know but in Australia for example 3.5 - 5 million baby boomers are going to reach 80ish in the next 15 - 25 years, those millions will need health care, nursing homes, medications, pension payments etc. Those working are going to be taxed more to pay for pensions and p

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* oops on my phone*

Anyway tax payers will need to pay for pensions and public health care.

We are at a stage that multiple generations are going into nursing homes ie pre boomer still alive is in a nursing home with their baby boomer child.

Also there is a housing crisis because people are nit dying quick enough. People are living longer meaning more houses need to be built to meet demand. House prices rise and people wonder why multiple generations live under one roof.

My thought is we need a pandemic and soon just to ease the pressure a bit.

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Kill off all the old folks and engineer a pandemic. My you are a warm and cuddly cold fish.

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Posted (edited)

I think there is a problem of attempting to preserve life beyond a point where it is either enjoyable or kind. The preservation of life at any cost is not sensible and not really very ethical.

Its a reality which health services and governments are slowly coming to terms with.

I don't think any form of euthanasia is the way to go, but sensible planned rationing of medical intervention has to be considered.

What annoys me greatly is that modern society makes people redundant at barely half way through their lives. this is criminal and helps to ensure early medical and mental decrepitude among the old. We should shift our societies to have people gainfully employed in productive capacities well into their old age. It would take quite a radical restructuring of society to achieve, but the alternative of leaving it to the market to decide would be so unbelievably painful and wasteful of human resources that it will destroy the civilized quality of our societies.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius

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Vietnam feeds itself extremely well and exports tons of coffee and rice and rubber with five times the population density on its arable land, so I think the rest of the world could too. Places where this fails has to do with politics and corruption, not too many people.

I think Frank is right about one thing at least... The main issue is Political. Before the human race reaches some kind of magic population number that ends the world, politics will create war, or other solutions that will cause untold suffering. National boundries also prevent migration where overcrowding normally would result in people moving.

Peak Oil, I think it not a myth, but it is not a boogie man either. Fracking is like any technology and will improve and become cheaper, and then there will be another 150 years of oil.

Clearly however there is not enough oil in the world for everyone to live like those in the UK or US, or even the UAE.... Most are going to live in medieval level poverty. And hopefully no one will tell these 90% of humanity that they are living so far below everyone else, otherwise they could very well form a revolution.

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Posted (edited)

Soil is the real crisis;

Each year, 12 million hectares of land, where 20 million tonnes of grain could have been grown, are lost to land degradation. In the past 40 years, 30 percent of the planet’s arable (food-producing) land has become unproductive due to erosion. Unless this trend is reversed soon, feeding the world’s growing population will be impossible.

The world will likely need “60 percent more food calories in 2050 than in 2006″, according to a new paper released May 30 by the World Resources Institute. Reaching this goal while maintaining economic growth and environmental sustainability is one of the most important global challenges of our time, it concludes.

http://www.ipsnews.n...lnow-peak-soil/

The solution is not more artificial fertilizers (could we make them) as they only accelerate erosion.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius

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kill off all the old folks eh? So do we set them adrift on a piece of ice or use the ole volcano method..horrible idea

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Posted (edited)

kill off all the old folks eh? So do we set them adrift on a piece of ice or use the ole volcano method..horrible idea

Gladiatorial combat! :gun:

Imagine the ratings.

Edited by Papagiorgio
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Populations are in crisis whenever there is hunger.... for whatever reason?

It's happening today to large populations in some parts of the world and segments of populations in the rest of the world. The current large scale food production and distribution systems are ,in the long run, unsustainable . I think we'll be forced to return to smaller more localized food production. I could be wrong of course. ;

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The question isn't "will" but "when." Water will be the new gold. Every living thing on planet Earth needs water to survive. Whether its in 25, 50 or 75 years, we have to have access to vast amounts of clean water. I hope somewhere on this planet there are groups of people tackling ways to desalinate ocean water and how to do it cheaply. I see this issue happening much sooner then I want to believe and God help us all if we haven't got a Plan B.

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Populations are in crisis whenever there is hunger.... for whatever reason?

It's happening today to large populations in some parts of the world and segments of populations in the rest of the world. The current large scale food production and distribution systems are ,in the long run, unsustainable . I think we'll be forced to return to smaller more localized food production. I could be wrong of course. ;

Yes, I think you are wrong; the world produces more than enough food and in large areas of the world immense amounts go to waste. The problem is selfishness and uncaring in rich areas and corruption and mismanagement in poor areas.

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The question isn't "will" but "when." Water will be the new gold. Every living thing on planet Earth needs water to survive. Whether its in 25, 50 or 75 years, we have to have access to vast amounts of clean water. I hope somewhere on this planet there are groups of people tackling ways to desalinate ocean water and how to do it cheaply. I see this issue happening much sooner then I want to believe and God help us all if we haven't got a Plan B.

Desalination technologies are on the horizon that will resolve this in all the world except deserts. Groundwater is a more serious matter and its depletion has got to be stopped.
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