Wednesday, September 02, 2009

zero population and zero oil growth

EnergyBulletin | In 2007-2008 using FAO and IFPRI data, the number of people facing acute food shortage or starvation increased by about 9% to attain more than 950 million. The same year, the last year of what is called 'vigorous' global economic growth before the present crisis, the world economy grew by about 4% using IMF data. Summarizing: 4% global economy growth produced 9% more starving people.

To be sure, this reality can be swept aside as a problem of income distribution, piranha capitalism, bad technology, inappropriate crops, or whatever, necessitating yet more economic growth to resolve. More economic growth, the prayer wheel continues, is facilitated or even directly generated by population growth. The same type of logic reversals and acts of faith, we can note, have always been a basis for religious philiosophy, for example the agonizing question of the ranks and types of angels, why some are not good and their messenger role for connecting us to God, or not.

Eating Oil: For How Much Longer?
The simple fact that "belle epoque" economic growth in 2007-2008 was far outstripped by the increase in numbers of starving people underlines an uncomfortable reality for population boomers. Economic growth does not at all guarantee that people eat, let alone eat more. Also, we can note, the most basic cause in history for population declines is neither disease nor war - but food shortage.

The vast majority of starving persons in today's world are poor and exist outside the mainly white OECD countries. The OECD countries are still able to generate food surpluses, and food linked problems include mass obesity and transgenic animal-human crossover viruses brewed by Belsen agriculture, pesticides, and agrochemicals. How the OECD countries are presently still able to attain or create food surpluses is very simple to explain: they burn a lot more oil than poor countries. Whatever the calls for Green Energy, in the OECD countries of the real world present, OECD national food production in the real world present is totally oil dependent.

In some countries of the OECD, specially Japan, this has attained extreme highs, Japan using an average of more than 12 barrels direct oil consumption per hectare (about 80 GJ) for rice production each year. If the new Democratic Party government obtains its way, and succeeds in inciting Japanese families to reproduce French-style or US-style and achieve French or US population growth (about 0.6 million a year for France and 2.8 million a year for the USA) Japan's agricultural oil burn will inexorably rise, barring green tech miracles.