Energy Crisis

The collapse of soil fertility mining the soil

Modern agriculture relies on steady inputs of inorganic chemical fertilizers. For grain crops under North Korean soil and growing conditions, the amount required is 400-500 kilograms per hectare (kg ha) of the basic macronutrients nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium (NPK). UN and DPRK agricultural experts estimate the total North Korean requirement at 700,000 tonnes year (NPK).22 The actual bulk amount of fertilizer required to fulfill this demand would be of the order of 1.5-2.5 million tonnes...

Measuring Our Predicament

This part is about oil production peaks, both per capita and total world, and how they may be measured. It relates scientific scales to geography, politics and lifestyle, ideology and philosophy. 101 Views from Hubbert's Peak is a socio-political view of what has really been happening since the first oil shock of 1973. Has the world really been doing as well as many economists and politicians would have us believe And, if not, must we all really head full-speed towards the apocalypse, or might...

Statistics Which Indicate Widespread Decline In Economic Growth From

Not all economic statistics give the false impression that every day everything is getting better and better. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD economist Angus Maddison, for instance, developed a comparative quantitative framework for estimating economic growth across nations and regions going back to 1820.4 His statistics have an historic basis and use social as well as material indicators. They measure units of purchasing power rather than currency exchange rates.5...

Skewed Distribution May Distort The Real Economic Picture

Another factor which complicates the assessment of material progress and its relationship to petroleum fuels is that petroleum fuels are not distributed by the market equally and evenly. Per capita oil is no reflection of actual distribution among different classes of human beings in different countries. Although there has been a world oil market that redistributes oils at the same price to all buyers, not all currency is equal. Ironically, in some places where oil is still an export commodity,...

Countering Propaganda With Simple Solutions

Propaganda about a dematerialized economy makes it hard to establish the reality that material industrial productivity is not actually less reliant on burning fossil fuels than it was in the 1970s, and that drawdown on fossil fuels has in fact been multiplied by the needs of much greater populations. Similarly the obvious still needs to be pointed out that increasing productivity means burning more fuel and outputting more pollution, accelerating petroleum depletion, and adding more greenhouse...

Geodeterminism

Obviously oil reserves control our destiny, but the question is, to what degree Are we indeed hardwired to overrun the earth as if it were a Petri-dish and we were cancer cells Controlling our destiny depends on how well we are able to control demand, which means controlling our collective numbers and consumption. It is not just the oil-importing countries which find it hard to restrain their consumption the producers and exporters are just as hooked on the money that comes from sales. For this...

Andrew McKillop

Since the return of oil angst, from 2001 as its price steadily mounted, the chancelleries and powerbrokers of the old Great Powers - the US and European countries - plus deciders in the emerging supergiant powerhouses of the globalizing economy, China and India, have specially pinpointed Africa. Africa has since then retained a special position in the crosshairs of political, economic and industrial initiatives by the world's power elite, with one objective get to Africa's reserves of black...

The Final Energy Crisis

Second edition published 2008 by Pluto Press and 839 Greene Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 The right of the individual contributors to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 0 7453 2718 1 Hardback ISBN 978 0 7453 2717 4 Paperback Library of Congress...

Hydropower and water transport

Inland water sources on the mainland, with the exception of the unreliable Murray-Darling River system and the Snowy River, are almost all unable to support fluvial transport or reliable power generation. Tasmania is the only state where fast-flowing rivers make widespread hydropower possible. On the positive side, if substitute big-energy systems are not found, this will also remove the structures and their beneficiaries which currently present barriers to relocalization and land...

Indirect Solar Renewable Energy Technologies Possibilities And Problems

In addition to direct collection of solar energy several indirect sources of this important resource exist. They include the wind, powered by differential heating of the earth's surface, ocean currents (produced by a similar mechanism), hydroelectric, powered by solar-powered water evaporation and condensation into rivers, ocean thermal energy conversion (based on solar-heated surface layers of the tropical oceans), and ocean waves, driven by the wind and carrying energy with them as they...

Japans energyimport dependency

Whilst the world's dependence on oil for its primary energy consumption is about 39 percent, Japan's was 49.7 percent in 2005 (see Table 22.1).45 Japan relies on Middle East oil-producing countries for around 89 percent of its oil46 and was the world's third largest oil consumer in 2005, after the US and China, and the second largest importer.47 Domestic primary energy production is extremely low, being about 16 percent in 2005 if electricity from nuclear power is counted as domestic...

Illusions Of Tritium Selfsufficiency

In fact, a self-sustained tritium fusion chain appears to be not simply problematic but absolutely impossible. To see why, we will now look into some details based on what is already known about this problem. A central quantity for any fission reactor is its criticality, namely that exactly one neutron, out of the two to three neutrons liberated per fission reaction, will enable another nuclear fission reaction. More than 99 percent of the liberated fission energy is taken by the heavy fission...

Sheila Newman

Humans already use most of the land on the planet. In many places in the world the competition is between the land-poor and the land-rich. This is a political problem which needs to be solved without further trashing the natural environment. Some systems are more equitable than others and, as discussed in other chapters in this volume (101 Views from Hubbert's Peak and France and Australia After Oil), the Anglo-Celtic system used in most English-speaking countries is worse than most. We humans...

Japans capacity for energy selfsufficiency and renewable technologies

It is always possible that some new or old fuel will become plentifully accessible with new technology, such as fusion or ways to exploit the gas hydrates in Japanese waters54 but such power sources are only in the hypothetical stage and may remain there for the foreseeable future. Official estimates by the Japanese Resource and Energy Agency are that renewable energy, in the form of solar, wind, or ocean power, provided 1.1 percent of Japan's primary energy in 2003, and will provide 3.1...

Notes on Contributors

Boys is British, but for over 30 years has lived in Japan, where he studied the modernization of China's agriculture at Tsukuba University and worked at a number of universities in the Kanto area. He is currently a guest lecturer at Tohoku University Graduate School of Agricultural Science (Sendai) where he teaches one course in food and energy. He has been a regular contributor to Japanese academic journals on the subject of energy and agriculture. He is currently resident in...

Coal Reserves Production And Consumption Of Coal In The World

Over 90 percent of world coal reserves exist in the 13 countries listed in Table 5.2, and the top six have slightly over 80 percent of the reserves.4 The world's total reserves are seen to be 478.8 Gt, or gigatonnes, of hard coal and 430.3 Gt of soft coal, with a total of 909 Gt. A slightly lower number of 857 Gt is reported by the World Energy Council.5 Of the reserves, one-quarter is in the United States. Table 5.2 Coal reserves of major producing countries in billions of metric tons Mt Table...

The Asian Pathfinder Japan

To set the ultimate limit for growth of petroleum- and gas-fueled vehicles we can start with the near-ultimate example of a catch-up country in the car business - Japan. Even as late as 1949, Japan's transport fleet still counted some 146,500 horse- and ox-drawn carts, compared with fewer than 200,000 trucks and about 100,000 private automobiles. But through a self-reinforcing, very high gain feedback process of growth, with annual growth rates typically of 15-20 percent, year in and year out,...

Energy Intensity Reduction In Oecd Countries

The urgent need for reducing oil and gas intensity of the OECD rich world, or mature urban postindustrial societies is at present little recognized, or at least rarely admitted. Reasons for this have been discussed above. The present situation regarding average oil and gas demand per capita, in barrels or barrels oil equivalent per year, is shown in Table 12.1. Country or region Oil intensity Gas intensity Rounded averages, 2006 barrels per capita barrels oil equivalent per year, bcy per capita...

Oil And Gas Intensity Reduction In Oecd Countries

Necessary, rapid, and severe reduction of oil and gas reliance in the light of their depletion profiles and their role in climate change requires planning. The impossibility of achieving this through market only mechanisms can be gauged from the exceptionality of any decline in world oil demand. In the entire 60-year period from 1945 to 2005, world oil demand declined long term only once - for each of the first three years of the very intense worldwide economic recession of 1979-83....

Oil And Gas Supplies And Prices

We can be certain that financial markets have already integrated the approach of peak oil through 2003-06 by an exuberant round of massive price rises for primary products right across the board, from metals and minerals to soft commodities. These now receive the biofuels boost or price premium where they could or might be utilized in producing biodiesel or bioethanol. The driver for this is oil prices and energy prices. Oil prices are now both high and extremely volatile, while gas prices are...

Resources And Population

Resources and goods are traded globally. A result is that regions with inadequate supplies of any input can make up for it with resources imported from elsewhere, as long as their demand is solvent (that is, if they have the cash for importing resources). If the raw materials for a factory are not locally available, they can be and are shipped around the world to where they are needed. If the oil products, natural gas, or electricity needed to run large transportation systems are not locally...

Overview Of The Dprk Energy Crisis

The DPRK relies heavily on indigenous sources of power, predominantly coal and hydropower, and has no known reserves of oil or natural gas. Since the end of the Cold War, chronic shortages have developed for all forms of modern energy supply, with petroleum products, coal, and electricity all reduced by more than 50 percent after 1990. These shortages have affected all sectors of the economy, especially transportation, industry, and agriculture. The North Korean energy crisis results from the...

Conclusion About Climate Change And Energy Crisis

The eventual answer to the DPRK food production problem must be to attempt the transition to intensive organic agriculture low levels of use of commercial energy sources and chemicals, a tight recycling of nutrients in combination with other methods of maintaining soil fertility, such as rotational systems, diversification of crops, and the development (return to ) integrated crop and livestock production systems. This has been attempted fairly successfully in Cuba in recent years.31 More...

Antony Boys

This chapter is about the future of energy and society in Japan without today's plentiful supplies of fossil energy resources, especially of petroleum. It based its premise on the author's study of North Korea's battle to survive in the period following the withdrawal of access to cheap Russian oil, also in this volume. Since we cannot know the future directly, we can only subject current trends to different hypothetical circumstances. It is not possible to make actual predictions. What we can...

The Moral Dilemma

Do the industrial countries owe anything to those in underdeveloped countries living lives of misery Will the industrial world be willing to alter its own system to benefit the starving billions elsewhere How much should the industrialized countries be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the underdeveloped world Is it moral to conclude that we should not make such sacrifices, or is the very question born of a fallacious understanding of what it takes to live well These are serious questions...

Biophysical

Australia has the capacity to support a very small but very varied biomass, compared to Europe.27 Reasons for Australia's lesser carrying capacity are its unreliable rainfall - drought and flooding rains28 - hostile climates, and impoverished soils, which, unlike Europe's, have not benefited from recent glaciations or volcanic activity. Australia's noteworthy flatness discourages rainfall and allows rivers to meander and evaporate, salting up soil, but gathering and depositing little silt....

Outlook for Japans local food production

Fresh vegetable imports in recent years are driving down prices, seriously affecting production, farmers' livelihoods and self-sufficiency in vegetables. About 60 percent of imports are from China.35 Between them Japan and China are taking huge amounts of fish from the seas, just over 30 percent of the world fish catch in 1995. Note that sea fishing is essentially all fossil energy ships, fuel, machinery, and equipment. Fish (shrimp, and so on) farming is similar, with an emphasis on feed,...

Solar limits

There are physical limits to the production of energy from direct solar radiation. In the absurd limit, we clearly could not cover all available land area with solar collectors. A more reasonable limit would be to fill existing and future rooftops with solar collectors. From data provided by the US Energy Information Administration, I estimated the total combined commercial and residential building roof area in the United States in the year 2000 at 18 billion square meters. From a National...

Some Political And Commercial Complications India As The New Fbr

There are currently delicate international negotiations proceeding with India, which offers a huge commercial market for uranium but has an interest in developing nuclear self-sufficiency based on its huge thorium reserves. India's nuclear technology has developed independently due to being isolated through India's having developed nuclear weapons too late (1974) for inclusion as an official Nuclear Weapons State under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT of 1970 accorded five...

Some More Technical Problems With Thorium And Fast Breeder Reactors

The costs of developing nuclear power using thorium as fuel are increased by the engineering problems associated with the production, recycling, and containment of extremely radioactive isotopes. Far more shielding would be required than for plants currently operating, including mixed-oxide uranium and plutonium fuel, or MOX, plants, which use recycled uranium mixed with plutonium. The thorium cycle includes the need to come to terms with exotic old and new artificial substances of extreme...

Geodestinies And Geodeterminism

History is subject to geology1 wrote Will and Ariel Durant in 1970, and petrogeologist Walter Youngquist cited them in 1997 in his book, GeoDestinies. Youngquist concluded his book by writing As it always has been and always will be, the materials of the Earth soil, water, metals, and energy supplies, will be the base for civilization and control its destiny.2 The chapters in this part explore the geopolitics of petrocarbon supply and demand which underpin our civilization and control its...

The Apocalypse Wagon

We assume that the fantasy fleets of China and India operate at much less than the average vehicle kilometrage per year of the EU6 (the core six nations), that is 22,000 km vehicle year. The EU27, we can note, has a lower average annual kilometrage, but in all the European Union countries outside the core group, average annual distances run are rising with economic growth. Average fleet-wide car fuel consumption in Germany is 7.9 liters per 100 kilometers (L 100 km) and well above 12 L 100 km...

The Lure Of The Supply Side

It is no coincidence that the so-called New Economy and its neoliberal ideology is based on and calls for supply side answers to any economic problem. When these do not work the New Economy answer is demand destruction, after which reduced supply is supposed to satisfy the reduced demand. In fact this only transfers demand to the future. The best example of this is Russia's economic collapse in the 1991-96 period, during which demand destruction for oil and gas was very intense, with about a 45...

Nitrogen pollution due to overuse of fertilizers

Up to two-thirds of chemical fertilizer leaches into groundwater, lakes, and rivers. The associated nitrogen pollution feeds algal blooms which subsequently die and lead to de-oxygenation of surface waters. The nitrogen (N) content of imported food for humans and animals in Japan has been estimated at 900,000 tonnes, with a further 700,000 tonnes produced domestically, giving a total of 1.6 million tonnes of N.40 Nearly 850,000 tonnes of chemically active N in nitrogenous chemical fertilizers...

Remaining Barriers To Fusion Energy On Planet Earth

Producing electricity from controlled nuclear fusion would require overcoming at least four major obstacles. The removal of each obstacle would need major scientific breakthroughs before any reasonable expectation might be formed of building a commercial prototype fusion reactor. It should be alarming that at best only the problems about plasma control, described in point (1) below, might be investigated within the scope of the ITER project. Where and how the others might be dealt with is...

Soil Science There Is No Waste Biomass

Long before there was peak oil, there was peak soil. Productivity drops off sharply when topsoil reaches six inches or less, the average crop root zone depth.11 Crop productivity continually declines as topsoil is lost and residues are removed.12 On average it takes about 100 years to form an inch of topsoil. Erosion from poor farming and other abuses can remove centuries of topsoil in less than a decade.13 Industrial agriculture and the expansion of suburbs to crop land is eroding topsoil far...

Colin J Campbell

The Caspian is one of the most ancient oil provinces of the world. The Zoroastrians of antiquity worshipped the eternal flames of Baku, which were smoldering hydrocarbon source rocks and gas seepages. F.N. Semyenov drilled a well there in 1840, operating under a concession granted by the Tsar of Russia, eleven years before the self-styled Colonel Drake drilled his well at Titusville, Pennsylvania, which is commonly taken to mark the start of the modern oil industry. Geographically, it is a...

In summary plants are hard to make into fuels

There is not enough water for people, industry, and biofuel refineries now, but by 2100, the US Census projects potentially 1.1 billion people in the United States.50 Time explains why renewable energy provides such low-energy yields compared to non-renewable fossil fuels. The more work left to nature, the higher the energy yield, but the longer the time required. Although coal and oil took millions of years to form into dense, concentrated solar power, all we had to do was extract and...

Ocean currents

Ocean currents, such as the Florida Current, the part of the Gulf Stream flowing northward past the Florida peninsula, carry enormous quantities of kinetic energy in their motion. There have been several proposals to develop this resource, to place ocean turbines in the strongest of currents and feed the energy generated to population centers onshore. According to Practical Ocean Energy Management Systems, Inc., The first large ocean-system proposal is for a 2.4-mile system that would link...

Assumptions for a future scenario

In order for Japan to alleviate or avoid severe food crises related to the fossil-energy shortage projected for the early decades of the twenty-first century it would be necessary to reinstate aspects of Japanese agriculture that were lost in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Based on our assumptions about Japan's future population and the implications of agricultural policies, we can see ways in which local and Japanese government might enhance food and energy self-sufficiency, planning for...

CANDU reactors

A well-established reactor which does not use enriched fuel also exists. Originating in Canada, CANDU reactors3 do not expend energy in separating fissile from non-fissile uranium isotopes. But their operation does require purchase of heavy water from an industry which separates the deuterium D2O , a naturally occurring isotope of hydrogen, from ordinary water. One CANDU uses about 360 tonnes of heavy water, which lasts the reactor for about 30 years with a loss of about 5 percent. D2O occurs...

Alice Friedemann

Biofuel is marketed by powerful and popular concerns as the answer to pricey gasoline, global warming, and fears about overdependence on imported fuel in the US today. Since conservation and reduction of consumption don't sell in a growth-oriented consumer economy, potential yields of biofuel from the edible grains of food crops have been hugely exaggerated and further bulked up with the forecast that cellulosic biofuels are just around the corner. For instance, United States Democratic...

Silence from soil scientists

The problems of erosion, over-reliance on fertilizers, and soil depletion are well known. Yet soil scientists seem to be absent from the biofuel debate. A poll of 35 soil scientists indicated to me that they fear that expressing their views will cost them their jobs.38 Here is what one commented anonymously Government policy since WWII has been to encourage overproduction to keep food prices down (people with full bellies don't revolt or object too much). It's hard to make a living farming...

The collapse of cereal production

The staple foods of the DPRK are rice and maize, and these crops are the main food grains produced in the country, accounting for about 1.2 million ha of the country's total arable land of about 2 million ha. Rice is grown predominantly in the southern plains, while maize is grown generally on sloping ground. Rice is transplanted from mid-May to early June, harvested from late September to October, and is almost totally irrigated. Maize is largely rain-fed, planting being carried out from...

European impact on productivity

Fossil fuel based, mechanized, extractive economies are a bit like glacial and volcanic action, bringing new components from deeper layers to the earth's surface. Because of this, since 1788, continental biomass, or net primary productivity, has probably increased by around 5-7 percent.33 This increase has been restricted mostly to about one-quarter of the country's surface area, mainly in the southeast. Based on this 5-7 percent range and the location of intensive production in Australia, it...

The collapse of motive power the substitution of human and animal labor for machines and commercial energy

Agriculture in the DPRK has been organized as cooperative and state farms and has concentrated mainly on the production of rice and maize. Since the 1950s, modernization of agriculture has been carried out through the promotion of irrigation, electrification, chemicalization (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and so on) and mechanization. The 1970s and early 1980s saw fruition of these efforts, irrigation reaching 70 percent or more of the cultivated land by 1970 a total of 75,000 tractors...

Future World Population And Food Production

The lowest projection of the 2006 UN world population revision shows a peak world population of 7.87 billion around 2040 (now about 6.6 billion).11 Further severe strains on cropland and grain production in the mid-term future seem inevitable. World grain production per capita has stagnated at around 300 kg cap over the last two decades and shows signs of further decline. For the five decades since the middle of the twentieth century, global population has been supported by scientific advances...