Our apocalyptic odds – Environment – Salon.com

15 Apr

For example, sustaining our growing numbers and demands depends on a regular and unlimited supply of energy—a supply that, nevertheless, is limited. Approaching its limits means that we need to develop ever more efficient technology to squeeze out the last remains of the fossil fuels from Earth, which, in turn, depends on ever larger investments. However, investors want to see their money back, which proves increasingly more difficult the closer we get to the point of depletion. They have to invest more and more, but as less fuel can be mined, the returns become less and less. Approaching the point of depletion, investors will gradually draw their money back in order to reinvest it into something more profitable: at this point, a positive feedback loop starts up; more and more investors withdraw their money, this loop destabilizing the societal system as a whole. Energy shortage will destabilize this system because energy is the main constituent of our body, our numbers, requirements, and infrastructural organization.

In fact, the decreasing trend in the energy returns on investment was already apparent in the early 1990s, a trend which continues to the present day and which may develop into the feared financial and economic positive feedback loop. Food will be more expensive to produce, leaving the poor in jeopardy. And so on.

via Our apocalyptic odds – Environment – Salon.com.

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