The cheap oil age created an artificial bubble of plentitude for a period not much longer than a human lifetime. I hazard to assert that as oil ceases to be cheap and the world reserves move toward depletion, we will be left with an enormous population that the ecology of the earth will not support. The journey back toward non-oil population homeostasis will not be pretty. We will discover the hard way that population hyper-growth was simply a side effect of the oil age. It was a condition, not a problem with a solution. That is what happened and we are stuck with it.
– James Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency
Top experts around the world understand that the energy slave called “oil” faces exhaustion within the next 40 to 50 years. Along the way, drilling for oil becomes more difficult, harder to extract and more costly.
Everything in America and most Western civilizations runs on oil. Oil allows billions of people to eat; machines fueled by petroleum help prepare the croplands and deliver the harvests, which are then trucked, shipped or otherwise transported to markets worldwide.
Without oil, 319 million Americans could not feed themselves, and 7.2 billion humans around the planet would face enormous die-off. We humans cannot possibly plant and harvest enough food by hand to survive at 7.2 billion of us. We couldn’t pump the aquifers to irrigate crops. We couldn’t transport food fast enough by boat, donkey or oxen.
That’s the problem. Oil will run out sooner or later. Nothing on the technological horizon can replace it. In order to drive cars, boats, planes and fuel industry, Americans use 20 million barrels of oil daily.
How much is 20 million barrels? At 30 inches tall and 20 inches in diameter, a barrel (drum) contains 42 gallons. So 20 million barrels equal 840,000,000 gallons burned per day. Those barrels placed side by side would cover 6,200 miles.
If you add in what the rest of the world uses – 62 million barrels daily – the combined total is 82 million barrels of oil every 24 hours. Multiply 82 million barrels of oil by 365 days, and the total is a whopping 29.9 billion barrels of oil annually.
China, at its current growth rate and placing 27,000 new cars on its highways every week, will burn 98 million barrels of oil per day by 2030. That’s more than the world burns daily in 2014.
Oil produces dramatically incredible amounts of energy that we cannot and will not be able to duplicate in the coming years.
How much longer can this go on? The simple, unadulterated answer is: Not much longer! At some point, we must come to terms with human numbers, consumption and limits.
What can you do at the personal level? Empower yourself and your friends! Join like-minded Americans: www.capsweb.org