Skip to comments.Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now - The Club of Rome’s Problem -- and Ours
Posted on 08/03/2012 4:23:35 PM PDT by neverdem
Forty years ago, humanity was warned: by chasing ever-greatereconomic growth, it was sentencing itself to catastrophe. The Clubof Rome, a blue-ribbon multinational collection of business leaders,scholars, and government o⁄cials brought together by the Italiantycoon Aurelio Peccei, made the case in a slim 1972 volume called The Limits to Growth. Based on forecasts from an intricate series of computer models developed by professors at MIT, the book caused a sensation and captured the zeitgeist of the era: the belief thatmankinds escalating wants were on a collision course with the worlds finite resources and that the crash would be coming soon.
The Limits to Growth was neither the first nor the last publication to claim that the end was nigh due to the disease of modern development, but in many ways, it was the most successful.
Although mostly forgotten these days, in its own time, it was a mass phenomenon,selling 12 million copies in more than 30 languages and being dubbedone of the most important documents of our age by The New York Times. And even though it proved to be phenomenally wrong-headed,it helped set the terms of debate on crucial issues of economic, social,and particularly environmental policy, with malign effects that remain embedded in public consciousness four decades later.
It is not too great an exaggeration to say that this one book helped send the world down a path of worrying obsessively about misguided remediesfor minor problems while ignoring much greater concerns and sensible ways of dealing with them...
Assuming exponentially increasing demand, The Limits to Growth calculated how soon after 1970 various resources would be exhausted. Their conclusion was that before 2012, the world would run out of aluminum, copper,gold, lead, mercury, molybdenum, naturalgas, oil, silver, tin, tungsten, and zinc12of the 19 substances they looked at. They were simply and spectacularly wrong. They singled out mercury...
When looking back at the last 40 years, this makes a lot of sense.
They are the gods that would be.
The myth of finite resources:
Once upon a time, there was a widespread belief that a real but not fully defined maximum possible output of petroleum would one day occur, so-called “peak oil”. Using the technology of 1972, we would have arrived at that point already, but - SURPRISE! - it did not happen. Old ideas about the formation and distribution of resources have been knocked into cocked hats by a restless and relentless voyage of discovery into newer and more effective means of extracting and processing the raw materials from the sea and the earth below.
Turns out, only a very small fraction of all petroleum is formed as a result of “dinosaur soup” fermenting for millions of years beneath the layers of sedimentary rock overlying these deposits. There are a number of theories advanced as to how the deposits of petroleum may be formed by entirely abiotic means, and in fact, these conditions can be reproduced both in the laboratory, and now, in certain instances, on an industrial scale. And these are by means already known by technicians and scientists for decades now, so there is no lack of intelligent effort being applied, only lagging attitudes.
The very definition of “resources” varies, depending on the development of technology to take advantage of the extraction of the needed resource from the site where it is embedded. Once, uranium was a strange element that had the capability of glowing, but not much else was known at the time. Today, it stands as the gateway substance to truly powerful weaponry, or alternately, as a source of energy to run power plants. But uranium is by no means the ultimate energy source, and in fact, is rather scarce throughout the world, as compared to, say, thorium, which is both much more plentiful, and with proper adaptation, a more tractable and manageable source of atomic energy with which to run a power generation plant.
The point is, that with what appears to be a growing scarcity of one resource, may be in fact the inspiration to substitute another (and cheaper) resource that provides the same, or sometimes much more, benefit.
But if it isn’t cheaper for the user, it will not be adopted. Something that the “smart guys” cannot seem to comprehend. Right now, natural gas, or its main component, methane, would be a cheaper and better alternative to petroleum fractions for powering stationary power units and motor vehicles. Solar or wind generated electricity may never be competitive, so long as we have lots of the various and reliable sources of methane.
1) that the technology for discovering and recovering crude oil will never advance and
2) that we've already found all of the oil deposits that there are to be found.
Pssssst...all mankind needs is enough oil to get us thru to a cold fusion breakthrough....then it’s all over....whats the big deal?
also man made global warming is clearly GLOBALBALONEY so....this is a whole lotta much ado...about zippy...
WANT PROOF?....follow the universal resource locators below:
Club of Rome = Evil
UN = Evil
UN Agenda 21 = Despicable
One worlders = Sinister
‘....sources of methane......’
WE got plenty of methane it spews forth in unending cascade from the moufs of the eco-wackos....God bless em, though, for providing their countrymen with such an unlimited natural resource. And the best thing about it is...it’ll always be there for us since they never shut up....
Here’s some spew right now... i heard an enviro wacky on PBS tonight he astouned his listeners with this obvervation....’the earth’s resources are finite and unsustainable....want proof? .... ‘there is not enough metal on or in the earth to make a car for every chineese guy’ this i did not know...but it IS very funny for one to say that. Now there’s yer methane..right there..
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There' fixed it.
Of course. We would have run completely out of whale oil long ago, had it not been for crude oil being developed as a replacement energy source for it. :=)
Petroleum-based energy will work just fine for now. When the next major energy transition happens, whether it's to cold fusion or something else, OPEC countries will become nothing more than a worthless sandbox. In the meantime, advances in oil exploration and drilling technologies keep making predictions of "peak oil" a joke, year after year, decade after decade.
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Lomborg deserves quite a bit of credit for being honest. He’s made a big dent in the Green front.
Liberal elites never apologize either - they just come up with a new horror when the old ones quit working...
Wonder what's after global warming...
I take it you’re not impressed with these groups either...
The Revenge of Gaia
Nice comments - on-point and interesting. Thanks for sharing, alloysteel.
Thanks for the ping!
I sympathize here but I'm also kinda chilled to the bones by your comment. There is going to come a time, maybe soon, when anybody that refuses to take the "Mark" is going to get that exact treatment under a guillotine.