The Bottleneck

Please read the February 2002 ScientificAmerican for the article entitled The Bottleneck, or visit http://www.sciam.com/2002/0202issue/0202wilson.html before posting to this page.

The essence of the article reflects some comments I read on FoodSupply? this afternoon. Simply, we won't be able to feed everyone (meat or otherwise) when the population peaks. To quote from the article:

Stretched to the limit of its capacity, how many people can the planet support? A rough answer is possible, but it is a sliding one contingent on three conditions: how far into the future the planetary support is expected to last, how evenly the resources are to be distributed, and the quality of life most of humanity expects to achieve. Consider food, which economists commonly use as a proxy of carrying capacity. The current world production of grains, which provide most of humanity's calories, is about two billion tons annually. That is enough, in theory, to feed 10 billion East Indians, who eat primarily grains and very little meat by Western standards. But the same amount can support only about 2.5 billion Americans, who convert a large part of their grains into livestock and poultry. There are two ways to stop short of the wall. Either the industrialized populations move down the food chain to a more vegetarian diet, or the agricultural yield of productive land worldwide is increased by more than 50 percent.

Now, as I read the rest of this article, it seems that if we act now Earth won't have to become a hellish hive of 10,000,000,000+ people. So the question is, what solutions can we offer to this problem?

Should we try to EscapeToSpace??
-- PrestonRickwood

Bad for you. But this is not my problem. I want to feed myself and my family only.


Don't be ridiculous. There's one and only one solution to this problem. ThirdWorldDieback?. It's an inevitable result of WashingYourHands?.

If you want to count ThirdWorldDieback? as a solution, what on earth are you counting as the problem?

Why, TheBottleneck of course. Now ThirdWorldDieback? isn't a very good solution. In fact it's the worst. But it's the only one on the cards.


Before anyone panics here, let me point out that most industrialized nations are already at zero or negative population growth right now. The population growth that we're seeing now is almost entirely happening in third world nations where people are already eating a primarily vegetarian diet. It is also seems likely that population growth in those nations will decrease to zero as they become wealthier. -- CurtisBartley

This is cancelled by immigration. And the fact that developing nations aren't becoming wealthier. Nigeria for example is becoming poorer and poorer as its vast oil wealth is syphoned off by the likes of Shell. All hail American capitalism.

Immigration measurably increases population growth in the United States. As an extreme counter example, it does not increase population growth in Japan where there is little immigration occurring. I should also point out that immigration to the United States will decrease the rate of population growth in the countries from which the immigrants are coming. Then I should point out that the wealth of most immigrants into the U.S. will go up after they come to the U.S., which is the most common reason people immigrate here. -- CB

Immigration out of the Third World does not decrease the population growth in it by any measurable amount. Further, immigrants may have more wealth after entering the USA (thinking of Mexican slave labour, I wouldn't be so sure) but the wealth of US citizens has decreased over the past two decades. Japan is the only industrialized country which has no easy connection with an underdeveloped country. But Japan isn't sustainable without imports.

Additionally, Earth's population would need to grow at only half a percent per annum to reach 10 billion by the end of the century. It is most likely to reach that level by 2050, since the current growth rate is much higher.

We should stop having so many children per person. There is no reason for the world to have 10 billion (That is AmericanBillion, correct? Yes, correct.) people. -- PeteHardie

Actually ,there is. Imagine 10 billion teachers, engineers and scientists working together. Of course, that's moot since at most 1 billion people currently live decent lives.

If the cost of supporting that extra 5-6 billion is that all available food goes to feed them, we're risking starvation if there is any significant drop in farm productivity for one season. Why not stop at 8 billion and have some surplus? -- PeteHardie

If everyone led a decent life, then those extra two billion engineers and scientists more than offset the risk of technical problems in agriculture. That's a mighty big if though.

If everyone just had one kid per person, we wouldn't even cross 5 billion. Then we could keep an even better standard of living

This is counterfactual. To quote from the article:

On or about October 12, 1999, the world population reached six billion. It has continued to climb at an annual rate of 1.4 percent, adding 200,000 people each day or the equivalent of the population of a large city each week. The rate, though beginning to slow, is still basically exponential: the more people, the faster the growth, thence still more people sooner and an even faster growth, and so on upward toward astronomical numbers unless the trend is reversed and growth rate is reduced to zero or less. This exponentiation means that people born in 1950 were the first to see the human population double in their lifetime, from 2.5 billion to over six billion now. During the 20th century more people were added to the world than in all of previous human history. In 1800 there had been about one billion and in 1900, still only 1.6 billion.

The hideous evil of WashingYourHands?.

The pattern of human population growth in the 20th century was more bacterial than primate. When Homo sapiens passed the six-billion mark we had already exceeded by perhaps as much as 100 times the biomass of any large animal species that ever existed on the land. We and the rest of life cannot afford another 100 years like that.

Ok, so if everyone alive today only had one child, we'd not hit 8 billion. The point is that we've got a effectively fixed max amount of crop production space, an effective max amount of food per unit of production space, and a growing population, which means the only solution is to limit population growth. All talk about equalizing the amount of food per person doesn't change this - as long as population goes up fast enough, we will hit a point where the per capita amount of food drops below the subsistence level.

Obvious. The trouble is not that there's no strikingly obvious solution. The trouble is the vast majority of humans entertain totally irrational belief systems that prevent their limiting their reproduction to just one child. A HumanSterilizationVirus might be the only way to prevent ThirdWorldDieback?.

Certainly, there were many people born before 1950 who saw world population double within their lifetime, and certainly this looks like an elbow in an exponential curve. But recent studies of the last two decades suggest something else again: HumanPopulationStabilizes.
And anyway, the point of HumanBeings is to reproduce. What's the point of living and progress if we can't reproduce?

The point of yeast is to reproduce. The point of HumanBeings is to make love to one another. No resemblance.


Space stuff moved to EscapeToSpace?.
Would animal cloning help here? No.

Through generations of breeding, human beings have managed to produce animals at their peak metabolic efficiency. Going beyond this is impossible. So in order to make fatter or faster growing animals, you have to sacrifice something else. For example, all the genetically engineered "fast growing" salmon are weak and deformed. Cloning can only help speed up breeding so it's pointless because breeding has become pointless. (Especially nowadays since we care about nothing but metabolic efficiency.)

We already squander land on hugely inefficient capital and chemical intensive corporate farming. Allowing corporations to get even more of a lock on agriculture under the pretense of doing the impossible is a stupid idea. The image of Monsanto as the saviour of the world should have been the first clue that cloning can't help.

Rather sceptical about the peak metabolic efficiency bit. Chances are the animals were at peak efficiency to begin with, all things considered. Lots of plant and animal breeders seem to be deluding themselves. There is evidence that dairy cows 200 years ago were just as efficient as today. Breeding of Holstein Friesians has simply resulted in very big animals. Why does cloning speed up breeding? Cloning seems a lot of hassle when you consider the low success rate. Cloning of plants (e.g growing apple trees from cuttings rather than seed) does speed up propagation (the breeding is slowed down though). Cloned animals still have to grow in the womb the usual way. Cloning only provides duplicates of existing organisms. Breeding is the process of producing new and different genotypes.

This also misses a larger point. If you really *are* reaching the limits of agricultural possibility, animals start to become much less relevant as food sources. Growing an animal will always involve a net loss of food energy, as you can't get out of it what you put in, for the most part the vegetation grown to feed livestock will go to humans instead.

Though many animals eat grass, etc., which humans can't digest well. Even if that was a significant food source (it isn't, as someone mentioned below), you still missed the point. That argument is fine if you are talking about uncultivated grass. The moment you irrigate, plow, spray, or otherwise put effort into growing that grass, the equation changes significantly. Now if you could find some arable land that was a factor of 1000+ times more productive (long term, sustainable) for something we can't eat but a food animal could, you just might have an argument.

Except that most cows are grain-fed, at considerable expense, because there just isn't that much grass in North America. Grass simply isn't a major food source, for anything. Note the phrase "in North America". In Australia, it does make sense to grow sheep and cows (and kangaroos). And even crops grown for human consumption often have parts that humans won't eat but pigs will. (Incidentally, those crops aren't native to the MiddleEast?, which may be half the explanation for Jews and Muslims abstaining from pork - the other half being that pigs' instinct to keep moist results in unsanitary behaviour in the desert.) And if you've got a patch of ground with more worms than it needs, you can raise a few chickens there, right?
As a possibly related side-note: there has been a recent report by health policy experts (at the WorldHealthOrganization?, I think?) saying that if something isn't done soon, the death toll from AIDS in southern Africa will surpass the death toll from the bubonic plague in medieval Europe. Ecosystems do have ways to check extensive population growth - they're just unbelievably brutal ways.

Irrelevant. When the BubonicPlague? was doing its thing, there were just a couple hundred million humans on the planet. Say, about the population of Japan now. AIDS isn't slowing population growth in any significant way. In fact, now that we know a thing or two about ProKaryotes?, it's highly unlikely any naturally occurring disease will make a difference.

Ecosystems haven't kept humans in check for the last two millennia. What makes you think they'll start now? "surpass the death toll from the bubonic plague" doesn't mean anything nowadays.

The Bubonic plague did monetarily reverse growth, and ecosystems were a very nice check right up to as recently as 1850. That was when that arch-fiend IgnazSemmelweis made his evil discovery. Now, short of CometStrike? or GlobalTsunamis?, we're going to have to engineer our way out of this situation, or perish. Get busy.

The biggest and most effective check on human population growth was infanticide and cannibalism. Rapid human population growth was assured the moment we stopped eating our kids, sacrificing them to gods, and beating or starving them to death. The last (starving kids to death) didn't stop happening until as recently as a few centuries ago. And considering that poor nutrition leads to a weakened immune system, we can't know how many deaths "by disease" were ultimately caused by parental neglect and abuse. For all we know, the bubonic plague would never have happened. I presume that winding the clock backwards in that way is as repulsive to you as it is to me?

Sorry, check out the numbers. Humanity didn't suddenly get enlightened in 1850, when the exponential growth started. The only strong correlate is hand-washing. As to winding the clock back, heck yes. I like modern medicine just fine, and it's much better to control population growth before birth than after it. Hence ... HumanSterilizationVirus.

Involuntary sterilization is a lot better than involuntary death, but is still pretty lame. Responding, though, to the above, I think we can be reasonably certain that the bubonic plague had far more to do with generally poor sanitation and construction than generally poor child-rearing. The disease definitely killed adults, and lots of them - and in fact I suspect that if it didn't, people wouldn't have worried about it so much.


IgnazSemmelweis' admonition to wash our hands isn't the reason for geometric population growth (we went from 3 billion to 6 billion in 35 years). Increased Food Production increases Population. Or, the Population expands to the amount of available food. It's a simple ecological tenet. Growing more food to stave off the bottleneck is a doomed strategy. I recommend reading the IshmaelBook for an enlightening discussion of this. The sequel, MyIshmael is also very good. -- SeanOleary

Um, increased food production doesn't explain the dramatic drop in infant mortality. Here, check it out:


It may be a simple ecological tenet but the idea that it applies to us in all circumstances is dehumanizing nonsense. Humanity is perfectly capable of controlling its own population so long as a very simple condition is fulfilled: women are given control over reproduction. It's only when society treats women like animals, men becoming animals in the process, that society obeys the ecological laws of animals.

The evidence is against you in this case. Women have only been given control over reproduction during the twentieth century. The Pill has been around for about 40 years, yet during this time, our global population has doubled.

The evidence may be against him, but if so you haven't presented it here. The Pill has only been available to a tiny proportion of the world's women. The majority of the world's women have no access to modern prophylactics whatsoever. The *vast* majority have limited access to, or knowledge about, birth control.

I agree that women should be given control over reproduction, but I disagree that humanity is perfectly capable of controlling its own population through ZeroPopulationGrowth. Population will continue to rise as long as there is increased food production. It's a mistake to think that ecological laws are 'dehumanizing'. These ecological laws applied to humans for tens of thousands of years before the AgriculturalRevolution?. Were we less human when we were pre-agricultural like the AmericanIndians?

The AmericanIndians weren't pre-agricultural. They had agriculture for thousands of years before the Europeans turned up and wiped 'em out with germs, guns, and steel. But they were pre-industrial.

Yes. For one thing, we weren't conscious before about three millennia ago. Besides, the idea that population continues to rise as long as there's enough food around is contradicted by the fact that most first world countries have negative natural population growth. Their overall population grows only because of immigrants from the third world where the natural population growth is high.

Have you ever considered the possibility that food production has increased because population has increased and not the reverse. It's a 'simple tenet' of economic SupplyAndDemand?. Limited food will limit a population, but it's obvious that food is not yet limited since the population continues to rise. But lots of food will not cause population growth unless the population is already growing. It's a limiter, not a generator. Reproduction is the generator.

That can't be. If you were right, vitalism would be wrong. Look, we all know that a bag of grain and some dirty cloths generate mice. Scientific experiments have proven it!


Way too many old people trying to hang on to what they've got.

I agree. When I read this page my first response was that it is mostly wild speculation of how things are changing. People hate change. Looking backward over time, it is amazing to me all the advances man has made. We are incredibly adaptable, and change our world to suit us. We have had luddites for a long time. We should embrace change, and trust that we are smart enough to deal with the changing world, whatever that form takes. Putting on my asbestos suit, waiting to get flamed by earlier contributors to this page... (I can see it now - we are smart, and we see an intractable problem. What a dumbkopf you are not to see that...)

You claim to want people to accept change blah blah blah, well let's just see if that's true.

What is the number 1 change that people absolutely loathe, the kind of change that they don't even want to conceive of? It's social change. In the 50s, and 60s, when people were thinking about the year 2000, they thought about new technologies (more of the same old crap they had already experienced) but they never thought about changing social conditions. They never thought about gender equality. So what happened? Feminism did and it came as a big nasty shock to the mysogenists.

So let's take a look at the kind of change that you say we should embrace versus the kind of change that would be necessary to avert TheBottleneck. The former; lots of people dying, lots of poverty, inequality in the world, unknown technologies to rescue us, blah blah blah. Essentially more of the same crap that we're experiencing now. The latter? To avert TheBottleneck, we'd have to give power to oppressed women in the ThirdWorld?, making their societies less sexist, more democratic, and more equal. We'd have to cure poverty across the entire planet. And we'd have to do it in a way that they would be able to take care of themselves, none of that charity crap where we control their food, education and medical care! That's 180 degrees opposite of what's happening. In fact, it's 180 degrees opposite of what's been happening for the past 500 years.

So you see, you're not living up to your own stated ideals.

This page was an outgrowth of my abiding faith that smart, motivated, and informed people can overcome any obstacle. I don't see TheBottleneck as an intractable problem, but rather one which requires thought and action now. The longer we wait to act, the less we will be able to effect the outcome. Through hard work and sacrifice we can mitigate the damage to our world and alleviate the suffering of billions of people. To me, this seemed the most worthwhile endeavor I had ever heard of. Sadly, people seem more interested in debating the causes and sociology of TheBottleneck, rather than really thinking about it like engineers and scientists and creating plans to counter this world-wide threat to good order and human progress. -- PrestonRickwood


Significant discussion on the development and nature of HumanConsciousness has been moved there.
See also CriticalPath


Industrial countries have zero or negative organic population growth.

1/3 of the world's population live in India or China, which are rapidly becoming Industrial countries.

England is capable of being self-supporting in food, with 50M people in 0.2M sq km. At that population density the world could probably hold 50Billion. There are probably other maximum population limits that will kick in before we hit global food shortage (maybe CO2 balance, maybe something we haven't even thought of yet)

You forget that almost none of the lands you are referring to are as arable as the Mother Country herself! Water and the technology to farm such land is not available. Not to mention the detrimental impact on their ecology when they try to farm as the so-called First World has. (You should check out the terrible effects no one reckoned on in the AswanDamProject? in Egypt!) -- SusanRoy

ThirdWorldDieback? is an irrelevance. The Third World has lower population density than the first world. Third world countries increase in population as they become first world, then stop.

The only question is if some limit will be hit before the 10-15 Billion that population looks like levelling off at.

-- AndrewMcGuinness

Well, one profound effect must come from resource usage. It is simply not possible to convert all (or even a majority) of the world's population to the current 'first-world' model. We simply haven't the resources to do it. Even more tellingly, the current first-world model *requires* the existence of a 3rd-world. Something here has to break well before your leveling off scenario can occur.

We haven't the resources? Perhaps not: which resources are too short? Oil is the only one which looks like a real possibility to me, and I wouldn't put it higher than that.

Some limit might be hit, but it's not food. (Note that third-world charities are campaigning to allow the third world to export its surplus food to the first world, to reduce third-world poverty.)

I don't think the first world gains anything significant from the third world. Some metal ores happen to come from the third world, but others are more likely to come from e.g. Australia or Russia. Third world countries getting richer will make us all better off.

Then you have missed out on econ 101. Our entire economy would collapse without 3rd world resources and (even more so) labour. Heck, we couldn't even keep eating the way we like to without the 3rd world (although of course in theory we are self-sufficient for food in the US, the practice would radically change our diets).

Educate me. What 3rd world resources do we rely on? What 3rd world labour products? I admit that an end to cheap-labour immigration would cause a dint in our prosperity, but hardly a collapse. Please be specific, you might change my mind.

Oil, coffee, bananas, textiles, soccer balls...

Oil comes from many countries, some third-world (Nigeria), some first-world ( USA, UK, Norway ), some first-world-ish (Russia, Iran, Venezuela), and some where it so dominates you can't really classify (Saudia, Kuwait). It's like the metal ores I referred to: we get it where we find it, and some of those places happen to be in the third world today, but they don't have to be.

The world economy does not depend on coffee or bananas. In any case, the link is more that places with tropical climate have tended (for whatever reasons) to be economically less advanced, than that you have to be third-world to produce coffee beans.

?)

A huge portion of our lower cost consumer goods are completely reliant on the use of third-world labour. This covers much of our clothing, shoes etc., and low end consumer electronics, and any number of other household items. Food is another area, for specific example the banana trade. The existence of cheap bananas (think about this, can you mail a letter to South America for the same per/pound rate as you can buy bananas here? nope.) The existence of large numbers of cheap bananas on our shelves is completely reliant on dirt cheap labour and lack of safe industrial practice laws (or lack of enforcement) in several third-world countries. However, it has a significant effect on *our* economy, because only something like 1% of the money involved stays in the country of production, the rest is importer (US company) or local retailers, etc. Bananas are one of the worst areas, but there are many other areas - for example many pre-processed meals rely on sources of cheap, lower quality meat that is not cost effective to produce here...

Under the current consumer driven economy, we *need* a huge supply of cheap consumer goods. But we can't afford to produce them. Hence, the paradox. If you look at the last few decades, you will notice a trend in the sources of low-end consumer goods. There are several countries that used to supply us with only low-end goods, then some medium, then perhaps high end (i.e. cars). But as there economy grew, the low-end stuff became too expense to make, so it was jobbed out elsewhere. Japan in the 60's and 70's became Korea in the 70's and 90's etc. No hard and fast rules here, but the trends are fairly clear. As the country get richer, the nature of trade with us changes. But we still need cheap clothes and toys and ... hence the paradox.

A lot of the above is US-specific. In Europe, bananas are much more expensive because we buy them from inefficient producers in former European colonies rather than modern US colonies (this was the subject of a trade dispute a few years back). Virtually no meat is imported from the third world (EU health rules don't even allow importation of American meat).

Cheap manufactured goods are a more serious issue. Certainly we can buy them from China or India or Indonesia more cheaply than we can manufacture them at home, and therefore, we do. If Indonesia vanished under the waves tomorrow, we would be worse off. But when Indonesia is selling medium-high tech goods instead of medium-low, will we be worse off, or better off? Even if we have to make our own footballs, we can do so more efficiently (but at higher cost), and we might be compensated by the greater value we get from an industrialized third world.

What would hurt the west's economies more? Indonesia vanishing beneath the waves, or Japan vanishing beneath the waves?

(BTW, should this be extracted somewhere? ThirdWorldProducts? ?) probably

note: we are cross-editing. hopefully the continuity and context of below hasn't been lost..will attempt to clean it up if so

Some limit might be hit, but it's not food. (Note that third-world charities are campaigning to allow the third world to export its surplus food to the first world, to reduce third-world poverty.)

Such efforts would be unnecessary without the (currently massive) subsidies given to agriculture in most first-world countries. However, agriculture is one area where third-world countries could effectively compete with us in a reasonably free and open market. Whether or not this is a good thing from our perspective is a difficult question, one that current policy deems a negative answer to.

Yes, that's what I meant.

We haven't the resources? Perhaps not: which resources are too short? Oil is the only one which looks like a real possibility to me, and I wouldn't put it higher than that.

Even if you consider only oil (which, you are correct, is probably the highest single factor - but there are others), where do you think you are going to find enough oil to propel say India or China *alone* to a first-world economy under the current model. Answer: it isn't possible. The question is, how do we adjust the first-world model so that it *is* possible to include this many more people, without losing too much of what we like about it. This is not simple, and certainly doesn't bode well for economies with a large sector based on cheap consumer goods requiring third-world labour rates etc..

It sounds like we're near agreement. Things Will Never Be The Same Again , but then, they never were.

There are obstacles in the path of increasing and widening prosperity, but the thrust of this page seemed to be that there was one impassable barrier, and I dispute that. A decent quality of life for 10 billion people is not out of the question; it is something worth trying to achieve, although success is by no means guaranteed.

Article number 3 at http://discover.com/recent_issue/index.html says that the world's population looks like it will level off at 10 billion at the end of the century, and will never hit 12 billion.

[China plans to power itself through the use of nuclear reactors. Many, many nuclear reactors. Of a radically new and actually safe (read: cheap) design. That leaves petrol necessary only for automobiles, which aren't necessary or beneficial anyways. And petrochemicals. Oil doesn't seem to be a limiting factor to future growth.]


I have not had the patience to read this whole page, but besides all the other problems mentioned, I think that no one has mentioned the impact of climate change on our food supply. Scientists have found that 10% of the rice crops in Asia have already died due to global warming. And that's just one example. The media seems to focus on little trivial crops like California's wine crops, etc, and how much business they lose and blah blah... all red hearings. Have they even considered what will happen when climate change begins to severely affect our main crops? Agriculture can only exist within a relatively narrow temperature range. If our globe warms up too much as is already happening at a frightening pace, civilization may have the rug swept from under its feet.

-- treebeard

You'd have better chances supporting your position if you didn't rely on false arguments. For example, it is a fact that no environmental factor caused the rise of agriculture or civilization. Other than that detail, you're pretty much correct.

Treebeard: I think you have some of your facts wrong... if you're referring to the recent (summer 2004) study done in the Philippines, what was found was that a 1 degree increase in average night-time temperature reduces the yield of the strains of rice currently used in Asia by 10%, while the same increase in day-time temperature produced little change. While it's true that average night-time temperatures have increased by about that much over the last 25 years, I haven't heard (nor have I been able to find, in a quick search) anything that states that "10% of the rice crops in Asia have already died". I'm not a global warming naysayer, but it irks me to no end when "activists" use bad science and sweeping emotional statements: it only hurts our cause. (Not to mention that this wiki prefers RealNamesPlease). -- TimLesher

Yeah you're right, I did have my facts wrong. I only thought I heard on BBC news what I said before and I can't back it up. It could have well been the study that you mentioned to which I was wrongly referring to. However, I stand by what I said, even if its just speculative, about this: that people should also throw in the climate change factor when considering the future of agricultural productivity. I mean it is a fact that due to freak weather conditions in recent years, crop yields in some cases have been reduced. Of course in some cases they have increased, but it would be a gamble to think that global warming's positive effects on crops will offset its negative ones. Also, if you think I sound unscientific, you should read the EscapeToSpace? WikiPage.

And don't forget that China actually imports rice from the US. Just more proof that capitalism is PriorityInversion.


I do not believe anyone has even touched on the possibility of a lack of CleanFreshWaterForAll? the people of the world. This is what may cause a population collapse (and not other more 'valuable' resources!) Already you could see problems with clean water in places such as India and the SE Asian countries (and I'm sure there are others that I am not aware of). Salty water CAN be desalinised, but at what cost (both economical and ecologically)? Water is so vital to human survival, both for direct nourishment and indirect feeding of safe and healthy foods! -- SusanRoy

Salty water can now be desalinated at 0.50 USD per cubic meter using Reverse Osmosis technology. Desalination through evaporation costs several USD per cubic meter. Either way, it costs several kilowatts of energy to desalinate water. RO technology has vastly improved over the years and will probably improve still further. The environmental cost of desalination is due to pumping out brine loaded with corroded metals and anti-plaque chemicals back into the ocean.

Looks like a technology is being developed that will both produce electricity and desalinate water. See http://www.tifac.org.in/do/vis/otherenergy_tower.htm. (BrokenLink - archived at http://web.archive.org/web/20031025154332/http://www.tifac.org.in/do/vis/otherenergy_tower.htm.) -- Joseph Sapp

Note that the problems with scarce oil and water can be refactored into the EnergyBottleneck? problem. If energy is cheap/abundant, we will be able to desalinate salty water. Replacement for petroleum products will also be possible, given expansion of nuclear power. Also consider that oil is actually about half as cheap as during the early 70s peak, which indicates that there is still some (although not very much) spare production capacity left. A possible future jackpot (>50 years ahead) is fusion power, of course. If we hit the "fusion jackpot", the problems on this page becomes easy to solve. -- JoakimPersson


This page should probably be refactored into:

and it would be even better if the refactorer could PleaseMoveThisToTheAdjunct when doing so.

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