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Thread: The Incredible Journey Of Oil

  1. #1

    The Incredible Journey Of Oil

    The Irony of Oil (taken from the above site):

    It took a super-greenhouse earth to create our richest oil deposits. Ironically, by using oil up we may recreate the toxic conditions necessary to form new supplies. Oil lives on. But will we?

    In the mid-Jurassic, huge swathes of microscopic phytoplankton fell to the bottom of stagnant seas, taking trapped sunlight and carbon dioxide with them. Under the right temperature, pressure and geological conditions, the phytoplankton were cooked until their contents were converted into long chain hydrocarbons. The result was crude oil-liquid, fossilised sunlight.

    The basics of the story of oil have been known for decades. But while geologists once thought the huge oil deposits on which modern Iife and economies are based were formed because of favourable Iocal conditions - a particularly fertile coastline, or a naturally stagnant patch of seafloor - the evidence now paints a very different picture.

    To form Iarge reserves of oil, it seems that you need two interlinked global catastrophes - a super- greenhouse effect for warmth, and stagnant, oxygen-depleted oceans for preservation. And that was very much the picture of the earth 50 million years ago, when all our richest oil regions were beginning to form.

    Indeed, locking away the excessive atmospheric CO2 on the sea floor was the only thing that brought balance back to our ancient climates and oceans, and made the planet habitable again. The period of supergreenhouse ended, and ice on the poles of the cooling planet was again able to drive the ocean conveyor belt, returning oxygen to the deep seas.

    In the Iast 150 years we have released much of the ancient carbon from oil back into the atmosphere as CO2, driving the now familiar greenhouse effect. But things could get far worse. Ironically, it seems that as we burn our way to the end of oil, the CO2 we're returning to the atmosphere could recreate the supergreenhouse conditions that would heat and poison the oceans, once again laying the conditions for depositing oil.

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.


  2. #2
    The End of Cheap Oil

    A sustainable society is one that "meets the needs of the pres- ent without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
    From a systems point of view, a sustainable society is one that has in place informational, social, and institutional mechanisms to keep in check the positive feedback loops that cause exponential popula- tion and capital growth. This means that birthrates roughly equal death rates, and investment rates roughly equal depreciation rates, unless or until technical change and social decisions justify a consid- ered, limited change in the levels of population or capital.
    Such a society, with a sustainable ecological footprint, would be almost unimaginably different from the one in which most people now live. Before we can elaborate on what sustainability could be, we need to start with what it need not be.
    Sustainability does not mean zero growth. Rather, a sustainable society would be interested in qualitative development, not physical expansion. It would use material growth as a considered tool, not a perpetual mandate. Neither for nor against growth, it would begin to discriminate among kinds of growth and purposes for growth. It would ask what the growth is for, and who would benefit, and what it would cost, and how long it would last, and whether the growth could be accommodated by the sources and sinks of the earth.
    A sustainable society would also not paralyze into permanence the current inequitable patterns of distribution. For both practical and moral reasons, a sustainable society must provide sufficiency and security for all. A sustainable society would not be a society of despon- dency and stagnation, unemployment and bankruptcy that current systems experience when their growth is interrupted.

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.


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