Re: Energy and "the Clash of Civilizations" -- a policy thought problem

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Wed Oct 03 2001 - 08:59:23 MDT

> "Smigrodzki, Rafal" wrote:
> Hal Finney wrote:
> The other is to attack the demand side and work on replacing the uses
> of oil in the economy. As I said this will take many years as cars
> get replaced, and home and industrial heating units are retired and
> replaced with electrical or natural gas systems. This approach is
> not really feasible on a short term time frame, and because any crisis
> which would motivate such a transition will be inherently short term,
> it seems unlikely to be pursued.
> ### You are quite right pointing out that the change from oil will
> take many years - it's unlikely that there will be a sudden breakdown
> in the production of oil (short of WW III for real). Even if the
> Middle East were to become unstable, there are enough altenative
> sources to tide the US over, although at a steep price. Most likely,
> as outlined in an article in the Scientific American last year (in
> September, I think), there will be a gradual decline in oil production
> and a slow changeover to other sources of energy, which will be
> effected without the need for government intervention (except basic
> R&D)

Oil production will never cease, though it might become a minor energy
source. Use of petrochemicals in the materials industry for plastics and
other polymers and composite materials will expand once again when the
current glut in the metals industry produced by the opening of Russia to
western trade is absorbed by economic growth.

If we get to the point of building a skyhook, it will likely become the
largest consumer of oil byproducts in history.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:11 MDT