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Last Days -- The "End of the World" Scenarios March 2, 2004 by RedStar2000


I'm beginning to wonder if we will see more and more of these scenarios in the coming decades.

The reason we're invading the Republic of ABC is "because if we don't, the world will end".

The reason that you're not allowed to heat your apartment this winter is "because if we let you, the world will end".

The reason you can only have fresh drinking water for one hour a day is "because if we let you have more, the world will end".

Would the capitalist ruling class really use environmental concerns to further screw the working class?

People do.


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quote:

Regardless of what we do, there will be massive human die off.


Well, if that's the case, let's have a party and get drunk/high (according to taste).

Has it occurred to any of you folks that "doomsday scenarios" have historically been rather useful to the ruling class?

Even though they weren't true?

So here's a "scenario" for you. The ruling class knows that if present economic trends continue, there will "have" to be a drastic reduction in the standards-of-living of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries (like Argentina, only more so).

They need an "acceptable rationale" to "justify" this sharp decline. What better excuse than "we're running out of oil"?

It worked pretty good in California--a few carefully arranged shortages, some rolling black-outs, and several energy companies managed to loot an extra $4,000,000,000 in just one summer.

And "shortages" are so easy to arrange...a telephone call, a few keystrokes, a refinery or two shut down for "maintenance", some verbal references to "supply and demand" -- and it's done!

Any and all repressive government measures required to force the working class to accept their new immiseration will be "justified" by the "need" to "save industrial civilization", of course.

Me? I doubt they could pull that one off. I also doubt that the oil "is running out".

But it will make a blockbuster movie.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 13, 2004
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quote:

RedStar, you're SO cynical!!

It is clear to me that most of the sources proclaiming this scenario of doom are NOT government OR corporation affiliated. Rather, they are impoverished scientists or environmentally aware graduates.

Oil IS a limited resource. Oil IS vital to our current way of life. This is NOT a drill!!

Although I do agree that the ruling classes will no doubt try to reduce the standard of living of the masses for their own selfish ends... But "Peak Oil", to me, seems like a very real threat - not a potential Hollywood film!!


Of course, I'm "cynical". Anybody who's lived for six decades under capitalism and is not "cynical" is brain-dead.

I recall reading about the first "oil shortage crisis"...it happened in the early 1930s, I believe.

And the second one was back in the 1970s.

So, *yawns*, it's time for another one.

Of course, oil is "finite"...but no one knows how finite.

You understand what I'm saying here...no one has any fucking idea of how much oil is still in the ground. Not the oil companies. Not petroleum geologists. Nobody!

As to "impoverished scientists", they have learned the lesson of modern science funding well: The bigger your "crisis", the bigger your research grant.

I do not think they will be "impoverished" very long.

And there are others who will find it appealing...the "deep ecologists" will love it. "The final crash of technological civilization!" "Humans return to the stone age!" "The victory of the wild and primitive!" "The re-birth of magic and myth!"

Like I said...good movie, bad science, worse politics.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 13, 2004
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Why the oil may never run out...

Geologists have discovered a major deposit of oil in Precambrian rocks in Australia's Northern Territory.

http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf048/sf048p14.htm


The deposits of hydrocarbons in the crust of the Earth have long been regarded by many investigators as deriving from materials incorporated in the mantle at the time of the Earth's formation. Outgassing processes, active in all geological epochs, then transported the liquids and gases liberated there into porous rocks of the crust. The alternative viewpoint, that biological debris was the source material for all crustal hydrocarbons, gained widespread acceptance when molecules of clearly biological origin were found to be present in most commercial crude oils.

http://people.cornell.edu/pages/tg21/usgs.html


The plagiarism of modern Russian petroleum science by the one-time astronomer Thomas Gold is probably best described by the words of persons from whom he purloined that body of knowledge, before he published it without giving proper credit to its authors.

http://www.gasresources.net/Gold_plagiaris...complaints).htm


World-class contrarian Thomas Gold has a theory about life on the planet: It's pumping out of the Earth's crust - and it's swimming in oil.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.07/gold_pr.html


...though if the energy companies can figure out more ways to raise the price, they will.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 14, 2004
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quote:

I thought you hated capitalism.

The dominant ideology has you blinded.


It does not seem to me that the question of how much oil there really is has much to do with ideology; there's either "not much left" or there's "a whole hell of a lot more than anyone expected".

Unlike that Simon fellow that your link attacks, I freely admit that I don't know.

Your guys don't know either.

quote:

I'm not sure you understand the importance of net energy. Earth's crust is full of this or that? So what? If the energy profit from extracting it isn't comparable to oil, we're fucked.


I'm not sure I "understand" it either...I don't have to. If we are, as you suggest, truly "fucked" then it does not matter if I "understand it" or understand anything.

The logical consequence of your viewpoint is that "doom is at hand". If fully accepted, then the choices are "party now & until the end comes" or become a "survivalist" and prepare yourself for "life" as a savage.

quote:

Old school communists tend to have trouble accepting Peak Oil because it's consequence is the end of industrialization and thus the end of the evolutionary process that they see leading us to their ideal society.


Yes, and new-style tribalists have trouble accepting that their scenarios of doom for technological civilization persist in failing to materialize.

quote:

Dogma is a difficult thing to free one's self from, but given the fact that we're in a situation that's unique in human history, we cannot rely on dogma.


Yes, dogma's everybody's "bad dog". But on what grounds is your dogma to be preferred?

If "old school communist dogma" is correct, then the next century or two will see lots of economic crises, wars, and proletarian revolutions.

If "standard capitalist dogma" is right, things will just get better and better...at least for the "deserving".

If "resource-depletion dogma" and/or "ecological catastrophe dogma" is right, then we are all, as you say, "fucked"...with the possible exception of those who've prepared ahead of time -- the "chosen few" -- to accept and even rejoice in a life of savagery.

I looked at the home page of your "beautiful visions of the apocalypse"...but I couldn't find the link to the recipe for "long pig".

Perhaps they don't think the time is yet ripe for posting it.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 15, 2004
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quote:

Actually, it is possible to live a sustainable life without becoming a "savage" many of the conveniences of modern life such as running water, heat, and communications technology could be sustained without oil.


You might be quite right about that...but I don't think that's what the people who are "playing this stuff up" really want.

I think they really picture themselves going one-on-one against a lion or a bear...to see who is going to eat who.

Afterwards, they'll sit around the campfire and brag of their mighty exploits, pound a few drums, and watch the girls dance.

The evening's festivities will conclude with a colorful story about how the angry gods struck down technological civilization for "the sin of pride".

Ah, the "good life".
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 17, 2004
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Who cares if the oil runs out?

Fossil fuel revolution begins

The US reserves alone are estimated at 5.7 trillion cubic metres (200 trillion cubic feet) of methane - enough to meet that energy-hungry country's needs for 2,000 years at current rates of use.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/science/nature/532468.stm
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 17, 2004
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quote:

Can we produce fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides with methane? Does any technology exist to power cars with methane?


quote:

Methane -- CH4, colorless, odorless, gaseous saturated hydrocarbon.


http://reference.allrefer.com/encyclopedia.../M/methane.html

Yes, I think anything you can make from oil you can make from methane...including oil itself.

As always in nature, the more complicated the thing you want to make, the more energy required to make it.

So some things you might not want to make from methane because there'd be easier ways to make it from something else.

But yes, you could run cars on it...and they'd be much cleaner than existing fuels.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 17, 2004
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I suspect that, with the exception of an economy exclusively powered by solar, wind, hydro-electric, and geo-thermal power, we will have to adapt to global warming...it's inescapable.

Any carbon-based fuel is going to increase the "greenhouse" effect. Furthermore, even the use of fission or fusion power still dumps "waste heat" into the environment that would not otherwise be present.

You may as well go ahead and plant that palm tree...it will thrive sooner than you think.

I should mention that hydro-electric power has a problem that may become significant towards the end of this century -- dams silt up and eventually no water flows through to turn the generators. It's not something that's "unfixable"...but it can present tasks as daunting as the original construction of the dam itself.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 18, 2004
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quote:

A secret report prepared by the Pentagon warns that climate change may lead to global catastrophe costing millions of lives...


Yes, and then again, it may do nothing of the sort.

But it sounds like a great movie idea.

quote:

...the report is expected to bring environmental issues to the fore in the US presidential race.


Expected by who? Issues are not what American elections are about anyway.

quote:

They mention in the report how depressing and grim the outlook is for our world.


No doubt. Being cynical, I can't help but wonder who benefits from these "the world is coming to an end" scenarios?

Perhaps the military budget needs another substantial increase? To guard our "fortress" from those "hordes of refugees"?

If the refugees don't happen to show up, well, a bigger military has other uses...!

quote:

Hopefully it isn't all forgotten about in 2 weeks.


Try day after tomorrow.

quote:

First, since it is from the Pentagon there is very little way to say it is politically motivated or that it isn't true.


It's not "from the Pentagon" -- it's a report written by two guys that was paid for by the Pentagon.

The U.S. Department of Defense commissions thousands and thousands of such reports every year on just about every possible subject...it probably funds more research of all kinds than any other single source in the U.S. and maybe more than all other sources combined.

As to its "truth", who knows?

Just to take one item, from what I've seen, the situation for England if the Gulf Stream "turns off" will not be one comparable to Siberia...it will be more like Labrador. Unpleasantly cold...but not arctic.

It is certainly highly probable that there will be more imperialist wars, regardless of the state of energy/fresh water resources in coming decades. Blaming the environment may sound more plausible than ghostly "weapons of mass destruction".

But I don't think we should allow threats of environmental "catastrophe" to obscure the real reason for those wars...the implacable determination of the United States and its lackeys to build a global empire.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 24, 2004
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quote:

SCARY DOES NOT EQUAL UNTRUE!


Well, actually it often has...meant untrue, that is.

Remember when people were really scared about "eternal damnation"? Or "witches"?

In England in the 1930s, some people were scared about "declining population", while others thought the oil was about to "run out".

And back in the 1950s, it was seriously proposed that the earth might be entering another ice age.

One of the latest scares is that the earth's magnetic field may be weakening as a prelude to reversing -- that happens every 700,000 years or so.

It's the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome -- we've been told that we're doomed so many times that, frankly, I don't take such "predictions" seriously any more...especially since the people telling us this always want more money to "study the problem".

If we were really doomed, why the hell should they care about money...or anything else? Force of habit???

Take yourself. If we're "really doomed", why are you wasting your time on an internet message board when you could be out getting drunk or high or laid...or all three?

The answer is, I think, that you don't really believe it either...but it's "thrilling stuff" to talk about.

The "end of the world" always is -- see the "Book of Revelations", for example.

I wonder, sometimes, if the real appeal of the "end of the world" scenarios doesn't lie in the fact of our own personal deaths. The world is going to end someday...for each of us. And some, I suspect, find it "outrageous" that the world should continue in the face of their personal absence.

How much more "satisfying" to contemplate the "fact" that their personal demise coincides with the end of the world for all...!

Just a thought.
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 26, 2004
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quote:

Refining operations were slowed by problems, maintenance and disruptive changes necessary to produce lower-sulfur and summer-blend gas required by clean-air regulations.


*Yawn*

The annual spring "gasoline shortage" is starting early this year.

If you don't live in the U.S., it may surprise you to learn that we have a "gasoline shortage" here every spring...just as we have a "heating oil shortage" and a "natural gas shortage" every autumn.

Energy companies have discovered the "secret" that was first learned by Middle Eastern grain merchants back around 500BCE or so: withholding supplies from the market causes prices and profits to increase dramatically.

These artificial "shortages" have no relationship to the topic of this thread...or to anything else except the insatiable corporate appetite for profit.

And who here ought to be surprised by that?
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 26, 2004
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quote:

What I don't understand is how you're able to dismiss the topic so easily.


Because it has no impact on anything I might choose to do or not do...or even say or not say.

Suppose the "peak oil" hypothesis was "correct"...what conclusions would it make sense to draw from that?

Well, we can forget about communism. The big challenge for the survivors (if any) will be the transition from savagery to barbarism.

I don't think I'd be of much help with that.

So then what? Well, I could go trolling across the internet (while it still exists), saying "Doom is at hand!" on every message board I could find.

That doesn't have much appeal to me either, frankly.

Here's something you can do...if you have lots of money to work with. Build underground vaults and fill them with basic science and engineering texts...ones with lots of pictures and drawings. When rediscovered two or three thousand years from now, they may be very helpful to a new emerging civilization. The people then won't be able to read them for quite a while, but the texts will provide hints about what is possible...which is sometimes all a really brilliant proto-scientist needs to start making real progress.

Alas, I don't have the money to even begin such a project. If you do, remember that you will need lots of vaults in well-protected locations. And they should be very well disguised...if the primitivists find one, they'll burn all the books for sure. (Very deep natural caves might be a good choice.)

Any other ideas? Nothing comes to my mind.

It's really the same as if you told me that the sun was going to burn out sometime before the end of this century. Perhaps the corporate elite could figure out a way to build deep shelters and insure their own survival...but they wouldn't invite me!

Thus I treat "the sky is falling" scenarios as fantasy...because even if they were true, it would make no difference.

Maybe the oil will run out; maybe there'll be a "runaway" greenhouse effect; maybe there'll be a global nuclear war; maybe an asteroid will hit the Earth; maybe there'll be a new world-wide super-plague that will kill us all; maybe some nano-experiment will go wrong and the "gray goo" will eat us all; maybe the "rapture" will take place and Satan will rule all the rest of us sinners; maybe, maybe, maybe.

Cataclysm, by its very nature, is not anything that we can predict or control. If it happens and any humans survive...then we'll try to pick up the pieces as best we can.

It is difficult enough to try to grasp that part of reality that is accessible to us...that we might be able to predict and control if we knew enough and worked hard enough.

So that's what I prefer to concentrate on...and leave cataclysm to the "gods".
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First posted at Che-Lives on February 27, 2004
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