Oil Steals the Headlines but Peak Water is Here

Oil steals all the headlines, but the virtual water that goes into producing the things we eat, wear and use every day is the biggest risk to humanity


First published by NOW magazine

1 thought on “Oil Steals the Headlines but Peak Water is Here

  1. Vaclav Smil, a real energy expert, says that a 100% energy transition will take generations to complete because energy transitions are infinitely complex and lengthy processes to accomplish.

    Many mega-cities in Asia face near-term existential threats due to extremes in weather, flood and food emergencies and are unsuited for solar panels and wind turbines. Solar panels won’t stop Miami from flooding and will be blown away by increasing storm severity. Wind turbines won’t help Dhaka (pop. 20m) in Blangladesh, who are one storm away from international disaster. Many of lowland China’s major mega-cities have many weeks of foggy, windless days. Can you imagine solar panels in Beijing? Japan and the Philippines face their annual Typhoon seasons. Do you think wind turbines would stand up to the almost annual onslaught of destruction the people of Manila face each year? How long do you think solar panels are going to last in Nevada when the water runs out?

    Solar panels and wind turbines last about 30 years and if the weather doesn’t get them, old age induced wear and tear will. In 30 years all of today’s surviving wind turbines and solar panels will have to be replaced all over the world again, and remember it takes 10X as much renewable energy to shut down one fossil fuel plant – never mind the hundreds of millions of tons of batteries that require continual replacement. Of course, none of this will work without a Smart Grid, which alone will cost trillions of dollars and take decades to build across North America.

    Clearly, sustainable energy is unsustainable without massive demand destruction as Kevin Anderson clearly says over and over again.

    All this would be fine if energy existed in a vacuum outside of reality, but it doesn’t. Right now, industrial agriculture is depleting our soil and water so fast that in just 15 years 40% of humanity will not have enough water, and in 60 years, 90% of our soil will be gone or useless. The number one cause of soil and water depletion is eating meat.

    Humans and livestock comprise 97% of the weight of all vertebrate animals on all the land on earth. Farms and cities now use up 50% of the land on earth and are responsible for 80% of land-air species extinctions. We consume the weight of nearly 40% of earth’s annual greenery production not leaving enough for other animals. Livestock production creates 30% of emissions, while livestock production AND consumption put it closer to 50% of emissions. Drive-Thru McDonalds anyone? The number one thing YOU can do to stop runaway heating and mass extinction is to stop eating meat. But, do you really believe 7 billion people will stop eating meat and wasting food? They will if you have a carbon price on meat to cost it out of the market. We can do this using James Hansen’s 100% private citizen carbon tax dividend with 0% for government. Meat substitutes won’t kill you, but meat will kill earth. Half the soy grown in South America is shipped over to China to feed their pigs.

    The massive failure of the so-called carbon market is overwhelming in its political-economic hubris. I don’t see how one can comment on it without mentioning James Hansen’s 100% private citizen carbon tax dividend, payable with direct deposit to you, with 0% going to government or corporations.

    Naturally, governments and corporations abhor this prospect and are fighting tooth and nail to prevent it. So people like the Rockefellers pay groups like Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein to support a senate bill sponsored by Bernie Saunders and Barbara Boxer that would give the government 60% of any future carbon taxes. This effort goes against the very spirit and letter of James Hansen’s proposed dividends. James Hansen also said that his carbon tax dividends would unite both left and right because it excludes government and provides the most efficient way to quickly get all people to reduce carbon emissions simultaneously together. The old socialism vs. capitalism straw argument will divide us exactly when we need to unite to save us. Fix first, fight later.

    Vandana Shiva + Kevin Anderson + James Hansen = Hope

    Bernie Sanders + Bill McKibben + Naomi Klein = Hopeless

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