[extropy-chat] Should You be Freaking About Oil Peaking?

Mike Lorrey mlorrey at yahoo.com
Wed May 25 04:03:49 UTC 2005

--- "kevinfreels.com" <kevin at kevinfreels.com> wrote:

> Is it really? Or is that just based on the current crop yields? Are
> we already at the maximum amount of crops per square foot of land? I
> would think not. What is that theoretical maximum anyways?

We are already beyond sustainable crop yield levels, which is why most
farmland requires significant fertilizing and crop rotation to maintain
its fecundity. Corn and possibly one or two other domesticated crops
are pretty near the theoretical maximum possible for photosynthetic
energy conversion which is about 3.5%. When you calculate in the energy
cost to produce chemical fertilizers, the actual efficiency is not any
higher than historical levels. If peak oil is true, the era of chemical
fertilizers is ending, so those crop levels will no longer be
 Corn is generally treated as the 'pig' of the crops, in that the
entire plant (except the roots) is typically used as feed for cattle
rather than being plowed under for fertilizer after the ears are
plucked. If chem fertilizing ends, then the era of cheap meat is over
and Americans will have to learn to fast on Fridays again. Wednesday
will be Prince Spaghetti Day again. The amount of protien in the
American diet will be cut by half and the Flynn effect will be reversed.

Mike Lorrey
Vice-Chair, 2nd District, Libertarian Party of NH
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
                                      -William Pitt (1759-1806) 
Blog: http://intlib.blogspot.com

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