Lately I've been studying topics related to the global climate crisis: peak-oil, energy reserves, green energy, sustainable living. I've been thinking for some time that the earth can't support more than a half billion people or so without oil and that there will be a global cataclysm in the next fifty years. I don't think this will be a peaceful time and so I'm calling it the "Oil Wars." As the supply of oil becomes scarcer and scarcer the tension between nations will become greater and greater.
I am not optimistic that we will find an adequate energy source to replace oil once it runs out. And, once the supply of oil begins to run out the large world population will cause it to run out quickly with cataclysmic effects:
I think the emphasis on the global climate crisis is misguided — we should rather be focusing on:
Certainly a rise in the sea level will be a disastrous event which will displace billions of people. But running out of oil with no energy replacement and a large population will be even worse.
In my view the world is grossly overpopulated. We should measure the maximum sustainable population by noticing the impact we are having on the environment. Evidence of overpopulation:
The city of Los Angeles is radically overpopulated due to a shortage of water. It is wrong to be transporting so much water from the Colorado River, the east side of the Sierras, and the bay area. In 1850 the population of Los Angeles was only 2,000 and in 1900 it was 100,000.
Certainly there were large cities 150 years ago. New York city had a population of 700,000 in 1850 and 3.4 million in 1900. Today there are too many of these big cities.
In North America before the white man came to "civilize" the continent the population was sustainable (10 million to 100 million). With modern technology this number can be much higher. The population of the U.S.A. in 1850 was 23 million and in 1900 it was 76 million.
Coal use began in the 1700's and the oil industry began about 1900 so I suppose we should choose a date in this range for determining the maximum population that the earth can support. The world population in 1700 was 600 million and in 1900 it was 1.6 billion. I suspect that many parts of the world were over-populated at this time. My guess is that the ideal world population should be 500 million.
I am a bit troubled that the Catholic Church continues to teach we should have large families. This is madness. Another maddening concept is that national economic health requires a continual population increase to provide an increase in customers.
How do we drastically reduce the population? A few methods:
Unfortunately, it is likely that the oil wars will result in a rapid depopulation via the catastrophic or violent methods and that after the oil wars the population will remain smaller as a result of government control by tyrants and despots.
Populations of animals in the wild are kept under control by starvation and by their becoming prey. If the population of a certain animal increases beyond the available resources, mass starvation results. Humans are, of course, subject to the same natural laws. The high world population of humans has only been possible because of oil.
To reduce the population in a moral way would result in a much higher percentage of elderly people for a generation or so since it is immoral to euthanize them and since there would be far fewer children.
Even if the nations of the world seem to be cooperating now in addressing global warming, once oil supplies begin to shrink this cooperation will certainly come to an abrupt end. Each nation will scramble to obtain access to the rapidly-diminishing supplies that remain. If history is a reliable guide, this will certainly lead to world war — likely a war of greater devastation than all wars combined.
Unfortunately, the soldiers in war are usually young so that large casualty rates will result in a population composed of older people.
I envision that democracy will one day be a thing of the past. I suspect that the brutality necessary in the oil wars could only be achieved under the leadership of unscrupulous tyrants (ala Machiavelli). Those nations that are timid in applying force will lose their share of the dwindling oil supplies and will perhaps be invaded by stronger neighbors. As a result, every nation will become ruthless, and democracy will be destroyed in the process.
After the oil is gone population control will become essential to a nation's survival. Only countries such as China which imposes population control measures by force will be free from famine and plague.
As the oil runs out it will increasingly be denied to larger and larger segments of the population. Finally, it will only be available to a new class of aristocrats. While the rest of the population lives life much as it was lived in the 1700's, the aristocrats will enjoy much the same lifestyle as is common today. There will still be oil enough for them.
Things that nations can do to survive: