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Technology Cannot Overcome Demand for Oil

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After reading many articles on climate change, I found the following article on line, published by The Journal of Environment & Development.

"Technology is Not Enough: Climate Change, Population, Affluence and Consumption". The website I found on Google was at Pennsylvania State Univ dated September 17, 2016.

The author, Ronald B. Mitchell, Professor of Political Science and Program in Environmental Studies, University of Oregon, states if we don't "constrain population, affluence, and consumption while respecting other human values..." we will feel the impacts.  His paper has many references to back his thesis.

My opinion is we won't be successful stabilizing the world's population nor our desire to consume.  Unless nuclear makes a comeback (lot's of public concerns), long term oil prices will be stable or rise.  Short term oil prices have fallen dramatically the last two days due to OPEC+ member comments.  OPEC will adjust production and pricing to maximize their market share and profits.  I sold all my oil related stocks on the downturn and am waiting.

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I would be cautious in taking what is written in a college in Oregon as the Final Truth.  Oregon can be charitably described as a bit of a weird, off-the-wall place.  Their ideas of "constraining population and consumption" are nothing new, that has been the Oregon intelligentsia theme song since the 1960's.  

Nor is it accurate.  The largest expansion of consumption in the West has been in "electronic things," not physical things.  The rapid development of the laptop and the desktop computer machines has dramatically expanded access to knowledge (and also rubbish).  If anything, the tonnage of physical assets had decreased  (remember that in the 1960's a personal auto probably weighed in at over 4,000 lbs; those big hulking Buick Roadmasters consumed a lot of material).  We don't even consume newsprint any more, as the pulp mills in Maine will attest to. Meanwhile, the US population has expanded at least 60 million.  

The total world's population is just about at the "stabilization" point, and overall drop in population will start imminently.  It will be dramatic, at least 20% per generation.  Our "desire to consume" is already quite a bit lower than it was fifty years ago, with the possible exception being housing.  The question-marks are and will remain the populations of China and India, and I concede that they have the capability of massive hard-goods demand expansion.  Yet that is dependent on population affluence, and the rural populations are not moving up, so the effect is limited to cities (where it is significant).  But city populations will not tip the global scales.  

Will India rapidly go into a lowered fecundity rate, below replacement?  That is unknown.  Yet India is already down to around 2.2. If it slips below 2.0, you are in a decreasing spiral.  We shall see how this plays out. 

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I appreciate your input and recall reading about some of these trends. I just checked on the UN projections.  I need to read the detail.  I recall US is showing a decline in birth but it is compensated by legal (and illegal) immigration.  Other countries may or may not be stable.  Population growth in poor nations (lack of resources or civil strife) are causing mass migrations in Europe and North America.

UN sites also have the population growth formulas by country if we have the time to review.  Here is the 2017 UN overall projection:


World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision

21 June 2017

The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a new United Nations report being launched today. With roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline.

Let me know when you get time to read the Oregon paper.  Also recommended from Wikipedia "Politics of  Global Warming"

Edited by WayneMechEng
Corrected name of Wikipedia article.

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