World Slowing Down

<Problem Background      <Inferences     <Ramifications <

Implications, Transportation :

  • With skyrocketing avgas costs 'cut-price' jet air-travel will decline.  Airlines will tend to wait for full-loads before flying, increasing delays and once again making some other modes of transport more  attractive over short distances.
  • International tourist industry will change style as people trend to making fewer but slower longer trips.
  • The current 'fast' air transportation of freight will become less frequently used as the price climbs.
  • Sea transportation will eventually switch back to coal based fuels for time critical transportation needs, along with some mix of solar-electric and sail being employed for less critical cargo.
  • Airship will make a come back for fine weather transportation of bulky but relatively light cargo at intermediate speeds.
  • Long distance (over 200 miles or 300 kilometres) private motoring will decline with increasing bulkiness and rising prices of fuel.  Market fragmentation of fuels options with smaller installed bases will  militate against guarantee refueling points beyond the city limits of major cities, also discouraging country trips.  (see Hydrogen Economy)
  • Long distance off-road motoring will decline as the bulkiness, difficulty and cost of fuels all rise. It is one thing now to strapped a few extra cans of petrol on for a trip off the beaten track. It will be an  altogether different proposition in the future when less dense fuels are being used, the fuel tank could be twice the size with only have half the range, the required spare tanks of natural gas or hydrogen if  they could be safely deployed could take up as much space and weigh as much as the vehicle again! No-longer a little country jaunt but a major undertaking as such trips where a hundred years ago.
  • As long distance motoring declines the up-keep cost of interstate highway infrastructure will no-longer be economically justifiable, so some parts of the system will be allowed to disintegrate back to dusty  tracks.
  • As the economic advantages of air or road transport decline, sea and rail transport will fill part of the gap, the difference being trips that are no-longer required or of dubious economic advantage.
  • Sea travel and airships will again become slower but cost effect long distance passenger transport modes.  The international passenger transport mix by 2050 could be quite similar to that of 1950  again.  However with a more server Peak Oil bite or other difficulties a mix more like that in 1920s is also a very real possibility.
  • In striving for fast low energy craft,  future large sea going vessels (ships) will include catamarans and ground-effect designs.

Implications, Agriculture :

  • Gigantic highly petro-chemical dependant, broad-acre monoculture farming will slowly disappear from the agricultural landscapes of the world.
  • The European, Japanese and Korean opposition to including there own agriculture  in free-trade negotiations will be vindicated as international food trade declines in the face of rising fuel cost and slower  less reliable transportation. 
  • Real cost of food will rise.
  • Total world  food production thence supply will fall!
  • Despite all the best good-will in the world, less practical / food aid will not be available to famine victims around the world, because there will be just less food, and with slowing transportation getting relief  quickly in quantity to any given destination will inevitably become implausible.
  • The growing of cereals will switch from the strategy using a monoculture of some annual crop variety (plants that only last one season, then must be replanted the next year again from seeds) to fields growing a  permanent mix a few different perennial (plants that produce for a number of consecutive seasons) crops simultaneously. 
  • Farm sizes will decrease to smaller more manageable family size concerns.
  • Organic farming will grow in popularity as petro-chemical input cost rise.
  • Altogether new (perennial) plant species genetically engineered by public universities in the developing world will be tightly targeted to roles like;- fighting desertification,   food provision on  marginal land or hostile tropical climates.
  • Australia's live sheep trade to the Middle East will decline as;- fuel cost rise, slower shipping necessitates more en-route cost to maintain animal health during longer voyages.

Implications, Others :

  • Without ready supplies of energy dense liquid fuels warfare will become;-
    1. Less mechanized,
    2. More protracted as large rapid decisive movement decrease.
    3. Death tolls among military personnel will rise.
    4. Temptation to deploy Nuclear  weapons ( particularly the battlefield tactical variety ) will increase. "Apocalypse Soon: The  Risk of inadvertent nuclear launch is unacceptably high"  by Robert S. McNamara (USA's Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy administration),
  • World human population will decline.

Hydrogen Economy>

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Last update:  January 2007 Southern Summer
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