This cannot possibly end well

Energy is the economy

Price hikes

Rattling sounds coming from the engine

“While the end-of-the-world scenario will be rife with unimaginable horrors, we believe that the pre-end period will be filled with unprecedented opportunities for profit.”

If this is not a warning sign that an enormous ball of excrement is flying towards a jumbo-sized fan, then nothing is.

Unnerving vibrations

  1. Mining for metals (and other minerals) requires energy — mostly provided by diesel fuel, powering those huge mining machines and electricity required to process (mill and smelt) the minerals.
  2. As rich metal ore deposits deplete lower and lower grades have to be processed. With copper today we are targeting rocks with 0.1% metal content (999kg debris for 1kg copper).
  3. Mining and processing lower grades takes exponentially more energy (more rock has to be hauled uphill from the mining pit, then smashed into ever smaller particles to get to the desired material). This results in exponential amounts of waste and turns valuable drinking water into acid lakes and/or radioactive goo.
  4. Oil, natural gas and coal are no different. As easy to obtain resources slowly wane, ever more energy intense sources have to be tapped. This leaves society with less and less net energy despite an overall growth in its consumption.
  5. Result: increasing energy costs, and exponentially increasing cost of key metals and minerals leading to an ever more volatile boom and bust cycle. This process is on for more than century now, but thanks to the exponential nature of growth (both in population and material consumption) and the resulting depletion of once rich deposits, it started to work against us really hard just recently. (Especially since 2005 when traditional oil extraction has peaked and an ever increasing number of energy intensive sources (like deep sea and fracking) had to be brought online.)
Supercycles. Image source: Visual Capitalist
The fall of Galloping Gertie in the Tacoma Narrows, 1940. Image source: Wikipedia




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