Tad Patzek is a professor of engineering working on the thermodynamics and ecology of human survival, and food and energy supply for humanity.
Because Patzek is an engineer, and not an economist, you can pretty much believe everything he says. 🙂
I like this essay he wrote last month, especially since he kicked it off talking about genetic reality denial.
First, let me remind you that a pessimist is an optimist who shed his delusions and denial, and educated himself. Please keep this in mind, if you continue reading. If you don’t, that’s fine too. You will remain in your blissful bubble of denial and ignorance, which are the dominant genetic traits of most denizens of the fossil superorganism. Please understand that many democratically elected governments know very well about your truth aversion and are making best use of it.
Patzek had some interesting things to say about the yellow vest uprising, and I’ve seen similar comments from other intelligent people who read between the lines, so I suspect there’s something to this speculation.
The French riots are directly related to the depletion of many resources, but specifically to the intermediate distillates (abbreviated here as the naphtha fraction) that are disappearing from the refinery feedstock crudes worldwide. The ultralight condensates produced from the US shale plays have none. Naphtha is the petroleum fraction from which diesel fuel is produced. Since almost all trucks run on diesel fuel, which one would you rather have: food and other goods in stores or an unrestricted supply of fuel to private diesel cars?
The fossil amoeba will never admit that she is limited by anything. She cannot violate her own principle of indiscriminate, eternal growth that will pay for the ginormous debt the rich took everywhere to bail themselves out. This debt is now sloshing around the world killing what remains of the healthy environment and speeding up the collapse of our civilization.
The detached Macron was manipulated into an environmentally friendly explanation: less emissions. Of course, this explanation is nonsensical, and it came on the heels of many real and perceived social injustices in France that span two decades or more. To make things worse, air quality has become so bad in most places that ships will have to use low-sulfur fuel, which will further increase demand on the heavy naphtha fraction. Aviation too is growing everywhere to move people and goods across the global economy (soon to be discontinued). Jet fuel, which is essentially diesel fuel, also competes with your poor little diesel car. Finally, please do not forget that heating oil you use to avoid freezing in winter, is diesel fuel that is a little heavier.
Patzek also provided a nice take on “You know you are in trouble when…”
Meanwhile, at every step, humanity has become more destructive to Earth’s ecosystems. I see no trend that we are solving more problems than we are creating. When the techno-optimists hail future “solutions,” I’m reminded that all the problems we face today are the results of earlier “solutions,” and all the solutions of today are creating new problems.
I know you know all this, but it’s worth saying: There are no significant ecological trend lines that are getting better for the ecosystems:
- Human population is growing, getting worse
- Human livestock population is growing, getting worse
- Human consumption is increasing, getting worse for all but the consumers
- Human ecological and war-victim refugees are increasing, getting worse
- Toxin load in biological systems is growing, getting worse
- Wild flora / fauna diversity is shrinking, getting worse
- Aquifers, and all freshwater resources are shrinking, getting worse
- CO2 content in atmosphere is increasing, getting worse for existing biodiversity
- Acid content of oceans is increasing, getting worse
- Human economic unpayable debt load (fake energy, fake “growth”) is increasing, getting worse
- Quality and availability of every critical resource are shrinking, making these resources more expensive and more destructive to recover
- Net energy from energy resources is shrinking
- Habitats and food for wild fauna are shrinking
- Carbon and nutrient content of arable soils are shrinking
- Nitrogen and Phosphorus cycles are disrupted and concentrated, creating dead lakes and dead ocean zones
- Coral bed sea-life nurseries are shrinking
- Tropical forest terrestrial nurseries are shrinking
- Estuaries are shrinking
- Ponzi schemes, stock swindles, and scams are increasing in frequency and monetary value
- Forest fires and violent storms are increasing with CO2 and heating
- War budgets are increasing, etc.
And what, pray-tell, is offsetting this Earth balance sheet asset collapse? Windmills? Solar panels? Carbon capture? Artificial intelligence? A few rich humans getting richer? Computer chip processing speeds increasing? Video conferences? “Smart” bombs?
No, whenever I doubt we are right about collapse, I take stock of this large-scale Earth balance sheet and must conclude again that human enterprise itself is a giant Ponzi scheme, plundering the mother that gave birth to us, high-grading every resource, squandering the riches for idle pleasures, and leaving behind a smoldering, toxic trail.
There’s more good stuff in his essay so you should check out the whole thing.
But wait, there’s more…
Here’s Patzek explaining why industrial agriculture (i.e. our food supply) will collapse within a few decades…
Here’s Patzek speaking about the unpleasant reality of climate change…
Here’s Patzek talking about how we could and should make do with less…
Here’s Patzek discussing authentic recycling…
One thought on “By Tad Patzek: A Requiem for the Beautiful Earth”
thanks for posting this and introducing me to Tad Patzek!