Jeremy Leggett on Peak Oil and Agriculture


The other day Sami made mention of the One Planet Agriculture project under the auspices of the Soil Association. It's about helping the agricultural industry cope with global warming and peak oil. A handbook is imminent but in the meantime they have a modest PDF publication called the Case for Action. In it you'll find a piece by the renown Jeremy Leggett, author of Half Gone (titled The Empty Tank in the US), who makes the following points: A quarter of the US's daily need for oil (five million barrels) comes from the highly volatile Middle East. "The US government could wipe out the need for all their five million barrels, and staunch the flow of much blood in the process, by requiring its domestic automobile industry to increase the fuel efficiency of autos and light trucks by a mere 2.7 miles per gallon." Instead, between 1987 and 2001, US average US vehicle fuel efficiency fell by 1.8 miles per gallon, noting that during the period 1975 to 2003 SUV market share grew from 2% to 24%. And what's this to do with our food supply? Jeremy cites National Geo as estimating you could drive a car from LA to NYC on the oil required to farm and bring to market just one cow. This is not to say we don't need an economy based on oil. No, the Soil Association also include a calculation from the Irish organisation the Foundation foe the Economics of Sustainability or Feasta who suggest that a 40 litre (11 gallon) fill-up at a petrol (gasoline) station is the equivalent of about four years of human manual work and therefore "a human-muscle-power-based economy would therefore be between seventy and a hundred times less productive than the present fossil-fuel powered one." Our children will live in interesting times. Via ::the Soil Association

Pic is of a Christo and Jeanne-Claude sculpture using a mere 13,000 oil barrels.

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