Comment: I think you might be smoking something.

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I think you might be smoking something.

We are a clever enough species to have figured out how to extract energy resources from the ground, but we were stupid enough to depend on it for our survival.

The low hanging fruit principle rules resource extraction. We went for the most proximate, purest, shallowest, biggest deposits first (easiest and cheapest to acquire), and left the rest for later, only later is now. We started out using up the equivalent energy of one barrel of oil to get back 100 barrels early on in the oil age, and now we spend somewhere between 10 to 12 barrels to get back 100, which leaves 88 to 90 to fuel the economy. The increase in this cost follows a compound growth curve so this disaster is unfolding exponentially.

Any substitute for oil would need to produce an equal amount of energy to petroleum for the amount of energy expended to acquire it, else economic activity will contract for want of sufficient energy to fuel it. We know that when government forced corn ethanol on us in an effort to grow fuel, we spent nearly as much, if not more, energy than we got back, and there is no reason to believe that growing cannabis would be much different that the corn ethanol experiment.

If you look at the energy return for oil from a thermodynamic view, the picture is much worse than seen simply tracking the deteriorating energy return on energy invested on a per barrel basis. Here is a study which shows the disaster unfolding in the oil patch taking into account not only the exponentially increase expenditure of energy, but the simple fact that only 71% of each unit of oil is usable energy, the balance being lost as waste heat:

http://www.thehillsgroup.org/

And if you don't want to take the time to digest the entire report, at least look at this graph and the explanation below it:

http://www.thehillsgroup.org/depletion2_020.htm

This report shows that by ~2030 we will be spending all the energy in newly found oil just to find it, leaving nothing to fuel the economy. That leaves only the previously found oil fields to fuel economic activity, and they are rapidly depleting, some at a rate of as much as 12% annually, but on average closer to 5%. Even at a 5% depletion rate, economic activity would be cut in half every 14 years.

There is no known substitute for petroleum and cannabis oil certainly is near the bottom of all the things to consider. Here is one estimate of the return for biodiesel showing a 3.2 to 1 return:

http://www.biofuels.coop/archive/eroei.php

Even if you accept this as reasonable, which I don't, you would be replacing petroleum with a return of 10 or 12 to 1. That means that you could run 3.2 vehicles on biodiesel compared to 10 or 12 on petroleum energy. What would that do to economic activity? And that doesn't even consider crop failures from drought, plant disease, and periodic insect infestations.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.