Peak Commodities

Each primary global commodity is going to experience peaks in production in different ways, and at different moments. Each major type has its own page.

  • Peak Oil – First, and because of it’s critical importance to pretty much every single part of our daily lives, touching essentially everything we do, buy, and almost even, think.
  • Peak Oil Definitions and Terms – Unravel the confusing range of terms used to discuss oil production and peak oil.
  • Peak Coal – Next, the elephant in the room. While not technically at peak yet, coal has all the signs of being next on the list, rapidly rising, logarithmic, demand, the best having been used first, etc. Not to mention all the lovely CO2 burning coal pushes into the atmosphere.
  • Peak Phosphorus – And of course, let’s also think about the things that almost nobody is even aware of:

    Population growth was only possible because we found phosphorus deposits and cheap energy to extract, transform and transport it to farms. When we plot data of world population versus world phosphate production, we find a significant correlation.
    Even if we find a real substitute for fossil fuels, it will be impossible to maintain population growth because phosphate deposits are probably in decline. It will be impossible to maintain an agriculture without recycling nutrients.

  • The Trouble With Lithium – Under a Microscoope PDF study of global lithium reserves. Short version? Don’t count on lithium battery cars in any numbers. Read it and weep.
  • Peak Uranium – Despite what nuclear zealots persist in stating, uranium is going to peak just like any other finite resource. When you mine too much, you use it all up eventually, as all other resource peaks show.

One of the things that will become most interesting to watch over time is how shortages in one area begin to affect other areas in unforeseen ways. We are already seeing signs of this in 2008 with some commodities, and more interconnections will become increasingly obvious.

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