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The Contribution of Fossil Fuels in Feeding Humanity

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posted on May, 5 2017 @ 10:20 PM
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There seems to be a war against fossil fuels.
We are taught to hate fertilizers, electricity and pesticides, while thanks to them we are fed and well kept.
Fossil fuels have lifted humans out of darkness, squalor and ignorance.
All the focus is on C02, the media is indoctrinating a generation as to the negatives of fossil fuels, never mentioning the positives.
Solar power isn't going to fertilize our crops.

They serve as raw materials for the production of fertilizers and pesticides, without which yields would be substantially lower.

They provide most of the energy needed to move agricultural inputs (including water) and agricultural outputs to and from farms, markets and consumers.

Fossil fuels also provide the energy for running farm machinery.

They have helped increase atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, which increases the rate of photosynthesis and water use efficiency in crops (and other vegetation).

Much of the decrease in post-harvest losses, from farm to eventual consumption, also depends on fossil fuel powered technologies (e.g., refrigeration, storage in plastic products, and more rapid delivery systems).

Erisman et al. (2008) estimate that in the 100 years since the invention of the Haber-Bosch process, that even as the global population has increased, the percentage of global food production dependent on nitrogen from the Haber-Bosch process has grown. By 2008, they estimate, it was responsible for 48 percent of global food production. Thus, as they note, “the lives of around half of humanity are made possible by Haber–Bosch nitrogen.”




posted on May, 5 2017 @ 10:24 PM
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a reply to: D8Tee

The problem is that they are very limited in the long run. Human civilization cannot depend on it forever. Sooner or later we need another source of energy.



posted on May, 5 2017 @ 10:25 PM
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originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: D8Tee

The problem is that they are very limited in the long run. Human civilization cannot depend on it forever. Sooner or later we need another source of energy.

How long to you figure we have?



posted on May, 5 2017 @ 10:28 PM
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a reply to: D8Tee

Maybe in a century or so.

By that time we should at least gain new energy sources from other planets.

Meanwhile investing in Solar Power and other renewable might be more practical right now.



posted on May, 5 2017 @ 10:30 PM
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a reply to: D8Tee

All the more reason to not consume it all before we find a way to replace it.

We'll need oil for a long time. But we need to transition other forms of energy and conserve what oil we have rather than using it for all our energy demands.

Like you say. There is oil used in just about every process, including even other types of energy production. So let's not waste what we have left.

We need to transition. NEED. HAVE TO DO IT. No choice.



posted on May, 5 2017 @ 10:36 PM
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It would be interesting if a "fossil fuel" phase is common in most alien civilizations, assuming they are biological.
A kick starter, if you will, to advancing to a stage where it can be replaced before it runs out. Would a coal layer have to be unique to Earth, or a planet much like Earth?



posted on May, 5 2017 @ 10:46 PM
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a reply to: charlyv

In another world, an alien civilization might use other minerals to power their civilization.

It may not be coal but unique minerals not found in our world.



posted on May, 5 2017 @ 10:54 PM
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originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: charlyv

In another world, an alien civilization might use other minerals to power their civilization.

It may not be coal but unique minerals not found in our world.


I'm waiting for the Di Lithium crystal breakthrough.

Fusion might be the answer if technology can overcome the hurdles of keeping the power of the sun in a magnetic field.

With an unlimited supply of energy you can make hydrocarbons straight out of seawater.



posted on May, 5 2017 @ 11:02 PM
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I'm more worried about wasting all the plastics gained from oil. Something like 99% of the plastics we use are from oil, and most of it all seems to be treated with borderline contempt.

About the fertilizers, although the waste going into the waterways is something of a disaster which does need to be figured out, they are enriching the earth. The portions of the results that end up as compost will continue to build up the soils.




posted on May, 5 2017 @ 11:08 PM
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a reply to: D8Tee

makes snse



posted on May, 5 2017 @ 11:28 PM
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a reply to: IgnoranceIsntBlisss




About the fertilizers, although the waste going into the waterways is something of a disaster
Very often farmers over fertilize their crops and are actually, literally throwing good money down the drain……

A darn good reason to have grass filter strips between crop land and water courses. Also tree wind breaks and “green manure” clover or annual grass used in the fall to prevent erosion of bare fields and add organic mater in the spring.



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 12:11 AM
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originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: charlyv

In another world, an alien civilization might use other minerals to power their civilization.

It may not be coal but unique minerals not found in our world.


I would go on the premise that any world that has water, certainly has carbon and oxygen, so why would life have to re-invent itself when the known combinations that created it here are abundant elsewhere? We also know through "evidence" of panspermia, that there are most likely other carbon/water based life that were able to adapt when they landed here. Mars is the best candidate and so are comets. If we find comets in other solar systems, it is probably further evidence that carbon based life is everywhere.



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 12:45 AM
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Here is an interesting explanation of the process that makes most coal beds. (wau.edu)



In the peat swamp as dead plant matter accumulates, aerobic bacteria rapidly oxidize cellulose and other components producing methane (CH4), carbon dioxide and ammonia (from the nitrogen containing components). The resulting decomposed material compacts about 50% and is largely composed of lignin, a complex, 3-dimensional polymer rich in benzene rings. These bacteria quickly use up the available oxygen and die ending the first stage of the process. Anaerobic bacteria take over the decomposition process. They produce acids as metabolic waste products. When the pH reaches ~4, these bacteria die. The product at this stage is a gel-like material called Gytta. When the Gytta is buried to a depth of 2,000 to 3,000 feet, the temperature is about 100oC and a thermal process known as bituminization begins. At this temperature water and other volatiles are driven off. Learn more about how swamps are converted to coal


More than a layer of minerals, it requires bacteria to assist in the process which is cool to think about as a system that may be un-unique. Its like creating your own future, and then stepping into it.

Imagine if we were to find coal, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, on Mars. We know it at least had oceans, rivers and streams... It would really say it all.
edit on 6-5-2017 by charlyv because: spelling , where caught



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 05:51 AM
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a reply to: D8Tee

LMAO

There seems to be a war against deforestation, overfishing and waste dumping, while thanks to them we are fed and well kept.

Do you understand sustainability?

The issue are not fossil fuels, but our excessive use of them.



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 11:12 AM
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Interestingly, Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition:

We found that elevated [CO2] was associated with significant decreases in the concentrations of zinc and iron in all C3 grasses and legumes (Fig. 1 and Extended Data Table 1).

For example, wheat grains grown at elevated [CO2] had 9.3% lower zinc (95% confidence interval (CI)12.7% to 5.9%)and5.1%lower iron(95%CI 6.5% to 3.7%) than those grown at ambient [CO2]. We also found that elevated [CO2] was associated with lower protein content in C3 grasses, with a 6.3% decrease (95% CI 7.5% to 5.2%) in wheat grains and a 7.8% decrease (95% CI 8.9% to 6.8%) in rice grains. Elevated [CO2] was associated with a small decrease in protein in field peas, and there was no significant effect in soybeans or C4 crops (Fig. 1 and Extended Data Table 1).

In addition to our own observations, we obtained data from 10 of 11 previously published studies investigating nutrient changes in the edible portion of food crops (Extended Data Table 6) and combined these data with our own observations in a larger meta-analysis.


It seems that, along with greater water efficiency meaning less water is released by plants, the side-effects of CO2 on plants might be detrimental to us beyond the climate change implications.
edit on 11Sat, 06 May 2017 11:13:30 -0500America/ChicagovAmerica/Chicago5 by Greven because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 03:52 PM
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originally posted by: moebius
a reply to: D8Tee

LMAO

There seems to be a war against deforestation, overfishing and waste dumping, while thanks to them we are fed and well kept.

Do you understand sustainability?

The issue are not fossil fuels, but our excessive use of them.


Do you have any idea how much forest is being chopped down and being turned into "biomass, destined to be burned to generate electricity.

Do you know why?

One word; ZERO.

Europe declared wood pellets a carbon neutral fuel and now forests all over the world are being felled and burned to produce electricity.

40% of German wood production is used as a biomass feedstock, is that what you want? Cut down our forests and burn them to generate electricity?

It basically tells the Congo and Indonesia and every other forested country in the world: ‘If you cut down your forests and use them for energy, not only is that not bad, it's good.

How about turning huge swaths of agricultural land into monocultures, the output not destined for the dinner table, but instead turned into replacements for fossil fuels?

Do you understand sustainability?

Is cutting down trees and burning them the way forward?

Is turning Food into Fuel what you are all in favor of?



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 04:09 PM
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a reply to: Greven


It seems that, along with greater water efficiency meaning less water is released by plants, the side-effects of CO2 on plants might be detrimental to us beyond the climate change implications.


Your article is behind a paywall, we can't even look at the whole thing.

Tell it to all the greenhouse operators that supplement with C02.

Last ditch attempt to discredit the benefits of the C02 fertilization effect the planet is benefitting from.

I'm seeing this one rolled out more and more often now as the people who think that C02 is poison grasp at the last straw in an effort to further their agenda.

Somebody should tell these dopes about nitrogen based fertilizer.

From your paywalled paper:

Differences between cultivars of a single crop suggest that breeding for decreased sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentration could partly address these new challenges to global health


This isn't going to be the issue that people are making it out to be.



edit on 6-5-2017 by D8Tee because: (no reason given)

edit on 6-5-2017 by D8Tee because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 04:37 PM
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a reply to: D8Tee

Looks like it's also here if you want to read it.

An increase to CO2 only helps if it's the limiting factor. Greenhouses generally need CO2 pumped in because the plants within consume the CO2 in the semi-enclosed environment. This happens outdoors as well - corn fields, for example, will have reduced CO2 levels at ground level.



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 05:13 PM
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a reply to: Greven


‘Number of pairs’ refers to the number of comparisons in which replicates of a particular cultivar grown at a specific site under one set of growing conditions in one year at elevated [CO2] have been pooled and
mean nutrient values for these replicates were compared with mean values for identical cultivars under identical growing conditions except grown at ambient [CO2]

Thank you for the link to the full paper.

The paper shows what is to be expected if they do not increase the Nitrogen fertilizer for the increased C02 rates.

Every year on the farm we would take soil samples and sent them in and fertilize accordingly.

You can't expect to change the C02 variable and not change the fertilizer applied to the crop can you?

I'm not an agrologist, but I suspect the crops were nitrogen limited, and the data indicates that.

The nitrogen fixing legumes and sorghum were not as low in protein as the non nitrogen fixing crops grown.

Anyways, it's good news for beer drinkers, as malt barley is selected for it's low protein content lol.

Low protein is an indication that there is more room for the sugars that are needed to feed the yeast and make the alcohol lol.

Beer drinkers rejoice, it's new era!

Here is a paper that disputes my claim that all that is needed is more Nitrogen. It seems to be more than that, but I'm confident that with new cultivars, the issue will be overcome. The paper is an interesting read.

Paper
edit on 6-5-2017 by D8Tee because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2017 @ 05:20 PM
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originally posted by: Greven
a reply to: D8Tee

Looks like it's also here if you want to read it.

An increase to CO2 only helps if it's the limiting factor. Greenhouses generally need CO2 pumped in because the plants within consume the CO2 in the semi-enclosed environment. This happens outdoors as well - corn fields, for example, will have reduced CO2 levels at ground level.


Greenhouses do not enrich with C02 to bring it back to ambient levels.

They will enrich generally to 1,000 to 1,300 ppm.

They do this to increase yield, not because the plants have depleted their environment.



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