It is actually a very complex problem in physics! While there is much we can all do in our own lives to reduce our oil consumption, on the larger level it’s likely that true, systemic change will only come when we again have political leadership that sees the problem and addresses it clearly and unambiguously. Within a few thousand years we also discovered how to extract mineral ores from the Earth, to smelt pure metals from them, and to build tools, such as plows and scythes, that made us much more productive farmers. Virtually all of Pangaea was covered with a dense mat of vegetation, rising hundreds of feet into the air, creating a thick ground cover of rotting and dead plant matter that became, in some places, hundreds or even thousands of feet deep. But even if the First World is able to use military force to guarantee access to Third World oil supplies, the dwindling worldwide fuel supply will have widespread and devastating ripple effects. Climate change may well be the greatest threat the world faces today. Currently, world oil reserves are estimated at about 1,000 billion barrels. Once current stores are exhausted, it will take hundreds of millions of years to replenish them. Most of the world has now been digitally “X-rayed” using satellites, seismic data, and computers, in the process of locating 41,000 oil fields. This is called the Random Walk Problem. I have read many of Richard Heinberg’s books, which are inspirational and informative. This coal was the surfacemost of these ancient mats of vegetation—this 300-million-year-old stored sunlight—and by burning it humans were, for the first time, able to use sunlight energy which had been stored in the distant past.Prior to the widespread use of coal, our ancestors had to maintain a certain acreage of forest land because they needed the wood for heat to survive the cold winters in the northern climates. World production is expected to peak in the year 2000, when we have consumed over half the world’s oil supply.Sometime around this date, they suggest, world-destabilizing price explosions in oil-based products will begin to occur. In those places where the land masses that were once parts of Pangaea collided with other parts of the former single continent, millions of acres of earth were covered by mountains or other land. Carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas,” which holds the heat of the Sun against the Earth like the glass of a greenhouse, rather than letting it escape back out into space. Mountains were created as continents drifted into each other, and some of the plant matter, now millions of years old and hundreds of feet below the surface of the ground, traveled even deeper into the earth, where it was subjected to great pressures. Since the discovery of oil in Titusville, PA, where the world’s first oil well was drilled in 1859, humans have extracted 742 billion barrels of oil from the Earth. The story ends with Gilgamesh decapitating the forest god, Humbaba, and infuriating the god of gods, Enlil. The interior of the sun consists of three major zones, each with its own unique properties. But we digress…). Sunlight is the source of almost all life on Earth. Sunlight warms the Earth with life. There is now more human flesh on the planet than there is of any other single species. The discovery of abundant supplies of oil kicked open the door to a truly massive store of ancient sunlight. The real boom began, however, in 1859, when oil was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in the United States. What does Ancient Sunlight mean? But we can choose how gracefully we make the transition. Because of the destruction of the forests, wood became a precious commodity equal in value to some gem and mineral ores. During the Carboniferous Period, which lasted 70 million years and extended from 330 to 410 million years ago, there was so much carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere that the temperature of the planet registered much higher than it does today.The Earth is about 25% land and about 75% oceans, and at that time the entire planet’s land mass consisted of one huge continent which geologists refer to as Pangaea.Pangaea existed long before the arrival of birds and mammals, before the dinosaurs even, and the only life-forms on the planet were plants, fish, insects, and small reptiles. Their answer of 10-62 grams seemed incredibly insignificant. (On the other hand, there are solutions, as we’ll detail later in the book: but they have more to do with our culture than our technology. Would you go yourself? This coal was the surfacemost of these ancient mats of vegetation—this 300-million-year-old stored sunlight—and by burning it humans were, for the first time, able to use sunlight energy which had been stored in the distant past.Prior to the widespread use of coal, our ancestors had to maintain a certain acreage of forest land because they needed the wood for heat to survive the cold …