♦   15   ♦Almost-Free Energy and Food

Ever since the oil crisis of October 1973, when the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an embargo and caused the price of oil to increase from $3 to $12 per barrel, the world has been in a constant state of fear of impending shortages of energy and consequent price hikes. We have begun to believe that the planet will soon run out of oil and will therefore be out of energy. Governments have been jockeying to secure oil shipments. In order to preserve the Earth’s dwindling energy supplies, the United States mandated increases in the fuel efficiency of cars.

Certainly the Earth’s stock of burnable fossil fuels is limited. But we have come to apply the same scarcity thinking ...

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