A friend forwarded me the Guardian article in which George Monbiot cites Jeffrey Dukes calculation that the economies [how poorly named!] of the civilized world [how very poorly named, what ironists we are!] consume in a year what an uncontaminated, unpaved global biota could only replenish in 400 years. The man could be off by two orders of magnitude and still have said the most damning thing about the pathetic way we turn to every substitute for the fuel we are runnng out of rather than turn down the thermostat. I had missed that one. Its good to have mathematical demonstration that current satisfaction of our wants isn't really possible. Without several breakthroughs in biofuel technology, most biodiesel schemes are barely at carbon-budget break even points.
There has been a thread in some of the blogs I read, maybe for a month or two now, that plowing under the rainforests, as is now underway in Brazil and Borneo, e.g., to make plantations that produce biodiesel [from palm oil] is not even going to be the short term success for which the sponsoring governments and corporations tout it. It is going to be a long term disaster for species diversity and environmental degradation.
What I lacked in appreciating the folly of these plantations was the numeric brick wall against which these plans are hurling themselves. The attempt at current satisfaction of our wants will strip us of the means to meet our barest future needs.
Once in a great while and with sober, dire deliberation, a group of us will fall on its own swords. But now all of trading humanity, being too addicted to comfort to stand and too seduced by speed to slow down, is about to absent mindedly sit on a sword.