Dienstag, 6. November 2007

Nach dem Grossen Krieg begann der Run auf das Erdöl

Am Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges erkannten die europäischen Alliierten die Wichtigkeit des Rohstoffs Erdöl (bis dahin hauptäschlich aus den USA stammend) – und teilten den ölreichen Nahen Osten unter sich auf:

[Osama bin Laden’s] grievance in no way justifies the bombing. But we ought not close our ears to its essence, which is that the West has placed its business interests over popular sovereignty in the Middle East for 80 years.

Quelle: The 80-Year Problem

At the end of World War I, demand for fuel advanced quickly while the quality of fuel declined as lower quality reserves were brought into the market. Geologists estimated that only 20 or 30 years worth of oil were left in the U.S. and a “gasoline famine” was possible or even likely. (White, 1919; Smith, 1920). The USGS estimated US oil reserves at seven billion barrels while consumption was at 330 million barrels per year and rapidly increasing. (Scientific American Sept. 20 1919). Automotive engineers worried about “a calamity, seriously disorganizing an indispensable system of transportation.” (Scientific American March 8 1919). One solution was to import foreign oil. Some would even suggest fighting for it. (Denny, 1928).

Quelle: The 1920s
Environmental Conflict Over Leaded Gasoline and Alternative Fuels

A propos – um 1920 herum trat das erste Mal die Angst vor Peak Oil hervor:

“Geologists tell us that at our present rate of consumption the domestic supply of crude oil will be exhausted in less than 15 years. If we could sufficiently raise the compression of our motors … we could double the mileage and thereby lengthen this period to 30 years.” –– Charles F. Kettering

Der Artikel über die Forschung nach einem klopfarmen Benzin in den wilden 20ern zeigt (wieder einmal) das Gesetz der „unintended consequences“ auf, das die Menschheit immer häufiger zu plagen scheint:

How does a corporation arrive at a public health disaster while ignoring the existence of a perfectly useful alternative? Would a heroic style of invention have avoided the pitfalls that a corporate style could not?

Leaded gasoline created enormous profits for a few people at the expense of the health of the many. The history of the Ethyl conflict shows what can happen when the precautionary principle is ignored and when the absence of negative information about a chemical is mistaken as a „clean bill of health,“ as Ethyl claimed it had received.

Jede Lösung eines Problems führt zwangsläufig zu anderen, zum jeweiligen Zeitpunkt unvorhergesehenen Problemen.

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