Can We Avoid a Third World War Around 2010?: The Political, by Peter Peeters

By Peter Peeters

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With an insolation which is too low and a growing season which is too short, or deserts and soils with high salinity remain as little suited for agriculture as the humid tropics, where no seed crops will ripen because of daily rainfall and where the soils are impoverished because of intense leaching. The potentially arable land is therefore limited to about 20 per cent of the non-permanently frozen land area, or 2445 million hectares. Not all of this area will however be available for growing food since roughly 5 per cent of the world's tilled land will continue to be used for growing fibres and non-food products, and another I o per cent will be lost to spreading towns, roads and industry.

The situation is much the same as it was for oil in the 1930s and the 1940s. If today the USA is the leading uranium producer, it is because it has been the first to exploit its nuclear riches. Extensive exploration in other parts of the world may therefore easily increase the high-grade ore reserves by a factor of five. 01 per cent). This would multiply the uranium reserves by another factor of five to ten. The world's ultimately extractable amount of natural uranium could thus eventually reach 50 to 100 million tons, which would be equivalent to some 125 to 250 U of energy.

Due to the slow devaluation of the dollar during this period, there 38 Can We Avoid a Third World War Around 2010? was in fact no real increase at all. But the oil-producing and exporting countries finally realised that their position was one of power. They unilaterally decided to raise prices and during the year 1974 the price of crude oil quadrupled. As a result of the decision of some Near Eastern and North African countries to decrease their production temporarily, and of the economic stagnation which followed the crisis, energy and more especially oil production rapidly slowed down.

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