Letter from W. Youngquist to Gov. Davis

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Letter from W. Youngquist to Gov. Davis

[Walter Youngquist is the author of GeoDestinies.]

Walter Youngquist Consulting Geologist Eugene, OR 6 January, 2001

Governor Gray Davis State Capitol Sacramento, CA 95801

Dear Governor Davis:

Relating to the California electricity supply problem, as a consultant to a public electric utility for 19 years on energy supplies, and as a petroleum geologist for some 40 years I would like to offer some comments, which I hope may give you some additional perspectives on the present situation in California. And what the future may hold, with regard to energy supplies.

Natural gas is the most critical in the sense that it cannot be imported in any quantity - it is a continent-by-continent situation. The U.S. does not have enough gas for its own needs. Our only other supplier is Canada. I addressed the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists in Calgary last June and we got into the natural gas matter. They now send us 60% of their production and are not sure they have much more to send. They are drilling more and finding LESS PER FOOT DRILLED - this is the clear mark of a mature and declining petroleum province.

In our own Gulf of Mexico, where the remaining big gas reserves lie, the annual depletion rate is running as much as 27% - in a few cases as much as 50%!

California has electricity supply problems. Most of your power for electricity generation now comes from gas, and you are building more gas turbines. But where are you going to get the gas? We in the U.S. are not self-sufficient, and Canada's ability to supply increasing amounts of gas appears to be very limited.

Energy is the very lifeblood of our economy, and natural gas and oil in total are our chief energy sources. The U.S. is not now self-sufficient in either, nor will it ever be again. I enclose some pertinent articles, by myself and others, on these matters, which I hope will provide a perspective on the energy problems.

And I want to add one more very important fact. In the U.S., all we are now doing on energy is playing "catch-up." The problem is POPULATION GROWTH! Here in the Northwest we have installed all the turbines, for which there is water to turn them, in the Columbia River system. We now have no surplus power, but the population keeps growing. Now what? There are two parts to this problem - supply and demand. Supply is finite. Demand curtailment is the only option. Demand = population. Conservation is simply a band-aid.It is not a solution.

The U.S. Census reports that in the past decade we have grown 13% to 281.4 million people - and we add three million a year. We are now the third most populous nation in the world, right behind China and India. And we no longer have the resources to support our energy demands, much less take care of three million more each year!

California is expected to add 20 million more people by the year 2050. If this occurs, there is no way you can adequately supply the energy needs of such a population. Alternative energy sources simply will NOT do it! I am familiar with your wind, solar, and geothermal projects. I have seen and studied them all, and I have studied and written extensively on the topic of alternative energy sources (see enclosed papers).

With diminishing fossil fuel resources (and no comprehensive substitute in sight), even with only the present California population, in year 2050 you will not be able to adequately provide energy. With a smaller stable population, alternative energy sources might provide a modest standard of living. With a growing population (in the past decade California added more people than did any other state - 4.1 million), you are now faced with a chronic energy supply situation, which will only gradually get worse.

There is no possible way that we can ever solve the energy problem as long as we are shooting at a moving target - population growth. If this very basic matter is not addressed, all efforts to solve our energy problems are ultimately futile. I have addressed this problem to some degree in my paper, which I enclose for you: The Post-Petroleum Paradigm - and Population. Over the years I have made more than 500 speeches, and written several books and articles on the matter of the relationship between resources and population, but there has been little heed to what I, and a few others, have said. Now this is becoming critical.

I sincerely hope as we begin to have our backs increasingly against the energy wall, that you and others in visible public positions will begin to address this matter in ALL its aspects, and the underlying problem to it all is population growth. That MUST be addressed, otherwise all other efforts are ultimately futile. I am greatly dismayed that with all the rhetoric and wringing of hands concerning this matter, no highly visible influential person in authority clearly cites this fundamental problem of population. People use energy - more people - more energy use. You will always be playing "catch-up" and never catch up if you have to shoot at a continually moving target - population growth. If this is ignored, then it becomes the fabled ostrich posture of head-in-the-sand. So far that seems to be the case, and is no solution. For this posture I quote Aldous Huxley: "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

Sincerely yours,

Walter Youngquist


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), January 30, 2001


Walter Youngquist gets it! We have limited resources.

-- K (infosurf@yahoo.com), January 30, 2001.

I would consider your hypothesis true, if we were alone in the cosmos, but because of the order I see around me, and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, I have to conclude something or someone arranged it.

-- Phil Maley (maley@cnw.com), January 31, 2001.

What about reviewing our immigration policies? We used to have rules that put limits on immigration from various countries but during the Clinton years, those rules were overlooked or repealed. They pour in by the millions and many then go directly to our welfare system.

-- Pat Rodgers (psrodgers@msn.com), January 31, 2001.

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