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## first sustainable nation

 Quote by edpell Which country of the world will be the first to reach sustainability? By this I mean is able to provide its energy from local sources for at least the next 500 years and is able to provide its food from local sources for at least the next 500 years and can provide its industrial inputs from local sources for at least the next 500 years. The use of outer space resources is allowed in this definition but seems more long term.
the US could do it now, but it's more profitable to import

 Quote by Proton Soup the US could do it now, but it's more profitable to import
The US could be energy independent now?

 Quote by edpell The US could be energy independent now?
The Soylent Corporation has taken care of the food and fuel shortages.

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 Quote by MotoH The Soylent Corporation has taken care of the food and fuel shortages.
At 1000 Calories per pound, that's just 3 months per person.

 Quote by edpell Which country of the world will be the first to reach sustainability? By this I mean is able to provide its energy from local sources for at least the next 500 years and is able to provide its food from local sources for at least the next 500 years and can provide its industrial inputs from local sources for at least the next 500 years. The use of outer space resources is allowed in this definition but seems more long term.
Many nations, including the U.S., are "able" to do this now, but don't due to government regulation. The U.S. has, for practical purposes, an unlimited supply of Uranium for power production, and can easily grow enough food using only a small fraction of its land resources.

Both are currently limited by government, not nature.

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 Quote by edpell The US could be energy independent now?
we have a huge amount of coal, in addition to the uranium mentioned. we would likely have to retool our transportation system and get by with less, but we could certainly survive on our own.

 But I was most impressed that a nation with over 1/6 of the worlds population can sustain itself in an area 1/3 the size of the US. That's the equivalent of 76,000,000 people living in the state of Kansas. And India is able to keep most of them alive.
If you're impressed by India, you should be impressed by the United States. The U.S. grows enough corn to feed one billion people (with a "b"), on less than 5% of its area. Strangely enough, Americans don't even like corn all that much, so most of it is used as cattle feed or converted into bio-ethanol, and about a quarter is exported.

Of course, the reason is that the U.S. is an advanced country with tractors and agronomists, and Indians haven't completely gotten out of the Iron Age.

 Many nations, including the U.S., are "able" to do this now, but don't due to government regulation. The U.S. has, for practical purposes, an unlimited supply of Uranium for power production, and can easily grow enough food using only a small fraction of its land resources. Both are currently limited by government, not nature.
They are limited by neither government nor nature, but by free market forces. There's no real need for new nuclear power plants or new farms, because existing plants and farms produce enough cheap energy and food, and there are many third-world countries with vast reserves of cheap fossil fuels they have no need for. Government could _force_ the country to be "sustainable", but right now the market does not see the need to be such.

 Quote by edpell Trade and specialization are fine. Let's amend the question to which nation or group of nations will be the first to be sustainable?
There's no reason to be sustainable if you can be unsustainable.

It's always going to be cheaper to have an economy that mixes solar and coal energy, than to be 100% solar, as long as there's still coal laying around.

The only way any country or a group of countries can become truly sustainable is through extensive government intervention with an explicit objective to "cut emissions" and "save non-renewable resources".

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 Quote by hamster143 There's no reason to be sustainable if you can be unsustainable. It's always going to be cheaper to have an economy that mixes solar and coal energy, than to be 100% solar, as long as there's still coal laying around.
I would say something like ...
There's no reason to be sustainable if you cannot justify the sustainable growth.

 The only way any country or a group of countries can become truly sustainable is through extensive government intervention with an explicit objective to "cut emissions" and "save non-renewable resources".
I hope green people don't read this

 Quote by hamster143 There's no reason to be sustainable if you can be unsustainable. It's always going to be cheaper to have an economy that mixes solar and coal energy, than to be 100% solar, as long as there's still coal laying around.
I agree people will take the path of least resistance. Doing work now because it will be easier than doing the work later will not motivate. We will just have to wait until the coal, oil are gone and then build a new system (without having the advantage of cheap energy to do so). Oh well.

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 Quote by Proton Soup the US could do it now, but it's more profitable to import
Canada has a better chance, lots of oil, gas, water, uranium, coal.
Pretty much all metals you want, lots of forests and more wheat than you can fly over.
It's also (unlike the US) self sufficient in TV comedians.

Main problem is coffee It has all the ingredients for donuts but needs to import double-doubles.

 Quote by edpell I agree people will take the path of least resistance. Doing work now because it will be easier than doing the work later will not motivate. We will just have to wait until the coal, oil are gone and then build a new system (without having the advantage of cheap energy to do so). Oh well.
Coal and oil are not going to disappear overnight. Should we forego such an abundant and cheap source of energy, and force "sustainability" onto ourselves, by switching to expensive energy sources (solar and wind), and by switching from convenient gasoline vehicles ($10,000, 300 mile range, 5 minute recharge) to inconvenient and expensive electric vehicles ($30,000, 60-80 mile range, 1+ hour recharge), simply because we're afraid that we might eventually run out of oil? (Or to save polar bears?)

Is there reason to think that our government is better able to predict future supply of coal and oil than the market?

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 Quote by hamster143 Coal and oil are not going to disappear overnight. Should we forego such an abundant and cheap source of energy, and force "sustainability" onto ourselves, by switching to expensive energy sources (solar and wind), and by switching from convenient gasoline vehicles ($10,000, 300 mile range, 5 minute recharge) to inconvenient and expensive electric vehicles ($30,000, 60-80 mile range, 1+ hour recharge), simply because we're afraid that we might eventually run out of oil? (Or to save polar bears?) Is there reason to think that our government is better able to predict future supply of coal and oil than the market?
also, i'm not sure our current research projects in fusion energy generation would be "sustainable" in a horse/buggy/windmill economy. we simply have to keep moving forward, and will either succeed, or possibly crash and burn in a few hundred years (we've still got that fission, too, which i'm not really sure how much longer we'd get on top of fossil fuels).

 Quote by mgb_phys Canada has a better chance, lots of oil, gas, water, uranium, coal. Pretty much all metals you want, lots of forests and more wheat than you can fly over. It's also (unlike the US) self sufficient in TV comedians. Main problem is coffee It has all the ingredients for donuts but needs to import double-doubles.
Take away my double-double and you'll be hearing from me mister.

 Quote by hamster143 Is there reason to think that our government is better able to predict future supply of coal and oil than the market?
I imagine the 5% of the market folks who are smart and plan long term will buy the resources that will be of high value in the future and so will make money for themselves. I have no expectation that they will invest for the common good. That is the different between markets and community action. Markets of individuals will do what is best for the individual investor. Community have the option to do what is good for the whole community and the long term.

 Quote by hamster143 There's no reason to be sustainable if you can be unsustainable. It's always going to be cheaper to have an economy that mixes solar and coal energy, than to be 100% solar, as long as there's still coal laying around. The only way any country or a group of countries can become truly sustainable is through extensive government intervention with an explicit objective to "cut emissions" and "save non-renewable resources".
I disagree. When the Government talks about solar and wind instead of coal - the result is higher energy costs. Give us (we the people) major tax incentives (expensed at time of purchase and deduct interest expense as paid) to invest in solar and wind for our homes - and let us PROFIT (tax free) from selling the power back to the grid...then you'll see excitement and commitment to Green Investment.

The last thing I want to hear is that my utility company will have to purchase pollution credits and charge me a higher rate - it's ludicrous!

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