Shelter from the storms

Where in Europe would you want to live, if there were no oil and no Gulf Stream? Of the three really huge catastrophes impending in the next century, it seems improbable that we can avoid more than one or two. The oil will run out, and energy will become very much more expensive, with huge consequences for trade and agriculture. The world will warm and may well warm so much that the Gulf Stream stops. The population of Europe and Northern Russia will fall, unless replaced by immigration, which will be resisted. (It’s possible of curse that this effect will arise from the other two, as well as from the demographic trends we now have).

So where would you want your children to live, in a Europe that has neither oil nor gulf stream? Choose now, while we still have the political structures in place to make movement easy. Certainly not England, cold, miserable, overcrowded.

My first instinct would be for Sweden. It’s reasonably well-governed, harmonious, and has plenty of room for farming. But if the gulf stream goes the effect on the climate might be horrible. It certainly will be in Norway. I need to think about that. Second choice, France. Lots of room in the countryside, defensible borders, nuclear power, efficient, not very corruptible government.

But what does the team think?

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6 Responses to Shelter from the storms

  1. I think the Italian City States will return, so I’m sticking to Florence. We’re surrounded and intersected by farmland, there’s enough sunshine for solar power, and a river runs through it that’s now so clean there are nesting kingfishers in the centre of town. And last night I had a gin and tonic with a lemon slice from a lemon plucked directly from the tree next to my chair. That trumps the lot.

  2. David W says:


    How does your statement that you wouldn’t choose to live in England – cold, miserable, overcrowded – square with your claim on April 15th that your view of foreigners puts you to the left of the Liberal Democrats?

    Just wondered!

    David W

  3. acb says:

    I don’t think England is overcrowded with foreigners. I think it has too many car-dependent suburbs and too little of either farmland or wilderness. “Cold” follows from the end of the Gulf Stream, and miserable is self-evident to anyone watching this election campaign.

  4. acb says:

    Ben — if the city state is a defensible political unit, then you’re probably right. But where is the Florentine air force? Remember, in a world where oil is rare, the last organisations to run out are goig to be the armies.

  5. Hewitt says:

    It’s Iceland you want. Even if the climate does go askew, they’ve got unlimited geothermal energy which should keep your house and its contents fairly warm. Nice line in seafood, too. Scotch at forty quid a bottle is a bummer, of course. Likewise beer at eight quid a pint, but you can’t have everything.


  6. wg says:

    England. Warmer climate = not so cold. *LOTS* of WATER — which will be *the* key resource. Relatively cooperative people. Lots of edibles grow well here; very few poisonous plants or animals. Very defensible borders, being surrounded by ocean. People good at making do. Placement of shops in people’s houses entirely doable, making suburbs less car-dominated.

    If you must move, Crete is good. Hot. Dry. But the people there have been subsistence farming for thousands of years. Unlikely they’ll forget how.


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