The concept of magic fascinates me. With magic we can apparently ignore the standard laws derived from scientific curiosity like gravity, magnetism and the necessities of life. Even while cinema continually perverts the hard won truths of researchers, I don’t believe in magic. Nor I suspect do many others.

Yet sometimes I wonder at what people believe. A recent interview of the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway, Hunter Harrison who incidentally was compensated more than $19.9M for 2015, had him stating that fossil fuels are dead. “We’ll have to shift to alternative energy” he continued. So I guess that he will wave his magic wand and all railways will no longer use fossil fuels. Maybe he’s already built a solar powered train engine? Maybe he can also maintain rail lines and construct new rail lines without using the existing oil-driven transportation network? According to BP’s Statistical Review over 86% of human’s primary energy comes from oil, natural gas and coal. Can Harrison’s magic wand shift this 86% to 0% in enough time to keep the railways operating? What do you believe?

Again, according to BP’s Statistical Review people are consuming over 5.4e20 Joules of primary energy each year. That’s ten times the energy of the meteor that made the crater in Arizona. Our civilization began with the controlled burning of wood as our source of energy. Our current technical society needs so much more to power its trains, planes and automobiles. What will remain of our technology if we shift from alternative fuels? What will remain of our technology if we run out of fossil fuels first? Is there a magical solution to solve this?