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Yet fossil fuels will have permitted the transition from primitive sources of energy to much more powerful ones and their importance for man's evolution is therefore undeniable. NUCLEAR ENERGY The need for new energy sources has been one of the factors which stimulated nuclear research and the development of the reactor. Nuclear energy is entirely different from conventional 46 Can We Avoid a Third World War Around 2010? sources of energy, which all derive either directly or indirectly from the sun.
Since then, they have both doubled their food production but whereas the European population has only increased by 20 per cent, the Chinese population has almost doubled so that China, instead of being presently in a comfortable situation, still has to fight to keep food production ahead of population growth. It is little wonder that agriculture remains China's first preoccupation. 85, which was slightly higher than the population growth so that the average per capita food production rose about I3 per cent.
2 and 3·3 deviate from the straight line, indicating that production no longer increased more and more rapidly. In fact from then onwards production increased at a constant annual fractional rate: this is characteristic of an exponential function. Each of the two periods thus begins with a phase of hyperbolic growth, followed by a phase of exponential growth. 36 Can We Avoid a Third World War Around 2010? > O'l .... 0 c 0 E 0 0 0 0 ..... 1900 1850 FIG. 2 t 1929 Inverse of world total energy production, 1850-1930 ~ ....