Wednesday, June 08, 2005

getting down to brass tacks

Peak Oil: Not Sustainable But Insatiable Part 3
Mathew Simmons
It's interesting the steps we can take that really aren't exactly as draconian as they sound on the surface. You got to fix the transportation market. 70% of every barrel of oil used in the world today is used to transportation. But there are some really interesting fixes. If you put all of the goods we now move by long haul trucks and get them off the highways and put them on the rails that has an energy efficiency of between five and ten fold, as opposed to five or ten percent. And that is not an impossible mission from a five to seven year time if we had to do it. There is a huge side benefit to that. By eliminating the trucks on the road we actually make a bug dent on traffic congestion. Traffic congestion is public enemy numbers 1 through 8 on passenger car fuel efficiency. And so we can have all of these Priuses and hybrids, don't get me wrong they are great. I drive a fabulous new Diesel Mercedes and I get, on the open road, as long as there is no traffic, I can get almost 50 miles to the gallon. But when I am in stop-and-go traffic I get between 5-11 miles to the gallon. You have to address traffic congestion and you have to address some of these areas where there are magnitudes of savings and then we have to learn to do things like distributed work. The miracle of the internet and working online. It took three months to get my firm online. Rather than have people drive for two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening we will actually adjust to people working in their neighborhood for their company.

And we need to learn how to make things closer to home.

Then there is agriculture. Food models. Apples sold in the summer in the UK 85-90% of them comes from New Zealand. That's a 22,000 mile journey for an apple! If we went back to growing our food closer to home which is easily done, we could help our economy, get better apples because they are local, and we save enormous amounts on money on energy/transport costs. We can make those changes in a 5-10 year period of time without going into an energy war.

3 Comments:

At 10:23 AM, June 08, 2005, Blogger mh497 said...

This clearly isn't dark enough. Darth Kunstler will never approve. Maybe he'll even call Simmons "clueless", for as we all know, there are no solutions worth even attempting.

We're doomed, doomed I say!! It's the scrap heap for sure!

PS. Aimed at Kunstler, not your blog.

 
At 8:14 PM, June 08, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

You can criticize my blog; I'm thick skinned and if I have toilet paper stuck to my shoe I'd like to know. I won't delist you, I really only do that for long term inactivity.

I doubt Darth Kunstler will go after Simmons, he references him extensively in his latest tome.

In fact, I think Simmons is very much in line with Kunstler here - perhaps diverging in emphasis. We will drive less, and more food will be produced locally.

Kunstler just carries it a step further - this will shrink the suburbs and the exurbs, and on a timescale of 20 years, places like pheonix and las vegas are in trouble.

Or, to quote a bit of Kunstlerian poetic-armagedda, "Las Vegas and the American Southwest will dry up and blow away."

Maybe Kunstler is right. Sometimes I wish the optimists would hold their own ideas to the same skeptical standard they hold negative scenarios.

 
At 9:05 PM, June 08, 2005, Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

I like to think I'm in the middle, but that seems to be a good place to get run over*...at least until oil is too expensive to waste on driving. ;-)

* Jim Hightower joke, IIRC.

 

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