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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: We may not have long to wait for carfree cities

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  • John O. Andersen
    Good stuff. Thanks for the link. John O. Andersen Unconventional Ideas: Counter-Mainstream Thoughts on Living Meaningfully in the 21st Century
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 10, 2003
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      Good stuff. Thanks for the link.

      John O. Andersen
      Unconventional Ideas:
      Counter-Mainstream Thoughts on Living Meaningfully in the 21st Century
      http://www.unconventionalideas.com

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: charles
      To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 10:03 PM
      Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: We may not have long to wait for carfree cities


      To All,

      I read several groups that talk only about OIL supply and OIL
      production peak. We won't be able to produce the oil We are today
      in 2020, REad www.dieoff.org or the ASPO website and thier
      newsletters. Look up Colin Campbell. Do a search on "Global Oil
      Production Peak" There are tonnes of papers on the topic and
      several groups.
      Oil supplies are running out, we will be able to get oil till about
      2100, but not nearly in the amounts we are using today.
      Hey look today the world burned to a crisp or made into things

      78,000,000 barrels of Oil at 42 gallons each.

      In a year we consume a little over a cubic mile of oil.

      next year we will consume 2% more. We won't be able to consume that
      much in 20 years because we won't be able to get it out of the ground
      in a year's time.

      So you better think car free as fast as possible.

      I know this is not a doom and gloom group, but i would be ready to
      give up your car forever, unless it runs off of solar power.


      And anyone thinking of getting a Hydrogen car better know where
      they are getting it, it is a battery, not a power source, it stores
      chemical energy. if you get if from water as the hacks say, then you
      use x energy to get it out of water, then only get 1/2 x energy out
      of the stored energy in it. an Energy SINK. Bummer better learn to
      walk.

      Charles
      Huntsville Al.



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    • Mike Harrington
      It really looks like we re at the end of an age, and most of the twenty-first century will be drastically different than the beginning of it. Suburban
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 10, 2003
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        It really looks like we're at the end of an age, and most of the
        twenty-first century will be drastically different than the beginning of it.
        Suburban development and freeway construction, phenomena that are less than
        sixty years old, are still continuing in North America. Most of the
        intelligentsia are in denial, basing their actions on the belief that the
        lifestyle of the second half of the twentieth century will continue forever.
        The automobile lifestyle requires cheap energy, and that condition will come
        to an end sooner or later. No one knows for sure exactly when global oil
        production will peak. Like Colin Campbell says, we use estimates for future
        oil production because we don't know what the right numbers are. It may be
        2010 or has late as 2020, but it will come much sooner than economists
        believe.

        Part of the problem is that the wrong question is being asked. Instead of
        demanding when all the oil will be pumped dry, and there will still be some
        oil production one hundred years from now, the real question is when will
        oil production go into a permanent decline following peak well production?
        Once that happens, the energy markets will become sellers' markets, and the
        volatility in energy prices seen in the past thirty years will pale in
        comparison to the stratospheric cost of energy at the point where global
        energy supply becomes less than world demand. Energy markets will take no
        account of oil depletion until right around the time peak production passes,
        at which point all investment that is predicated on cheap energy becomes
        nominally worthless. The airlines will disappear and motor vehicle
        production will be a small fraction of today's. Food will become extremely
        expensive and famine everywhere cannot be ruled out. If you think your
        monetary and real estate investments will see you through your golden age,
        that they will be worth anything, forget it. A depression will follow that
        will be worse than that of the 1930's.

        The whole US economic system based on the automobile and sprawl, concocted
        after the second world war, needs increasing energy availability to sustain
        itself. There is no substitute for cheap oil. The late twentieth century
        way of life will collapse, probably within the next ten years. Maybe
        sooner. When you here Bush's bluster and bravado, remember that pride
        cometh before a fall. God will punish mankind for wasting energy.

        Here's the ASPO newsletters:

        http://www.energiekrise.de/e/news/aspo.html

        An interesting recent exchange from
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globaloilwatch/ :

        >From lonewolf1366 <lonewolf1366@...>: Sunday, April 06, 2003 10:50
        AM

        Charles,

        Even if you were to succeed in convincing people that oil is running
        out, I personally don't think it would do any good. Why? Hydrogen
        and the fuel cell will "save us".

        There is a major mass media campaign on to sell the public on this
        idea. There are people who are doing nothing else but going around
        to group after group touting the wonders of hydrogen and showing
        pictures of fuel cells in cars that can also be used as a mobile
        power supply. We just had one come to the NASA Langley Research
        Center the other day. Nice, sharp, cleancut type from some DC
        organization with all the right answers and fancy slides. Heck, you
        can even connect it to your home and run IT from your car. And, oh
        by the way, since all the guts of the car are now going to be
        contained in the base of the vehicle, with a motor at each wheel,
        you'll be able to get different "tops" for the car, depending on your
        mood!!

        When this guy was asked about still needing fossil fuel, his response
        was that they were perfecting the hydrogen part of the technology
        first, then would work on the backend to replace fossil fuel. I
        personally thought it was sort of trying to build the house first,
        then going back and building the foundation underneath it, but who am
        I to say. I guess they're gambling they have enough oil left to
        accomplish this.

        So, the public won't get a chance to worry and panic...until its too
        late, I guess, when they realize there's no free lunch and you still
        need to have energy to "make" energy.

        As far as people are concerned, if we can't control our numbers
        ourselves, then MOther Nature will do it for us and it won't be
        pretty. Efficient, but not pretty. Maybe she's already started to
        do that with AIDS and SARS, who knows. The Public Health officials
        have known for years that we are losing the battle against all kinds
        of diseases since the "bugs" can mutate faster than we can keep up,
        with our antibiotics and other medicines.

        So, what should we do? First of all, we need to let go and stop
        trying to do what we've never learned we can't do...and that is to
        control things. We've never been in control and never will be. And
        the more we try, the bigger the mess there is to clean up. So, let
        it go! You'll feel better.

        Secondly, I feel our task is not to fight what is, but maybe
        counteract it by starting to think about what should come after, and
        start teaching our children healthier ways to live than what we have
        now which is a society that is addicted to materialism and is willing
        to saw off the very limb it sits on. In other words, we need to be
        proactive and think in positive terms, rather than being reactive and
        standing in front of an avalanche that's already picking up
        considerable speed and tons of snow.

        If we can raise children who are connected to life and who have
        nothing but respect for life and the very planet that gives us life,
        they may not need or want all the material things our consumer
        society pushes at them and tells them they need to have to be happy.
        If we start teaching our kids that happiness doesn't come from out
        there or from Nintendo, but from within, then they won't "buy" into
        all the advertising that is aimed directly at them. In this way,
        they will have a better chance at surviving and thriving any major
        upheaval that may be coming at us. If we teach them how to live
        simpler, more responsible, and less cluttered lives, free of
        addictions to material things...I think that's one of the greatest
        gifts we can give them at this point in time.

        And...a few basic survival skills probably wouldn't hurt either! ;)

        Lise




        --- In globaloilwatch@yahoogroups.com, "charles" <ceojr@b...> wrote:
        > I got hooked on this whole topic, when i did a simple search on the
        > net, for Oil Supplies. Gas prices were high, and I knew from
        reading
        > so long ago that oil being a fossil fuel is limited.
        >
        > Now after about a month of intensive reading, asking questions and
        > doing a lot of thinking, I have come to a few comments.
        >
        > Society won't change over night and never has in the past.
        >
        > There are to many people to have a balanced world, yet how do you
        > go about paring them down to only the 300 to 500 million that the
        > world can hold without and big Oil paowered world?
        >
        > Death. Though not a pretty thought, war will be an outcome of
        this
        > selfmade tragedy. Currently we have several Wars going on, Iraq,
        > being the major one, amoung several smaller regional and country
        wide
        > civil death machines. AIDS, about 40 to 60 million dead in 10
        years.
        > And now we have the possible future of not enough food to go
        around.
        >
        > Several predictions of the late 70's of global populations of 10
        > billion, won't happen, we won't have the ability to produce enough
        > food for them all to even be born.
        >
        > Politicians from every nation have their heads somewhere else, and
        > won't be any help, The public has a two week attention span so
        they
        > don't care enough, Those of us who have been doing the right thing
        > might not have the chance to get our points across to everyone
        before
        > it is to late.
        >
        > Life will go on, Not as we have known it, but as it has been in
        the
        > world's past. I can get from the New England coast, to the far
        > side of New Zealand, all without using on bit of Oil energy, For
        > that matter I could live on 5 acres with a family of 4 without
        OIL
        > energy.
        >
        > The problem is not trying to get everyone to listen, but what to
        do
        > with all the dead, 5.5 billion have to go in the next 50 years
        give
        > ot take. Climate change? War? Famine? Viruses? No Births? No
        saving
        > medicines? What I don't know, but it is going to happen.
        > Or a miracle has to happen, That I can't control, or any of the
        > others fooor that matter.
        >
        > my 2 cents.
        > Charles
      • dubluth
        ... Military aggression and the prelude to that aggression in the land of relatively accessible energy resources has justifiably captured a fair amount of our
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 10, 2003
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          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...> wrote:
          > It really looks like we're at the end of an age, and most of the
          > twenty-first century will be drastically different than the


          Military aggression and the prelude to that aggression in the land of relatively accessible energy resources has justifiably captured a fair amount of our attention over the past weeks. Now it seems that "oil consciousness" is alive on this list. With that I suggest a question that has been asked before.

          The hypothetical situation for the following question is one some won't care to consider, but for the rest: Suppose that energy prices continue along their long run decline in sharp contradiction to predictions of diminishing supply. Will car-free cities be any less attractive? Will they even be less attractive than car-full cities?

          In the past, Joel Crawford and others have said that car-free cities have merit independant oil scarcity. As I understand it, the principle reasons have nothing to do with concerns about the internal functioning of markets for commodities, such as oil. Some specific reasons include external costs like noise, air pollution, and visual blight created by automobiles. In general, a car-free city is a human settlement where social value would grow without being excessively drained by the demands and impositions of the transportation system. If expectations about the desirability of car-free cities hold up to examination, the price of oil isn't _as_ relevant as someone concerned with oil will tend to believe.

          If car-free development is still desirable in the way described, yet only occurs because of the specter of decreasing oil supplies, institutions (including this list) have little to show regarding their ability to address human needs. (I also wouldn't count on car-free cities being a necessary result of motor fuel becoming too expensive for most Americans. If people aren't capable of organizing to rid themselves of the wheeled bane of cities, can they organize a city (in a relatively equitable structure like that envisioned by Joel Crawford) once most realize they can no longer afford to keep pump gas into their automobile? With plenty of conventional urban problems in need of attention, that question is too speculative for me to engage.)

          Suppose we conclude that energy supplies are going to decrease, with resulting increases in price. Will we be showing more wisdom than energy producers? I won't say that that is impossible, but energy company economists and engineers have access to the info found on the die-off web site. If they believe the information, they will put it to use if that means greater profits. Suppose an oil company anticipates a decrease in world energy supplies as predicted. Would oil companies choose to pump and sell all the oil they can pump that will return at least as much in sales on the current market as the cost of pumping? Except for OPEC, doing exactly this is standard practice. (OPEC countries agree on, but don't necessarily comply with, production quotas in an attempt to influence the world price of oil). The competitive tendency is to send any pumped oil to the market, rather than save it. That indicates that oil isn't used as a store of value. Unless energy company owners don't value their own future consumption, they would save oil for sale in the future if the time discounted return on those sales is greater than the current yield from a portfolio of other investments with equal risk. The fact that oil isn't used as a store of value suggests that energy producers don't believe that energy supplies will fall in the future and create a price rise.

          It is hard to dismiss data regarding trends in the oil discovery rates, the consumption growth rate, and humans' dependance on energy intensive agriculture, distribution, etc. It perfectly suggests the S shaped growth curve of a population in a resource constrained media. However, even with an excessively high discount rate, market forces will tend to prevent the total exhaustion of any essential input that is subject to ownership. For that reason, the economist in me doesn't worry about gas, oil, or coal exhaustion. On the other hand, we share the costs of damaging the climate regulating properties of the atmosphere and of depleting other resources that aren't subject to ownership. Because the costs are shared, individuals don't have an incentive to invest in (not deplete) shared resources. The problem isn't one of starving for an input but of suffocating in wastes.

          Here is the institutional challenge that requires broad collaboration for our common good. Can the public come to agreement on implementing mechanisms that will optimally control pollution. Can we design our cities to best accomodate human needs and meet broader environmental goals? At present, our difficulty is exemplified by the current administration's devotion to beating back standards for environmental and public resource protection. (That policy preference happens to also favor a lower user price of energy because environmental quality is an input necessary for any energy output coming from the combustion of oil, coal, or, to a lesser extent, natural gas).

          A lot of practical political know-how is necessary to advance a legislative agenda. In addition, some more specialized knowledge of policy tools is needed to advance a benefit-optimizing program for environmental quality and common resource protection. Energy companies employ considerable political expertise to fight public health and environmental protection. A public that recognizes its interests and cares about future generations would offset the power of the despoilers.

          Bill Carr
        • turpin
          ... For me, the issue is simply that walking is the best way to get about for daily purposes, best in terms of health, convenience, pleasure, and community.
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 11, 2003
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            "dubluth" <dubluth@y...> wrote:
            > Suppose that energy prices
            > continue along their long
            > run decline in sharp
            > contradiction to predictions
            > of diminishing supply. Will
            > car-free cities be any less
            > attractive?

            For me, the issue is simply
            that walking is the best way
            to get about for daily purposes,
            "best" in terms of health,
            convenience, pleasure, and
            community. Living someplace
            where I have to drive for
            ordinary purposes is a distinct
            detriment. The issue is one of
            urban architecture, not
            international energy economics.

            Most of the Cassandras who
            forecast an energy crunch, such
            as Jay Hanson, confuse energy
            with oil. Oil is simply the
            energy supply which is NOW the
            most economic. Will we run
            into limits of oil? Absolutely.
            But long before that happens,
            the economy will shift to other
            sources of energy. Today the
            most obvious is nuclear. But
            all sorts of alternative
            sources, from tidal to nanotech
            chlorosynthesis, might also
            become economic. Yeah, energy
            prices will have short-term
            spikes, some triggering
            technology transitions. Such
            spikes will be temporary. In
            2100, I have no idea where we
            will get most of our energy.
            But I also have no doubt that
            its cost per joule will be
            less than it is now, as
            measured by common labor.

            The notion that everything
            will change because we run out
            of energy is a dystopic
            pipedream. It does NOT come
            from the scientific community.
            From the physicist's viewpoint,
            we are surrounded by and
            bathed in vast reserves of
            energy that dwarf the world's
            petroleum reserves. To the
            physicist, the issue isn't
            energy, but practicality, i.e.,
            economics. That hasn't stopped
            science cranks from imagining
            an absolute energy crunch, or
            blathering nonsense about
            entropy. (Jeremy Rifkin was the
            popular crank in the 80s. He
            wrote a book titled "Entropy,"
            but couldn't even get its
            definition correct. He followed
            this up with a crank book
            disproving evolution.)
          • Simon Baddeley
            x-post from CarFree-yahoo in response to turpin s posting Re: We may not have long to wait for carfree cities ... From: Simon Baddeley To:
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 11, 2003
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              x-post from CarFree-yahoo in response to turpin's posting Re: We may not have long to wait for carfree cities

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Simon Baddeley
              To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 8:38 PM
              Subject: Demise of auto-flânerie - was "delightful web site"


              There is an article in a recent arts magazine from the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham which argues that "auto-flânerie" is now virtually impossible because unlike walking and cycling the car is now - through its evolving internal telemetry and the external legal technical framework that increasingly regulates motorised traffic - incapable of escaping the matrix of cash transactions - whether with the market or with tax systems. Road congestion - taxed or untaxed, monitored or not - is a further set of nails in the coffin of auto-flânerie.

              The great age of the car was when motor touring on near empty roads was feasible and hugely enjoyable - e.g. when cars were primarily toys of the rich. Now auto-flânerie can only be practised by illegal behaviour where the primary source of pleasure lies in evading increasingly burdensome laws to protect motorists from each other. Our courts are almost overwhelmed by the times and costs of dealing with traffic offences. A further intrusion - often actively welcomed by the participants - is to become the object of video surveillance while law breaking and see oneself later on national and sometimes global channels where one is helping TV companies to profit.

              I took to walking and cycling for work (rather than only for leisure) after a wonderful motoring holiday in the Peloponnese about 6 years ago. I and my family experienced long stretches of empty roads through serene olive groves and accessible places by sea and mountain and in villages which in the UK are barred to cars either by regulation or by congestion or both.

              Driving a car in UK presages a future where car driving will be more like flying than walking or cycling. To get from A to B I can imagine drivers having to submit a "flight plan" and be given a highway slot possibly with a convoy, unless the car-driver is to face complete prohibition or expensive congestion.

              The future I seek is access by proximity rather than access by mobility - cycling and walking across less sprawled human settlements.

              The carfree city needs to be located in a much larger car free terrain.

              Regards

              S
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Rachel
              To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Friday, April 11, 2003 6:09 PM
              Subject: [CF] Re: delightful web site


              Great website. I much prefer walking to biking but most info you
              find on walking is the exercise angle and I just enjoy walking and
              enjoying the city. I've found that you get a different view (scale?)
              with each mode of transportation, biking, walking, transit or in a
              car, that sees things that you never really notice with the other
              modes.

              --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, De Clarke <de@u...> wrote:
              >
              > hat tip to Simon B who posted this to Brompton-talk.
              >
              > http://www.flaneur.org/flanifesto.html


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • michael.coy@fuse.net
              I believe the laws of supply and demand have quite a bit to say about resource depletion. As supply approaches zero, price goes through the roof, even with
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 15, 2003
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                I believe the laws of supply and demand have quite a bit to say about resource depletion. As supply approaches zero, price goes through the roof, even with constant demand. As we approach this energy pinch, it will make economic sense to research alternative energy. There will be fortunes to be made off of it. I expect that with that kind of motivation, some other form of energy will be made to suit our needs.

                While our current infrastructure is certainly dependant on oil, it would probably be MUCH cheaper, faster, and politically feasable to modify this infrastructure for a new energy source, rather than to develop new cities on the carfree model. Therefore, I think we need to be careful not to depend too much on this coming oil crisis. Carfree cities are a solution but they are not the only one.

                The quality of life issues alone justify a carfree environment in my mind.

                -Mike



                On Tue, Apr 15, 2003 at 12:36:57PM -0500, Mike Harrington wrote:
                > It's not from the economists that the oil depletion warning is coming. Peak
                > petroleum production is inevitable early in this century, in spite of what
                > economists think or do, and there is no precedent in history for it.
                > Economists think the market will take care of all energy problems but
                > depletion isn't built into their models. Therefore, all modern economic
                > thinking is flawed and retrospective, and never takes into account that the
                > days of cheap energy will come to end, particularly in North America where
                > the double whammy of natural gas shortages hangs over everyone's head. In
                > short, the two elements necessary for urban sprawl, cheap oil and cheap
                > electricity, ultimately disappear.
                >
                > The holders of oil resources know that a decline in petroleum production is
                > inevitable, and undoubtedly expect an inflationary enhancement in the value
                > of their remaining inventories when demand exceeds supply. Oil wells
                > typically decline at a rate of 2-3% a year after peak production. But oil
                > company employees never go public until their retirement, so don't look to
                > Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco for any answers. The chart on world oil
                > demand under "Uninterrupted Progress" is not sustainable for the long term:
                > http://qv3.com/policypete/policypete.htm
                >
                > I certainly wouldn't deny that there are other reasons for a carfree
                > lifestyle besides energy conservation and the certainty of a long-term
                > energy price increase: little noise and air pollution, the convenience of
                > walking instead of driving, the fact that walking and cycling are healthy
                > exercise, the importance of living in a community where you meet your
                > neighbors face to face instead of the sterile isolation of
                > automobile-oriented neighborhoods, the extra $8000 each year that foregoing
                > an automobile provides, the freedom from the ever-present danger of auto
                > accidents. I'll wager I've been in tune to the car free concept a lot
                > longer than you have. If you don't want to talk about energy, or want to
                > rehash the thinking of twentieth-century economists about energy, although I
                > can't imagine why you would ever care what an economist has to say about oil
                > production, that's your business. I think that we're approaching a pretty
                > deep abyss, and that's my business.
                >
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "dubluth" <dubluth@...>
                > To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                > Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 8:55 PM
                > Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: We may not have long to wait for carfree
                > cities
                >
                >
                > > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...>
                > wrote:
                > > > It really looks like we're at the end of an age, and most of the
                > > > twenty-first century will be drastically different than the
                > >
                > >
                > > Military aggression and the prelude to that aggression in the land of
                > relatively accessible energy resources has justifiably captured a fair
                > amount of our attention over the past weeks. Now it seems that "oil
                > consciousness" is alive on this list. With that I suggest a question that
                > has been asked before.
                > >
                > > The hypothetical situation for the following question is one some won't
                > care to consider, but for the rest: Suppose that energy prices continue
                > along their long run decline in sharp contradiction to predictions of
                > diminishing supply. Will car-free cities be any less attractive? Will they
                > even be less attractive than car-full cities?
                > >
                > > In the past, Joel Crawford and others have said that car-free cities have
                > merit independant oil scarcity. As I understand it, the principle reasons
                > have nothing to do with concerns about the internal functioning of markets
                > for commodities, such as oil. Some specific reasons include external costs
                > like noise, air pollution, and visual blight created by automobiles. In
                > general, a car-free city is a human settlement where social value would grow
                > without being excessively drained by the demands and impositions of the
                > transportation system. If expectations about the desirability of car-free
                > cities hold up to examination, the price of oil isn't _as_ relevant as
                > someone concerned with oil will tend to believe.
                > >
                > > If car-free development is still desirable in the way described, yet only
                > occurs because of the specter of decreasing oil supplies, institutions
                > (including this list) have little to show regarding their ability to address
                > human needs. (I also wouldn't count on car-free cities being a necessary
                > result of motor fuel becoming too expensive for most Americans. If people
                > aren't capable of organizing to rid themselves of the wheeled bane of
                > cities, can they organize a city (in a relatively equitable structure like
                > that envisioned by Joel Crawford) once most realize they can no longer
                > afford to keep pump gas into their automobile? With plenty of conventional
                > urban problems in need of attention, that question is too speculative for me
                > to engage.)
                > >
                > > Suppose we conclude that energy supplies are going to decrease, with
                > resulting increases in price. Will we be showing more wisdom than energy
                > producers? I won't say that that is impossible, but energy company
                > economists and engineers have access to the info found on the die-off web
                > site. If they believe the information, they will put it to use if that
                > means greater profits. Suppose an oil company anticipates a decrease in
                > world energy supplies as predicted. Would oil companies choose to pump and
                > sell all the oil they can pump that will return at least as much in sales on
                > the current market as the cost of pumping? Except for OPEC, doing exactly
                > this is standard practice. (OPEC countries agree on, but don't necessarily
                > comply with, production quotas in an attempt to influence the world price of
                > oil). The competitive tendency is to send any pumped oil to the market,
                > rather than save it. That indicates that oil isn't used as a store of
                > value. Unless energy company owners don't value their own future
                > consumption, they would save oil for sale in the future if the time
                > discounted return on those sales is greater than the current yield from a
                > portfolio of other investments with equal risk. The fact that oil isn't
                > used as a store of value suggests that energy producers don't believe that
                > energy supplies will fall in the future and create a price rise.
                > >
                > > It is hard to dismiss data regarding trends in the oil discovery rates,
                > the consumption growth rate, and humans' dependance on energy intensive
                > agriculture, distribution, etc. It perfectly suggests the S shaped growth
                > curve of a population in a resource constrained media. However, even with
                > an excessively high discount rate, market forces will tend to prevent the
                > total exhaustion of any essential input that is subject to ownership. For
                > that reason, the economist in me doesn't worry about gas, oil, or coal
                > exhaustion. On the other hand, we share the costs of damaging the climate
                > regulating properties of the atmosphere and of depleting other resources
                > that aren't subject to ownership. Because the costs are shared, individuals
                > don't have an incentive to invest in (not deplete) shared resources. The
                > problem isn't one of starving for an input but of suffocating in wastes.
                > >
                > > Here is the institutional challenge that requires broad collaboration for
                > our common good. Can the public come to agreement on implementing
                > mechanisms that will optimally control pollution. Can we design our cities
                > to best accomodate human needs and meet broader environmental goals? At
                > present, our difficulty is exemplified by the current administration's
                > devotion to beating back standards for environmental and public resource
                > protection. (That policy preference happens to also favor a lower user
                > price of energy because environmental quality is an input necessary for any
                > energy output coming from the combustion of oil, coal, or, to a lesser
                > extent, natural gas).
                > >
                > > A lot of practical political know-how is necessary to advance a
                > legislative agenda. In addition, some more specialized knowledge of policy
                > tools is needed to advance a benefit-optimizing program for environmental
                > quality and common resource protection. Energy companies employ
                > considerable political expertise to fight public health and environmental
                > protection. A public that recognizes its interests and cares about future
                > generations would offset the power of the despoilers.
                > >
                > > Bill Carr
                > >
                > >
                > > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                > > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                > >
                > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
              • Mike Harrington
                It s not from the economists that the oil depletion warning is coming. Peak petroleum production is inevitable early in this century, in spite of what
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 15, 2003
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                  It's not from the economists that the oil depletion warning is coming. Peak
                  petroleum production is inevitable early in this century, in spite of what
                  economists think or do, and there is no precedent in history for it.
                  Economists think the market will take care of all energy problems but
                  depletion isn't built into their models. Therefore, all modern economic
                  thinking is flawed and retrospective, and never takes into account that the
                  days of cheap energy will come to end, particularly in North America where
                  the double whammy of natural gas shortages hangs over everyone's head. In
                  short, the two elements necessary for urban sprawl, cheap oil and cheap
                  electricity, ultimately disappear.

                  The holders of oil resources know that a decline in petroleum production is
                  inevitable, and undoubtedly expect an inflationary enhancement in the value
                  of their remaining inventories when demand exceeds supply. Oil wells
                  typically decline at a rate of 2-3% a year after peak production. But oil
                  company employees never go public until their retirement, so don't look to
                  Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco for any answers. The chart on world oil
                  demand under "Uninterrupted Progress" is not sustainable for the long term:
                  http://qv3.com/policypete/policypete.htm

                  I certainly wouldn't deny that there are other reasons for a carfree
                  lifestyle besides energy conservation and the certainty of a long-term
                  energy price increase: little noise and air pollution, the convenience of
                  walking instead of driving, the fact that walking and cycling are healthy
                  exercise, the importance of living in a community where you meet your
                  neighbors face to face instead of the sterile isolation of
                  automobile-oriented neighborhoods, the extra $8000 each year that foregoing
                  an automobile provides, the freedom from the ever-present danger of auto
                  accidents. I'll wager I've been in tune to the car free concept a lot
                  longer than you have. If you don't want to talk about energy, or want to
                  rehash the thinking of twentieth-century economists about energy, although I
                  can't imagine why you would ever care what an economist has to say about oil
                  production, that's your business. I think that we're approaching a pretty
                  deep abyss, and that's my business.


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "dubluth" <dubluth@...>
                  To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 8:55 PM
                  Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: We may not have long to wait for carfree
                  cities


                  > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...>
                  wrote:
                  > > It really looks like we're at the end of an age, and most of the
                  > > twenty-first century will be drastically different than the
                  >
                  >
                  > Military aggression and the prelude to that aggression in the land of
                  relatively accessible energy resources has justifiably captured a fair
                  amount of our attention over the past weeks. Now it seems that "oil
                  consciousness" is alive on this list. With that I suggest a question that
                  has been asked before.
                  >
                  > The hypothetical situation for the following question is one some won't
                  care to consider, but for the rest: Suppose that energy prices continue
                  along their long run decline in sharp contradiction to predictions of
                  diminishing supply. Will car-free cities be any less attractive? Will they
                  even be less attractive than car-full cities?
                  >
                  > In the past, Joel Crawford and others have said that car-free cities have
                  merit independant oil scarcity. As I understand it, the principle reasons
                  have nothing to do with concerns about the internal functioning of markets
                  for commodities, such as oil. Some specific reasons include external costs
                  like noise, air pollution, and visual blight created by automobiles. In
                  general, a car-free city is a human settlement where social value would grow
                  without being excessively drained by the demands and impositions of the
                  transportation system. If expectations about the desirability of car-free
                  cities hold up to examination, the price of oil isn't _as_ relevant as
                  someone concerned with oil will tend to believe.
                  >
                  > If car-free development is still desirable in the way described, yet only
                  occurs because of the specter of decreasing oil supplies, institutions
                  (including this list) have little to show regarding their ability to address
                  human needs. (I also wouldn't count on car-free cities being a necessary
                  result of motor fuel becoming too expensive for most Americans. If people
                  aren't capable of organizing to rid themselves of the wheeled bane of
                  cities, can they organize a city (in a relatively equitable structure like
                  that envisioned by Joel Crawford) once most realize they can no longer
                  afford to keep pump gas into their automobile? With plenty of conventional
                  urban problems in need of attention, that question is too speculative for me
                  to engage.)
                  >
                  > Suppose we conclude that energy supplies are going to decrease, with
                  resulting increases in price. Will we be showing more wisdom than energy
                  producers? I won't say that that is impossible, but energy company
                  economists and engineers have access to the info found on the die-off web
                  site. If they believe the information, they will put it to use if that
                  means greater profits. Suppose an oil company anticipates a decrease in
                  world energy supplies as predicted. Would oil companies choose to pump and
                  sell all the oil they can pump that will return at least as much in sales on
                  the current market as the cost of pumping? Except for OPEC, doing exactly
                  this is standard practice. (OPEC countries agree on, but don't necessarily
                  comply with, production quotas in an attempt to influence the world price of
                  oil). The competitive tendency is to send any pumped oil to the market,
                  rather than save it. That indicates that oil isn't used as a store of
                  value. Unless energy company owners don't value their own future
                  consumption, they would save oil for sale in the future if the time
                  discounted return on those sales is greater than the current yield from a
                  portfolio of other investments with equal risk. The fact that oil isn't
                  used as a store of value suggests that energy producers don't believe that
                  energy supplies will fall in the future and create a price rise.
                  >
                  > It is hard to dismiss data regarding trends in the oil discovery rates,
                  the consumption growth rate, and humans' dependance on energy intensive
                  agriculture, distribution, etc. It perfectly suggests the S shaped growth
                  curve of a population in a resource constrained media. However, even with
                  an excessively high discount rate, market forces will tend to prevent the
                  total exhaustion of any essential input that is subject to ownership. For
                  that reason, the economist in me doesn't worry about gas, oil, or coal
                  exhaustion. On the other hand, we share the costs of damaging the climate
                  regulating properties of the atmosphere and of depleting other resources
                  that aren't subject to ownership. Because the costs are shared, individuals
                  don't have an incentive to invest in (not deplete) shared resources. The
                  problem isn't one of starving for an input but of suffocating in wastes.
                  >
                  > Here is the institutional challenge that requires broad collaboration for
                  our common good. Can the public come to agreement on implementing
                  mechanisms that will optimally control pollution. Can we design our cities
                  to best accomodate human needs and meet broader environmental goals? At
                  present, our difficulty is exemplified by the current administration's
                  devotion to beating back standards for environmental and public resource
                  protection. (That policy preference happens to also favor a lower user
                  price of energy because environmental quality is an input necessary for any
                  energy output coming from the combustion of oil, coal, or, to a lesser
                  extent, natural gas).
                  >
                  > A lot of practical political know-how is necessary to advance a
                  legislative agenda. In addition, some more specialized knowledge of policy
                  tools is needed to advance a benefit-optimizing program for environmental
                  quality and common resource protection. Energy companies employ
                  considerable political expertise to fight public health and environmental
                  protection. A public that recognizes its interests and cares about future
                  generations would offset the power of the despoilers.
                  >
                  > Bill Carr
                  >
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                  > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Simon Baddeley
                  If cars retain their psychological charge they ll continue - wind powered, solar powered, nuclear steam or electrically powered. Shortage of fossil fuels will
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 15, 2003
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                    If cars retain their psychological charge they'll continue - wind powered,
                    solar powered, nuclear steam or electrically powered. Shortage of fossil
                    fuels will not mean their demise so long as cars remain objects of desire.

                    If that desire degrades - and it already takes a massive amount of marketing
                    to keep people interested, especially in annual buying - the pool of those
                    for whom the car retains a psychological charge will diminish to a
                    specialist population of hobbyists without political power to influence
                    transport or land use policies.

                    Horse transport did not decline because of a shortage of horses, nor
                    railways because of a shortage of raw materials, inventiveness or design
                    skill. The car, with help from its manufacturers and friends in government,
                    became, for a century, a more convenient, more attractive and more exciting
                    way to get about for many people, whose choices to use cars became
                    conditioned by settlement and retailing patterns that first presented
                    themselves as a new type of liberty - access by mobility. This form of
                    freedom, because it occluded access by proximity evolved long before most
                    people realised it into the highly conditional form of virtual liberty
                    ("virtual" because largely sustained by the brilliant fantasy mechanics of
                    marketing) that many refer to as "auto-dependency".

                    What presages the end of the age of the car is that driving them has stopped
                    being much fun. People complaining about increased taxes on cars, higher
                    fuel costs and tougher road regulation are concerned less with being
                    deprived of fun than of being inconvenienced by restrictions on a technology
                    they have embroidered into life choices in relation to where they shop, send
                    their children to school, take their leisure and do their work.

                    Except for the young who still use the car for sex and socialising the fun's
                    mostly gone - except for in-car entertainment to distract from the
                    frustrations of congestion. How many magazine or TV programmes now serve an
                    audience of motor tourists?

                    Boredom and frustration with this technology and preference for alternative
                    ways of moving people and goods, some known and some yet to be invented, as
                    well as the growing attractiveness of environments from which motorised
                    traffic is largely or entirely absent, is inexorably diminishing the car as
                    an object of desire.

                    This will take a while. With few exceptions most of the world is enamoured
                    of a technology which until very recently - in historic time - was a toy for
                    the rich. The reason an unexceptional person like me no longer gets a kick
                    from driving cars is probably because these things have been in my family
                    since the 1880s. I have B & W photos of my grandmother as a young woman
                    smoking a cheroot at the wheel of an open top Citroen. That looks stylish
                    and fun. I like walking and cycling because I've moved on from getting fun
                    from a car. I've started to move on from using them solely for convenience.
                    I see my car as a rather expensive inconvenience but need it to feed some
                    residual and irrational habit among people like me and to take stuff to the
                    dump and for the occasional emergency. If I was in a carfree city and there
                    were alternative services to substitute for the few things I still need my
                    car for or if I earned less and needed the cash I'd not miss it.

                    Simon


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Mike Harrington" <mike@...>
                    To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2003 6:36 PM
                    Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: We may not have long to wait for carfree
                    cities


                    > It's not from the economists that the oil depletion warning is coming.
                    Peak
                    > petroleum production is inevitable early in this century, in spite of what
                    > economists think or do, and there is no precedent in history for it.
                    > Economists think the market will take care of all energy problems but
                    > depletion isn't built into their models.
                  • J.H. Crawford
                    ... We have to be careful here. a specialist population of hobbyists without political power to influence transport or land use policies might be expected to
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 15, 2003
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                      Simon Baddeley said:

                      >If that desire degrades - and it already takes a massive amount of marketing
                      >to keep people interested, especially in annual buying - the pool of those
                      >for whom the car retains a psychological charge will diminish to a
                      >specialist population of hobbyists without political power to influence
                      >transport or land use policies.

                      We have to be careful here. "a specialist population of hobbyists without
                      political power to influence transport or land use policies" might
                      be expected to apply to the tiny number of private pilots, but, in fact,
                      they have amazing political power in the USA. Practically anything proposed
                      that might be seen to harm their interests is never adopted.

                      >What presages the end of the age of the car is that driving them has stopped
                      >being much fun.

                      Now THERE'S an issue with some stopping power!

                      >This will take a while. With few exceptions most of the world is enamoured
                      >of a technology which until very recently - in historic time - was a toy for
                      >the rich.

                      Like private airplanes, it may long remain so, especially as they are
                      nearly certain to retain their usefulness for those in rural areas.

                      >If I was in a carfree city and there
                      >were alternative services to substitute for the few things I still need my
                      >car for or if I earned less and needed the cash I'd not miss it.

                      Amen! And, even in rich nations, there are millions of families that don't
                      miss it already. These folks are our market.

                      Regards,




                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

                      Drop Bush
                      Not Bombs

                      -- ### --

                      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                    • J.H. Crawford
                      ... except that I view this as a wonderful opportunity, not an impending disaster! ... Drop Bush Not Bombs -- ###
                      Message 10 of 12 , Apr 16, 2003
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                        Mike Harrington said:

                        >If you don't want to talk about energy, or want to
                        >rehash the thinking of twentieth-century economists about energy, although I
                        >can't imagine why you would ever care what an economist has to say about oil
                        >production, that's your business. I think that we're approaching a pretty
                        >deep abyss, and that's my business.

                        except that I view this as a wonderful opportunity, not an impending disaster!



                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------

                        Drop Bush
                        Not Bombs

                        -- ### --

                        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                        mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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