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Re: [carfree_cities] Oil Crisis?

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  • Jym Dyer
    ... =v= Well, I ve seen that reasoning used for any and all biomass schemes: Since the CO2 came from the air it s okay to put it back there. The real
    Message 1 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
      > If the input is chicken guts or fuel crops or sewage then
      > it's only releasing previously absorbed CO2 back into the
      > atmosphere.

      =v= Well, I've seen that reasoning used for any and all biomass
      schemes: Since the CO2 "came from the air" it's okay to put it
      back there. The real issue, though, is sustainability: whether
      our mechanisms for removing carbon from the atmosphere can keep
      up with those spewing it. There's a time lag in there that's
      not being considered.

      =v= And of course, the article highlighted poultry guts but
      did mention that other things such as computers could be
      incinerated.

      > This CO2 would have otherwise have been released as the
      > organic waste decomposed.

      =v= Some would, yes. It seems to me that this process would
      release even more of it.
      <_Jym_>
    • Jym Dyer
      ... =v= You re neglecting the possibility of components moving at speeds approaching the velocity of light. :^o ... =v= Perhaps these are
      Message 2 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
        > Catch 4:
        > Physics:

        =v= You're neglecting the possibility of components moving at
        speeds approaching the velocity of light. :^o

        > Thus, each 150 kg of turkeys gives you 133 kg of petroleum
        > equivalent.

        =v= Perhaps these are genetically-engineered McTurkeys(R), with
        genes spliced in from an oil derrick or Freedom Fries.

        =v= (Suddenly I'm reminded of an episode of _Futurama_, where
        the prospect of splicing anchovies with Third World children
        would upset the robot oil market.)
        <_Jym_>
      • turpin
        ... No. ALL the carbon in plant and animal matter recently came from the atmosphere. That s what plants do: capture atmosperic carbon and turn it into useful
        Message 3 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
          Jym Dyer <jym@e...> wrote:
          > Catch #1 is that it's
          > taking carbon from the
          > ground and spewing it
          > into the air.

          No. ALL the carbon in plant
          and animal matter recently
          came from the atmosphere.
          That's what plants do:
          capture atmosperic carbon
          and turn it into useful
          carbohydrates. Animals just
          reprocess carbohydrates
          from plants. Every atom of
          carbon in your body was
          carbon dioxide in the
          atmosphere not too many
          years past. (Except maybe
          for a few from that plastic
          toy you ate when you were
          three.)

          > Catch #3 (maybe) is the
          > energy used to run this
          > device. ..

          It won't catch on unless
          it is generating more
          energy that it is using.
          Of course, the energy has
          to come from somewhere.
          And in this case, it comes
          from the sunlight that
          plants use to turn
          atmospheric carbon dioxide
          into carbohydrates. Whether
          it generates enough energy
          to be economic, I have no
          idea. If it can make light
          crude at $10 a barrel,
          then the answer is yes.

          As I've pointed out before,
          we are not even close to
          suffering a lack of energy
          sources. The energy issue
          is entirely economic: what
          sources are convenient and
          cheap? The answer to that
          question in turn depends on
          economic and technological
          innovation. This sounds
          like really neat technology.

          I find it troubling that so
          many people on this list are
          disturbed by technological
          development that, on its
          face, does something quite
          good. Or by the possibility
          that energy will get cheaper
          in the future. Personally, I
          don't want to eliminate
          cars. Nor do I want to live
          in a car-free city as the
          consequence of some economic
          catastrophe. What a perverse
          hope! Would that really make
          any of you happier? I want
          to live in a city where
          walking is safe, convenient,
          and the dominant way of
          getting about because that
          is a better way for people
          to live.
        • Jym Dyer
          ... =v= I know all about photosynthesis, thanks, but there s still the problem of time lag. Given that humanity is putting CO2 into the atmosphere faster than
          Message 4 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
            > ALL the carbon in plant and animal matter recently came
            > from the atmosphere. That's what plants do: ....

            =v= I know all about photosynthesis, thanks, but there's still
            the problem of time lag. Given that humanity is putting CO2
            into the atmosphere faster than the plants can remove it, I'd
            rather we found a solution that will reverse the trend, not
            just maintain it.

            > It won't catch on unless it is generating more energy that
            > it is using.

            =v= I hope not, but we do already have technologies that fail
            to do that, but which have caught on so as to financially
            benefit certain parties.

            > I find it troubling that so many people on this list are
            > disturbed by technological development that, on its face,
            > does something quite good.

            =v= I'm not sure why this is being posted in response to my
            message. Examining the situation isn't the same as finding
            it disturbing; it's simply ascertaining whether it does, in
            fact, do something good.
            <_Jym_>
          • turpin
            ... Sea changes rarely have point causes, but are a cascade of events. Surely a change that lessens the rate at which we do this is a good thing? Be careful of
            Message 5 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
              Jym Dyer:
              > Given that humanity is
              > putting CO2 into the
              > atmosphere faster than
              > the plants can remove
              > it, I'd rather we found
              > a solution that will
              > reverse the trend, not
              > just maintain it.

              Sea changes rarely have
              point causes, but are a
              cascade of events. Surely
              a change that lessens the
              rate at which we do this
              is a good thing? Be
              careful of letting the
              perfect stand in way of
              the good.

              BTW, in case anyone is in
              doubt, this technology is
              highly speculative. There
              are a lot of whiz-bang
              technologies that don't
              prove economic for one
              reason or another. I think
              it is *promising* -- but
              I'm not putting my money
              into it. But even though
              any one technology is
              likely to fail, our
              economy is pretty good at
              generating enough trials
              that some succeed. My bet
              is still that energy will
              be cheaper in the future
              than it is now, even
              though I have no idea the
              particular sources from
              whence it will come.

              Turpin:
              >> I find it troubling that
              >> so many people on this
              >> list are disturbed by
              >> technological development
              >> that, on its face, does
              >> something quite good.

              Jym Dyer <jym@e...> wrote:
              > I'm not sure why this is
              > being posted in response
              > to my message.

              I apologize, Jym. That was
              NOT in response to anything
              you wrote, but in response
              to some who seem to hope for
              an oil crunch that triggers
              an energy crisis and an
              economic depression, because
              -- hey! -- we would then
              have car-free cities, since
              people would be too poor to
              do anything else. This seems
              to me a perverse way of
              thinking that traps some
              Cassandras, where they go
              beyond predicting potential
              problems with some industry
              or aspect of current urban
              architecture (or other
              aspects of current society),
              to wishing a general crisis
              on the world.
            • T. J. Binkley
              ... Doubtless none, save those who are independently wealthy, whose assets could survive the catastrophe. ... Me too. Still, a gradual increase in fuel costs
              Message 6 of 20 , Apr 24, 2003
                > Personally, I
                >don't want to eliminate
                >cars. Nor do I want to live
                >in a car-free city as the
                >consequence of some economic
                >catastrophe. What a perverse
                >hope! Would that really make
                >any of you happier?

                Doubtless none, save those who are independently wealthy, whose assets
                could survive the catastrophe.

                > I want
                >to live in a city where
                >walking is safe, convenient,
                >and the dominant way of
                >getting about because that
                >is a better way for people
                >to live.

                Me too.

                Still, a gradual increase in fuel costs for private automobiles, by
                whatever means (apart from economic catastrophe), wouldn't be so bad would it?

                -TJB
              • Ross or Judy
                I hear you. I too would prefer a voluntary reduction in car /fossil fuel use. But its not going to happen. An economic catastrophe, especially in gluttonous
                Message 7 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
                  I hear you. I too would prefer a voluntary reduction in car /fossil fuel
                  use. But its not going to happen. An economic catastrophe, especially in
                  gluttonous Canada and USA, is our only hope !
                  Ross

                  >
                  > > Personally, I
                  > >don't want to eliminate
                  > >cars. Nor do I want to live
                  > >in a car-free city as the
                  > >consequence of some economic
                  > >catastrophe. What a perverse
                  > >hope! Would that really make
                  > >any of you happier?
                  >
                  > Doubtless none, save those who are independently wealthy, whose assets
                  > could survive the catastrophe.
                  >
                  > > I want
                  > >to live in a city where
                  > >walking is safe, convenient,
                  > >and the dominant way of
                  > >getting about because that
                  > >is a better way for people
                  > >to live.
                  >
                  > Me too.
                  >
                  > Still, a gradual increase in fuel costs for private automobiles, by
                  > whatever means (apart from economic catastrophe), wouldn't be so bad would
                  it?
                  >
                  > -TJB
                  >
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
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                  >
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                  >
                  >
                • turpin
                  ... Cars don t pay their way, especially on urban roads. The problem isn t the fuel, but the fact that the roads themselves are subsidized, from the land under
                  Message 8 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
                    "T. J. Binkley" wrote:
                    > Still, a gradual increase
                    > in fuel costs for private
                    > automobiles, by whatever
                    > means (apart from economic
                    > catastrophe), wouldn't be
                    > so bad would it?

                    Cars don't pay their way,
                    especially on urban roads.
                    The problem isn't the fuel,
                    but the fact that the roads
                    themselves are subsidized,
                    from the land under them to
                    their construction and
                    maintenance, to the indirect
                    costs imposed on police and
                    emergency response resources,
                    to "free" public parking.

                    I wholeheartedly support the
                    notion that cars SHOULD pay
                    their own way, and that
                    these costs should be
                    COMPLETELY covered by
                    vehicle, parking, and fuel
                    fees. I think this should be
                    a focus for change. As long
                    as we subsidize sprawl, we
                    will get more of it. Once we
                    cut the subsidies, people's
                    choices on where to live and
                    how to get around, and the
                    nature of urban architecture,
                    will both adapt, solely as a
                    result of the changed cost
                    structure.

                    Even if fuel stays cheap,
                    road infrastructure will
                    remain expensive. The question
                    is: How do we percolate that
                    expense back to those who
                    create it?

                    For what it's worth, a side
                    effect of cities subsidizing
                    roads is that this crowds
                    their budgets for other
                    purposes. Such as education.
                  • rmwalter
                    ... If oil were expensive, and few people drove, I don t think we d see as many subsidies. ... Once we cut subsidies , but it won t happen - it hasn t
                    Message 9 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
                      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "turpin" <turpin@y...> wrote:
                      > "T. J. Binkley" wrote:
                      > > Still, a gradual increase
                      > > in fuel costs for private
                      > > automobiles,
                      >
                      > Cars don't pay their way,
                      > especially on urban roads.
                      > The problem isn't the fuel,
                      > but the fact that the roads
                      > themselves are subsidized,

                      If oil were expensive, and few people drove, I don't think we'd see
                      as many subsidies.

                      > I wholeheartedly support the
                      > notion that cars SHOULD pay
                      > their own way, and that
                      > these costs should be
                      > COMPLETELY covered by
                      > vehicle, parking, and fuel
                      > fees. I think this should be
                      > a focus for change. As long
                      > as we subsidize sprawl, we
                      > will get more of it. Once we
                      > cut the subsidies,

                      "Once we cut subsidies", but it won't happen - it hasn't happened
                      yet, what is going to change it? There are too many people vested in
                      the system. It's a nice notion but there is a reason that the
                      subsidies are there in the first place, what is that reason, and can
                      you overcome it by appealing to logic? Is popular opinion backing
                      you up?

                      Let's be realistic, usually some external force necessitates change,
                      and I feel the only force that is up to the job is an oil crisis.
                      Cheap energy has enabled this whole lousy sprawling infrastructure in
                      the first place. It's a house of cards built on fossil fuels.

                      Don't forget about other problems with too much energy use - like
                      global warming.

                      Expensive energy alleviates a whole slew of problems in my opinion,
                      things like - the ease of waging war, sprawling cities, exploiting
                      the wilderness, wasteful use of land, agricultural run-off, obesity,
                      over-consumption, destruction of natural habitats, shipping food
                      halfway around the world to end up on the grocery shelf, and of
                      course, pollution. I could go on and on... If energy becomes
                      expensive we'll *be forced* to think of more creative, local
                      solutions to our needs. I live in Chicago, Illinois, you'd *think*
                      the organic milk could be supplied by local farmers. But NOoooo, it
                      comes from Oregon, and half the time it's spoiled. I'd like to see a
                      U.S. where the people who produce our food don't send it 2000 miles.
                      I'd like to see a city where it's possible to bike to a farm, where
                      green areas are large and shared instead of private and fractured,
                      and people will grow vegetable gardens instead of artificially
                      maintained lawnlets. (think of how much energy goes into lawn care -
                      courtesy of cheap oil)

                      Expensive energy can't come soon enough in my opinion. Better we
                      learn our lesson now, while we still have the resources left to act
                      collectively and the ability to effect a change to a more sustainable
                      culture. I'd gladly give up some things for a car free city.

                      Let's hear some negative consequences of expensive energy and we can
                      discuss the ramifications. What are your fears, exactly?
                    • phillip m. torrone
                      i don t wish a crisis on anyone to move towards solutions which are better, granted-- that often is what encourages change, so there it is. that said, i think
                      Message 10 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
                        i don't wish a crisis on anyone to move towards solutions which are better,
                        granted-- that often is what encourages change, so there it is.

                        that said, i think the best thing we could do is to show the benefits of a
                        car free city, a car free lifestyle and simply show that decreasing car
                        trips or using non-car transportation for can have many benefits. it can't
                        be rhetoric or spanking people either. what usually happens (in my opinion)
                        is that the goal of less cars gets bolted to other agendas or passions which
                        cause people to not consider a car free lifestyle. in other words, keeping
                        the politics out might best serve everyone's interest more often than
                        injecting them in.

                        i'm installing solar panels soon and many of the groups i joined, i need to
                        unjoin once the majority of the messages were anti-corporation / anti-gov /
                        anti-bush. even if i agreed with all those things, it doesn't matter it was
                        way too "heated" to talk about solar stuff. just some thoughts.

                        cheers,
                        pt
                      • Mike Harrington
                        The American subsidies for automobile transportation are far-reaching, stretching back many years. Property, sales, and income taxes pay for much of the cost
                        Message 11 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
                          The American subsidies for automobile transportation are far-reaching,
                          stretching back many years. Property, sales, and income taxes pay for much
                          of the cost of automobiles. Ideally, the cost of cars to government should
                          have been taxed at the pump, so using other revenue sources to pay for the
                          cost amounts to a subsidy. The cost isn't just road construction and
                          maintenance, but also police and emergency services, wrecks, air and noise
                          pollution, and increased runoff from paving over more and more land. If
                          this were paid through the motor fuel tax, people would see the true cost of
                          automobile ownership. Also included are the private sector's cost for free
                          parking, which is added on to the cost of products you buy. If your
                          employer has free parking for employees, it represents less money in your
                          paycheck and the shareholders' dividends. As it is, the biggest welfare
                          recipients in the US and Canada are motorists.

                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "rmwalter" <rmwalter@...>
                          To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 2:25 PM
                          Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Oil Crisis?


                          > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "turpin" <turpin@y...> wrote:
                          > > "T. J. Binkley" wrote:
                          > > > Still, a gradual increase
                          > > > in fuel costs for private
                          > > > automobiles,
                          > >
                          > > Cars don't pay their way,
                          > > especially on urban roads.
                          > > The problem isn't the fuel,
                          > > but the fact that the roads
                          > > themselves are subsidized,
                          >
                          > If oil were expensive, and few people drove, I don't think we'd see
                          > as many subsidies.
                          >
                          > > I wholeheartedly support the
                          > > notion that cars SHOULD pay
                          > > their own way, and that
                          > > these costs should be
                          > > COMPLETELY covered by
                          > > vehicle, parking, and fuel
                          > > fees. I think this should be
                          > > a focus for change. As long
                          > > as we subsidize sprawl, we
                          > > will get more of it. Once we
                          > > cut the subsidies,
                          >
                          > "Once we cut subsidies", but it won't happen - it hasn't happened
                          > yet, what is going to change it? There are too many people vested in
                          > the system. It's a nice notion but there is a reason that the
                          > subsidies are there in the first place, what is that reason, and can
                          > you overcome it by appealing to logic? Is popular opinion backing
                          > you up?
                          >
                          > Let's be realistic, usually some external force necessitates change,
                          > and I feel the only force that is up to the job is an oil crisis.
                          > Cheap energy has enabled this whole lousy sprawling infrastructure in
                          > the first place. It's a house of cards built on fossil fuels.
                          >
                          > Don't forget about other problems with too much energy use - like
                          > global warming.
                          >
                          > Expensive energy alleviates a whole slew of problems in my opinion,
                          > things like - the ease of waging war, sprawling cities, exploiting
                          > the wilderness, wasteful use of land, agricultural run-off, obesity,
                          > over-consumption, destruction of natural habitats, shipping food
                          > halfway around the world to end up on the grocery shelf, and of
                          > course, pollution. I could go on and on... If energy becomes
                          > expensive we'll *be forced* to think of more creative, local
                          > solutions to our needs. I live in Chicago, Illinois, you'd *think*
                          > the organic milk could be supplied by local farmers. But NOoooo, it
                          > comes from Oregon, and half the time it's spoiled. I'd like to see a
                          > U.S. where the people who produce our food don't send it 2000 miles.
                          > I'd like to see a city where it's possible to bike to a farm, where
                          > green areas are large and shared instead of private and fractured,
                          > and people will grow vegetable gardens instead of artificially
                          > maintained lawnlets. (think of how much energy goes into lawn care -
                          > courtesy of cheap oil)
                          >
                          > Expensive energy can't come soon enough in my opinion. Better we
                          > learn our lesson now, while we still have the resources left to act
                          > collectively and the ability to effect a change to a more sustainable
                          > culture. I'd gladly give up some things for a car free city.
                          >
                          > Let's hear some negative consequences of expensive energy and we can
                          > discuss the ramifications. What are your fears, exactly?
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > 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/
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • rmwalter
                          How do you propose selling that to people who are going to be buying gas? I live in a state, which a few years ago, decided to drop all gas tax for six
                          Message 12 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
                            How do you propose selling that to people who are going to be buying
                            gas? I live in a state, which a few years ago, decided to drop all
                            gas tax for six months. This was because people were driving over
                            state lines to buy gas in Indiana.

                            I just don't think the car driving public is going to want to see
                            higher gas prices because of a tax. See the hysteria in the media
                            when gas goes up a few cents? It would be suicide for a politician to
                            promote such a thing.

                            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...>
                            wrote:
                            and noise
                            > pollution, and increased runoff from paving over more and more
                            land. If
                            > this were paid through the motor fuel tax, people would see the
                            true cost of
                            > automobile ownership.
                          • turpin
                            ... An oil crisis? Or an energy crisis? They are not the same. An oil crisis would indeed raise energy prices -- for a while. But there are lots of energy
                            Message 13 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
                              "rmwalter" wrote:
                              > Let's be realistic,
                              > usually some external force
                              > necessitates change, and I
                              > feel the only force that is
                              > up to the job is an oil
                              > crisis.

                              An oil crisis? Or an energy
                              crisis? They are not the same.
                              An oil crisis would indeed
                              raise energy prices -- for a
                              while. But there are lots of
                              energy sources, and the longer
                              we go without an oil crisis,
                              the smoother and quicker will
                              be the transition to
                              alternative sources, assuming
                              they don't start to show up
                              while oil is still cheap.

                              Rising oil prices are quite
                              likely. Rising energy prices,
                              in the long term, are not at
                              all a realistic scenario on
                              which to pin any political
                              goals. If you want to live to
                              see a car-free city, you need
                              to work for political change.
                              The energy-crisis fairy went
                              out with the tooth fairy and
                              the withering-away-of-the-state
                              fairy. They're all roaring
                              drunk, and none of them are
                              making an appearance for quite
                              some time.

                              > What are your fears, exactly?

                              Besides the fact that so many
                              on this board are waiting on
                              Godot? ;-)

                              I'm not much worried about an
                              energy crisis, nor even an oil
                              crisis. I've hedged enough in
                              gas stocks to partially offset
                              the decline that rising oil
                              would cause to the stock
                              market. If it gets too
                              expensive to live in the city,
                              I think we will move onto a
                              sailboat, one whose energy
                              draw can be satisfied by a
                              couple of solar panels. Yeah,
                              we'd have to buy some propane
                              or alcohol for cooking. But
                              not much! You can cook for a
                              month on ten pounds of propane.
                              With fuel high, airline tickets
                              would go up, and there would be
                              fewer people flying places, so
                              it might be a good time to
                              visit the eastern Mediterranean.

                              On the other hand, I'm not sure
                              this plan should wait on an oil
                              crisis. I'd like to do it before
                              I'm old and gray. ;-)
                            • Patrick McDonough
                              I attended a charette today in my town of Carrboro, NC that is looking at how to redevelop two important pieces of property adjacent to the major crossroads in
                              Message 14 of 20 , Apr 26, 2003
                                I attended a charette today in my town of Carrboro, NC that is looking at
                                how to redevelop two important pieces of property adjacent to the major
                                crossroads in town. For an overview of the area in play, look here:

                                http://www.thevillageproject.com/Crossroads/index.htm

                                Here's my question, to Joel and others- the stretch of Weaver St. between
                                Main and Greensboro has been discussed numerous times as a potential
                                woonerf. I commented at the charette that perhaps the best way to make this
                                happen is to try a carfree day and do traffic counts on the adjacent streets
                                to see what the impact is, especially during peak periods. This is also a
                                key thoroughfare for 2 bus routes, so we might want to keep it open to bus
                                traffic as well as pedestrians.

                                Does anyone here have experience with investigating the impact of closing a
                                street?

                                Patrick McDonough
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