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Re: [carfree_cities] Oil Crisis?

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  • Jym Dyer
    ... =v= You re neglecting the possibility of components moving at speeds approaching the velocity of light. :^o ... =v= Perhaps these are
    Message 1 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
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      > 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 2 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
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        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 3 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
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          > 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 4 of 20 , Apr 23, 2003
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            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 5 of 20 , Apr 24, 2003
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              > 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 6 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
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                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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                >
                >
              • 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 7 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
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                  "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 8 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
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                    --- 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 9 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
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                      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 10 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
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                        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 11 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
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                          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 12 of 20 , Apr 25, 2003
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                            "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 13 of 20 , Apr 26, 2003
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                              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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