Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Driving Less Miles for Rebates (formerly "Development" Pricing)
- Mike Harrington said:
>Check out James Kunstler's web site:http://www.kunstler.com
I hadn't been for a while, so I went, and found the following excerpt from
his blog, about the oil situation.
June 3, 2003
The Association for the Study of Peak Oil threw a major conference last week in Paris. The org is lead by Colin Campbell, retired chief geologist for Shell Oil, and the board members include an impressive roster of geologists who have worked both for Big Oil and acadamia, for instance, Kenneth Deffeyes of Princeton, retired exploration manager of France's giant Total company Jean Laherrere, Pierre-Rene Bauquis, VP of the French Energy Institute (IFP), and others like Matthew Simmons, the Houston-based investment banker specializing in energy companies.
The message emerging from the meeting is that the world may have already entered the unchartered territory of global oil depletion -- that is, the downside of "Hubbert's Curve," the bell graph first used by Shell Oil geologist M. King Hubbert in 1956 to describe the destiny of the world's oil supplies. Here are some of the salient points presented (thanks to Michael C. Ruppert reporting for the Fromthewilderness.com).
-- Deffeyes repeated a claim he made in April that, based on production figures for the past three years, the world seems to have passed peak oil production in 2000.
-- The once-hoped-for Caspian Sea bonanza has proved to be a major bust. British Petroleum and Exxon/Mobil have already pulled out.
-- Reserve figures have been uniformly overstated for decades by both major oil companies and national governments -- for tax advantages in the case of US companies and to evade export quota regulations in the case of OPEC members. Saudi Arabia's reserves may be substantially lower than the 250 billion barrels claimed, and in fact Saudi Arabia may be producing now at 100 percent capacity, meaning they may now be passing peak.
-- Oliver Appert, Chairman of the IFP, declared there are no more major significant reserves to be discovered and that the world oil depletion rate is between five and ten per cent per year, requiring 60 million barrels a day in new production to meet demand.
-- Auto sales in China jumped 50 percent in 2002 alone.
-- Matthew Simmons told the group that the US natural gas supply is near a crisis point. By 2001, with record drilling, there was no increase in supply, and by 2003 production was in serious decline. New Texas gas wells, he said, are in decline an average of 83 percent one year after drilling. "The world has no Plan B," he said.
--Dutch economist Maarten Van Mourik told the group that deep water drilling would not add significantly to the world's oil reserve, that it did not make sense economically, and ultimately could only produce five billion barrels -- equal to a 60-day world demand at current levels. Van Mourik also made the interesting observation that, "it may not be profitable to slow decline."
-- All speakers addressing the issue stated that no combination of alternative energy sources can replace hydrocarbons, and none even dreamed of will be implemented in time to avert major disruptions in industrial civilization.
-- Dr. Jorg Wind, representing auto giant Daimler / Chrysler told the conference that his company did not view hydrogen as a viable alternative to petroleum-based engines. He stated that fuel cell vehicles would never amount to significant market share. Hydrogen was ruled out as a solution because of intensive costs of production, inherent energy inefficiencies, lack of infrastructure, and practical difficulties such as the extreme cost and difficulty of storage. The Daimler / Chrysler representative dismissed ethanol out of hand as "not energy efficient."
-- Pierre-Rene Bauquis remarked that commercial production of hydrogen is two to five times the cost of fossil fuels used to produce it.
-- Other French presenters stated that ethanol used in France enjoyed a 300 percent government subsidy.
-- Physics Professor Kjell Aleklett told the conference that exploiting the Canadian Tar Sands would be a financial and economic disaster, insofar as the amount of natural gas needed to create steam to process the mined sands, as well as the massive amounts of water used and polluted in the process.
-- Chris Skrebowski of the UK's Institute of Petroleum noted that by 2007 Britain will be in its second year of natural gas imports and its first year of oil imports, having severely depleted its North Sea reserves by that time.
Go ahead and draw some conclusions.
-- ### --
J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
Do you have a better idea to get us out of the mess we are in
regarding global warming, increasing asthma (linked to asthma and
more severe asthma attacks), and gridlocking congestion in most U.S.
cities (and other cities)? I personally don't think drive-less
incentives would be all that difficult at all to administer. The
mechnisms and institution are already in place to implement it -
every person who can legally drive has a drivers license, and every
vehicle that is legally driven has to be registered to someone.
The problem is getting the political will to turn things around
against the big money auto industry, highway construction industy,
oil industry, airline industry, and their consulting industries, and
conservative people who don't like any kind of change, even for the
Remember this rule of thumb: for every mile driven in an automobile
that gets 20 miles per gallon, a pound of carbon dioxide is emitted
to the atmosphere, where it will remain for, on average, 120 years,
continuously heating the planet. Now multiply that by 5 trillion
miles driven in the U.S., each year. That's one whale of a lot of
CO2 in the atmosphere, to say nothing of the other greenhouse gases
emitted in motor fuel burning highway transportation, like nitrous
oxide and the powerful greenhouse gas residuals from air conditioning
The ozone formed from excessive motor vehicle use at ground level is
also a greenhouse gas of concern.
Regarding the airline industries, tremendous amounts of fuel are
burned in jets (as we saw by two crashes on September 11th, 2001). A
majority of flights are carrying mostly recreationists and sports
teams. Are all those exotic vacations and business trips really all
I propose that any person in the country who hasn't flown during the
year should also get a cash rebate at the end of the year from the
Federal Aviation Administration ... for not flying. Tax airline
tickets based on the number of miles one is going to fly for the
source of the rebates.
You brought up the issue of the link to the failing U.S. economy, and
whether people's opinions matter or not. Well, here's one opinion I
had awhile back, around the time the Concord went done. I predicted
the economy was going to fall, big time, just like the Concord did.
I even took what little I had in the market out.
My brother, who works for Merril Lynch(still), questioned my sanity
at the time for taking my money out of the market. I answered I
believed the stock market was going to dive, just like the Concord
did; first sputter, then drop, then crash. (The crash has yet to
I see where the U.S. EPA just released a report on the state of the
environment. The reported was going to be "edited" by President Bush
and his adminsration, to remove all inferences that global warming is
going to be a big, big problem in the future, and that it's severity
is going to be influenced by how much fossil fuel burning Americans
continue to burn, a full one-third of which comes from motorized
transportation. Rather than wordsmith the report to make it palatable
to G.W. Bush, Inc., the outgoing EPA Administrator, Christie Whitman,
chose to remove the chapter on climate change in its entirety.
In her outgoing remarks on release of the draft report, Whitman says
"In presenting this report, we are providing a picture of what we
know - and equally important what we don't know - about the condition
of our nation's environmental and human health". She must have
written that before G.W. Bush, Inc., ordered the changes.
Anyway, below is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., about the
dangers in procrastinating on things that need immediate attention.
It was about the catastrophe of the Vietnam war, and the fact that so
much money and lives were being spent already on the war that would
otherwise have been available for those in need of economic and other
forms of assistance at the time.
"We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today.
We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding
conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too
late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves
us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The
tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood-it ebbs. We may
cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is
adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and
jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic
words, "Too late."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967
Scientists the world over are now claiming, with an ever increasing
sense of urgency, that reducing fossil fuel burning is of paramount
concern, particularly in the U.S., which emits one-fourth of the
total world's anthropogenic (caused by humans) greenhouse gas
quantities in spite of the fact that it harbors only a small fraction
of the world's total population. There ought be some big changes in
this country, soon, and anyone who cares ought be speaking out about
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
--- In email@example.com, "Mike Harrington" <mike@p...>
> Interesting proposal, but I think it would be hard to administer.I gave
> the background on fuel taxes as history. I think the US has gonemuch too
> long in this direction to sustain the its economic system muchlonger. I
> wonder what the consumer confidence level was in 1932? People'sopinions
> didn't matter much then, see [Great
> http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~netking/prognost/prognost.htm ] for
> comparisons of statements made recently and those going in to the
- "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@c...> wrote:
> I see the situation pretty much thePart of the problem is that this has
> same way. The difficult question
> now is, how do we change the
> current state of affairs? Any
> suggestion to raise taxes on cars
> seems to be a sure-fire way to lose
> an election
been a liberal issue, for purely
social reasons, and liberals tend to
think in terms of raising taxes or
giving rebates. We won't make any
progress until we succeed in casting
this issue in more conservative
terms, and in this case, also more
accurate ones. This isn't about
raising taxes. This is about rolling
back a huge public subsidy, a giant
welfare scheme that the states and
cities can no longer afford. Road
fees on fuel are 100% voluntary,
paid only by those and to the extent
that drivers use the roads. We need
to roll back this subsidy now,
because it is cutting into vital
public services (schools), and to
better plan roads to meet actual
economic demand for them.
The general assumptions -- to which
I generally agree -- are that
subsidies should be avoided except
where there is a compelling public
interest, that it is better to use
economic mechanisms to determine
how much of something is needed
than bureaucratic ones, that taxes
are evil and use fees are preferable,
and that market costing is a good
Liberals don't speak this language,
and because of that, the public still
views the car as "private" transport,
rather than a huge public subsidy.
Until this issue is cast in different
terms, there's not a snowball's
chance in hell of making any progress
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "turpin" <turpin@y...> wrote:
> Liberals don't speak this language,Since when has fiscal language ever
> and because of that, the public still
> views the car as "private" transport,
> rather than a huge public subsidy.
> Until this issue is cast in different
> terms, there's not a snowball's
> chance in hell of making any progress
> on it.
impeded social conservatives and other
Has the massive cost of war-monging
and the Pentagon industrial subsidy
system ever stopped the US government
from wasting astronomical amounts of
For that matter, how many so-called
conservatives ever criticize the US
government's military spending?
Only the most severely reality-
challenged people would fail to
know that it tends to be leftists,
and far-leftists at that, who
criticize military spending on
both moral and financial terms.
So why should it be any different
with another plank of the rightist
agenda? Cars are as integral to
right-wing politics as bombs and
religion. You might as well be
arguing that abortion rights need
to be framed in religious language
in order to prevail.
A naive person might accuse you
of being a fifth columnist. But
you're not. You're simply blinded
Four legs good, two legs bad.
- "prometeus57" <prometeus57@y...> wrote:
> Has the massive cost of war-mongingMaybe. But if so, to date they do not
> and the Pentagon industrial subsidy
> system ever stopped the US government
> from wasting astronomical amounts of
> resources? .. Cars are as integral to
> right-wing politics as bombs and
much say so. Conservatives very
explicitly state their support for a
strong military, and their belief that
this is one of the few general areas
where the government legitimately
spends large sums. In contrast, I've
yet to hear a conservative politician
say that government should subsidize
automobile travel, or for that matter,
a liberal politician argue against
such subsidy. The fact of such subsidy
is tacit and goes mostly undiscussed.
Instead, leftist critics of automobile
dependency tend to propose all sorts
of social engineering schemes, while
allowing their conservative critics to
lambast these as social engineering,
and to write as if the existing
transportation system were the result
of the market reflecting people's
Maybe if this pretense were exposed,
most or all conservatives entering the
issue would start saying, "oh, yeah,
the government should subsidize this,"
as you seems to think. Or some minority
might rethink the issue. On this issue
today, the vast majority of the middle
sides with the conservatives. We'll
never know how surfacing the tension
between the policies they favor and
the rhetoric that justifies them until
we expose the pretense.
Here's my suspicion: as long as this
issue is approached from leftist
rhetoric, it will get shut down again
and again with the usual complaints
against social engineering. As long as
the vast majority in the middle believe
that the existing transportation system
is the result of people's choices and
market forces, there will be next to no
political change. If you're happy with
that, stick with the existing rhetoric.
> A naive person might accuse youAs opposed to everyone else here, who
> of being a fifth columnist. But
> you're not. You're simply blinded
> by ideology.
are successfully changing people's
views about transportation? You don't
challenge my factual claims: that the
existing transportation system favoring
automobiles results from massive
government subsidy, and that shifting
away from this subsidy to a fee system
where people directly pay for the costs
their choices create would change those
choices. Instead, you oppose my
opposition to this subsidy, preferring
instead to pose the issue in terms of
bureaucratic policy. We're each
influenced by our own political
biases, but I don't see how I'm any
more blinkered by mine than you are by
yours. Please don't take that as an
insult. I am not here to criticize
the political assumptions on the left.
All I'm doing is pointing out that there
is a much broader basis for criticism of
the existing transportation system. If
this issue sat on the right side of the
political fence rather than the left, it
would be phrased, quite correctly, in
terms of "ridiculous government subsidy,"
"suburbanite welfare," "industry
coddling," and "never-ending government
dependency." Do you honestly think that a
rhetoric of community, sustainability,
human-sized urban architecture, public
space, etc., is going to succeed at
chiseling away on old attitudes any more
today than it did ten or twenty years ago?
(If you're answer is that it will when we
run out of oil, then your answer is that
the political debate doesn't matter.)
- I have increasingly come to referring to the need to bring market forces to
bear on motoring and road space and in UK many now speak of a transition
from government led "predict and provide" policies (corporate statist
rhetoric) to "demand management" through road pricing, congestion charging
and parking charges related to land values.
----- Original Message -----
From: "turpin" <turpin@...>
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2003 1:32 PM
Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: how to attract right-wingers, or not