Thursday, March 20, 2008

Major US City Preparedness for an Oil Crisis

The environmental group Common Current has released a report, "US City Preparedness for an Oil Crisis," and here are the top six prepared cities, they say:
  1. San Francisco (#1 in the telecommuting category)
  2. New York (#1 in public transit commutes and metro area transit use)
  3. Chicago
  4. Washington, DC
  5. Seattle
  6. Portland, OR
I'm sorry, but I really see these kind of lists, and this kind of planning, as completely ridiculous. So 5-10% of San Franciscians telecommute. So 50% (or whatever) of New Yorkers take the subway. Such statistics vastly underestimate the impact of peak oil. So you workers can take the subway to get to work. What are they going to eat once they get their? How will you heat or cool their buildings? What will power their Internet and phones?

We live in far too interconnected of a society and an economy to think that Portland, Oregon is going to smoothly survive Peak Oil just because there is some plan sitting on a shelf. This is a civilization-wide problem. The cost of food being trucked around is going to rise drastically everywhere. Most people -- let's be honest -- just do not have convenient mass transit available to them. What are people going to do when gas is $9/gallon, and delivery trucks are parked idle because they can't afford to run? You think some little plan sitting on a shelf in city hall -- produced by a bunch of amateurs -- is going to save the day? Please. I know they mean well...but it is very short-sighted.


Michael Ejercito said...

I would imagine that they would eat food and that buildibn gs would be heated by natural gas and the electricity to light homes would come from a windmill or a nuclear reactor.

Anonymous said...

Society would just adjust to higher oil prices by economics. Less joyriding. Take the bus to work (yes yuppies, not the fancy train).

Of course, the peak oil concern of 10 years ago was rather overblown wasn't it? Lot of amateur analysts and emeritus disease types. Sort of the left wing mirror of climate denialists.