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Can technology outrace the effects of peak oil?

September 8, 2011

This post is going to be low in actual information, and high in personal musing, so if that bothers you, feel free to stop reading.

In an earlier post I wrote that I’m interested in figuring out, to my satisfaction, whether the effects of peak oil are going to be as apocalyptic as people like  James Howard Kunstler predict, or whether advanced extraction technology, the discovery of new oil fields, or the development of alternative energy solutions will rush in to fill the gap as the supply of cheap oil diminishes.

I’m still very early in this exploration,  but I have to admit that my own prejudices pull me in different directions, so I have to be really careful as I slog through my reading.

One impulse is my  preference for pre-WWII towns, cities, and genuine rural areas.  I’m a New Urbanist, so I’m generally appalled by auto-centric suburbs, with their strip mall crapscape and separation of uses which require that you drive a motor vehicle  if you want to go to a coffee shop, or buy a loaf of bread.

On the other hand, I have a very optimistic streak about the basic resilience of people, and a notion that when the oil crisis hits us big time,  hundreds of competing solutions will emerge.

I’d really like to hear from readers as I explore the issue.  I have the moderation field on comments set such that the first post from anyone is moderated.  So if you want to hurl abuse at me the best strategy would be to speak in a civil tongue on your first post.  After that you can post remarks in Hax0r or l33t, behave like a refugee from a Britany Spears fan chatroom, or post your warning about the impending intergalactic empire to your heart’s content.

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