Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Looks Like I've Got Some 'Splainin To Do

Craig's shadow is posting here with the following comment to the previous post:

What's this got to do with Rogers PArk -


At the risk of sounding snarky I have to say it's that sort of comment that causes me to fear for Rogers Park's future. Some people simply cannot connect the dots on their own I guess. I can help you with that.

Peak Oil = oil production in terminal decline, with no hope of increases that will offset the decline. No amount of drilling, whether in this country or elsewhere, will stem the decline. That is why Peak was called in those countries in the previous post. They are producing as much as they can and it won't matter. Nearest case in point is Mexico. Cantarell, their largest field, is in terminal decline. There is no hope to increase the production and Mexico has no other fields that can meet or exceed Cantarell's previous peak. Mexico is one of the top 3 suppliers to America. There will come a day, in the not too distant future, when they will no longer have that position, and will no longer be able to export oil.

Once Peak Oil is well and truly in motion it will lead to higher energy costs, especially for liquid fuels used in transportation. Since 70% of the fossil fuel imported to this country is used for transportation this poses a significant problem for those who rely on automobiles as their primary source of transportation, along with all of the business world that must transport their goods via air, rail, highway or water to market. In the current global economy it is a combination of air/water plus rail/truck. Truck is usually the "last mile". It also impacts governments, which require fossil fuel for the vehicles used in fire-fighting, policing, and other safety/service jobs (paramedics, streets and san anyone?).

Rogers Park is full of people who own cars, presumably because they need them, is a recipient of city services, and has a retail establishment that definitely relies upon trucks to deliver goods or uses trucks/vans to deliver services. Thus, it will feel the impact on a personal wallet basis as gasoline prices rise and retail establishments either increase prices or fold up (thereby requiring RP residents to look further for goods/services).

Rogers Park will also feel the impact in terms of municipal service cutbacks or (alternatively) tax hikes and new fees to support the provisioning of those services when fuel prices skyrocket, which inevitably they will. On top of that, like most folks, I expect the community will raise hell via our local Alderman and other elected representatives to demand the government DO SOMETHING. Unfortunately, the government cannot manufacture additional liquid fuels, and will not be able to compel business to offset the impact of price hikes or otherwise maintain/increase the provisioning of goods and services if they are unable to obtain fuel at a price they can afford. There will be an economic dislocation out of this.

Going back to Mexico, there is a strong feeling of antipathy to immigrants from Mexico, especially those who are illegal. 40% of Mexico's budget is fueled by PeMex, the national oil company. Export revenues are in decline, following Cantarell's decline, along with the current decline in the price per barrel. This impacts the budget. There will come a day when Mexico will no longer be able to cook the budget books as they have in the past, using PeMex' revenues. If we are getting a load of illegals during relatively good times in Mexico, what happens when the bottom falls out and Mexico needs a relief valve to deal with a restive, unemployed (or underemployed) populace? Where do you think those folks are going to go? You get one guess.

The alternative to sitting on our hands and bemoaning our future is to take responsibility for shaping that future as best as we can. The torpedo of change is headed our way and we can either bury our collective heads in the sand and wait for it to hit us in the ass, or we can face it head on. Transition Rogers Park is one way to do that. However, until the citizens of this community acknowledge that a crisis is before them, it is unlikely they will take collective action. So far, with lower gas prices compared to last year I have yet to see any indication that there is a collective will to design and implement change throughout the community on a large scale. What is occurring, like the Schreiber Park community garden, is small scale and limited. We take the victories as they come, and that is one victory, but we will need many more if we are to survive as a community and not descend into some dystopia a la Blade Runner, where the wealthy live high on the hog and everyone else is "little people."

So do you get it now? Or do you believe that if we "drill, baby, drill" we'll drill our way out of this mess and everyone can go back to sleep?

No comments: