19 April 2008

Peak Oil And Coventry

When leaflets from other political parties come through your door, are they telling you about peak oil? Are they being up front about how our society is going to have to fundamentally change? Or is the "environmental" part of their leaflet all about picking up litter?

Peak oil is the point where half of the all the world's oil that ever can be extracted, has been extracted. The remaining half will be harder/more environmentally damaging/more expensive to extract.

Part of what we're seeing in world oil prices is down to the US dollar (a weak dollar means that people invest in other items -- gold/oil), partly down to a lack of investment in oil infrastructure, and partly down to peak oil.

World demand is galloping ahead year on year, and we will increasingly have month to month supply disruptions. India, China and the US can't keep consuming more and more oil, if supply can't keep up.

As such, if oil/petrol prices are low, compared to what they'll be in a few years, we need to start preparing for an era that is profoundly and intensely local.

What we can do in Coventry to prepare for peak oil:

- We need to invest in more walking, cycling and public transit infrastructure, since we will see less car use.
- We'll have less food distribution centred on driving to-and-from supermarkets. Supermarkets themselves may face challenges (finding petrol for all those lorries of refrigerated fruit and veg).
- Plastic is made from oil. We need to reduce our use of plastic drastically, and recycle the plastic that we do use, rather than burning it.
- We will increasingly consume food produced closest to our homes, and we need more urban allotments and farms to provide this. Following on, we need more food preparation skills on a mass level. This will mean more classes in school on food preparation and nutrition, and incorporating food gardens into the design of new schools.

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