Peak Oil

Kunstler on Ignoring the Obvious

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 05, 2007

Jim Kunstler is in top form in this week's dispatch from his popular blog, in which he holds the NY Times to account for their unacceptable denial over oil prices that are poised to surpass the all-time high set in 1980 in real terms.

Quoting Times business reporter Michael Grynbaum, who wrote, "many are at a loss as to what keeps driving the price" of oil, Kunstler chides the paper for failing to notice the obvious reason - "the demand line has crossed the supply line" - and for ignoring the analysts who are actually paying attention to this underlying supply crisis.

Kunstler then details a list of market trends in play:

Finally, he notes the "pervasive cluelessness" of the mainstream newsmedia themselves as yet another driving force and symptom of a political system that has gone out of whack and can no longer respond meaningfully to credible threats.

The USA, with a domestic economy running entirely on sprawl development and automobility, "could not find itself in a less favorable position among all these forces roiling the scene. It certainly can't afford to continue its pathetic pose of cluelessness."

Unfortunately, no one in the US political mainstream (or the Canadian political mainstream, for that matter) is even talking about these issues, let alone addressing them meaningfully.

Here in Hamilton, we continue to stack the deck in favour of an increasingly absurd airport development project, continue to build big box developments in the middle of nowhere, celebrate the quarter-billion dollar construction of an eight kilometre highway to feed sprawl on prime farmland, and focus all our economic development energy on a planning model with very poor long-term prospects.

Why do we continue to ignore the obvious?

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By Frank (registered) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 15:38:21

I just finished watching about 10 hours of Top Gear a BBC show with Jeremy Clarkson on the weekend. I've seen numerous drives down narrow English city streets, including the stoplights that are green for 8 seconds and red for 2 minutes. ( a little excessive) They have numerous cars that make 23-29 miles to the gallon including my fav the Lotus Exige. American cars have a hard time getting anywhere near that. Western philosophy needs to change because we continue to design without forward thinking. Fresh thinking, people!!!

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By peter (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 16:36:06

you're missing the point, frank. it's not about producing more fuel efficient cars, it's about having fewer cars on the road and driving less. actually, the ramifications of peak oil are far more profound than that but most people can't handle hearing about our future realities. it ain't gonna be pretty.

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By jockmoron (anonymous) | Posted November 06, 2007 at 19:17:59

I read Kunstler's blogs every week, he has been a prescient, literate and delightfully grumpy commentator on the absurdities of our present economic and social scene for many years. Everything he has been so trenchently warning about, his "colliding catastrophes",is coming to a head and, like the abcess this simile refers to, is about to burst, overripe and luscious. All the talk of more efficient cars, public transport etc is far too late, the Hirsh report of two years ago said we would need twenty years of planning to avoid the serious economic consequences of not dealing with peak oil, we are shortly to find out what these consequences will be. As Peter says, it ain't going to be pretty, bursting abcesses usually aren't.

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By kevin (registered) | Posted November 12, 2007 at 18:43:43

We are so doomed, yet no one wants to talk about it. My wife is one who doesn't. It's interesting. She won't discuss Peak Oil. She doesn't want to have to think about an impending apocolypse. She doesn't read RTH or anything I do that is "depressing."

To an extent, I get that. She recognizes the problems and does her part to reduce, reuse, recycle.

I don't get, however, "intelligent" people supporting SUVurbia. Larry Di Ianni and Hazel would be nowhere without the help of main stream media, business elite, multiple levels of government, political parites, police, big unions, and millions and millions of tax paying citizens.

We're up against too much.

I've given up. I'm teaching my kids that world is overrun with idiots, so don't trust what anybody says. Learn to think, provide, and survive on your own. Most importantly, try be content living in a fridge box, because that is what it is coming to.

Finally, if some loser, who's less prepared, but has been lead to believe he's entitled, comes near the fridge box, let him have it.

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