Quote of the Day: Jeff Rubin On Alternatives To Oil (Or Lack Thereof)


Economist Jeff Rubin, author of Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller talks to Melissa Shin of Corporate Knights about how Your city is about to get a whole lot bigger She concludes the interview by asking Rubin:

What do you favour as an alternative to oil?

Unfortunately, there is no substitute for oil as a transit fuel, mainly because natural gas packs only one quarter of the energy density of oil. We don't have enough time [to develop a substitute] and our rendez-vous with triple-digit oil prices [per barrel] is not in 10 or 15 years, but in 10 or 15 weeks. The solution lies on the demand side. We have to change our economy so that it's not so dependent on oil or transportation costs. Instead of operating as a global economy, which is an energy and oil-intensive way of doing business, we have to go back to local or regional economies. It won't prevent oil from being in triple-digit range, [but] it'll certainly mitigate the impact of those oil prices on our economic performance."How can cities prepare for a peak oil future?

In a world of triple-digit oil prices, we're not going to get chicken wings from China. Sure, the wages are going to be cheaper there. But what we save we'll more than squander on [the fuel it takes to get] food here. So there's going to be a move back to local or regional agriculture dictated by higher prices. You're going to see a movement of people from far-flung suburbs back into the city.

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Tags: Peak Oil

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