Comment 94987

By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted November 19, 2013 at 22:42:47 in reply to Comment 94881

1) It’s certainly not inadmissible to think that fossil fuels are going to get more expensive. No one can claim that fossil fuels will not eventually become costly- they are finite, so of course they will. Whether that it is within the span of a human lifetime or not is questionable. That isn’t what you originally argued, though: you said that energy will become expensive, which is wrong. Other forms of energy are becoming dramatically more affordable, and there are reasons to believe (particularly with solar) that this will accelerate to the point where energy is genuinely abundant. Whether or not you think new extraction techniques are bona fide innovation is beside your point- cheap energy will make the private automobile untenable. Not so at all.

This is a difficult argument you're trying to present. Energy has indeed become more expensive. It is the higher price being paid for energy that makes fracking, off shore oil, tar sands, etc ..., including solar, viable.

Another complicating matter is the cycle of energy boom and bust. We have been here before. The price of oil and gas increases, it peaks, society panics, invests in renewables, and then a new discovery is made (North Sea) or a new technology is uncovered (shale and fracking) prices decrease, the market returns to guzzlers and attention on renewables fade until the next crash. But, the price of energy, particularly oil and gas, trends steadily upwards.

I agree with the premise of the article but I am ambivalent as to whether oil prices will contribute greatly to the end of car culture. Not that I expect the current boom to last long, but because many people would give up their homes before they give up their cars. I think, more likely, a generational change will bring about an end to car culture.

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