View Full Version : NYC survivability

June 27th, 2005, 11:02 PM
Hello I have been following the whole movement of the oil industry lately and have been reading up on the hubbert peak theory. The jist of it is that the global oil production will follow a rough bell curve shape with the remaining oil after the peak returning very little energy returned vs energy invested (EROEI. As we are roughly halfway through the known oil reserves and spare capacity is essencially gone I was wondering what people living in large citys are planning to do? It is clear that the cheap energy from oil will be contested over and from unreliable sources as major powers secure there own. And renewable energys do not have the portabilty or energy payback or EROEI to sustain the current way of life. Please comment on your plans for the near future. Thanks all.

June 27th, 2005, 11:55 PM
New Yorkers consume less energy per capita than most any other area in the country. Our small apartments, good mass transit, and walkable city give us (and other dense cities) an advantage over sprawl-oriented areas. You should ask all the suburbanites with hour-long commutes in their giant SUVs and giant mcmansions what their plans are for after your energy apocalypse.

June 28th, 2005, 12:50 AM
I do think that there will be problems in the suburbs but I am just trying to get a feel for how life would be in this scenerio inside a major urban center. Although the energy use is low in a high density area the majority of resources is trucked into cities or by ship. If there were disruptions to the food supply network likewise the transportation situation would it be possible to grow enough food to sustain yourself personaly. And would you be able to relocate yourself outside the city if you were unable to drive

June 28th, 2005, 01:01 AM
We are going to learn from Chinese - "Beijing has drafted a preliminary plan to quadruple nuclear power capacity to more than 32,000 megawatts (MW) between 2005 and 2020, or roughly two plants a year." - and start building nuclear power plants to have electricity for our air conditioners.

June 28th, 2005, 01:03 AM
As to sustaining myself personally, last summer I was growing tomatoes in my apartment, so survival is guaranteed. :)

June 28th, 2005, 01:33 AM
Unfortunaly though nuclear power will continue to serve a great deal of electricity in the near future there are several problems with this assumption. First ramping the electricty production to meet the demand of new vechicles, replacing millions of cars let alone semis with a yet undevloped vechicle could quite possibly use more energy than is available in the earth. Trying to do so during resource shortages as the timeframe to a peak in the production of oil is very near is impossible. Also since changing one energy source to another you would substitue peak oil for a peak uranium or a peak coal. Such an idea would not be a workable solution to maintaining our way of life.

June 28th, 2005, 01:44 AM
Well, you know all the answers, why ask questions?

June 28th, 2005, 02:27 AM
And would you be able to relocate yourself outside the city if you were unable to drive

Well, as far as being able to "relocate" (I think that means head for the hills when all hell breaks loose): Manhattan is an island ...

So if we have an energy "situation" then that would probably mean that there won't be enough gas for cars, trucks, etc. Also other power sources wouldn't be available -- deisel and whatever else is used to crank up the electricity to power the trains.

And no fuel for ferries, water taxis, etc.

And the really rich will grab the first helicopter flights off the island.

But I've got a really good pair of hiking boots!

(And a small piece of land way out west ... Hmmm ... hope those Homeland Security guys don't block the George Washington Bridge -- or maybe it will be the Haliburton Security Forces, since the National Guard is totally depleted due to Iraq and therefore all security will be outsourced to private corporations -- and who's going to tell them what is and isn't allowed -- especially since by then Martial Law will be declared and nobody will have much choice regarding anything).

There are a couple of million people on this island...

No trucks bringing in food -- or cigarettes!!

I say after about 3-4 days things would get really really crazy.

Am I ready to deal with that? Hell, no.

(BTW -- across the street from my building is one of those old yellow and black "CD" signs -- Civil Defense Shelter -- from back in the cold war days. I don't imagine any of the canned goods are still edible, but it'll be one of the first places I check when the shelves of my local MET are emptied and trashed.)

June 28th, 2005, 10:52 AM
As to sustaining myself personally, last summer I was growing tomatoes in my apartment, so survival is guaranteed. :)

Those were Tomatoes?

June 28th, 2005, 11:18 AM
If there were disruptions to the food supply network likewise the transportation situation would it be possible to grow enough food to sustain yourself personaly. And would you be able to relocate yourself outside the city if you were unable to drive

You're assuming the oil supply will come to a sudden and catastrophic end, and over night it will be unable to use fossil fuels for transportation. That's very unlikely. What is more likely is that the cost of energy will gradually, perhaps sharply, increase, and techology and culture will adapt to it. During that transition to a less energy-dependant infrastructure, the advantages of dense pedestrian cities will become more pronounced.

Who drives in NYC anways?

June 28th, 2005, 04:54 PM
Also, alternative sources of fuel will become more popular... nuclear energy will allow for the hydrolization (sorry if i butchered that spelling) of hydrogen from water to make hydrogen fuel cells more prevalent, which can replace gasoline in cars. I also remember hearing about the ability of converting grain into fuel so we can simply just grow the future fuel sources, although i have no proof or links to this subject readily available.

June 28th, 2005, 05:03 PM
I think you're referring to ethanol, which is a petroleum replacement that somehow is made from grain. This site (http://www.ethanol.org/) was #1 on google...

Fuel cells are a red herring in the renewable energy public discussion. It takes much more energy (whatever its source) to produce hydrogen than is released in current fuel cell technology... in otherwords, it takes a 10 gallons of gas to produce the equivalent of 1 gallon (made up numbers)

June 28th, 2005, 10:28 PM
Well, if oil runs out under the current presidential administration, I believe we start burning muslims first, followed by gays.

But, we don't have to worry about that. Our president was chosen by God, so what can go wrong?

June 29th, 2005, 07:11 AM

While hydrogen fuel cells aren't the best tech available... if an abundant source of energy can be used to create them, then we still can offset our dependance on oil. But you are right, better sources of energy are needed.

June 29th, 2005, 09:38 AM
One word - fusion
See http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/29/international/europe/29fusion.html

June 29th, 2005, 09:40 AM
Thermonuclear - too difficult to spell for New York Times, apparently :D

From the article above, the caption to the picture - "The model of the site of the International Thermonculear Experimental Reactor (ITER) that is to be built at Cadarache in southern France."

June 29th, 2005, 09:40 AM
IOW, if you can use solar to make hydrogen/oxygen in Arizona, you can ship it to other areas.

A better energy storage method might be the solution that works best, so we can generate Nuclear on a space station, consolodate it into a stansportable substance, and ship it in.

Solar from Arizona.

Tidal from Nova Scotia.


July 21st, 2005, 08:51 PM
What I have read is that McMansions will be split up into apts. much like the Victorian homes were, but there will still be the problem of transporting those people around in their distant locations.

July 24th, 2005, 11:46 AM
Ethenol is already used, as you know, by race cars, is very efficient and readily available. As a matter of fact, I guess its not too expensive or difficult to convert your gasoline engine into an ethanol one. I saw a guy somewhere on tv that has a conversion kit for around three hundred. I dont know why everyone doesnt have one. I also heard, on that same program that in five years most cars will be manufactured with ethanol powered engines. It smells bad, but... (shrug)

Its made from corn, of which we have an abundance of, in Indy and I would be glad to send some to ya'll, when the time comes!! Edward.... maybe you need to be growing corn instead of the ...cough, cough.. tomatoes.


September 5th, 2005, 11:21 PM
I have been noticing on the news lately that fuel shortages are occuring in location in 14 states. has there been any stations shut down in NYC?

September 6th, 2005, 01:15 AM
No stations shut down so far, but the taxi drivers are asking for an additional $1.50 surcharge per trip to cover rising gas prices.

September 6th, 2005, 01:21 PM
Are you sure about that surcharge, Lofter? I took a cab yesterday and didn't pay anything extra.