Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Long Emergency
by William Howard Kunstler

You've heard of peak oil, right? But what does it mean for the U.S., and western civilization? Potentially a lot. And if you think technology will save us, you like many another person have something coming.

Problem is, we all do. And if you want a skeptical explanation of why hybrids and hydrogen-fueled vehicles and natural gas and nukes and coal are not going to bail us out because of our short-sighted addiction to suburban sprawl and SUVs, this is the book for you.

It's actually an entertaining (hey, I'm a masochist for these kind of books, and this is pretty well written and imaginative), forward-looking assessment of the coming oil crisis. And it basically confirms what I mostly already knew about oil wars, climate change and the other consequeces.

Turning our energy policies around would be like turning the Valdez around in 2 miles before the inevitable crash -- ain't likely to happen, esp. under Bush. So what do we do? Join the evangelicals in waiting for the Rapture? Stick hour head in the sand (if we were in Saudi Arabia that might not be a bad idea), learn how to garden? Yes, the latter, probably, would help.

There are some problems with this book. Some excessive (at times whacked) use of the entropy metaphor to describe sprawl and other things undercuts his argument a lot.

But hey, whaddya expect from a former editor of Rolling Stone? I definitely recommend this one.