This month's Museletter (by Richard Heinberg) brings us up to date on the effect of recent US hurricanes on the US and global energy supply and on overall social and political stability. A few excerpts:
Gas shortages could therefore mean that some people will have difficulty affording to heat their homes, farmers will be unable to afford fertilizer, manufacturers will face much-higher materials costs, and power blackouts will increase in frequency. Again, these are effects we are likely to see beginning this winter. . . . All told, the economic consequences of the two storms may be dramatically worse than those of the 1973 Arab oil embargo.
Now, after renewed flooding from levee breaches from Rita, more questions may be raised as to how much of the city should be rebuilt. In any case, whether New Orleans ends up as a Creole Venice, a jazz-and-gumbo Disneyland, or a Spanish-moss Atlantis, it is unlikely ever to be recognizable by the majority of its former residents.
As with Katrina, we can see Peak Oil coming from miles (or years) away. We have a government-sponsored report (the Hirsch Report from SAIC) which says that Peak Oil is inevitable, that it may have dire consequences, and that the government should give top priority to preparing for it. We have prominent industry leaders and analysts like Matt Simmons and T. Boone Pickens saying that the peak is occurring virtually now.
Nevertheless, actual preparations on the part of government appear practically non-existent. No administration officials have publicly discussed the Hirsch Report. Investments in alternative energy supply, and in demand-reducing schemes, exist only as miniature projects serving the purpose of political window-dressing. In short, the US government appears to be preparing its citizens for Peak Oil in approximately the same way it prepared the citizens of New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina.