ENERGY IS TRANSPORT
The enormous energy use of our transport system is widely under-estimated. This is caused by a long period of cheap and abundant oil which is coming to an end now. The effects of these period of cheap oil was an each year more globalized production model. Our whole current production model is based on cheap transport due to cheap oil. Without cheap oil globalization was never happened and China never would have developed as fast as it has. If cheap oil is over, globalization will decline as the main driver of it. Than we're stocked with a no longer adequate global production system which has been developed in the last 30 years and is not suitable for the coming 30 years. For products that are capital and labour intensive, the global production model will stay in place. But also the material cost will rise sharply as it did in 2005-2008. The global production process is a dance between energy for RD/IP/design/marketing, production costs, material costs, production costs, energy for transport costs, transport costs, insurance costs, import duties and labour costs. The factor labour was the leading fact in this dance, but that will change: PeakEnergy and PeakMaterials will 'bring the jobs back home'. The global production model (and by this it's voluminous transport need) will decline. This influence of higher energy and material prices on the global production model will also influence the regional production model. Production will be done on smaller scale, more in the neighbourhood of the markets. James Howard Kunstler draws this line further and says that many of the products we have today will not survive this 'contract of reach'. This is a questionable vision. New production models will occur that are build on these new realities for energy and materials. The virtual global factory model of Planck Foundation (global research/design, regional/local production) will give as a good example a new digital IKEA and new 'virtual' global produced car brands. But energy will effect transport severely. We've faced PeakTransport. Only the capital intensive products will stay in the long distance production model. Energy is Transport is a very valid statement.
Author: Gijs Graafland
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