New Orleans

I’m sat here watching CNN on the Internet and I can’t quite believe what I’m seeing. People who haven’t eaten for 4 days, thousands of people searching for drinking water, dead bodies pushed into corners of an American sports arena, an entire US city being evacuated whilst others “loot”. Bush is saying they will take a “zero tolerance” stance on the “looters”, however some of the looting appears to be for survival – people are just trying to feed their families. What would you do if you hadn’t eaten for a few days?

This is the USA – and this is happening only hundreds of miles from other american metropolises. Is it really that difficult to drop some USAID food supplies and bottles of drinking water? It doesn’t appear that anyone is actually in control of the situation….

Billions of dollars are spent fighting wars in other counties but an aid operation on their own shores appears to be impossible to perform. I can’t see Bush coming out of the other side of this very well at all. Flying over the site and saying “we’ve got lots of choppers coming for them” isn’t going to cut much flak with people who are dying.

Plus now we have people panic buying petrol as they have seen prices leap 1/2 dollar in the last 24 hours. 1/3 of the refineries are shut. As we have seen in the UK, once people think that they need to fill their car(s) with petrol “just in case” the price leaps, the queues get bigger, the panic spreads and of course the price increases….

Liberation has a debate on reducing the speed limit on the autoroutes and Dominque de Villepin (French PM) has today said “We have entered the post-oil era”. We may see prices jump to over £1 as petrol destined for these shores moves to the US as the oil companies (who incidentally are seeing huge leaps in their stock prices) grab some easy profits…. £1 in my opinion is too cheap for a commodity which is destroying the planet every time someone starts their engine but thats an argument to leave for another day.

I personally don’t believe this will be peak-oil’s moment. Refineries will come back on board and the price will drop a little. But it is definitely showing how the lack of refining capability can affect oil/petrol prices and that we should use this as a catalyst for starting to adapt our energy policies for a time when oil is a lot, lot more expensive than currently.

Lets just hope they get as many people out of there before things get really bad.