Not a night for prophesy

The second quarter of the year is the time that oil demand declines, and if we are to see a price reduction it should now be happening. Which takes the pressure away from our political leaders and allows them to pretend that business still continues as usual.

In that regard it was wise, though I am sure that he did it for other reasons, for Tony Blair to call elections when he did. The electorate did not really consider energy as an issue in the campaign. As the election results trickle in through the night, it is clear that a lot of local issues have played a very significant part in the movement of seats between the parties. There was, for example, the case of the Welsh, who rather than accept the female candidate sent down to them from London, chose instead to elect an independent candidate (who might otherwise have been Labour).

Local issues and attitudes appear to have been prevalent since, apart from the war issue which while publically divisive was a hard row for the Tories to hoe, there was little of great national concern that allowed a strong challenge to the current government.

That is likely to change within the next six months as an adequate supply of energy becomes a more critical economic and business issue for the nations of the world. International groups are starting to increasingly put out the message that supply is not going to be able to meet demand by the end of the year. (Note that this is not quite the same as saying that we have hit the Peak Oil point, although the two may well coincide.) They are also starting to tie the costs that this will bring, to the health of national economies, and the risks of recession.

The British electoral results however do show that despite the high prices for fuel in Europe, it is not really seen as an issue yet. And certainly, apart from our two Congressmen from Maryland, there does not appear to be any politicial leadership to help initiate the solutions that we are going to have to find.

As many of you have already noted, it is not going to be until this is really seen as a crisis, which will likely be at the point that we start bidding for that last 100,000 barrels or so, that the general public will start to pay real attention. And it is only with that attention, that the political leadership will start to pay real attention and the Parties will start to use it as a campaign issue. That will probably be before this time next year. It might therefore not be a bad idea for budding candidates to start working on position papers!
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I follow British politics closely and felt that Blair was very lucky he didn't do worse.

As for energy policy in Europe, it must be remembered that gas and diesel were made very expensive through taxation back in the 1970s, and the EU economies have adjusted very well. Also, the price of oil in Euros has held steady, while it has cost the USA more due to the falling dollar. IMO, the EU's economy can hum with oil at $100 because that would likely equate to E50, perhaps less as middle east producers monetize oil sales in Euros. From a comparative advantage standpoint, the EU is in far better shape than the USA.

In a related note, both Ford and GM had their bond rating demoted to junk level. That is very bad news in a rising interest rate environment. Will the US Government bail them out like Chrysler.

Another critical energy source but without the same visibilty as gasoline is natural gas. The rapid depletion or this resource is far more worrying to me because there's no way we'll ever be able to import enough to make up for the massive shortfalls soon to come. Most companies drilling and extracting gas only have proven reserves for 8-10 years, and much is going to be reserved for producing oil from tar sands and shale. Indeed, the Canadians have said they are likely to not have enough gas to properly exploit the tar sands. These are some of the reasons why so much talk is about electrical generation as opposed to transport.

So I would think that proactive candidates emphasizing energy and empire and how they are impacting the domestic arena while underlining the Republican policy failures and outright lies should have a very good chance in the 2006 elections.

You guys might want to pass an eye over some New Zealand news. The Greens there have brought Peak Oil to the table, and their MSM isn't quite as cowardly as ours...there are some there in the NZ MSM that actually publish alternative views.

Their government is currently using old figures from OUR country to discredit the Greens, and calling them alarmists, Armageddonists, and basically trashing them at every turn. If you want to see what the government theme will be when Peak Oil finally makes it into the media here, read some NZ news...

The problem here is that is is 180 degrees from the interests of corporations, the Feds and the MSM to acknowledge Peak Oil, so it is likely they will parade out any number of "think tank experts, nuclear experts, etc. to denegrate and discredit anything about Peak Oil. At the same time, they hype has already begun about other sources of energy.

I sent profgoose two articles about nookular fuzion (Bubba spelling). One written here and the other written in Australia. It might be an excellent time for him to post those links. They illustrate the things we can expect from our MSM...