UK Government Response to Peak Oil Petition

In an attempt to engage with the electorate, last year the UK Government launched an e-petitions service on their website ( The petitions can be created by anyone and gained significant media attention earlier in the year when more than one million people signed the petition against plans to introduce road charging in the UK (BBC News).

One petition focused on peak oil, it read:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to acknowledge that global oil and gas supplies are peaking and will soon decline; a situation requiring immediate action.
The Government have published their official response today (3 October 2007).
3 October 2007

We received a petition asking:

    "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to acknowledge that global oil and gas supplies are peaking and will soon decline; a situation requiring immediate action."

Details of petition:
    "The world contains a finite quantity of oil and gas which will eventually 'run out' if we continue to use it. However, more important is to acknowledge that the rate of extraction (production or supply) of oil and gas will reach a peak from which it will decline, whilst demand continues to rise. There is growing concern in the scientific, business, ecological and other communities that the dates for peak oil and gas have already occurred, are currently occurring, or will occur in mere years not decades. We ask the Prime Minister to acknowledge and accept this argument, and to take immediate and responsible action to deal accordingly with the potential energy and associated crises it could create."

The Government's response:
    The Government fully recognises that there is uncertainty around the issue of future global oil and gas production. However, on the balance of the available analysis and evidence, the Government's assessment is that the world's oil and gas resources are sufficient to sustain economic growth for the foreseeable future.

    As the International Energy Agency (IEA) notes in its 2005 publication, Resources to Reserves - Oil and Gas Technologies for the Energy Markets of the Future, the key problem is not the limit of geological oil resources: "The hydrocarbon resources around the world are sufficiently abundant to sustain likely growth in the global energy system for the foreseeable future". Rather, the challenge lies in bringing these resources to market in a way that ensures sustainable, timely, reliable, and affordable supplies of energy.

    In this context, the 2007 Energy White Paper (new window) noted (paragraph 1.18) a number of risks to oil and gas security of supply and prices, including factors that could defer or restrict investment in energy production and hence lead to slower-than-expected growth in production. However, the current high oil prices are already providing incentives for strong investment in alternative sources of transport fuels, such as non-conventional oil and biofuels, and driving energy efficiency improvements in the way the world consumes oil, e.g. in transport vehicles. Governments are also taking action - internationally and domestically - in support of this.

    For example, as set out in the Energy White Paper, the Government is putting in place policies that will help ease the UK economy away from power supplied primarily through fossil fuels as well as bringing about reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Our strategy is to work to liberalise international markets, create the right environment to attract investment in exploration and infrastructure and, through measures to improve energy efficiency, and our ongoing commitment to renewable and other low-carbon technologies, help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels .

    The Government has also launched the Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy (new window) setting out a wide range of actions Government is taking to encourage innovation and technology development in lower carbon transport technologies.


the Government's assessment is that the world's oil and gas resources are sufficient to sustain economic growth for the foreseeable future.

Yes - foreseeable never stretching more than 4 years to the date of the next election.

Here's a quote from Backstop, a Welsh Hill farmer:

we need leadership that bases a wholesale policy review on the issues of GW + PO.

Anything less is effectively reckless endangerment by those elected to the highest duty of care. So at some point perhaps it may be worth assembling an inditement for prosecution at the ICJ on the Hague ?

Just the threat, and associated publicity, might leverage significant effects on policy reform.

Strong stuff I know but when tshtf bringing about teotwawki those responsible will I suspect be held to account.

The precautionary principal should be applied by all our politicians and civil servants. This can be done in such a way that focusses economic actvity towards preserving our future as opposed to lining the pockets of everyone today and living only for the present.

"the foreseeable future" - i.e. until the next Uk general election, which will be at earliest next month and at latest next Spring. Now why would Gordon Brown want to call one two to 2-and-a-half years earlier than necessary? Maybe because something is going to go a teeny-weeny bit wrong with the economy pretty soon?

firstly, this one passed me by (Oops!) Probably because I tend to look at the main TOD site more than the UK/Europe one.

Once again, though the official response to an e-petition is one of:

a) didn't RTFQ*

b) an answer worthy of Sir Humphrey**.

This one is more of the second. Maybe there would have been more of a wake up call if the petition had focussed on UK production. But then again, perhaps not. :-(


* example:

From the petition:

the government is intending to make professional indemnity insurance (PII) a compulsory requirement for registration within 12-18 months. There is currently no PII available

From the response:

they will need to ensure that they have their own professional indemnity insurance in place

** as a UK Civil Servant, I find this obfuscation depressing.Being parodied in "Yes, Minister" should have been the wake up call, but it seems that Whitehall still can't make simple, easy to understand sentences, 20 years on from that show. Grrr.

Yes Minister was a badge of honour and a training video. Young civil servants aspire to that level of command of their job - although the tools and techniques may have changed.

The petitions are setup to funnel 'customer action' into manageable mechanisms. After all, if someone really setup a petition outside this system they might further organise to use more effective tools as well. Horror of horrors, they might talk to the press. Keeping them at the stage of filling in a form and "that's all" is well worth the time it takes for a flunky to provide a rote answer well after the heat has cooled down.

Its a basic fact of politics, if they can see you coming and can manage your approach, you've already lost.

Yeah, I've had a few experiences with the e-petitions site, and with writing directly to various MPs and MSPs. The whole thrust of their approach seems to be that if they can fob you off with several pages of waffle that essentially ignores the point you were trying to make or the question you were asking, eventually you'll give up and go away.

I have to admit that it seems to work.

Love the emoticon.
In our area, there is a free street paper written by the readers, and they asked for questions to candidates (we have a Federal election coming up in Oz).
Suffice to say I have not had a response to my question.

Petitions won't work. I appreciate the desire to make changes but we need to get real. Asking the government for help will not help. All the government does is point guns at people and force them to do something they don't want to do.

In the U.S. the people of New Orleans asked the government for help and many died. The government actually blocked convoys of food, water and medical supplies from entering the area because they wanted the people to get out.

Save your friends, family and neighbors. If they don't listen to you leave them alone and move on.

The government, any government, will only make the PO situation worse. Disassociate yourself with government and you may have a chance. Wait for the government to save you and you will perish with along with four billion others during the next 40 years.

I've told my family about PO, and the response has been heartbreaking. I don't want to "leave them alone" but maybe your advice is good.

1. Brother: "Sounds scary, but I'm no expert, so I don't need to know. BUSH SUCKS! GLOBAL WARMING!"
2. Mother: "Hmm, some merit in what you say. BUSH RULES!"
3. Father: "Things will turn out OK for everyone, they always have and always will."


That is about the same response I got from my family. People won't care until they are paying $5+ at pump and the MSM starts to do stories. Buy that time, well ya know...

I agree completely with you, and I doubt the inevitable MSM stories will be honest. I suspect that the left MSM will blame Cheney Blackwater Bush, and the right MSM will blame terrorist socialist communist anarchist anti-semitic dictators.

Funny, I was thinking relatively the same thing after I posted regarding MSM.

On a side note: I live in San Diego and have been frequenting housing blogs for well over a year, which as you might imagine were calling for a major decline long before MSM even thought about it. When I tried to warn a few freinds that were in the market back in early 06 I was met with the same skepticism and labeled a "doomer". Well one of my freinds bought and lost about 15% on their home, which equates to about 75K. Now those same freinds are calling me a "doomer" in regards to PO. I give up...

Like me, you need better friends. Seriously, cut off ties with these losers and get in with some group that understands. Even if it's just a buncha weird survivalists that are mostly misguided, you're better off associating with them than with mainstreamers.

Regarding MSM in my country (USA), the left vs. right bickering looks like an irrelevant show to give the appearance that the MSM does more than act as a sounding horn for the government.
For some reason the MSM is very preoccupied with scaring us about terrorism when they should be spending more time scaring us about the energy crisis. I believe when the first 1 or 2 million bpd of global production is soon lost for good it will again be the terror card that gets played, probably giving the green light to invade Iran or Venezuela. That will also be the time to start using all the newly legal restrictions on civil liberties necessary to deal with the chaos at home.


You hit the nail on the head. In the U.S. I can already visualize Ann Coulter on CNN blaming liberals because they won't open (fill in your fav. govt. owned land.) Then Al Gore will publish another documentary and demonize every compnay that has anything to do with oil. That will be the discourse in the media. Meanwhile Jeffery Brown and Matt Simmons will just sit and wait for an interview that will never come.

When did Al Gore demonise big oil?

He has demonised the parts of Big Oil that have sought to actively undermine the entire science of global warming, through aggressive lobbying (Exxon). And Big Coal has done an even more aggressive job lobbying the Bush Administration, and entirely successfully.

This wasn't demonisation. It was facts. Well documented facts regarding the lobbying activities of (some) of these companies.

Read Jeremy Leggett's 'The Carbon Wars' for a sense of what big fossil fuel producers got up to in the 90s.

But your dichotomy between left and right is false. Al Gore is no Anne Coulter, who is quite prepared to call her opponents 'traitors' and 'fags'.

I've talked with my friends and gotten a very different response:

B. - we're looking into that nitropack food stuff - like a six month supply. Oh, but he works for a large real estate company ... quite scary, IMHO.

S. - dad bought twenty acres in the boonies and filled the house up with guns, ammo, and MREs. We're to head there when TSHTF.

C. - got guns, got ammo, got some other stuff ... wish I had more money.

J. - devout Evangelical, expecting a thunderclap I think, but in the mean time starting to buy and play with various post PO technology stuff.

L. - plotting a move to an organic farming facility in rural Missouri.

T. - house mortgage is small, I'm a scrounger ... you really think we'll see TSHTF on this stuff?

Mom - "You're crazy." But she stepped up her canning just in case.

Haven't broached the topic with baby brother ... he is educated and all, but he just won't go there until it picks him up and slams him face first into the pavement. These guys are all 40 +/- a little bit, except for mom.

So ... people are starting to know something is coming and nothing but humanure is coming out of D.C. no matter who gets elected ...

My Mom's response has actually been somewhat similar to your friends'. She is quite interested in my advice on the oil & gold futures markets, and seems to understand that global conflict is ultimately about fuel. In private of course.

In public, it's all "Bush good!" "welfare queens who drive Mercedes and get nail jobs bad!"

1. Brother: humans are super innovative when stressed. We'll develop the technology
2. Sister, Mother-in-law: if we're fucked we're fucked, what can you do about it anyway? Stop worrying.
3. Father - Yeah, I've known we're fucked for a while now. Goes back to playing bridge
4. Mom - Yeah, it's bad, but not as bad as those muslim terrorists. We need a military draft.
5. Father-in-law: you're crazy.

As the International Energy Agency (IEA) notes in its 2005 publication, Resources to Reserves - Oil and Gas Technologies for the Energy Markets of the Future, the key problem is not the limit of geological oil resources: "The hydrocarbon resources around the world are sufficiently abundant to sustain likely growth in the global energy system for the foreseeable future".

The Government doesn't get it! The petition stated that the rate of extraction will reach a peak from which it will decline. This is the problem. The Government misunderstands the fundamental argument of Peak Oil! I think an education campaign must proceed before anything else gets done. But this is probably impossible due to what appears (to me) to be a disinformation campaign by the IEA to downplay extraction rates in favor of total reserve numbers.

Well, that is very true but that is not the only thing that the Government just doesn't get. Most of those "hydrocarbon resources" are just not there, at least not in the Middle East, the area that is supposed to hold two thirds of the world's conventional oil resources.

It will truly be an "Aw $hit" moment when the world realizes that those vast Middle East reserves are largely mythological.

Ron Patterson

Where to start? – obviously the “brick wall banging smiley” illustrates the content of their answer – and it states PO is called off and for now – postponed … call back some other year … in 20XX and we will look into the developments to this “theory”, and check whether its turned into a practical reality .. We can’t make policies based upon a theory, so to speak.

BUT- What’s the core problem to this PO-ignorance (?) – Because surely many governments “have seen the paintings on the wall” – but still no audible or visible actions nor hints to what may come – hmmm wazz up? hmm

UK is part of Europe and the developed countries.. and has again for a short while become an oil-exporter (Buzzard), so actually the UK (gvt) is not in a “super-hurry” to claim PO with ramifications/remedies/solutions..…

There are countries in Europe which should understand/prompt this reality long BEFORE the UK, pick any country in Europe (minus UK, Norway, Russia, Denmark ..) they have virtually no indigenous oil at all – BUT cars they drive and they even have an economy – Those should wake up and “put out the alarm…” the alarm is yelling now...

I believe the UK (Norway, more) is waiting for some in more severe and dire needs to start to “talk the talk and walk the walk” – because it will not be an easy thing to start to talk about – CATCH 22 , Pest & Cholera comes to mind – and a lot of stuttering … Who will start to talk about down-scalings anyways?


BUT – being a Norwegian myself I can reveal that the leader of the Norwegian Labor Party – Martin Kolberg - recently has hinted something “About end of/limits to growth due to ......... ,and has to be urgently adressed” … at this stage it’s a “teaser”, as in not much is explained or revealed as to what this means …. (does he and staff read TOD?)

Till now, all that is explained is that this will be the core-driving ramifications for Norwegian Labor-program before the elections in 2009. The Labor Party is today’s ruling party – alongside a lefty/center coalition.

His statements where ridiculed in the Norwegian press, and the interview was not translated into English (to my knowledge)- Commentators from other center to right shook their heads in disbelief, and “aligned” with the press…

In any country, there are a few in power who understand the issues. In US Congress, Mark Udall (D) and Roscoe Bartlett (R) bang away with no results yet. A former Secretary of Energy, James Schlesinger, is speaking out. At some point in the next ten years there will be an avalanche.

Besides the irresponsibility of leaving PO&G to those who come after, let me focus on the strategies the put up front:

Our strategy is to work to liberalise international markets, create the right environment to attract investment in exploration and infrastructure

What the hell “liberalize international markets” means? Is Iraq being liberalized? Is that it?

And how in hell will liberalization bring more Oil and Gas on stream?

This people can only write such enormities if they think those who read it are plain dumb. My only comfort is that it will be this UK government the first one to face real physical shortages of Natural Gas – and then we'll see what “liberalize international markets” really means.

Seemingly they are already having problems with natural gas. The pipeline from Norway has seen the gas volumes fluctuate quite markedly between daytime and nightime flows. Not quite sure what this means, but it seems to imply that daytime domestic gas usage in Norway reduces supply through the pipeline.

Not sure whether it is related, but on Tuesday the UK had to dip into reserves, indicating insufficient gas supply and 3 oil-fired power plants needed to come on-line to meet power demand.

Considering it isn't winter yet and they're already having problems doesn't fill one with confidence about the UK's energy security. The fact that the Government believes that liberalising the markets will solve the problem indicates what a bunch of "muppets" they are.

Burgandy, there is no domestic gas use in Norway

Do you have a link to this story? It could be gas getting diverted to continental Europe.

Euan, sorry no links, I saw the stories on Dow Jones news feed on the 2 Oct. I think the news story had a link to the UK gas regulator on the bottom, you could try there (I looked couldn't see anything).

Curious, seemingly the fluctuating supply has been a problem throughout the summer via the langeled pipeline. Either the Norwegians weren't operating at normal capacity (say for maintenance or such like) or like you say diverting it elsewhere which would imply supply problems somewhere.

Actually found some links, here they are (the problem was on the 2 Oct BTW):

This link covers the removal of gas from Rough:

Traders pumped gas out of underground stockpiles at Rough and Hornsea today. Use of the inventories at this time of year may mean less supply is available through the remainder of the winter heating season.

Ah! Found it:

Gas flows from Norway into the U.K. through Langeled have shown a regular pattern through the summer, according to data provided by gas network operator National Grid PLC (NGG). Flow rates have regularly fallen to between 10 million and 15 million cubic meters a day during during business hours and risen to between 30 millon and 40 million cubic meters a day overnight.


RWE Starts U.K. Oil-Fired Power Unit at Littlebrook-D Station

Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not... from the 3 Oct:

Imports to the U.K. from Norway via the Langeled pipe increased to a rate of 58.6 million cubic meters a day at about 12:20 p.m. [3 Oct] in London, from as little as 27.4 million yesterday [2 Oct]. Supplies at Total SA's St. Fergus sub-terminal, which include deliveries through the Vesterled pipe from Norway, rose to a rate of 38.8 million cubic meters a day from as little as 11.4 million yesterday

I am surprised that all of you here show surprise or outrage.

Gov and the CivServes are completely blighted by 'Group-Think'. That most egregious of toxins to affect all managerial levels in the Western World.

Things that group think failed to spot:

Dot Com Bubble
Twin Towers
Unknown levels of immigration in the UK
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Iraq Blow back
'British soldiers will leave Afghanistan without firing a shot'
Sub prime mortgage bubble.

Does anyone here seriously expect them to respond 'Oh Shute! Is that right? Oh , well then we better build nukes, ration petrol, shoot SUV drivers....'

You really do expect way far too much of your Government.

Case in point: The Agricultural Subsidy screw up:

The Head of the NUF sought an 'audience' with Margret Beckett, (that most useless of politicians and the Minister of Agriculture) to plead there was a major problem with the disbursement of the Subsidy and that farmers were going bust.

Her reply?

'There is no problem. If there was, My Civil Servants would inform me'. He was then shown the door.

PO is politically incorrect. Carbon is the enemy. GW is the enemy.

A loss of Carbon means real hard choices....

Rationing of food and fuel
Dead pensioners
Dead poor
Race Riots
Striking made illegal
Military law

They have no response or plan. There is no possible response or plan, except to collapse society to manageable levels. Had they had a plan, the first 10 of 40 nukes would be switching on now.

By the time any half-assed response will be made it will be too late: We will be bleeding Energy, Bleeding money.

Look. Even those Greenpeace dick-heads and RSPB twitchers have come out against the Severn Barrier.

In a hundred years time, the 15 million or so survivors might just pull together some kind of water powered , canal based agrarian, illiterate, feudal society.

Look on the bright side: first time squatters wont have a housing shortage...

As you indicate, it's like banging your head against a brick wall. Although politicians are a special breed, they are still people and almost all people (at least in developed and developing nations) believe that economic growth is the way forward and, therefore, that humans will figure out solutions to the problems, somehow. The UK government appears to believe that even moving away from fossil fuels will still enable economic growth to continue.

There is no hope of an orderly change to sustainability. We must each do what we can for ourselves and our families.

Let's see - British oil production just bumped up a bit, which means the beginning of a new long term trend must also be up, right?

Of course, using that logic, as the largest government deficit in British history has also been recorded, things are looking up in that area too.

What I find amusing is the disconnect in general - production in Britain is on the downslope, but who cares? The plans and budgets require more production, so of course it will happen.

Sort of like how the USGS computed reserves under Reagan, and how various agencies compute oil production today - we need 88 mbd, so pencilling it in on the chart is enough to make it happen.

This kind of reply is normal, standard, 'govspeak', it isn't really meant to inform or engage or even answer anything; rather it's a form of non-answer, designed specifically to obscure rather than enligten.

Answering properly would entail taking the question seriously, and this in itself would give credence to the underlying premise that the world's energy situation is far less rosy than it would appear to be.

The UK Governments 'reply' reflects the current, official, line that there is plenty of oil for the foreseeable future, 'foreseeable' is a standard and very flexible get-out clause, it means that they can cover themselves no matter what happens. This was our honest opinion then, based on our consensus and the best currently available data and advice, nobody was lying, it was a mistake, that's all in the past, let's move on.

What the same people individually mean in private, is, of course, another matter completely. But the current concensus in Whitehall is that ther'e plenty of oil and gas and will be for the foreseeable future, by which time advances in technology, conservation and alternatives will step in to fill the gap caused by any eventual decline in oil and gas production.

Changing such ingrained perceptions and attitudes will take a long time in normal circumstances, too long a time in my opinion. If one looks at the evolution of the modern 'democratic' state one of the key characteristics of it was 'gradualness'. For example the gradual spreading of voting rights was specifically designed to control and smother the threat from democracy to the established social and economic order. One could argue that the modern 'democratic' states primary role isn't to reflect or represent the democratic aspirations of the people but to control them, by a variety of subtle and often not so subtle means. What this means is that changing the status quo is a very longterm process, often taking decades.

I think this is important to recognise. That changing the way we consume energy will take a long time, in normal circumstances. However, is Peak Oil amenable to 'gradualism' or does it require a certain 'speeding-up' of 'response-time', because we appear to be running out of time and mitigation, alternatives, solutions, need to be initiated in some hast?

Is Peak Oil a phenomenon of such complexity and history-shaping power, that it will actually alter 'normal circumstance' so much that it will undermine 'gradualism' itself and threaten the structure and nature of the modern, 'domocratic' state itself? I am not sure about this as yet. The state's reaction to the challange of Peak Oil could well be authoritarian in nature, leading to more, not less control. The forced 'tightening of belts' scenario.

Personally, I think we cold really do with some shaking up at the top, some fresh air, some new blood gaining access to power. Our society has ossified and our politial system is no longer particularly representative. Vast swathes of the population have been effectively disenfranchised and have become alienated from the entire 'democratic' system,w which I would argue is only nominally democratic in the first place.

Changing our current energy consumption paradigm goes right to the heart of way we have 'chosen' to organize society economically, and politically. Peak Oil is about Power, on very basic level, Power in society. Changing the structure of Power in society in order to deal with the challanges we face is, in my opinion, one of the central challanges associated with Peak Oil.

Excellent points, writerman, well stated. I particularly like:

"This was our honest opinion then, based on our consensus and the best currently available data and advice, nobody was lying, it was a mistake, that's all in the past, let's move on."

Don't blame us. Party on. The drinks are free.

Hi Writerman

My name was is on that petition as is that of a number of my friends.

I think, for about five minutes I was incredulous about the reply and its inanity and one of my friends was incredulous for a lot longer than that.

After that I realised that what you said above was true. The government cannot be seen publicly to acknowledge this issue at a time chosen by us (by our petition) and will not acknowledge the situation until it is basically clear to everyone and too late to do anything about it.

To move before then risks being labelled "bad for business" or "anti growth" a the very least and at the most will cause unmanaged panic on their watch. They will want to manage that panic at a time of their choosing.

I would.

Never mind, people, keep chipping away in your own way.

Carbon, Coventry UK.

I used to think that people went into denial about Peak Oil because of fear... I take it back.
Recently I ran into a few people who play cultural psycho-dramas (some for a living) and asked this question about peak oil 'denial'. To my surprise the answer was more like, "I'm enjoying my make-believe (current or promised) social status now, I have no time for your news about me being in danger a few years from now that might change the conditions of my fantasy; GO AWAY!"
If true, then trying to educate the "public" isn't going to go anywhere.
If others can repeat this experiment and come up with a similar (or different) conclusion I'd be interested to hear about it.

I've said this before and still believe it...but if you do educate someone about PO, give them a kernel to take away, there may not be any immediate effect but when things start happening along the lines you said it would they're going to remember - if only vaguely - what you said. The knowledge will be sitting around waiting for a trigger and they'll be much faster to react than if they'd never heard it before.

Hi Substrate,

That is my approach too. I tell people the problem approximately and quickly and let the denial screen come down. Then I walk away knowing a have sowed a meme that might help them.
You can keep stimulating that meme by reminding them that you are trying to reduce your debt exposure and energy usage.
Perhaps some of the early warnings won't pass them by.

Carbon - Coventry, UK

Rather than a kernel, Phil Hart says, "Send them away with a stone in their shoe". They can ignore it for a while but eventually have to sit down and deal with it.

My 'stone' consists of 3 ideas:
-The fact the oil discoveries peaked in 1964.
-That half the oil ever used on earth has been burned since 1984.
-The image that if the world was a sphere 8 metres in diameter, then our original endowment of 2 trillion barrels of oil would be a sphere about 1 cm in diameter.

Your stone doesnt even get into the shoe mate.

They Govmint believes the CivServs.

The CivServes don't recognise a problem. They take their line from the USGS and BP's figures. After all, they are the experts...

Aren't they?

All here are foolish to believe the Govmint knows what they are doing.

Right now , Gordon is chewing his nails and mulling over Polls. Right now, the boy Cameron is exultantly dining with ex-Bullingdons and re-living his speech. Right now, Ming is trying to remember his house number.

...Right now, the BNP are reading this site.... pouring over every nuance....

No one, No one is trying to work out how to generate the Terra-Wattage of base load for UKPLC in 2020.

Sauve Qui Puit.

Dorme Bien.

No one is trying to work out how to generate the Terra-Wattage of base load for UKPLC in 2020.

No one is working out how UK plc is going to fund our energy imports either. Assuming BAU (business as usual) which Gov't and civil servants advising them inevitably do, as Euan has pointed out many times UK is going to have a major problem with the currency...and far sooner than 2020. Even at $100/bbl paying for oil and gas imports which, in aggregate, could approach 50% of UK consumption by around 2012 interest rates would need to rise significantly to attract sufficient hard currency.

We've recently seen fallout from sub-prime situation in US which led to a run on a secondary bank in UK. Press reports this week indicate a crisis is developing in UK buy to let property market whereby some landlords who bought property for rental near the top of the market cannot generate enough rental income to pay loan interest and prices for (forced) sales don't raise enough to clear the loan. IMO this is just a foretaste of what's in store for UK as N Sea declines bite deeper against background of rising world energy prices. I wonder how long it will be before a 1970's style IMF rescue for sterling is required?

Well... at least they gave a responses, which was better than I originally thought they'd do when I started the petition.

I've started a Facebook group for those interested in the UK to look at other ways of getting through to our Government -

... perhaps we can get some talk going on there, and then add a new petition shortly as a follow-up, tackling specific parts of the Governement's response.

Also, more generally just writing letters to our MPs and other methods of building political awareness.