Peak Oil on ABC Stateline in Victoria

Kudos Phil - Well done :)

At least he recognises the difficulties faced by people in rural/regional areas who have little or no access to public transport.

Four of the five communities surrounding my town actually has an electrified rail line passing through them, running into the town itself. These trains haul mostly coal and livestock but I can imagine each community having a railway station with passenger trains making a couple of daily trips, with bus services (CNG powered?) running all over town from the main station.

Now if only someone would front up and spend the money.

Its a good start having electrified rail already in place.

Buying some CNG powered buses and some rolling stock for passenger transport is much easier from that starting point.

Agree. This has got some potential. I think most people would still drive the relatively short distance to their local train station and take non-petroleum transport from there. Each station would need plenty of parking facilities so care would have to be taken not to allow profiteering from these.

The cost of overnight parking at my local airport seems to have tripled in recent times.

Rail is good and CNG too, but we should not forget to ask ourselves what the purpose of all these trips is and are they absolutely necessary?

I'm talking about transporting thousands of people to work/school Termoil.

Problem is, both public and private sectors might have some doubts themselves as to the necessity and/or long term viability of expanding these services where I live.

I live near Gladstone on the central Queensland coast. The town is one of the main hubs of the resource boom on the eastern seaboard. Vast quantities of coal, bauxite, alumina and aluminium are exported through the port here. As long running as this boom has been, the reality is that bust has always been the flip side. The last time the arse dropped out of Aussie resources, I was in high school - 10% of the town's population left that year. I remember the lady from the employment agency telling me that there was 1 job in town for every 400 applicants. When the resource/heavy industry jobs dry up here, so do many others.

Would anyone be willing to make such long term investments in the knowledge that the boom will wind down one day? I hope so but time will tell I guess.

Part of the problem here is that we keep thinking that the problem is simply one of transportation mode rather than looking at the activities that we do at either end of the journey and ask ourselves if we really need to keep doing things the same way or is there a better way?

Take for example the idea that schools have to be at the end of a long rail journey. In any given suburb of reasonable density, there would be many school age children who could be attending a school that is close enough to their homes to either walk or ride bicycles. For amny Gen Xers though itis not enough to send little Johnny to the local public school butmust be going to the right brand of trophy school which inevitably is nowhere near we they live. To make matters worse it is not unusal for people to send there kids to different schools, doubling the travel in terms of energy and time spent diving them there.We should be asking oursleves waht is th outcome of ll this exclusive private education and is the travel warranted? If you ask me as a contributing taxpayer if I would prefer the maoney to go inot building a quality local school that is well equipped, staffed by local teachers, provides mny different learning opportunities to the students nd is a galvanising community institution that can play a large rrole or if we shouldjust build electric rail to the burbs so that you can get your kid to His Loius Vuitton School of rich conections, then i'm going to have tovote for the former.

Same goes for jobs. It used to be that wharfeis lived in Port Melbourne. Steel workers lived in Port Kembla and Newcastle, office workers lived in Sydney rather than Gosford and Wollongong, public servants lived in Canberra (the old Burley Griffin designed city), farmers lived on farms and shopkeepers lived above their shops. We are going to ahve torethink the way we dothings before we just reach for the expensive techno fixes. Some of the problems can and should simply be engineered out of existence. Transporting thousands of people huge distances from their homes to their workplaces and schools each day should be one of them.

As for making the long term investments in a world of uncertainty, I think you have answered your own question. The boom will end one day and then what? Here in regional NSW the boom never really started and the drought has given us a glimpse of what might be in store for us when the liquid fuels crisis really hits hard in a few years. Business and industry is stagnating now in our town and people are worried about having a job to go to. Already there are layoffs happening. The real problem for us is not how de we get people to work but what sort of work should we be doing. The price of fuel and finance is actually already shaping those sort of decisions and increasingly I think people are choosing not to invest or consume. Retail is way down.

You did well in the tough media environment Phil. The reporter seemed quite sympathetic and well briefed - you must have had a good chat to her beforehand. I loved the crispness and firm closure of many of your responses - so much more convincing than people who don't know when to stop talking.
Cheers, Mark

I quite admired the "crispness" and firmness of the interviewer! Was there any chance of a "debriefing" afterwards Phil???

SBS has just aired a story suggesting that Siberia has all the oil the world will need for decades. Nuthin to worry about eh?

Got a link ? Which program ?

I didn't catch the entire story Gav, it was the SBS news this evening.

Just checked the SBS website - can't find it. I definately saw it though.

No worries - I'd checked the site and couldn't find anything, but if it was a news item it probably won't show up.

SBS probably won't list a transcript for that one, because it was one of their "magazine style" pieces off the satellite that they use for padding between ads (!)

It was a fairly light and fluffy publicity video about oil exploration north of Tomsk in Western Siberia, being carried out by a small British company, Imperial Energy.
(Similar article with more of a business focus here: )

Lee Lin Chin looked the SBS audience in the eye and very convincingly delivered the line that the world was *not* running out of oil because they'd found a "Billion Barrels" in Siberia... (Little do they know that this apparently huge number is less than two weeks' global supply!) Probably their clueless News Editor thought this was a bit of "good news" for the punters.

This Tomsk Oil sounds pretty difficuly to extract. It's stranded in the middle of a wilderness and they have to wait for the annual freeze to enable road transport to make it through the swampy terrain. They admit it will take "years" to get that billion barrels on stream. Slurp slurp!

A billion barrels - crikey - is that all it takes to impress people ?

Don't tell them how much is sitting under Iraq then...

Two weeks supply? Wow! Just wait for prices to tumble in response to news of all this extra oil.

Actually, I think that it's pretty irresponsable reporting - certainly isn't going to help raise public awareness of the serious impending problems. Unless they honestly didn't know how paltry that figure is relative to world consumption.

Well, apparently there's a lot of methane in that melting permafrost... :D

Maybe its time to start up a company and claim that we can harvest all the escaping Siberian methane and keep Europe well supplied with gas for decades longer ?

Clearly SBS will help in marketing the shares to new investors :-)