Australian Senate: Peak Oil motion defeated 31:6

The Government and Opposition today voted against a Greens motion in the Senate calling on the Government to plan for peak oil.

Senator Christine Milne:

Australia needs to kick the oil addiction before peak oil kicks it for us by driving prices sky high.

"We must start planning now to bring on the sustainable alternatives of renewably-powered electric vehicles, both public and private, and tackle the climate and peak oil crises together.

"The International Energy Agency whistleblower's report is shocking but unsurprising to those of us who have watched the refusal by Australian governments to acknowledge the peak oil threat."

Notice of motion

I move that the Senate:

a) Notes that:

i. Neither the former Howard government nor the Rudd government implemented the first recommendation of the 2007 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee report into Australia’s future oil supply and alternative transport fuels, namely, that Geoscience Australia, ABARE and Treasury reassess both the official estimates of future oil supply and the 'early peak' arguments and report to the Government on the probabilities and risks involved, comparing early mitigation scenarios with business as usual.

ii. Of the nine recommendations of that Report, only recommendation 6 relating to incentives for fuel efficient vehicles have even been considered let alone addressed.

iii. In the week beginning 8 November 2009, the International Energy Agency issued its annual 'World Energy Outlook', predicting that global oil demand is forecast to rise from 85m barrels per day 2008 to 105m barrels per day in 2030.

iv. A whistleblower at the International Energy Agency has claimed "it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying" and that a "senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves".

(b) Calls on the government to immediately develop a national plan to respond to the challenge of peak oil and Australia’s dependence on imported foreign oil.

The Motion was defeated 31:6 with the five Greens Senators supporting the motion and presumably South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon as the sixth supporting vote.

The major parties are not just ignorant of 'peak oil'. They are, with clarity of purpose, voting against any attempt to respond or even investigate further.

Move along now... Nothing to see here.


This is exactly the place where our "elephants" take control of what we see and hear.
You would think that Nate Hagen's man on the elephant would have a bird's eye view of what is going on.
Example: "Oh oh, Peak Oil around the next corner. I see the sign posts along the road."

But no.
He rides with blinders on.

sombody reciently suggested we put AGW and PO to a global vote.

Those against doing something get a certain kind of tatoo, and those in favor of doing something get another kind.

So when TSHTF everyone can see where you stand and act accordingly.

Might make some think a little harder about it.

31 against to 6 in favour of doing something about peak oil!

Nothing like Naked Numbers to drive home the extent of denial.Boy,are these retards and those who have bought them in for a rude shock.

we have a duopoly in Oz, and it frankly doesn't work. Both partises as we can see are happy to remain ignorant. Something like the French System might work better, and/or we could stop the political "donations"

I'd vote for the Greens if it wasn't for their radical and over-the-top policies in some other areas.

Well, that's the great thing about preference voting in Australia, you can use your vote as a signal.

I vote green, but certainly not because I agree with all their policies, or even because I endorse the majority of the specifics of their policy details. I vote green to send a signal to Labor to move to the left. Thanks to preferential voting, i know i can do so safely without my vote being wasted.

When the greens stand a reasonable chance of forming government, i'll consider my decision to use my vote as a signal more carefully. If I thought that the Australian Labor Party(or another with a chance of forming government) was not too far to the right, I might vote for them instead. Until either of those conditions are met, I don't find any contradiction between voting Green and yet still vehemently objecting to some of their policies.

Good luck finding a party where you agree with all their policies.

You just have to decide what's most important to you, and which party best represents those priorities.

I mean, it's not like you're voting for the particular party to have all 150 House and 76 Senate seats. Other parties will get in, too, and usually hold back anything totally insane.

Errr - could you identify which ones are 'radical" an/or "over the top" ?

Ok here's a few:

34. prohibit the exploration for, and mining and export of, uranium.
- Give up export revenue that we will need badly.
- Restrict the global use of a carbon-friendly energy source.

11. prohibit the processing and enrichment of uranium in Australia.
15. close the nuclear facility at Lucas Heights.
16. ensure that nuclear waste is stored with minimal risk and is monitored above ground at or near the site of generation.
19. immediately close Australia’s ports and territorial waters to nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed vessels.
- Stop local production of medical isotopes.
- Give up any chance of Australia using nuclear power.
- Refuse future revenue, from storing other countries' nuclear waste.
- Piss off our nuclear-armed allies, who we may need help from.

11.phase out intensive farming practices in meat, dairy and egg production.
15.ban the importation of animal products produced by methods which do not accord with Australian standards.
- Dramatically raise the cost of milk, eggs, and meat.
- Start trade wars.

16.ban the importation of animals for zoos, except where the importation will assist the overall conservation of the species.
19.ban the use or display of wild animals, and phase out the use of domesticated animals, in circuses.
- No more zoos or traditional circuses.

Genetically Engineered Organisms in Agriculture
15. revise the Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000 in order to enact a five-year moratorium on the release of any GEO
16. where possible, remove all GEOs from the Australian environment and food supply while the moratorium is in place.
- Ban methods we will need to sustain our food production.

26.prohibit the use of electroshock weapons and Tasers.
27.progress gun law reform, including prohibition of the possession and use of automatic hand guns in the community.
- Limit less-than-lethal options for police.
- Do nothing to restrict criminals' illegal possession of guns, but further prohibit their use by law-abiding, licenced owners.

34. prohibit the exploration for, and mining and export of, uranium.

Australia's uranium exports are worth around 1 Billion dollars per year at the moment. Compare that to LNG at around 10 Billion $A a year, crude oil at almost 9 billion $A a year and coal at more than 30 billion $A for this financial year. So uranium is a tiny fraction of our current energy exports. Compared to our other exports it is outranked by iron ore, gold, copper, alumina, wheat, beef and veal, aluminium, nickel, wine, wool, dairy and zinc.

TOD has already had a very sophisticated discussion on nuclear power and why it probably won't be much use either for climate change or peak oil.

11. prohibit the processing and enrichment of uranium in Australia.
15. close the nuclear facility at Lucas Heights.
16. ensure that nuclear waste is stored with minimal risk and is monitored above ground at or near the site of generation.
19. immediately close Australia’s ports and territorial waters to nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed vessels.

We can produce medical isotopes without nuclear reactors.

Nuclear power doesn't make sense for us and would be strongly opposed were any specific sites chosen.

Does anyone make money from nuclear waste? If it was a particularly profitable industry you would expect heaps of countries would be getting in on the act.

Piss off nuclear armed allies? We are really only talking about the USA here and to be honest they don't need our ports. They drop in for R&R. We are not well located as a base for their forces unless they intend to invade Indonesia, East Timor, PNG or New Zealand.
We outspend our largest neighbour Indonesia in military spending by around 5 times. China needs us for resources and is more worried about India, India is more worried about Pakistan and China. Exactly who are we worried about? The most recent defence white paper didn't name a particular large threat but in suggesting we should prepare for one just pissed off everyone in our region.

11.phase out intensive farming practices in meat, dairy and egg production.
15.ban the importation of animal products produced by methods which do not accord with Australian standards.

These intensive meat farming practices are also fossil fuel intensive. Peak oil is going to make these practices uneconomic anyway. There are of course animal cruelty and human health aspects to consider.

Genetically Engineered Organisms in Agriculture
15. revise the Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000 in order to enact a five-year moratorium on the release of any GEO
16. where possible, remove all GEOs from the Australian environment and food supply while the moratorium is in place.

By compromising our GM-free status we get locked out of European export markets. Pollen travels long distances and is impossible to contain. Much of the opposition to GM trials is actually coming from farmers for the above reasons.

26.prohibit the use of electroshock weapons and Tasers.
27.progress gun law reform, including prohibition of the possession and use of automatic hand guns in the community.

Tasers have already been used improperly and killed people. They can be used to torture rather than incapacitate. Their perceived lack of consequences means that they can be over used or used before other options have been exhausted.
Societies with fewer guns have less gun crime, even John Howard agreed with that.

We can produce medical isotopes without nuclear reactors

Do you have expertise to know if this is true or are you just quoting some commercial organisation's brochure?
Wrt all your other antinuclear points, have you considered what Barry Brooks et al are saying in

Thanks for some thoughtful analysis gneiss1.

"Australia's uranium exports are worth around 1 Billion dollars per year at the moment." ... "So uranium is a tiny fraction of our current energy exports."
Good point, but surely this would ramp up in an energy-constrained future. And 1 billion is still nothing to sneeze at, in an economic depression!

"TOD has already had a very sophisticated discussion on nuclear power and why it probably won't be much use either for climate change or peak oil. "
Yes I've read a lot of the TOD nuclear discussions, not just the ones you've mentioned. Many of them are in favour of nuclear, as a bridge to renewables. Sure, it's not a panacea, but a niche that Aus is uniquely placed for.

"Does anyone make money from nuclear waste? If it was a particularly profitable industry you would expect heaps of countries would be getting in on the act."
Well most countries don't have vast, geologically-stable, unpopulated deserts. Lots of countries are looking for a solution. Might be a good option for some revenue.

"Piss off nuclear armed allies?" ... "Exactly who are we worried about?"
Without starting another discussion in this old thread, I'll just say that you may be correct now, but the geopolitics could change fast when everyone is desperate.

"These intensive meat farming practices are also fossil fuel intensive. Peak oil is going to make these practices uneconomic anyway. There are of course animal cruelty and human health aspects to consider."
Ideally I agree, it would be preferable for everyone to eat organic, local, permaculture-style food. However in an economic depression, I expect the .gov to stay in control. How are they going to feed the 80-90% of our population that is in big cities, and much poorer than they used to be? I reckon they will ensure that the big agribusiness has the fossil fuels they need to provide the milk and eggs cheaply. And the people will support this.

"Societies with fewer guns have less gun crime, even John Howard agreed with that."
That's a straw man argument. The policy is restricted to reducing the number of legal, licenced guns. The guns used in gun crime tend to be the illegal, unlicenced ones, which won't be affected by the policy. Do you think the introduction of more laws will really make it significantly harder for Carl Williams, bikie gangs etc to get guns?

Also, you can't just limit your stats to gun crime. You have to consider crimes over the pool of potential weapons, eg knives. If you're including suicides, then you have to include all the methods used including pills etc.

most countries don't have vast, geologically-stable, unpopulated deserts.

Tell the Aboriginal people living in the NT that it's unpopulated.

Strangely enough, this does not seem to be a quote from the Greens policy document.

It's always easier to win an argument when you get to make up both sides of it.

Any time you'd like to discuss actual Greens policies rather than your own fevered fantasies, let us know.

The policies are direct quotes. My comments (prefaced with a dash) are not. Sorry, I thought that was obvious.


I'd vote for the Greens if it wasn't for their radical and over-the-top policies in some other areas.

Those policies look pretty conservative to me. When you think of the way that society has to change to cope with the end of fossil fuels, even the Greens are suffering a failure of the imagination. Wanting to repeal somewhat more of Howard's anti-union laws than Labor does, and having a health based rather than law-and-order based drugs policy is pretty small beer. Compare it to adapting society to the virtual end of the private motor vehicle in the next 30 years, and evacuation of the suburbs, the end of the throw-away culture, the re-absorption of large workforces into manufacturing & agriculture (and the accompanying return of manual labour) and the likely substantial fall in the material standard of living, all of which are to be expected in the next 50 years.

If we attempt to keep existing social structures intact in the face of the twin challenges of Peak Oil & Global Warming, it is a recipe for vast misery at the bottom of society. And, given the inevitable changes to come, it will also be futile.

The Greens have accepted Peak Oil, but they haven't thought it through.

I have voted for the Greens in the past only because I knew they had no chance of actually governing. Some of their leftist social policies are of the do-gooder variety with no connection to their stated aims of saving the environment. The Greens have a Robin Hood view of the world that treats the wealth of the nation, and particularly the wealthy, as a magic pudding of cash that can be forever tapped to pay compensation to anyone who ever had their feelings hurt a little bit. I am glad to see that Christine Milne at least got a chance to ask her question. Pushing electric cars however as being the most urgent mitigation measure is not something the government should be getting involved in. Interestingly enough, Hansard doesn't record that particular comment so perhaps it cme from the press release.

"...and presumably South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon as the sixth supporting vote."

I have just sent the following email to Nick-

"Dear Nick,

I have been a supporter of yours for many years and voted for you at every election in SA and nationally.

I am interested to know how you voted in the Senate vote on the Green's motion to plan for Peak Oil.
Apparently the motion was defeated 31:6 and as there are 5 Green senators I wonder if you were the extra one?

Either way, I would be interested to know why you chose to vote the way you did.

thanking you in anticipation

Ralph Faggotter"

I will let you know the outcome.

Nick Xenophon is recorded in Hansard as voting for the motion.

The Hansard record on this vote is here:

on page 65, with the names of the Senators who voted against the motion:

Adams, J. Back, C.J. Barnett, G. Birmingham, S. Brown, C.L. Cash, M.C. Cormann, M.H.P. Crossin, P.M. Feeney, D. Ferguson, A.B. Fielding, S. Fisher, M.J. Forshaw, M.G. Furner, M.L. Hurley, A. Hutchins, S.P. Ludwig, J.W. Lundy, K.A. Marshall, G. McEwen, A. McGauran, J.J.J. Moore, C. Parry, S. * Polley, H. Ryan, S.M. Stephens, U. Sterle, G. Troeth, J.M. Trood, R.B. Williams, J.R. Wortley, D.

It is interesting to see Senators on the "nos" list who had participated in the Senate Inquiry on oil supplies and also those who had attended the Senate hearing in which the late Dr. Bakhtiari described transition phase T1 between growing and declining oil production, a process which we actually see happening, right now.

Hansard from 11th July 2006

Members: Senator Siewert (Chair), Senator Heffernan (Deputy Chair), Senators McEwen, Nash, O’Brien
and Sterle

Participating members: Senators Abetz, Adams, Allison, Bartlett, Bernardi, Boswell, Brandis, Bob Brown,George Campbell, Carr, Chapman, Colbeck, Coonan, Crossin, Eggleston, Chris Evans, Faulkner, Ferguson,Ferris, Fielding, Hutchins, Joyce, Ludwig, Lightfoot, Lundy, Ian Macdonald, Sandy Macdonald, Mason, McGauran, McLucas, Milne, Murray, Nettle, Payne, Polley, Ray, Santoro, Stephens, Trood, Watson and Webber

Senators in attendance: Senators Hutchins, Joyce, Milne, Siewert, Sterle and Webber

Of course, no vote in Parliament will stop oil depletion. In particular, Australia is in the last quarter of its oil age, if one omits the tail end production after 2025.

My short report on the Guardian's whistleblower story is here:

At the end of the post there is a link to a downloadable PDF file.

The Irish oil geologist Colin Campbell has given more details about his meetings with the IEA in 1998, the last WEO in which peak oil was shown in graphs:

I wonder how many MPs ever had a look at the condition of the single tracked, wooden rail bridge on the only rail line between Sydney and Canberra.

When airlines will go into receivership in the next oil price shocks or because of lack of demand, that's where MPs will travel over. Bon voyage!

In the last couple of months it has actually been upgraded to concrete!

However it is only a single lane and due to the meandering path it takes to Goulburn the train has to go quite slow.

In related news, I have heard that a new freight road has been built to Sydney from Canberra with less steep grades than the existing (and incredibly expensive) Federal and Hume highways. This may explain why Shell will no longer be using the railway above to transport petrol to Canberra. Meaning the railway will only exist to serve the passenger rail service, which thankfully is still hanging in there.

Goes to show how much money is thrown at roads to this day, and how little at rail.

There is a new freight road ?

Where has it been built ?

Thanks for this information!

You can even watch a 3 car steam train going over it:

But hold it, here comes the 3 car executive Diesel express

Seating capacity 1st class: 42, economy 66 + 48
More than enough for Senators

And new services, too:

Synchronize the Senate's sitting schedule with this timetable and off you go!

Relaxing trip. Plenty of time to think about peak oil - in hindsight of course.

As stupid as it is of the major parties to vote against this, it is a positive in one way. When TSHTF as it invariably will, their credibility will gone. Their spin machines can't weasel their way out of the fact that they were negligent in their duties.

I am convinced that the only way that there will be any response to peak oil or any of the other 'tectonic' stressors we are facing is waiting until it becomes a crisis. For those peak oilers this should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat. The key is being prepared for this time.

The problem is that by the time there is a crisis we'll have diesel shortages and all projects to mitigate the impact of peak oil will get stuck. We are now gas-guzzling away the last years of comparatively easy oil. This will be bitterly regretted later.

Matt, of course it will be bitterly regretted. Of course it grossly negligent not to prepare ahead of time. I just don't see our or any Govt doing anything until of significance until there is a crisis and probably a megacrisis at that.

The best scenario I can think of is a harsh, early event that shocks the public and polititions into action. How about something that cuts off oil imports for 1 year, and then allows a return to our current global decline? We're still 50% self-sufficient, so no-one would starve...

A harsh early event will simply be presented as a temporary aberration, which will make people even more keen to return to Business As Usual.

See for example the financial crisis:-

Problem? Lack of regulation of financial sector leads to huge losses of money.
Solution? Give them more money!

I see what you mean, but the financial crisis hasn't made average people change their lifesyle, at least in Australia.

With no oil imports for a year, petrol would have to be rationed, and people would have to change their lifestyle, at least for a while. It would prove that that:
- The .gov can't be blindly relied upon;
- It is possible for average people to be more self-sufficient;
- Oil shortages are feasible and must be prepared for.

I believe that this would wake people to the other mounting evidence of approaching long-term liquid fuel shortages, and lead to real changes.

Haven't you heard MBP2? Australia is so clever, we avoided the GFC!!

This situation is not unique to Australia.

In the USA Congress there is a member who gets up and regularly rails in public about Peak Oil (Roscoe Bartlett).

The Main Stream Duopoly ignores him and considers him to be a loon when it comes to oil.

"When TSHTF as it invariably will, their credibility will gone. Their spin machines can't weasel their way out of the fact that they were negligent in their duties."

ROTFLOL, politics 101 learn to weasel your way out of anything. For an example just look at who is carrying the can for the financial problems, nobody except Iceland. "It's a global problem nothing to do with our profligate spending..." The stock line is that it just wasn't foreseeable when all the experts (CERA) were telling them there was at least 30 years supply. The other major party didn't see it either only those green lunatics who want you to give up everything....

Now hurry up vote for us because we will do a better job than the hydra's other head.

It is deeply distressing to watch the antics of the neanderthals in Canberra serving their own narrow interests. I voted conservative all my life until the last election when I voted Green. I saw the light around 2005 when I discovered Peak Oil and took the trouble to understand AGW. The major parties and the individuals within them, especially Rudd, Wong, Minchin, Abbot, Joyce, Fielding and many others I cannot be bothered to remember, are deeply unattractive. Their palpable lack of honour and their transparent opportunism in the face of the greatest catastrophe in our collective history is tragic; and as you can possibly guess, frustrating.

The major parties are not just ignorant of 'peak oil'. They are, with clarity of purpose, voting against any attempt to respond or even investigate further.

Crickey, 31:6 and I thought all the ostriches were in africa...

ostrich with head in the sand Pictures, Images and Photos
Image by cristinalo

Hey Phil

Did the senate hear any argument against peak oil? If so, what were the arguments? I am curious to know.


Senate's Budget Estimate Hearings (27/5/2008)

Mr Glyde (ABARE) ........As we have discussed in previous hearings, if you look back at the
forecasts that the oil companies themselves have made about what are the available reserves
that are there, you will find that they stand out at about 30 to 40 years, regardless
of the time period in which they are taken.

Senator SIEWERT—Do you ever include in that the assumptions that ASPO has put forward?
They got it right. Do you actually include those in your assumptions? Obviously you do not
include them in your assumptions.

Mr Glyde—I think what we do is we will listen to the peak oil people; we listen to all sorts of
advice we get. I get a hell of a lot of emails in relation to oil prices, peak oil, GMOs and the like.
We listen to the information we get because that is basically what we rely on, the information
from third parties to be able to inform our judgments. Unlike a lot of other people, we lay out
those assumptions. We publish it routinely every quarter and we make our best estimate.

Senator SIEWERT—But have you ever included the constraints, because you just said
you lay out what the constraints could be that could influence the assumptions that you have
made? Have you ever dealt with the issue around the points that ASPO has been making for
many years?

Mr Glyde—We have dealt with them to the extent that we disagree with their view that there is a
physical limit to oil availability between now and 2030. When we come to that conclusion we
sort of, if you like, dismiss the view that they have.

Senator MILNE—Have you ever actually examined in any detail the claim that the Saudis
have deliberately overestimated their reserves, that when they reviewed and put out the
new data on the reserves in the 1980s that they deliberately inflated those reserves? Have you
ever looked at that since the late Mr Bakhtiyari says that is clearly what they did do, and he was
on the Iranian oil board or equivalent?

Mr Glyde—I would have to take that one on notice in terms of the fact that
personally I have been involved in this for about 18 months. I would need to go back
and check whether over the last five, 10 or 15 years we have looked in any great detail at those
particular claims.

I have summarized everything here:

Report card 2008: Has the Federal government prepared for oil decline and CO2 reduction?

Thanks for that. It appears that this boils down to a lack of EXACT data.

It is more a matter of mindset. ABARE could have easily consulted publicly available documentation and cross checked it. Examples:

(1) The testimony of the late Dr. Bakhtiari (with OPEC insider know how) in the Senate Inquiry on oil supplies (July 2006)

(2) The slide show of ex Saudi Aramco Chief Sadad-al-Husseini at the Oil & Money conference in London (October 2007) in which he reclassified 300 Gb of OPEC oil (= 30 years supplies) into less usable resources

(3) The WEOs of the International Energy Agency which contain repeated warnings about the sudden 1980s jump in OPEC reserves without matching exploration

Recall a few months back that Australia's Federal Minister for Energy and Resources Martin Ferguson had a busy week. He visited an outback geothermal plant, declared that it would soon produce baseload power, then next day flew to Beijing to sign a multibillion dollar LNG export deal. My take on that
1) one resource is unproven and cannot be factored into long term plans
2) the other is perhaps irreplaceable and should not be sold cheaply.

Let me put it another way; God help us because our politicians won't. In light of recent TV interviews by Ferguson's predecessor Ian Macfarlane I'd have to say that IM 'gets' a lot of things that seem to go over MF's head. However both those chaps are in the House of Reps not the Senate so perhaps that is untested. I wonder if the good Senators will suffer any reduction in their generous travel allowances as result of PO.

Even getting the notion up for a vote seems like an amazing thing to those of us on the other side of the big pond. At least a few people must have heard about it. But of course despite all our silliness about demopcracy, nature doesn't care what the majority of its subjects believe.

Hi enemy,

Even on this forum, we could get very little support to even study the problem for the US. It seems we don't even trust our National Academy of Sciences to conduct such a study.

Eh, mate, gotta luv Awstraylya. The pollies are dumber'n a dingo's bum. Yer.

I'd just like to give a little shout out to my Australian cousins... (and my cousin who is now an Australian) don't worry, be happy. At least you have parliamentarians that even acknowledge the existence of Peak Oil, let alone introduce a motion in the Senate and force a vote on it into the Hansard.

Our MPs and Senators in Ottawa have no such thought process in our parliament... and are even less representative Senate than you guys. But hey.. we got them thar Oil Sands to dig up. Yeeehaw, lets go have us a Stampede!


Chris from the Pacific Coast of Canada

Sounds a lot like Florida where I live.

Here we can clearly see the effect of an electoral system on the types of legislation considered. The Australian Senate has a Single Transferable Vote (STV) electoral system, which is one of several flavours of voting systems that accurately reflect voter sentiment, rather than systemically skew it. While most journalist/media-types would see a 31:6 loss as being a sound thrashing, compare what would have happened in another Commonwealth Senate, let's say Canada's.

The Canadian Senate has a... well, the senators are appointed by the Prime Minister, so there is no electoral system to speak of. No such motion has yet (or would likely, IMHO) cross the minds of Canadian senators. MPs in Canada's House of Commons are elected by Single Member Plurality (SMP), derived from the traditional British parliamentary system, one of the systems which intentionally skew voter sentiment. In Parliamentary systems, Greens have a notoriously difficult time electing candidates in geography-based ridings/constituencies whereas they tend to be elected in list votes. This is largely because support for Greens is spread broadly across a population with no geographical locus (eg. regionalism). Thus in Canada, the Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois (or BQ, a quasi-separatist party that fields candidates only in the province of Quebec) exhibit widely differing fates: despite voter support of 10.5% for the BQ and 4.5% for the Greens, in Canada's 2006 election, the BQ won 51 seats and the Greens won zero, precisely because Green support was never dense enough in a given electoral district to form a relative majority in a constrained area.

Peak Oil is an idea more easily grasped by enlightened members of the public like ourselves, rather than by politicians. And PO, whether cloaked in doom-and-gloom or merely lightly peppered with cautious yet astute public policy, won't win votes, so it's difficult to see politicians flock to PO-based legislation. It's a bit easier to sell PO to politicians in easily-digested chunks shrouded in the buzzwords of the day. Take "energy independence," for instance. A strategic petroleum reserve (trumpeted with "energy independence"-based rhetoric) can be sold to the public on the grounds of making Us (target voters in the West) less dependent on Them (a loosely-federated consortium of Middle Eastern strongmen and Western petroleum companies). And to compare Australia and Canada again, Australia has a strategic petroleum reserve equal to ten days' consumption (approx 8.77 million barrels according to the wiki) compared with Canada's lack of strategic petroleum reserve. New Zealand opted to form an agreement with Japan for its strategic reserve; whereas the UK seems to have reluctantly created a reserve based on European requirements.

To conclude this portion, we observe a dichotomy between AUS-NZ (strategic petroleum reserves, proportional voting systems in some or all houses) and CAN-UK (no reserves, or reserves stood up due to external requirements, and SMP voting systems). It's not unreasonable to suggest a hypothesis that the more accurately a voting system translates votes to seats, the better a country's legislative terrain will appear vis-a-vis PO. Electoral systems aren't the be-all-and-end-all of mass human organization, so other factors will clearly come into play.

I'm less familiar with presidential systems like the US, but I will tentatively suggest that an American government more responsive to PO could be forged with larger, multi-member congressional districts elected by STV, and electoral college votes that are split based on the popular vote (with a small number of guaranteed congressional seats to parties of non-Democratic/Republican candidates who win one or more electoral-college votes'-worth in a given state).

But don't get your hopes up: if you thought explaining PO to Joe Sixpack presented difficulties, just try comparing and contrasting different electoral systems to some guy in the line-up at the beer store. Just thinking about it makes me reach for the hard liquor! :)

At least you folks down under are discussing this in public and on record. I wish here in the US we had actual multi-parties. (BTW, I'm a long time Peter Garrett and Midnight Oil fan from way back in the '80's.) Despite this outcome, it was only 5:1 against. Hell, 20% of ANY voting world Government being Peak Oil aware is a major break through in my book. Keep up the good fight, you're making progress. MLK didn't change minds overnight either.

To repeat my upthread comment, in the USA we have Congressman Roscoe Bartlett.
Of course, it is he who is the crazy one.

In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is nuts.

Barlett is a grade A worthless hypocrite on Peak Oil. He votes straight Republican(93% of the time), that is cornucopian. He even voted down the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 HR 5351.

Know your enemy.

I always wondered what was going through Bartlett's mind when McCain and Palin were singing "Drill Baby Drill".
Lately Bartlett has been kind of quiet about the Peak Oil issue. His last speech on Peak Oil was back in May 2008.

Step Back,

Politicians find it necessary to cut a lot of deals to get anything at all done.

"One should never watch the making of laws or sausages."

Bartlett has shown more wisdom and courage in trying to do something to get this country on the right track in this one referenced speech than the vast majority of members of EITHER party.

I don't agree with all his ideas but he is strong on a couple of things that matter and he has shown he has the courage to speak out regardless of party lines dogma and if the democrats would come up with some REAL energy programs I believe he would be on board..

To the best of my knowledge ninety five percent of the democrats have not publicly acknowledged the truth of his energy positions-at least as they were a while back, I'm behind on politics at the moment.

Of course some wouldn't be satisfied if all the "loyal opposition" begged public forgiveness and committed hari kari on the Mall.

You know, oldfarmermac, you're beginning to remind me of Richard Reeves.

Thank you-I guess.I have never read R Reaves until a few minutes ago when I checked him out-judging by reading only two recent columns he is no nincompoop and very much a realist.

I will be reading him occasionally from now on.

In my earlier comment I should have said ninety five percent of democrats and ninety eight percent of republicans don't admit the truth in regard to energy.

Al Gore was/is a man before his time.Personally I can't stand his wooden ways and holier than thou attitudes but he is undoubtedly right in respect to the problems, if not in the solutions.If we had a congress dominated by Gores and Bartletts something useful would get done.

My guess is that the republicans are more or less finished for a good long while, although they may win an election here and there, maybe even the white house.

The rise of the talk radio and right wing commentary industry was a good thing for the country for a while as it maintained a little balance in the media which despite the howls of the liberals is still mostly liberal.

But of course the Limbaugh types have become influential and powerful enough now to drive the republican party into a corner and drive out the more intelligent people who are conservatively inclined and turn them into O Bama democrats.

In the long run Limbaugh is an enormous liability to the political right and with the help he is getting from others of his persausion he may succeed in turning this country into his worst nightmare-a western European style socialist democracy.

Personally I would rather see this country stay the middle ground but the free enterprise system hardly exists any more and conservatism as a philosophy has been hijacked and enslaved by the military industrial financial complex.

The sad thing is that the average person on the street who remains a conservative or a republican (not at all the same thing in my book ) doesn't realize he is being had by both the right and the left politically.

My bottom line guess is that the left dominates politically for the next couple of decades for reasons including demographics and declining living standards but that the banksters continue to enjoy the ownership of our govt as a wholly owned subsidiary.

I confess I was being both complimentary and critical.
I'd say Richard Reeves is a centrist, despite his claiming to be a liberal. He says reasonable things but I think he is not saying enough critical things.
My criticism of a lot of TODers is when they talk only of individual actions and not promoting bigger approaches with big benefits (except AlanFromBigEasy of course).
Anyone who's paid attention to my posts knows I'm simply promoting nuclear (preferably Gen4 nuclear). I'm a simple person. I think if you look at the numbers nuclear is the cheapest, safest, longest lasting form of energy production. It's the one big thing we could do to make things better. And some of the best work was done in the USA, at ORNL (MSR) and Argonne (IFR) and probably elsewhere I don't know about.
I agree with the last part of your last paragraph - that's the kind of critical plain-spokenness I like.
Sorry for singling you out.

ninety five percent [95%] of the Democrats have not publicly acknowledged the truth

Al Gore, who was once President of the United States and a professed Democrat, noted in one of his bibliographic comments that he was astounded at how other politicians reacted to his first speech on Peak ... err, on Global Whatchyamma call it.

He thought all he had to do was show them the graph of annual CO2 measurements taken in Hawaii, and instantly, they would "get it".

Here we are 30 years later, and many still don't get it.

Left click on image to read about Inhofe's "We won" moment

You've got a motion in Austrialia! Wow, that's already huge progress.

Sure, it was bound to get defeated - the reasons are too many, most of them probably political, but don't take this is a a sign of despair, but as a sign of progress. Granted, you may not view it as much, but I think it shows how far Australia is in this question.

And no, I'm not joking.

Well look at it this way - at least you have a marker in the sand. Very few, if any, other nations' parliaments have even considered a vote on the issue.


agree with all those posters who point out that at least Australia had a vote... along with previous poster who asked if there was any rebuttal arguments made or they just voted?

minutes video/audio?

Nup. No debate. Just put up the motion, they all voted the way their whips told them to.

Buh-bye, humanity.

Of course, part of it is that that Greens have about zero credibility anymore. Dick Taverne has done a masterful job debunking the Greens movement.

To be sure, Taverne isn't very well-informed about peak oil, either.

This is the text of an email reply from a prominent Greens politician in Brisbane last year, when I was seeking support to raise awareness of the incumbent Queensland Government's efforts to actually develop a peak oil mitigation plan.

Hello ..., I am OS at the moment but thank you for keeping me up to date. Before we left Bris we had 3kw solar panels installed by Origin [the local power company] which will help reduce oil dependency a little. Cheers, ...

Yep. Solar panels will fix peak oil and save the polar bears (and koala bears). LOL!

While I applaud Christine Milne's efforts in recent years, the Greens in general are a sick joke, particularly here in Queensland. They are even more useless than the Government. And that's saying something.

Shakes head and chuckles in disgusted resignation.....

The good thing about this is that it taught me not to waste any more time dealing with the useless Queensland Greens.

This is more (circumstantial) evidence one cannot count on elected "representatives" when it comes to helping out on the issue of PO.

It borders on criminal behaviour, though. Tar and feathers I would say.

I certainly appreciate Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R)--we are not on the same end of the political spectrum yet he is one brave man, bucking his conformist party to speak truth to power. There are plenty of biblical analogies. From the voice of one crying in the wilderness to a prophet being unwelcome in his own home town, many nations have only a few voices in their political apparatus willing to face the tide of denial. As the bearers of bad news, especially if our prophecies turn out to be largely correct, we are more likely to be greeted with scorn than hailed as heroes. Such is the role of the prophet in society.

Bartlett is a 100% phoney who talks up Peak Oil and tries to shoot down
Renewable Energy Bill HR 5351.

A prophet without honor.

A fitting way to go for the land of Mad Max.

Paul Syvret from Queensland's Courier Mail has covered this vote. Article is here:,23739,26379109-5012475,00.html

Roland Emmerich already knew it in 2012:

How would the governments of our planet
prepare six billion people
for the end of the world

They wouldn't

World Energy, Population, Economic Trends

Timing - Crude oil production peaked in May 2005 and has shown no growth since then despite dramatic surges doubling in price and in exploration activity.
Decline Rate - The US has been in decline since 1971. The giant Cantarell field in Mexico is losing production at rates approaching 20% per year.
Globally, the annual decline rate is around 5%.
The Net Export Problem – As higher Oil prices stimulate Oil Exporters economies, they are using more Oil internally, thus reducing the amount of Oil for Export.

Natural Gas
The supply situation with natural gas is very similar to that of oil. While oil and gas will both exhibit a production peak, the slope of the post-peak decline for gas will be significantly steeper. As with oil, we found and drilled the big ones first. The peak of world gas production may not occur until 2025, but two things are sure: we will have even less warning than we had for Peak Oil, and the subsequent decline rates may be shockingly high.

The ugly stepsister of fossil fuels. It has a terrible environmental reputation. Most coal today is used to generate electricity. Coal may also Peak in around 2025.

Given their usual lifespans, many reactors are nearing the end of their useful life. Given the likely level of decommissioning and of proposed new reactors to be built, it is likely that we have already seen the Peak of Nuclear power.

If coal is the ugly stepsister, hydro is one of the fairy godmothers of the energy story, this form of energy production may be set to increase

Renewable Energy
While I do not subscribe to the pessimistic notion that renewables will make little significant contribution, it's equally unrealistic to expect that they will achieve a dominant position in the energy marketplace. This is primarily because of their late start relative to the imminent decline of oil, gas and nuclear power, as well as their continued economic disadvantage relative to coal.

Fossil Fuels have been by far the most important contributors to the world's current energy mix, but all three are set for rapid declines, whilst Hydro and renewables are set to make respectable contributions.

In an overall context, this shortfall contains an ominous message for our future, Energy shortages are coming!

The Effect of Energy Decline on Population
Human population growth has been enabled by the growth in our Cheap & Abundant energy supply.

The Historical and Current Situation - The world's population has increased by a similar amount in that time, from 200 million in 1 CE to 6.6 billion today. There is of course a great disparity in global energy consumption. The combined populations of China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (2.7 billion) today use an average of just 0.8 toe (Tonnes of Oil Equivalent) per person per year, compared to the global average of 1.7 and the American consumption of about 8.0.
Long-Term and Aggregate Effects - The net oil export crisis may well be the defining geopolitical event of the next decade.

The Population Model - It is likely that things such as major regional food shortages, a spread of diseases due to a loss of urban medical and sanitation services and an increase in deaths due to exposure to heat and cold.

Effects of Ecological Damage
There are two ecological concepts that are the keys to understanding humanity's situation on our planet today. The first is Carrying Capacity, the second is Overshoot.

Carrying Capacity – The carrying capacity of an environment is established by the quantity of resources available to the population that inhabits it. The usual limiting resource is assumed to be the food supply.

Overshoot - Populations in serious overshoot always decline. This is seen in wine vats when the yeast cells die after consuming all the sugar from the grapes and bathing themselves in their own poisonous alcoholic wastes. Another example is the death of the oceans, where 90% of all large fish species are now at risk, and most fish species will be at risk within 40 years.

As our supply of energy (and especially that one-time gift of fossil fuels) begins to decline, this mask will be gradually peeled away to reveal the true extent of our ecological depredations. As we have to rely more and more on the unassisted bounty of nature, the consequences of our actions will begin to affect us all.
It is impossible to say with certainty how deep into overshoot humanity is at the moment. Some calculations point to an overshoot of 25%, others hint that it may be much greater than that.

All the research I have done for this paper has convinced me that the human race is now out of time. We are staring at hard limits on our activities and numbers, imposed by energy constraints and ecological damage. There is no time left to mitigate the situation, and no way to bargain or engineer our way out of it. It is what it is, and neither Mother Nature nor the Laws of Physics are open to negotiation.
We have come to this point so suddenly that most of us have not yet realized it. While it may take another twenty years for the full effects to sink in, the first impacts from oil depletion (the net oil export crisis) will be felt within five years. Given the size of our civilization and the extent to which we rely on energy in all its myriad forms, five years is far too short a time to accomplish any of the unraveling or re-engineering it would take to back away from the precipice. At this point we are committed to going over the edge into a major population reduction.

We need to start now to put systems, structures and attitudes in place that will help them cope with the difficulties, find happiness where it exists and thrive as best they can. We need to develop new ways of seeing the world, new ways of seeing each other, new values and ethics.
Link –
I have edited & abbreviated the above article to make it more readable, as it is quite long. That said, I recommend it be read fully & that the relevant graphs be examined, as it certainly provides some strong pointers for the future direction of Market segments, entire markets & beyond!

There are, of course, numerous other Factors which will impact on the future, including the relatively recent massive increases in Private & Government DEBT & the relationship of the DEBT to GDP Ratio, as well as other very significant factors!

However, some issues in the article where I am not in full disagreement, but I believe this article is fairly close to one possible reality and all that goes with it.

There may be other possible Realities!

I have heard it said that many, like these Australian Politicians, have their heads in the sand, that they do not realise what is happening. Whilst that may well be true, at some level, it is not at the level of these and other Politicians. This decision is not a lack of knowledge, it is far, far worse!

It is not possible that these and other Politicians (of all party's), the Fossil Fuel Industry & others in the Establishment are not aware of some of the possibilities involved.

Coming down a notch from federal government to Australian NSW state government, a vote on peak oil was narrowly defeated 20 votes to 19 (see Politicians aren't really ignorant of peak oil, but like most people it scares them. Our federal member (Mike Kelly) publicly talks about Peak Oil and the coming energy problems. He also (a part of politics) needs to "follow the party line", so what he can and will vote on is influenced by party politics - balancing one vote once (and risking removal from the party) versus making unpleasant voting decisions but remaining in the game to keep chipping away at the overall party stance. Same with Peter Garret, although I expected more "muscle" from him.

I do wish they would all just get together and work out what our future will be like if we continue business as usual, and then move away from the business as usual model. Yes, businesses will fail, yes the stock market will take a tumble, yes lots of people will be unemployed, yes there will be some "unpleasantness" - but at least we would have a future to build up, rather than a civilisation hitting a brick wall.

[quote]do wish they would all just get together and work out what our future will be like if we continue business as usual, and then move away from the business as usual model. Yes, businesses will fail, yes the stock market will take a tumble, yes lots of people will be unemployed, yes there will be some "unpleasantness" - but at least we would have a future to build up, rather than a civilization hitting a brick wall.[/quote]

I believe there is a 3rd way..

We (the government) stop wasting money on things we dont need (ie, wars, new years parties, political banquets and the likes..) and spend all of that extra money on renewable energy, water infrastructure and electric rail infrastructure.

Then, if we are wrong, its no big loss, we have nice cheap electric rail infrastructure, and if we are right, then we may not be in as good a position as we could have been if we took peak oil seriously now, however we would be in a much better position than if we had done nothing.

I personally try to rely on governments/corporations as little as possible, so I am enacting an additional backup of self sufficiency.

This is the "no regrets" way. Whatever we do, we neerd to be able to live with it, no matter what scenarios play out.

I started voting Green and then stopped, because Green will not get into government, and instead my votes go to Labour who I think is absolutely full of toss. The option I now use is to disqualify my vote (since you're not allowed NOT to vote), so that at least my vote doesn't go to a party I really don't want to vote for. Labour and Cons are equally bad. Having met a couple of Green Party aspiring politicians where I live, I've come to the conclusion that they too are more interested in power than in the common good for all, so as far as politicians go they're all much of the same.

Henry Louis Mencken said it in 1919:
"The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And if he is not romantic personally, he is apt to spread discontent among those who are."

I have no faith whatsoever in our government, and would not believe for a second that when TSHTF people will all of a sudden wake up, or government will all of a sudden govern fairly and justly.

The best we can do is prepare for ourselves and help whoever we can (and is willing to be helped) and just hope that the world won't turn too ugly too quickly.


That's a great quote asynick. Where does it come from?