The Bullroarer - Friday 26th February 2010

SMH - The city is choking thanks to our idea of transport nirvana

At our behest, successive state governments have been pursuing a magnificent dream, to make Sydney a place fit for cars to be driven on all occasions. Now the Herald-commissioned independent inquiry headed by Ron Christie has exposed that dream for what it is: the wrong tram (forgive me). - Industry leaders warn of imminent oil crunch

The Green Party is calling on our Government to prepare for a significant oil crunch, in light of an industry led report warning the UK Government about the threat of rising oil prices.

The UK’s Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security has released its second in-depth analysis of the risks to the economy from the end of cheap oil.

Gisborne Herald - Blame will fall on us if we do nothing

Earth’s dilemma? Climate change, peak oil, depleting resources, collapsing marine and terrestrial eco-systems, and more.

ABC - The public transport dilemma

There is a popular assumption that the great bulk of passenger trips in our major cities need to be shifted to public transport in order to deal with the twin issues of climate change and peak oil. It seems that each time a new road is proposed, there is an automatic presumption that public transport would be a better solution.

Yet this 'single solution' mentality is both improbable and unnecessary. The reality is that there is no single solution to the transport needs of Australia's major cities - all modes are important.

Shepperton News - Taking the wrong track

First it was toy cars, then it was go karts. Hot rods held my attention through my teenage years, then real cars, motorcycles and, although they contravene my values, I still love cars.

I understand the damage they are causing to the world, I understand the injury our communities suffer because of them and in the past few years, I have become acutely aware of the role they play in the massive disability that is about to settle on the world through `peak oil'.

SMH - How many is too many? Australia's people problem

Australia is an open and tolerant country with a rich history in migration. But it is an illusion that Australia can absorb many more millions.

Even a basic assessment shows that Australia's more recent high population growth causes or exacerbates many of our major economic, environmental and social problems. Yet successive federal governments push it higher and higher.


The Australian Academy of Science has recommended that 23 million people would be a safe upper limit for Australia. That was before climate change and peak oil became hot topics. We're nearly there now.

ABN Newswire - Team Trev Announce a New Partnership to Showcase Trev To The World

"Our belief has always been that Trev is a solution to the impending problems of peak oil and climate change. It's an electric car which can be built by anyone, and can be powered by domestic solar panels. Without the support of sponsors, Team Trev would not make it to Shanghai to start in Zero Race.

Business Spectator - Oil industry more upbeat, but challenges remain

Oil executives generally deride the idea of peak oil -- where supply will soon reach a high point and fall due to insufficient resources left in the ground -- but it is becoming harder and more expensive to tap new supplies.

The cost of discovering each new barrel of oil and gas has risen three-fold over the last decade as technology has pushed the frontiers of exploration into ever-more remote areas.

"The world is not going to run out of oil tomorrow, but it is more and more expensive to find and will continue to be so," said Paul Stevens, senior research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House. - Oil exploration in Canterbury Basin

Yesterday, explorers Origin Energy, of Australia, and US-owned Anadarko New Zealand said they had signed a deal in which Anadarko bought a 50 per cent interest in Origin's offshore exploration permit, PEP38262, in the Canterbury Basin.

Radio NZ - Scientists warn of iceberg threat to ocean currents

Australian researchers say the iceberg - the size of Luxembourg - could block an area that produces a quarter of the world's dense and very cold seawater, known as bottom water, the BBC reports.

The Australian - Penny Wong splits renewable energy scheme to spur investment

PENNY Wong today split the contentious renewable energy target scheme into two in an attempt to prevent a looming investment strike.

ABC - Cosgrove wants nuclear answer to climate change

Former Australian Defence Force chief Peter Cosgrove says Australia should adopt nuclear power as its response to climate change.

The cost of discovering each new barrel of oil and gas has risen three-fold over the last decade as technology has pushed the frontiers of exploration into ever-more remote areas.

BS (Business Spectator)(Get it? BS..)

Hey Gang! I've got an Idea.
Lets drop the technology and just go for the less remote oil.
It will be much cheaper.

Good call Arthur.

aeldric chose his quote from the BS well because it amply demonstrates the verbal gymnastics, pretzel logic and weasel wording required by the industry to avoid admitting that Peak Oil is staring us in the face.

The statement: "The world is not going to run out of oil tomorrow.." implies that someone is claiming that it will- and even perhaps that this is what the Peak Oil concept is all about - but no-one is claiming this. Instead the Peak Oil literature is in agreement with the ".. more and more expensive to find and will continue to be so." part of the quote. So the oil executives deride the concept of PO while indirectly admitting that it is happening!

As another example, they will admit that " is becoming harder and more expensive to tap new supplies." but deny that this is in any way implies that the rate of production must inevitably drop before long as a result!

And similarly with " has pushed the frontiers of exploration into ever-more remote areas." as Arthur points out.

Unfortunately, due to the sadly spheroidal shape of the planet, if you continue to push the 'frontier' around the globe into 'ever-more remote areas', you will eventually end up back where you started. Then what?

While we're on this subject, my friends will sometimes query why the oil industry is so reluctant to admit to the imminence (or even possibility) of Peak Oil when it appears, superficially at least, to be in their interests to talk up Peak Oil and hence push up the price.

The obvious answer is that it would be an admission that the oil industry not sustainable in the long-term and that the punters might start shifting their money into 'sunrise' industries instead.
Maybe the industry learned from the oil-induced recessions of the 1970s and 80s and doesn't want to panic the horses and drive the prices up too high and destabilize the economy. Hence the wonderful euphemism 'peak demand'? Maybe governments lean on the companies to act optimistic?
Or maybe it is part of a group-think - operating within an industry with greater than the necessary critical mass of engineers required to generate a Cornucopian techno-optimist fantasy culture??

Interestingly, the debacle of last year's Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has probably helped to swing the thoughts of a lot of people back towards the issue of Peak Oil. In my view this will be the more immediate crisis anyway, with chronic reductions in oil flow-rates setting in only a few years from now, rather than decades away in the future as for the major climate changes.

The attitude of Climate Change activists towards Peak Oil is curious.
They seems flummoxed by the idea, suspicious or don't want to know about it. I think they feel it is some sort of trick to stop people focusing on Climate Change, as if we are saying: " Don't worry about CC because PO will solve the problems by reducing the amount of FFs available to burn."

My view is that the opposite will be true,that PO will accelerate CC. This is because our need to burn will continue and because there are other things to burn when gas and oil are not available which are even worse for increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere- namely coal and wood.

We have seen this already in Oz with Peak Water, where the response has not been to limit population growth, but to build desalination plants which run on fossil fuels.

Every desal plant which is built in Oz ( and it looks like there will be huge plants in most of the state capitals) is a slap in the face to the idea of preventing global warming.

Similarly, the lack of ( or expense of) heating oil will result in increased burning of wood. The world's forests are already disappearing at an alarming rate and this will be dramatically accelerated in the years to come, thus simultaneously destabilizing the climate further as the forest buffer is gone and increasing CO2 emissions at the same time.

Furthermore, as we have already witnessed over the last 2 years, when there are economic difficulties, we are easily distracted from caring about environmental issues.

Climate Change experts need to get their heads around the consequences of Peak Oil asap!

I think every mainland capital has a desal plant now (I'm assuming Adelaide does - the others definitely do - Sydney's was commissioned a month or two ago).

Lots of global warming activists acknowledge peak oil - can you name any prominent ones who don't ?

James Hansen, for example, did some scenario analysis looking at how different PO scenarios change global warming outcomes.

Adelaide is in the process of creating a desal plant at Pt Stanvac ( which used to be our one and only oil refinery until it was mothballed). The state govt ( and the opposition) still have avowed policies of increasing the population further to the point where we will die of thirst if the desal plant breaks down. Good thinking 99.

"Lots of global warming activists acknowledge peak oil - can you name any prominent ones who don't ?"

Luckily you answered this curly question for me Gav in the link you provided below! Namely:

for example-
"The twin problems of peak oil and climate change are rarely considered with respect to one another, in fact some leading climate change campaigners advocate not talking about peak oil at all (see George Monbiot’s recent speech here and my response here). The problems are closely related and the best course of action must fully consider the best thinking on both subjects. For this reason I applaud Hansen as one of the very few climate scientists who does fully integrate an understanding of peak oil (and gas) into his work on climate change. "


I had forgotten about that Monbiot speech (I'll note I agree with him about fossil fuel reserves being larger than some imagine) - thanks for pointing it out !

The SMH article on population by William Burke on February 18 was a breath of rationality.

I wish him well on the formation of a political party based on the objective of stopping population growth in Australia.Both the Tweedle parties are in the pay of the Growth At Any Cost lobbies and the Greens,while conscious of the issue,seem to be reluctant to push it,probably on the grounds of political correctness.

It is also good to hear an eminent public figure like Cosgrove coming out in support of nuclear power in Australia.That won't convince the diehard antinukes but it may give some thought to somewhat more sensible people.

The older generation will continue to grasp at straws like nuclear power to maintain the old way of doing things, but they have as much chance of holding the line as the dinosaurs did...

The Greens know from hard experience that if you want to limit population you have to explain how you plan to do it - and once you do that the phrase "eco fascist" will quickly (and correctly) be applied.

Some of us learnt from the Nazi lesson and decided there were better ways of going about solving environmental problems than blaming (other) people...

Another thing that should be banned in internet discussions is the phrase-

" The stone-age didn't end because they ran out of stones."

e.g here:
The culprit being Keith Sutter (?spelling) on this occasion.

Still, at least they are talking about PO.

Well, I read the link and maybe BG was premature as the thread is short. However the link did state

The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate...


It is considered poor form to raise such a comparison arbitrarily


However, Godwin's Law itself can be abused, as a distraction, diversion or even censorship, that fallaciously miscasts an opponent's argument as hyperbole, especially if the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate. A 2005 Reason magazine article argued that Godwin's Law is often misused to ridicule even valid comparisons.

Let us consider some relevant "arbitrary" comments.

I do agree about the stone age stones comment.

The SMH reports Terry Tamminen is in town as a guest of the NRMA warning oil won't last forever - True cost of oil 'not reflected at the bowser' .

Terry Tamminen - who was a until recently the head of the California Environmental Protection Agency and a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's cabinet - says fuel prices do not include ''externalities'', such as the effects on public health, congestion, even wars to secure foreign oilfields. ''If people were paying the true price at the pump, in the US, it would about $10 a gallon, instead of $3,'' said Mr Tamminen, who will address an NRMA conference in Sydney today on alternative fuels. ...

The US Defence Department has revealed that $100 billion is spent every year deploying troops to defend oil interests around the world, not including the Iraq war, which has so far cost $1 trillion. ...

Even if governments and consumers question the broader costs of oil dependence, Mr Tamminen says they cannot ignore one sobering fact: ''We are going to run out of oil.''


"wars to secure foreign oilfields"

I thought the official story was that we were saving the world from Saddam's weapons of mass distruction?

Gav I've just been reading your unrelenting battle against the Doomers in the latter half of

You must feel like the leading man in a Zombie movie sometimes! Keep up the good work.