25 Nov 2008

Industry warns re Peak Oil

Oil supply
A report was issued several weeks ago by the recently established UK industry taskforce on peak oil and energy security - a group of eight companies including transport firms Virgin, Stagecoach and FirstGroup, engineers Arup, architects Foster and Partners, and energy giant Scottish and Southern. It is the first time a group of businesses has weighed into this debate which regular blog readers will know has been covered extensively on this blog and is an issue I have raised repeatedly with the Council in various committees.

The report warns that the problem of declining availability of oil will hit the UK earlier than generally expected - possibly within the next five years and as early as 2011. Oil supply could then rapidly decline, or even collapse with potentially devastating implications for the UK economy.

The report is in stark contrast to the Government's position. I forwarded it to key Officers in the District Council and to all District councillors when it came out - it has huge implications on the District. I wrote: "If we accept this report then we must prioritise even greater efforts into cutting the District's energy use. What further measures can we take? What measures must we take?"

I am hoping we will see some actions but so far other than a couple of replies there is little evidence of the urgent actions that are needed. It seems this will need to be followed up.

See report here: http://www.peakoiltaskforce.net/

See Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/oct/29/fossil-fuels-oil

See more re The All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas at: http://www.appgopo.org.uk/


Soundkeeper said...

I am not surprised about the limited response Councilor Booth received from his council colleagues. After all, none of us would willing want to accept a scenario that will change our entire view of our world's future.

As people of the industrialized world we can not imagine a world in which things will not remain the same only more so of everything. We can not imagine less of anything. We shall cling to the assumption that technology will pull us from the brink. Even if we have not idea what that technology may be or the scale that would be required to do so.

I experienced a similar response from my colleagues in the State of Connecticut legislature here in the US. I formed a small Peak Oil caucus which was formed with about 10 members of the 186 representative and senators. I authored two reports to the legislature after holding informational hearings. While not claiming these works to be complete not wholly technical they were nonetheless a red flag of the impacts of diminishing oil supply caused by any number of reasons.

Interestingly enough, and I claim no more knowledge of forethought than any other person, I predicted that a global recession would stave off oil prices rises. I also predicted that it would need to be on such a scale that might be worse than the diminishing supply and price rises of oil, short term. While it was predictable that rising oil prices and a growing recession would cause people to consume less energy and there would be a response in the markets of falling oil prices, it has not increased the global oil supply by one pint. In fact it has, to some extent already shelved plans to seek oil supply in more difficult and economically risky projects. As we would say here, it is developing into a "catch 22".

Councilor Booth is to be commended for his diligence in looking forward for his community. I suspect, although I hope not, that our national governments around the world will close their eyes as they whistle passed the graveyard. The national politicians have glimpsed the future and their conditioning has caused them to look away, for they like all of us, have bought into the idea of some magician pullingt another cheap plentiful energy source out of his hat.

They would rather rely on wishes than tell the people what they do not want to hear, after all telling people what they don't want to believe is a fast way out of office. It easier to tell the the people we need to go to war then it is to tell them our half century orgy of excess is about to come to an abrupt end. It not that we will run out of oil so quickly, the abrupt end is caused first by the common man's in ability to afford oil derived products. It easier to deny what is a foot than to prepare ourselves with thoughtful responses and planning.

Terry Backer
State Representative 121
Stratford, CT US.

Anonymous said...

Agree this is v important - we have to look at this head on and not turn away to business as usual - Jen

PS It was great to see somany people at the Green New Deal on Thursday - see you have already blogged on that - v inspiring and hopeful for change

Philip Booth said...

Thanks for comments - as you probably know there is a science developing looking at emotional responses to Peak Oil ad climate change:

The Green New Deal is certainly part of the answer.