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The Forum > Article Comments > Whither peak oil at Rudd's 2020 Summit? > Comments

Whither peak oil at Rudd's 2020 Summit? : Comments

By Michael Lardelli, published 10/4/2008

It's widely accepted and little-talked-about that we are running out of oil. The 2020 Summit continues that silence.

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Iím with you all the way Michael.

There can be no more urgent matter in desperate need of resolution than peak oil. The impending stresses being placed on every aspect of our society by ever-rising fuel prices are of such a magnitude that they threaten to disrupt the very fabric of our society. And thatís before we actually suffer any shortages of supply.

The outlook is extremely grim. The 2020 summit should be centred on the peak oil issue, with anything else to be discussed strongly connected back to it.

If the approaching end to cheap and abundant liquid fossil fuel energy is not discussed at this forum, then the forum will be in effect useless.

Yes, it is well and truly time for all those concerned with this issue to band together and launch some very strong demands that our government deal with it as itís highest priority.

We desperately need the Tim Flannerys, Ian Lowes, Greg Bournes and Andrew McNamaras to pull this issue together and garner support from the general community, and get that pressure building upon Rudd to act decisively.

The recent greatly increased awareness and action on climate change needs to morph very quickly into action on peak oil. The approach is pretty much the same, but the urgency is much greater. Issues of sustainability, population stabilisation and an end to continuous-growth-forever mantra are fundamental components.

So, while the long-term goal is a sustainable society and healthy environment, the short-term focus must be fairly and squarely on the end to the cheap energy regime that our society is so fundamentally dependent on.
Posted by Ludwig, Thursday, 10 April 2008 10:19:34 AM
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Australia, as a whole, is completely blind to Peak Oil. How long this continues remains to be seen. Either by education or reality it's effects will be known soon enough. Perhaps action by Peak Oil proponents does need to go to the streets. Unfortunately most of the people who know about it don't seem to be the banner whirling types. I'm not in Academic circles, where most of it's proponents lie, and I couldn't tell you one other person I've met that can even make a connection between the words "Peak" and "Oil". Are there any Peak Oil aware celebrities?
Australia's media are also blissfully unaware. You may get the odd small article here and there with a mention, but never a dedicated article. I personally have written time and time again to the Sydney Morning Herald trying to relate Peak Oil to a particular story. Not one of my letters have ever been published (though that may have more to do with my writing style than the issue at hand).
If a street walk is required perhaps now is the time to do it. You may get a minute or two in the nightly news.
Posted by Turnpike, Thursday, 10 April 2008 11:26:34 AM
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MIchael,
It really is an uphill battle.
The pollies have been so long silent that they have put themselves into
a position that to admit to peak oil publically will raise the
question as to why they have kept us in the dark for so long.

In the Sydney Morning Herald a year or more ago the government announced
they were mothballing replaced buses instead of as usual selling them.
Just that they thought they might be needed in the future.

It is a reasonable assumption that it has been seriously discussed in
cabinet, hence Ferguson's comment the other day.
However they cannot admit to peak oil. When it happens they will say
"Oh dear what a surprise !".
Posted by Bazz, Thursday, 10 April 2008 4:53:44 PM
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I believe that while some politicians understand peak oil, the vast majority have never given it thought. Instead they're still following the old infinite-growth philosophy that permeats the thinking of both major parties and even the Greens. Combine this with the economic mantra that oil supply will always rise to meet demand, and to them peak oil becomes the raving of a lunatic fringe.

You can even see this in Martin Ferguson's comments. He's acknowledging the perils for Australia as our own oil production declines, but only from a balance-of-trade point of view. He assumes that there _has_ to be another Bass Strait out there - all we need do is create the economic incentives for exploration. If the demand is there supply must surely follow, hence no need for a Plan B if another Bass Strait doesn't present itself.

We should be preparing now. Instead of developing more soon-to-be-useless motorways, we need urgent boosting of public transport in our cities and rebuilding of our rail infrastructure in the country. In other words, preparing for the future instead of thinking only of today's profits and votes.

Despite Michael's good intentions in this article I don't see ASPO marching in the streets as a solution at all; its a sure-fire way of peak oil being dismissed as a madcap theory with no substance. On the other hand, people are seeing fuel prices skyrocket and are, at the moment, content with blaming it on the big oil companys profiteering. If, somehow, the message that the price is due to oil supply failing to keep pace with demand over the last 3 years despite massive worldwide exploration investments, perhaps the public would get worried enough to start demanding solutions from our elected leaders.
Posted by commuter, Thursday, 10 April 2008 5:11:58 PM
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I do not understand the position the Government is taking on petrol prices.It is reasonable to say that the Government gets up to 50% excise on some of Australias larger oil fields. So this means that they get $50.00 a barrel and the Australian public pay $150.00 a barrel. But the big question is this.
Why does the Government insist on selling petrol under the OPEC banner?. I mean , If we really do have all these reserves of oil and gas do we have a shortage of oil or gas? Why do we not have a domestic price and a international price?.Who owns the oil anyway?.
Mr Rudd wants to control inflation but he has no control over the price of oil.
Seriously ,he has no control over the price of our oil.
Posted by robbo5, Friday, 11 April 2008 1:30:12 AM
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Like climate change, awareness of the reality and meaning of peak oil will only begin to hit home when the price of oil rises even more precipitously (could it hit $500 a barrel within a decade?), scarcity and hoarding become the norms and costs of they myriad of goods - including food - rise in response, that we will see the headless chooks emerge from every political cupboard squawking that we need to act. And unfortunately, the squawking is likely to be 'use hydrocarbons - dig up everything, everywhere no matter the climate consequences because alienating the car driving, energy guzzling public is worse than ignoring climate change.' Not only do we have to begin to discuss peak oil but we have to discuss it in the context of changing the way we live not finding new ways to continue to do business as usual.
Posted by next, Friday, 11 April 2008 7:04:02 AM
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