has bumped $US100 a barrel. Right. Thats $US40 more than it
was at the beginning of the year. Supplies of crude are getting tighter
and tighter and competition for them more intense. If the situation
from Pakistan to Palestine continues to deteriorate itll quickly
go to $120 a barrel. If Bush tries to bomb Iran back to the Stone
Age it could go anywhere.
soon, petrol will cost as much in Sydney as it did in the middle of
the Nullabor a couple of years ago, but you wont hear much debate
about that grim fact from Liberal or Labor.
the face of it youd think Labor would be out there explaining
their policies for the crisis and flogging the Howard Government for
leaving Australia at the mercy of price inflation, swelling import
bills and widespread social dislocation, but they, too would rather
not talk about it. Most Labor politicians would rather not even think
to the crisis thatll dominate the 21st Century. This is peak
oil, folks, and in all likelihood the peak happened late in 2005 or
early 2006 (its something that can only be known in retrospect).
From here on, its downhill all the way and none of the infrastructure
for any alternative to the oil economy is in place in fact,
realistically its a couple of decades into the future, if were
lucky, and whatever it is will be very expensive indeed.
The tragedy is that technocrats and scientific people (as opposed
to politicians and economists) have been sounding the alarm on oil
depletion for over a decade.
J Fleays The Decline of the Age of Oil, a lucid popular
explanation and the first Australian book on the subject, came out
in December 1995. Fleay toured Australian capital cities to promote
the book, but the media virtually ignored him and mainstream politicians
treated him as if he was a nutcase.
in 1995, the highly respected Geneva-based Petroconsultants group
produced a four-volume report: The Worlds Oil Supply, 1930
2050, by Colin J Campbell and Jean H Leherrere, two veteran
petroleum geologists. Admittedly, this document would have set you
back $32,000, but if you just wanted a summary of the argument and
evidence, you could have bought Volume I for a thousand bucks, and
that surely was not beyond the reach of any responsible government
department or minister.
1996, this possums publishing house, Predawn Publications, produced
a bootleg edition of key selected passages of the Petroconsultants
report. It was widely circulated to mainstream journalists and politicians,
but it was like pissing off North Head.
the Petroconsultants report makes poignant reading:
years later, when the downturn has already happened, the political
mainstream is still not confronting reality.
these early attempts to raise the alarm the discussion of peak oil
and its implications continued, but only in the fringe independent
media and on the web. Its fair to say that, down through the
years, there have been more serious stories on peak oil in the
City Hub, than the Sydney Morning Herald. Only over the
last few months, very occasionally, has peak oil has got a passing
mention in the mainstream media.
state of denial has cost society dearly. A whole decade has been lost.
Tough decisions about industry, agriculture and new public transport
infrastructure that should have been made around the time that Howard
came into office are still being evaded. Thats a whole decade
that Labor had in opposition time they could have used to popularise
the problem and real alternative policies, but, of course, they didnt.
now, politicians of both major parties continue to promise billions
for new freeways, but little or nothing for rail and public transport.
masses, meanwhile, are feeling the pinch from rising petrol prices
and theyre voting with their feet. Over the last year there
has been an extraordinary jump in Cityrail passenger numbers. Sydneysiders
took 10 million more trips on the rail network. Passenger trips on
the Illawarra line rose by 973,000, or 3.8 per cent, and on the East
Hills-Airport line by 766,000, an astonishing 7.5 per cent. Any private
business that saw a surge of custom like that would be moving frantically
to meet it, but not our politicians theyre planning more
your brain Morris, take the train
Oils inexorable decline must drive Sydney public transport reforms
By MATT MUSHALIK and GAVIN GATENBY
29 September 2005
Possum News Network
History will record that the Carr Governments greatest failure
was that it squandered the opportunity to make timely preparations
for peak oil. Few Australians are familiar with this phenomena,
but its ramifications will seep into every aspect of political and
social life in the coming years.
For a whole decade state cabinet ignored a sincere and increasingly
strident warning from oil industry experts: the maximum possible level
of world oil production was imminent and would be followed by inexorable
decline. It remains to be seen whether the Iemma cabinet will face
the issue squarely or remain in denial. ...