Peak Oil and Our Government: What Energy Crisis?  

Posted by Big Gav

The Sydney Morning Herlad has finally gotten around to publishing something about Peak Oil. - even if its just confined to Margo Kingston's Web Diary. The guest author lives just around the corner from me, so clearly there are a few oil depletion obsessives in the neighbourhood. The political shift from Liberals to Greens in the richer parts of Sydney has been quite pronounced in the last couple of years, with the author following the usual path.

"I am a graphic designer and writer working out of my home in Crows Nest, Sydney. I spent most of his career in the advertising industry until deciding to start my own business. I was brought up correctly as a small l Liberal voter from the southern suburbs, remaining unchanged until the run up to the second Iraq war when I dumped the Liberals for The Greens. Since then, I've has been researching resource depletion issues, global warming and the environment in an effort to engage, discuss and hopefully educate on the issues. I may now be accurately described (or insulted) as a small l lefty, with a dislike for privatisation, corporate power and the destruction of the environment."

He notes that at least one member of the government has talked about the issue publically.
Australian political response to this issue has been muted, to say the least. In May 2004, Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson stated on the ABC's Insiders show that "at some stage in the next few short years global (oil) production may very well peak," one of the government's first admissions that a world oil production decline was approaching.

He also points to Cuba as an example of how many countries may have to adapt to little (or no) oil.
Cuba may give us some forewarning of what to expect. When the USSR collapsed in 1990, Cuba suffered an enormous oil shock when shipments from the USSR were no longer forthcoming. By 1993 there were no cars running, the public transport system collapsed and the streets were empty. How did they cope?

They imported two million heavy Chinese bicycles. They modified very large semi-trailers to transport three hundred people at a time. They took all their vehicles, large or small, motorised or animal powered, and built a mass transit system. Rickshaws are used in Havana while horse and carts are used in smaller towns.

They made a massive effort to rearrange their farming industry, adopting a system of local farms serving local communities and farms close to the cities serving the cities. They stopped transporting food long distances. They replaced petroleum-based pesticides with bio-pesticides and replaced tractors with oxen.

(via Flying Talking Donkey who is clearly monitoring the web closely).

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