Deputy PM Fears For Oil Reserves  

Posted by Big Gav

John Anderson has mentioned peak oil a few times now, most recently on the ABC - I wonder if the rodent is ever going to start talking about it ?

Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson believes high fuel prices reflect the inevitable decline in the world's oil and gas reserves. He expressed deep concern about the long-term future of oil and says fuel prices will have to be high enough to encourage more exploration.

Mr Anderson says the world could reach peak production of oil and gas far sooner than predicted because of the rapid increase in energy demands in China. "We are using stored energy left over from ages gone by at an alarming rate and it isn't re-making," he said.

Elsewhere in local peak oil news, "Possum News Network" (no, I've never heard of them either, and neither have the possums in the trees outside my flat) has a report on peak oil and its impact on Australia.
We are now in overshoot mode as far as the provision of additional oil dependent infrastructure is concerned. In the last 50 years this infrastructure grew along the path of increasing oil production. Now, shortly before the peak, it would be uneconomic to provide new capacities which would be utilized for only a couple of years and would then no longer be needed.

Alternatives to oil are limited. If we turned all Australian sugarcane into ethanol, it would yield just 5 litres per car per week. If all our oil seeds were used to make biodiesel, production would just cover 6 per cent of our diesel consumption. It’s been estimated that if the UK’s whole car fleet were hydrogen powered cars, that country would require a hundred nuclear power plants.

Once Peak Oil is understood, there can be no more business as usual. But what do we have to do? Here is a first list:

• Australian car manufacturers must produce thrifty hybrid cars. Low fuel consumption, not generous accessory packages and other electrically powered equipment, is needed.

• Stop building tollways, road tunnels and car parks. RailCorp is so busy trying to finish the Chatswood-Epping line and their clearway program, as well as training new drivers, that we can’t expect much more from heavy rail before the oil peak.

• Rescue our tollway companies. They’d have to convert car lanes to rail tracks and run light rail on them, with connecting feeder buses to the suburbs and heavy rail interchanges The RTA will have to do the same with all major urban roads.

• Replace domestic flights up to 1,000 km with electric night trains running on improved track. Long distance truck traffic will have to be moved to rail either as containers or by using rolling highways where trucks and trailers are loaded onto special flatbed cars.

• Forget desalination plants powered by electricity from coal. Peak Oil will trigger a general energy crisis and make electricity very expensive. Rainwater harvesting, both by private home owners and by local government, should be mandatory.

• No more subdivisions in the west of Sydney, as these will just increase long distance commuting. A vigorous program of decentralisation to smaller cities along the coast and outside commuting distance from Sydney should accommodate the 30 per cent of population growth now earmarked for Greenfield sites. Town planning guidelines should favor cycling and walking to work by reducing commuting distances.

• We need to preserve good agricultural land in the Sydney basin for vegetable production because long distance transport by truck will become prohibitively expensive in the future.

In short, we need a 180 degree turnaround from what we’re doing today.

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Forget desalination plants powered by electricity from coal. Peak Oil will trigger a general energy crisis and make electricity very expensive. Rainwater harvesting, both by private home owners and by local government, should be mandatory.

So it looks like you can kiss the water cycle good-bye as well....

Well - he's talking about big cities like Sydney (80%+ of the population here lives in the major cities) - and the interruption to the water cycle would seem to be minimal in those cases.

Most excess rainwater in Sydney washes straight off hard surfaces, down the storm water drains and into the harbour or the ocean. So storing it in tanks and releasing it onto lawns and gardens (or down into the sewers) is actually an improvement on the present state of affirs...

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