April 05, 2006

All Things Must Pass

Including the era of cheap oil. Here's Andrew McNamara on peak oil and Australia:
The most optimistic assessment of the date for peak oil is given by the US Geological Survey as 2037. Even if we accept that that date is accurate—and clearly George W Bush does not, because his time frame for radical reform of energy use in the US is 20 years, not 30—it is still only one generation away.

That is one generation to completely retool our economy, to rebuild our communities and to replace our transport sector. I am of the view that, despite Professor Deffreyes’s analysis, inventories and voluntary demand restraint caused by high petrol prices will give us a 10-year window in which to make these changes.

I take this opportunity to table Dr John Quiggan’s speech at the Brisbane Institute and commend his call for coherent, well-designed policies to meet this challenge. I know that it has been the way of things in politics to not say that we will ever run out of anything or that we have to change our ways to use less of something, but that is what must happen.

As a society we need to be revaluing our carbon resources of coal and oil and gas against the coming shortages. We need to electrify everything we can, to massively reinvest in light urban electric rail systems and coastal barge traffic and increase rail freight capacity. We need to recognise that our carbon resources are too valuable to waste and we need to change our ways now while our economy has the strength to undertake the massive changes that are required.
Either we change, or we become extinct.


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