15 Feb 2006
Peak Oil Hits Primetime Irish Evening Radio.
**Five Seven Live** is RTE’s main evening radio news programme. Until now peak oil hadn’t really featured in the Irish media at all, but all of a sudden here we are, a weeklong series of articles on the subject, featuring Colin Campbell, Matt Simmons and other peak oil luminaries. The presenter, Philip Boucher-Hayes did an excellent job of condensing this complex subject into five 8 minute pieces. He really got under the skin of the issue, and didn’t shy away from telling it like it is. I was especially struck by the fact that this programme goes out to millions in Ireland, most of whom are in their cars on the way home from work (although I was always more of a Last Word man myself). This was powerful stuff, it didn’t pull any punches, and it set out the scale of the challenges Ireland faces.
Ireland, despite its image of being the Emerald Isle, has, thanks to the Celtic Tiger boom years, become the 7th most oil dependent nation in the world (the US ranks 30th). It has built a new economy entirely on cheap oil, and is at the end of a very long pipeline. It also has no strategic reserves of gas. The UK keeps 11 days in reserve, and that is considered precarious, Ireland, the programme revealed, has none.
The programme trailed a report by Amarach Consulting which was commissioned by the Government that is due to report at the end of the month, which will look at the impacts of peak oil on Ireland. In effect it will be Ireland’s Hirsch Report, and I understand that Hirsch himself was involved with it in a consultancy role. The report is going to be dynamite, and I would love to be a fly on the wall in TDs (Irish Members of Parliament) offices when they arrive. Ireland is in a very difficult position, it has no indigenous fuel sources to speak of and a high degree of dependency.
I will report more on the document when it is released. It could turn out to be one of the most important documents ever produced in the country. I highly recommend these shows, they are enlightening for the new comer, and for the hardened ‘peaknik’ there is still plenty to hold your attention and to find out about.