Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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1 Dec 2006

Exploring the Connections between Energy Descent Plans and the Oil Depletion Protocol.

ht1On the last day of Richard Heinberg’s teaching on the Life After Oil course at Schumacher College, where he had been teaching a session on the Oil Depletion Protocol (ODP), a question was asked about the relationship between the ODP and Energy Descent Plans (EDP). The discussion between Richard and myself I found very useful in clarifying how the two fit together.

**Question: I’d be very interested to know between you and Rob what are agreements and differences between the Transition Town approach and the Oil Depletion Protocol? Are they the same sort of thing or are there differences here and there?**

odp**Rob:** The way I look at it is that I see the ODP as offering the international scope, which can then also be applied at other levels, then there are Tradable Energy Quotas for the national scale and then the EDP process, in the different forms that it takes, as the local response.

**So what are the differences and what is added to it?**

**Rob:** I suppose the Oil Depletion Protocol focuses on oil consumption, while an Energy Descent Plan also looks at education, community, health, food, energy and so on. It is a way of really grasping the implications of applying the ODP at a community level. What would it actually look like? The ODP says we need to consume this much less every year, that’s the aim of it, whereas the EDP process asks what would it look like if we woke up in 20 years and we had actually cut the two and a half percent every year. I think that actually the ODP offers a really useful framework for an EDP that you can gauge it against, does this plan as it is set out for the next 25 years mean that we come in under that depletion curve?

**Richard:** I think for towns doing Energy Transition the ODP can be a hopeful gauge and measure and goal, sort of a framework, and how that actually works out in terms of specifics then its up to the locality to figure out.

**Rob:** It is also great in terms of a national Government who agrees to implement the ODP. You then have a number of communities who can say “look, we’ve really been thinking this through, it’s not just a case of ticking the box, look, we’ve got a plan we’ve worked out that addresses food, waste, transportation and so on”. It creates a really vibrant interface between the two.

**Richard:** Yes, I agree.