15 Feb 2007
Aubrey Meyer on the Confluence of Peak Oil and Climate Change…
**Aubrey Meyer** runs the Global Commons Institute and is the creator of the approach to climate change known as Contraction and Convergence. While he was in Totnes, teaching on Schumacher College’s Climate Change course, he gave a well-attended talk for Transition Town Totnes, where as well as speaking he treated the audience to some virtuouso violin playing. Prior to that I interviewed him at length about C&C and its relation to peak oil. Here is an extract from that, which explores the link between peak oil and climate change.
**How do you see the relationship between peak oil and climate change, and between Contraction and Converence and the Oil Depletion Protocol?**
The Oil Depletion Protocol originated with Colin Campbell and is a very sensible idea, essentially that countries should agree not to produce above their depletion rate, so you can stabilise that over the medium terms as peak oil bites everywere. It may be that countries are going to agree to do that, OPEC doesn’t always behave itself within its own group terms, people break the quotas and so on, but the point about Colin was that he was completely disinterested in climate change because, as an oil geologist, he regarded it as something remote and over the horizon, not immediate, and as essentially an Act of God rather than an Act of Man, that there was nothing we could do about turbulence at a climatic level, it is kind of a given, regardless of what human beings do.
The real issue here is if you do the total carbon arithmetic of oil depletion and gas depletion and the non-depletion of coal, and also the emergence of these exotics, tar sands, deep water finds and so on, there clearly, in all categories, oil, coal and gas, is more than enough to fry the planet. I see now they are even talking about going into this Nazi programme, we did it in South Africa, converting coal into oil substitutes and so on. At this point, in one sense, the Greenpeace slogan comes to bear, “we’re not running out of oil, we’re running into it