20 Jun 2007
Monbiot Reassesses Peak Oil.
This is slightly old hat now, but I haven’t got round to it yet, so here we go. In the light of the recent coverage here of George Monbiot’s recent assertion in Lampeter that the oil peak is sufficiently far enough away for it not to be a cause for concern, and Chris Vernon’s subsequent response which went through each of his points in considerable detail, it was intriguing to read his column in the Guardian a couple of weeks back now. In it, he takes as his starting point the Government’s recent Energy Review and its belief that “the majority (66%) of UK oil demand is derived from demand for transport fuels which is expected to increase modestly over the medium term. George’s question is “OK… powered by what exactly?”, and in the piece he goes back to the various departments making the assertions and looks at what that complacency is based on. It turns out not very much.
The article offers for me another reason why George is one of the key journalists writing at the moment, that he is prepared to go back and investigate and reassess positions he previously held, something some other leading journalists wouldn’t be caught dead doing. His conclusions are that there is little room for complacency, and that the complacency that underpins the Review is based on one out-of-date, widely discredited report by the IEA. Not only does the piece show a humility to reassess ideas, but also offers a great insight for those who argue that there is some huge Government conspiracy to keep peak oil from the public, or, as some argue (far more ridiculously in my opinion) that peak oil is somehow a conspiracy cooked up by the Government and their oil industry cronies, that basically their thinking on this is in chaos, that there really are very few people at that level taking a long term strategic view and looking for the real data as regards peak oil. A very illuminating read.