Transition Culture

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24 Mar 2010

Government ‘Peak Oil Summit’ Starts the Process of Government Acknowledging Peak Oil?

energyinstitutelogoOn Monday Peter Lipman and I represented Transition Network at an event which could potentially be the day people look back to as the day when UK government finally starting to ‘get’ peak oil.  Fascinating and frustrating in equal measure, the event, “Policy Response to potential future oil supply constraints”, was billed as “a half-day workshop hosted by the Energy Institute in partnership with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, under Chatham House Rules”.  For those who don’t know what Chatham House rules are, it means that the contents of what was said can be discussed, but none of it can be attributed to anyone.  Although the event was meant to be private, it was leaked and reported in the Guardian that morning.  Jeremy Leggett was quoted in the piece as describing the importance of the meeting thus: “Government has gone from the BP position – ’40 years of supply left, the price mechanism works, no need to worry’ – to ‘crikey'”.  So, here is an account compiled from my notes of what went on behind closed doors, bearing those Chatham House rules in mind, meaning that I can’t attribute some of the comments that follow.

There were about 20 people present.  It began with a startling statement about the lack of informed government capacity to formulate views on oil depletion/forecasting, along the lines of  “… has no firm views on oil depletion in the future, and does not have expertise in forecasting”.  A key question for the workshop to explore was “what is the appropriate government, business and local government practical response to, at least, the risk of peak oil?”

This was followed by 4 presentations.  The first offered an overview of last year’s UKERC report, and gave a good overview of the case for peak oil.  Among its findings were that;

  • global oil depletion is well understood and well advanced
  • that we have used at least a quarter and maybe more than a half of the global total recoverable resource of conventional oil
  • the global peak is inevitable.  The timing is uncertain, but the window is rapidly narrowing and the range of possibilities is narrowing
  • the quality of reserves data is appalling.  Much of the available field-by-field data is unreliable, especially for the large OPEC producers
  • knowledge is improving in key areas, but the news isn’t looking good.
  • methods for resource estimation and supply forecasting have major limitations
  • large resources many be available, but make little difference to the timing of global peak
  • the risks presented by oil depletion deserve serious attention

His conclusion was that many of the things that we need to do we are already doing in response to climate change, but not all.  In summary, he said, we will be seeing peak oil in the relatively near future.

The second was from an oil industry perspective, stating that it was in the world’s interest to slow down on approach to the peak, in order to lessen its severity.  He said that according to his company, 2004 was what he called the ‘inflection point’, the beginning of the global production plateau for conventional oil.  In 2005 oil stopped being cheap, and will never be again.  He stated that it is supply flow that is more important than reserves.  We know now, he said, that $150 a barrel ‘breaks the machine’, that the world can’t function above that price, it is the price that causes recessions.  If something is very expensive, it doesn’t really matter how much is left if we can’t afford it.  He gave, as an example, the fact that there are minute amounts of gold in sea water.  We know it’s there, but we can’t do much about it, in the same way that we know there is loads of oil spilt into garage forecourts across the country, but we are not going to dig them all up and steam the oil out of them!

In order to power the transition, he said, we would need to produce more oil and gas over the next 10 years.  The two things that would make this possible, he speculated, were what he called ‘unconventional gas’ (extracting gas from oil shale), and how quickly Iraqi oil is brought on stream.  Cheap energy prices are not good for energy transitions, we need high prices in order to incentivise the kinds of change we need.

The third was based on the recent  Peak Oil Task Force report.  This looked at the history of oil production since the 1970s, observing that it has always been cheap, until the spike of the 1970s, and the recent spike.  Is there any chance of the oil price now going back to $30 a barrel he asked?  Are we likely to be in a world of ever increasing supply.  It may be that, at a push, the world will reach 90million barrels a day, but it will struggle to sustain that, and will decline from that point forward.  The speaker also suggested that, given that India and China have developed their economies in times of volatile oil prices, whereas the West’s were developed in times of stable prices, the West will feel more pain from high prices.  In terms of what was to be done, he suggested that transport policies need to go some way to reducing our dependence on oil through improved technologies, and to encourage behaviour change.

Then Peter and myself had been asked to do a session on local communities and energy efficiency.  I started by talking about Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance), and how DECC was still largely in the denial stage, but that Transition groups gave an indication of what it looks like when people move have moved through depression and out the other side into acceptance and into practical responses to peak oil and climate change.

I showed the energy-mountain-turned-upside-down-as-fetid-lagoon slides to show how Transition reframed the issue, getting away from it as a disaster but presenting it as an opportunity.  The way forward, I argued, comes from overlapping peak oil and climate change, and from seeing the priorities as planning for a lower energy world, powering down and powering up.  I told the story of Transition groups, how many there are, and what Transition is, a self-organising, community-driven process of the exploration of what localisation looks like in practice.  Then, illustrated by slides showing Transition in action around the world, Peter took over.

Peter built on my explanation of what Transition groups were doing by exploring the wider potential for what Transition initiatives could achieve in a world in which authorities were collaborating with them, giving as examples work in Bristol (the Bristol Peak Oil Report and more recent peak oil and climate change resolution/budget) and work in Stroud around food security.  He also explored what “efficiency” actually means when taking resource scarcity into account as well as climate change, and how a more resilient approach to it would look at building in redundancies.  Finally, he looked at how Transition can influence the cultural stories which in turn enable politicians and policy-makers to face up to resource scarcity in a far more direct and appropriate manner.

After the presentations there was some discussion around the table, and the concept was mooted that the solution to peak oil might be to just leave it, that price signals would bring about change far better than any government policy-making ever could .  This stimulated fascinating responses, mainly along the lines that if you leave it to the market, then what is the point of government?  Such an approach would result in volatile prices, which hits the disadvantaged first.  The purpose of government is, after all, to stop that happening.  He responded by challenging the idea that if government does stuff it will be a smooth transition.  It may not be, he argued, that government actually has such power.  One participant stated that surely one of the key roles of government is to make it possible for people to live with less energy, and that land use planning has a major role to play here.  Another person stated that as we enter the period of declining energy, the political context changes, from one of an expanding economy in which we distribute the surplus, to one where the cake we have to share out is shrinking.

Then we broke into two groups, one of which looked at national scale responses, and one that looked at local scale responses.  I ended up, logically I suppose, in the local group, and a range of approaches were discussed.  There was a tendency to focus on transport solutions, not just in the groups but all day, as though peak oil will mostly affect transportation.  I raised other areas, such as local PassivHauses, local food, community-owned energy companies and participatory budgeting.  Other issues included Oil Vulnerability Audits for local authorities which would then inform future planning, various ways of incentivising public transport.  The other group had looked at a national scale and had also ended up talking a great deal about transport.  Peter had also raised (I can say this under Chatham House rules because Peter has OK’d it) rationing (i.e. not by price) as part of the landscape that needed exploring, but this did not get an enthusiastic reception.

Then we all came back together again, and both groups reported back their findings.  There was then a break while we waited for an energy minister to join us, at which point, there was a summary given of the day’s discussions, rounding up what he saw as having been the main points;

  • The exact date of peak oil is an academic extraction, what matters is its inevitability
  • There is a high risk of its happening as soon as we come out of recession, in 3 or 4 years time (not sure that I share his optimism there)
  • Prices will inevitably be higher
  • In the near term we will be able to rely on more natural gas thanks to unconventional gas (not sure about that one at all, I suspect that is one of that speaker’s pet techno fantasies!!)
  • Government intervention will be inevitable
  • That behaviour change will be key, and government will need to message this carefully, stating that things will be different but no worse
  • We need improvements in public transport, including electrification
  • The land use planning system needs to bear this in mind, and we may, at some point, be forced to consider rationing.

Although Chatham House rules prevent me from stating what the Minister said, there is clearly a desire to continue this dialogue on peak oil.  There was a final opportunity for questions or points to the Minister.  I stated that across the UK were hundreds of communities responding with great creativity to peak oil and climate change, doing great work and starting projects with no government financial support.  In Scotland, the Climate Challenge Fund, £27 million, has enabled them to do all kinds of big projects, and find some core financial support, whereas here we have the Low Carbon Communities Challenge, which over 400 communities entered and only 20 got anything from the process.  I put in a plea for a scheme similar to the Scottish one to enable communities to be supported in being one of the key drivers for change in this area.

And that was that.  As I said at the beginning it was fascinating and frustrating in equal measure.  Fascinating that it represented the first time the UK government has created a space to explore the peak oil question, what the Guardian that morning called a “significant policy shift”, how it overlaps with climate change and what policies they might make in response.  Fascinating that Transition Network is seen as worthy of an invitation to such an event, that our work is recognised at that level.

Frustrating in that every time the question of economic growth and whether or not the idea had any mileage in a world of depleting energy reserves was raised it was largely glossed over.  Frustrating in that so often the question of what we might to do in response to peak oil focused almost purely in transportation and on the timely and complete creation of an electric car fleet, with a recharging network and sufficient electricity to keep the whole thing going, with no consideration as to how a nation which is the second most indebted in the world, which has become a net energy importer at a time of increasing price volatility and little remaining indigenous energy, is actually going to pay for such an infrastructure. Frustrating because the techno-fix mindset was prevalent, and the idea that part of a response might include the intentional refocusing of the scale of economic activity, the application of the Proximity Principle to economics didn’t really register with people.

Anyway, who knows, perhaps nothing will come of it, but it certainly felt like a pretty historic occasion to me, and although it was only attended by a small number of people, I hope that this garbled account offers some sense of what went on behind the closed doors of the Energy Institute.

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


Alejandro Ahumada
24 Mar 6:19pm

Congratulations. It’s good to know that you got invited to this.

Shane Hughes
24 Mar 6:26pm

mmm very interesting!!!

Getting politicians to let TTandC deliver an Energy Resilience Assessment on some national and local government services would get officials to see beyond the transport and techno fix default.

It’s easy to say that the government wouldn’t be able to deliver half their services under sustained high oil prices. but there’s nothing like mapping it out through the ERA process to give our representatives a profound peak oil moment of depth and relevance.

Bud Smith
24 Mar 6:54pm

Amazing you/Transition got invited. Frustrating that sr. officials don’t understand our world wrt how widely oil is used. It seems UK govt keeps narrowly missing opportunities for real leadership. Keep it up!

james samuel
24 Mar 7:02pm

Thanks Rob, great ammunition for the two day community conversation that begins today and and which local government will be represented.

Tony Greenham
24 Mar 7:57pm

I’m almost scared to ask, Rob, but do I understand that there was no follow up work at all mooted by DECC? Otherwise it sounds like the policy outcome was “well now we know it’s not going to be pretty but we’ll leave it to the market anyway”.

marcus perrin
24 Mar 8:28pm

Great news. A significant day.

Congrats Rob and Pete.

David Lyons
24 Mar 8:58pm

Thanks Rob – I am very pleased that you were invited – I am sure you will have made some very good connections. The acceptance by government of peak reflects my own recent experience:

On Wednesday 17 March I attended a hustings on future rail policy in Westminster. Party reps were as follows:

Conservatives Stephen Hammond, MP;
Liberal Democrats Norman Baker, MP;
Green Party Alan Francis; and
Labour Party Chris Mole, MP).

I opened the questions to a packed room of rail executives asking that given that we are at peak oil and there is no miracle cheap energy source, is it wise to build a new high energy high speed line (HS2) when we are struggling to develop our existing lines and reopen much needed routes such as Oxford – Bletchley.

The Conservative just talked about the need for extra capacity…not recognising the looming energy crisis and said they would still support other schemes, and objected to the route of HS2.

The Labour rep acknowledged but did not address peak oil and pointed out to the growth in passenger numbers and capacity as driving the requirement for HS2

The Lib-Dem stressed how the new line would reduce carbon emissions etc but did not address peak oil… and attacked the Conservative for rubbishing the announced route before it had been debated and that they were detracting from the intention.

Disappointingly the Green did not acknowledge the energy crisis and it’s impact on construction and the economy but did say that while they were supportive in principle, higher priority would be given to enhancing the existing network and that the new line would not need to be so fast..which made the routing inflexible (curves etc).

Overall during the debate the Lib-Dem had a very good focus on carbon reduction and a good grasp of the facts and figures. My support went to the green whose underlying policies will adjust the playing field which currently favours high carbon against low carbon transport and will release the much needed funds from wasteful projects to more sustainable public transport. At the end of the debate over the question, Christian Wolmar advised that case was not proven that the project would save a lot of carbon and some views say it will increase it:- ‘not a great alternative’.

What impressed me about the evening was that the fact that we are at Peak Oil was acknowledged and accepted as ‘main stream’ with no dissent. I have the impression that even as recently as 6 months ago the concept of Peak Oil would have been dismissed – or have I been pessimistic?

24 Mar 9:03pm

If only the government could see fit to divert some of that £100 billion odd to be spent on Trident (a creation of the techno-fix mindset if ever there was one..) to enable TTs and local governments to plan for power down.

We can but hope!

25 Mar 1:19am

Whow, with all these new statements and discussions I think we are at (or very close to) a tipping point in public opinion.
And maybe the final trigger will once again come from Britain. Like the Stern review on the Economy of Climate Change…

Steve Atkins
25 Mar 8:37am

…has anyone forwarded this to the national rags, etc?
Seriously, this should be headline news.

25 Mar 8:53am

Good point Steve… no interest from them as yet. I am still slightly alarmed that my piece about runner bean shirts generated nearly twice the amount of comments that this piece did! Go figure….

Corrie Cheyne
25 Mar 10:35am

More to the point – were you wearing your slugskin trousers?
Just kidding – very well done, Rob and co, for at least making the agenda. Just goes to show we’re doing something right!

Mike Grenville
25 Mar 10:43am

It seems to be that the only thing that will generate headlines and real action about Peak Oil is higher prices.

Wout-Jan Koridon
25 Mar 11:15am

Fellow transitioners! Gratulations and thank you for the inspired and important work you are doing! … just playing Fix it / Coldplay …

Hemp Lover
25 Mar 11:50am

Dear Sir

When you are in close contact with these ministers in future, would you be so kind to ask them to update the UK laws regarding industrial hemp, which is still classified as a drug and requires a licence and council monitoring to grow. Make the narcotic strains of this plant illegal, yes, but the non narcotic, incredibly useful strain, make it legal for people and business to grow.

To allow the industrial strain of hemp, which has no narcotic value, to be cultivated in this country, would provide a partial substitute for imported fuels, and provide food and raw material at the same time. Expansion of this cash crop would eventually negate the need for the large amount of fuel imports we use.

Lets be honest, Hemp has been outlawed because it outclasses synthetic, crude oil derived products. And this demonisation was performed at the behest of industrial interests at the expense of the majority. They have had their profits, look what we have to show for it, a sick, indebted nation that is spiralling downwards into disaster. The MAJORITY need this plant, so it should be brought to the centre of our energy policy.

Lets start doing things that are efficient, healthy and productive. We need the Hemp plant to enable new growth for the UK.

Best Regards

Hemp lover

Steve Atkins
25 Mar 4:01pm

Now that UK Gov seem to be getting ready/ gearing down to Peak Oil – it might be helpful to start looking at efficiency. Efficiency first isn’t it? Efficiency – Efficiency – Efficiency

It was the budget yesterday and the Car Scrappage Scheme was hailed as a great success… eh? …was it?

– New car price increases have in many cases wiped out the £2,000 discount given to buyers. (The £400million scrappage scheme was set up by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson).

Anyone that has owned a car knows how much money they guzzle…
Cash/ loan

Oh, and lets not forget the resources needed to make the cars from our host, Planet Earth…
Car Factory
Rag & Polish

Electric transport and high speed broadband sounds wonderfully futuristic, but a reality check (and cheque) is required on the embodied energy.


Dear UKGov

Pleeeease, help communities by investing in the community – it’s where the new growth is!

Best wishes

Clare Josa
25 Mar 4:13pm

Thanks so much for representing us all at this summit.
Congratulations on being able to get your voices heard.
Even if this summit doesn’t yet produce the fundamental changes we know are needed, at least it’s an important beginning – and it will eventually lead to change.
And yes, your runner bean shirt piece was fab 😉

Mike Grenville
25 Mar 4:23pm

The world’s oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years.
Daily Telegraph – 22nd March 2010

Comment on the above report on The Oil Drum

Andrew Ramponi
25 Mar 6:43pm

I wonder what the government can realistically do.

Consider that 150 years ago a cotton farmer in the US could buy a slave for about $1200 ($17,000 in today’s money). Each of us in the UK uses, on average, the fossil fuel energy equivalent of 68 slaves working to maintain our lifestyles 24/7. It took over 200 years and unimaginable suffering before the moral outrage of a few in society finally ended slavery. Today, far more of us have a direct interest in keeping our fossil fuel slaves and that is bound to make it politically far harder, if not impossible, to change.

One obvious (to me) thing which could seriously reduce the energy used in buildings, currently about 40% of the total energy we use, would be to regulate the perverse way utilities charge.

At the moment the first kWh are the most expensive. Utilities could be compelled through some regulation to use a pricing model where this practice was reversed. I don’t know how the figures would turn out but say the 1st 1000kWh of electricity cost 4p kWh, the next 1000, 20p and so on. This could hardly fail to reduce consumption, wastage and fuel poverty. The cheaper units would be subsidised by the more expensive, so for the company the effect was, so-called, revenue neutral. Yet it doesn’t happen and the political process spends huge amounts of time on ways and means which are far less effective. Why? Because we like things to be complicated?

To quote someone(I can’t remember who), “That government is best which governs least, and when the people are ready for it that is the government they will get”.

I’d say to politicians, “if you can’t help, then please don’t hinder”!

[…] there is clearly a desire to continue this dialogue on peak oil,” Rob Hopkins wrote on Wednesday on his blog Transition Culture. A prominent promoter of a movement that actively encourages and monitors societal structures based […]

25 Mar 8:09pm

Every time a fuel alternative for transport is brought forward I wonder what they are going to drive these vehicles on? Be it bio fuels or electric, a safe surface to drive on is needed. The only one I can think of is made of tarmac. Concrete is enviromentaly damaging, On mentioning this to an enviromental minister she said that they were working on oil extraction from plants to cover this. So I am wondering if we will ever feed ourselves.

michael Dunwell
25 Mar 8:38pm

Well done Rob and Peter for sticking to your own style and stories in such daunting company. Its really difficult. They may be in denial, the big boys, but it takes a lot of courage to say so.

John Suter
26 Mar 7:30am

Thanks for this report.
I listened to Chris Martenson’s speech at Parliament in February (one can listen at his web site He laid out a convincing argument and I think we must somehow get others to think about the implications of running out of oil. It’s relatively easy for leaders and others to ignore the implications because it seems to be happening so slowly and is usually beneath our level of consciousness.

Awareness of the problem, I think, must be concurrent with some reasonable attempts at solutions at the local level. Part of us can work to get top leaders to listen, but others need to work on what our local communities can do. There is momentum, but still the efforts are much too small.

One big thing that we (in communities) have going for us is our relatively newfound ability to communicate and to learn from anyone in the world. The downside is that we don’t know which is the most important first step. I would argue that we must think about how communities process information and how we involve others in our communities in identifying specific problems to work on.

Anyone who wants to work on a sub-blog on this issue of information processing can email me at

[…] Rob has written an excellent article, explaining what happened during the summit – so please do go to his site and read the full version. […]

[…] ilGuardian ha rotto le uova nel paniere. Questa è la prima notizia che ci riporta Rob Hoskins dal suo blog. Rob ha presenziato al summit sul peak oil del governo inglese come rappresentante di Transition […]

Alistair Knox
26 Mar 6:44pm

Great report, Rob. Amazing that the UK Government is finally beginning to acknowledge the existence of Peak Oil, even if it seems unable to focus on what to do about it.

[…] l’incontro doveva restare segreto ma è finito sul Guardian (forse di proposito) e sul blog di Transition culture, invitato ad assistere. Dall’incontro è emersa una certa confusione e […]

Mandy Meikle
26 Mar 8:36pm

Hi Rob – thanks for that. I haven’t read the comments (sorry!) but from your report, it seems that the Government also needs a dose of ‘net energy’ and ‘peak everything’!

Electrifying all transport will never work although I agree that it has a part to play, as do all the renewables on the RIGHT scale. I won’t go on at length here but net energy is looking at the energy in compared to the energy out. Some figures for various alternatives here ( but there has been very little work done on it (because we’ve been in such an energy surplus for so long). As for ‘peak everything’, where will the lithium come from for batteries, the uranium for nuclear, the rare earth metals for various turbines & PV cells etc.

I’ve been giving talks on ‘peak oil’ for 6 years and my talk is now half on net energy. It’s vital to grasp it & I’ll give a talk to anyone who will listen (& ideally cover my travel from Scotland!)

Francis Macnaughton
26 Mar 9:11pm


Was there any indication during the workshop that the Government standard response to parliamentary questions etc about peak oil is going to change from what I understand is the current mantra that “there is enough oil for the foreseeable future”?

27 Mar 11:42am

Congratulations from Galicia! Transtion Movement is doing a great job not only in the local arena but also in high spheres!

We’re following with great interest these news coming these days from UK, though I personally am very skeptic with public responses from a government which must have been informed about peak oil since more than a decade if we’re to beleive what Campbell says about IEA misinformations. The US, the UK and others from the G8 would have known the basics about peak oil before 9/11, before invasion of Irak and Afghanistan, etc.

John Suter
27 Mar 3:36pm

We may be hearing the mantra about “enough oil for the forseeable future” simply because leaders don’t know what to do. They are in a bind with trying to create more jobs on one hand with conservation of energy on the other hand. Once the inevitable becomes obvious we must hope that reasonable minds prevail.

One thing that Obama (on this side of the Atlantic) could do is to make all public transportation free and then require that all public transportation electrified within a year or so. Then reset the speed limit at 55 mph or even 50 mph to let people know how serious the problem is. We might increase the tax on oil, but I have a feeling that the price will start going up in the near future and never come down again. This would give us some breathing room while helping to focus more minds on the transition task.

John S

John Mason
27 Mar 5:55pm

Mandy Meikle –

Unless it’s one of those bizarre coincidences of name, I thought you spoke very well on Any Answers this afternoon! Well done you!

Cheers – John

Michael Dwyer
28 Mar 7:49am

The government has the ability to smooth the effect of Peak Oil. It can do this by simply raising the price of fuel now.
Everyone will start to think about their use of oil. This preparation will be invaluable in blunting the sudden change.
Michael Dwyer South Australia

Mandy Meikle
28 Mar 2:28pm

Thanks John – yes, it was me & it was great to hear Jonathan Dimbleby sum it up by saying that “whatever happens, we need to have policies in an environment where energy is to the fore & that means a totally different approach to how we regard the market, the global economy, capitalism.” I was delighted to get airplay with such opinions & not be shot down in flames!

Caroline Walker
28 Mar 4:58pm

Just read and enjoyed very much this thread and wish that someone in the Government would take a look at three really important papers: the report from New Economics Foundation ‘Growth isn’t possible’; the Heinberg paper ‘What if the recovery doesn’t happen?’ flagged on this site on 12th March, and the excellent ‘Tipping Point: near-term systemic implications of a peak in global oil production’ by David Korowicz recently published on the Oil Drum site.
This last paper points out that merely beginning to discuss and prepare for peak oil could trigger a collapse, which is perhaps why what Korowicz calls the ‘ritualised maintenance of collective denial’ prevails.

John Mason
28 Mar 9:56pm


It’s a messy dilemma: on the one hand whoever is in power has to admit that the mechanism is flawed and broken; on the other, a general election is clearly weeks away. Something will have to give before too long, though. How many people are ready to be rationed two or one gallon(s) of motor fuel a week? I am – I’ve been running on said regime all this year when I average it up. It isn’t that bad: you just have to plan a little more carefully.

Mandy – thanks for the response. Great to see it was you – I thought it was. JD was excellent on this occasion! He must get so exhausted with the “it’s a hoax so they can raise taxes” weird conspiracy stuff that so, so often gets aired on there!

All the best – John

Ian Care
28 Mar 10:51pm

Just shows we need more Transitioners (and scientists and engineers) in Parliament rather than bankers, economists and lawyers. It is not just denial we need to overcome but also the lack of knowledge and understanding. If you have a transitioner standing as MP (as we do in Derby) go and help their campaign.

Shane Hughes
29 Mar 7:18pm

Mandy –
I agree with your about widening the lense to peak everything and energy balance. Becoming resilient to oil vulnerabilities shifts the vulnerabilities.

John Suter
29 Mar 7:42pm

Korowicz’s “ritualised maintenance of collective denial” will persist until leaders at top levels start talking about impending shortages. They may not talk until it is too late, however, so increasing awareness is one issue.

The second issue is how to accelerate the work of transition towns? I think working to increase one’s personal and family and community can be a valid substitue for continued growth in the traditional economic model. It won’t be done by blogging or email, however, because it’s a lot of the same people talking to one another. There have to be methods of information gathering and testing that stem from the community. How to do that will be key.

Steve Atkins
30 Mar 5:39pm

6 minutes of Peak Oil and oil discovery on
BBC ‘Bang Goes the Theory’… watch from 17:00:

Shame BBC News doesn’t cover it much!

Bud Smith
31 Mar 9:39am

Hi all,

I’d be grateful for a pointer to the Parliamentary candidate from Derby whom Ian mentions, and also pointers to any other Transitioners running for office.



>Just shows we need more Transitioners (and scientists and engineers) in Parliament rather than bankers, economists and lawyers. It is not just denial we need to overcome but also the lack of knowledge and understanding. If you have a transitioner standing as MP (as we do in Derby) go and help their campaign.

[…] Has the government finally acknowledged peak oil? Rob Hopkins was in the meeting. […]

4 Apr 2:14pm

Thanks for posting.
Glad the discussion occurred.
Glad you guys were invited.
And glad you gave us the chance to read about it.

[…] to reports from attendees, the summit yielded some important […]

[…] il Guardian ha rotto le uova nel paniere. Questa è la prima notizia che ci riporta Rob Hoskins dal suo blog. Rob ha presenziato al summit sul peak oil del governo inglese come rappresentante di Transition […]

[…] of the attendees helpfully gave an account of the conclusions of the private meeting.  Rob Hopkins noted that the summit […]

[…] to reports from attendees, the summit yielded some important […]

[…] Richard Branson — British officials finally agreed to discuss future energy concerns during a behind-closed-doors summit earlier this […]