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Adapting to peak oil

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, January 20th, 2012 - 159 comments
Categories: energy, transport - Tags:

As peak oil slowly grinds down our economy – meeting any hint of growth with sky-high petrol prices and making $2 a litre the ‘new normal’, we are actually, gradually,starting to react. Not at a governmental level, where action is most urgently needed, but in the decisions made by ordinary Kiwis every day.

Just about the fastest way for an ordinary person to consume a lot of oil is by taking an international flight. Since oil prices started rising to high levels and staying there, international travel has largely stopped growing. With the short-term exception of the Rugby World Cup, passenger movements have been stable since 2004.

Tourists are also spending less once they get here. The evidence is that people are taking shorter, less costly in fuel, international trips as well, with passenger movements to and from Australia rising while movements between here and Europe are falling.

The vehicle fleet is, gradually, changing in response to oil price pressures. The total number of registered road vehicles has stablised. The number of cars and commercial vehicles on the road has fallen while motorcycles, moped, and buses gain in number.

To be fair, the impact of the other vehicles is still relatively small. Cars and commercials are 96.2% of registered vehicles, down from 97.4% in 2004.

And people are driving less per person. Despite roughly 7% population growth since 2004, traffic volumes are stable.

The 2011 figures are down on 2010 as well.

(note there’s no up to date figures on vehicle/kilometres traveled on all roads. The series stopped in 2009 with 2007 figures – thanks government cuts)

People are searching out public transport as well. Despite the myth that no-one travels by public transport in Auckland the number of passenger journeys has risen by 30% in the past six years and equates to 45 trips per Aucklander a year. That’s not a touch on Wellington as a proportion of trips, but it’s significant growth.

Another adaption is, perhaps counter-intuitively, that people are keeping their old cars longer. Denialists often say that, if there is a peak oil problem, people will just buy new, more fuel-efficient cars when the price of petrol gets too high. In fact, people find more of their transport budget eaten up by fuel and have less for capital investment -ie buying cars) – (they also have to divert money from their other areas of spending).

They don’t upgrade to newer, more efficient models, they keep their cars longer, buy cheaper old second-hand cars and if they do buy a new vehicle it’s likely to be a cheap, fuel-efficient partial replacement like a motorcycle or moped so that they can keep their gas guzzler in the garage more.

So, we’re reacting as individuals and families – as the options provided to us by the government and the market allow.

The problem is the government isn’t reacting. It’s spending $1 billion a year on new highways. All these projects either don’t make economic sense according to NZTA’s own models, or only make sense if you assume traffic growth that isn’t happening (and, even if they did make sense, there’s plenty of other things with higher cost:benefits out there). Here’s an example of the government’s mindset – they still put out a monthly publication called ‘State High Traffic Growth’ and their website proclaims “traffic volumes are growing” when, in fact, their own stats show no growth since 2004.

Where that billion dollars a year of government investment goes is critical. Right now, it’s going on trying to make more long-distance commuting by car cheaper and quicker (and on allowing government ministers to get to their beach houses in Omaha easier). It could be used to build a transport infrastructure that will actually be relevant in ten years time, instead.

With an ever rising portion of our country’s economic output being spent on importing the same amount of oil. We can’t afford to waste a billion a year locking ourselves further into oil dependency. People are trying to change their behaviours. Its time the government helped.

159 comments on “Adapting to peak oil”

  1. Peter 1

    When I did my Masters thesis (on peak oil), a friend of mine did hers on how NZ will have to expand its airports to cope with a doubling in aircraft movements, in 20 years. I can remember patiently trying to explain about how that wasn’t very likely to happen, but instantly got labelled as a doomer.
    We agreed to a long term wager, to be assessed in 10 years time – so far, I think I can bank my money :)

  2. randal 2

    hey doods.
    its my god given right to jump on a jet and fly off to some foreign destination and laugh at the quaint natives cleaning the toilets.
    or go anywhere else for that matter to get away from the oiks running this country.

  3. vto 3

    Overseas holidays by jet plane are pretty boring anyway in my opinion.

    Sit around some dumb pool on an island, tootle around looking at different markets or shops which are in fact the same, marvel at the natives who are doing exactly the same as us, … just boring. Boring boring boring.

    • lprent 3.1

      Boring and that it is just boring people with merely minor variations in culture… That is why I haven’t bothered to have a overseas holiday since 1991. By that time I’d been most places I was interested in going for the geology apart from Antarctica.

      I also used to travel for business. But these days there is the net for actual business and gaggle of suckers gregarious and social people who like handshaking after smelling everyone else farts in a airborne cattle truck. Somehow my pleasant (and carefully constructed) personality doesn’t seem to be the face that people want to present. I wonder why? :twisted:

      If anyone wants something actually done then I am helpfully available at close to the speed of light for anything substantive that I can do over the net. But one of my other personality traits is that only happens if you leave a message, or I know your number on caller-id, or you get referred to by someone who knows me. I tend to value my time quite highly.

      • King Kong 3.1.1

        Boy do I feel like an idiot. I often travel on planes and didn’t realise that international holidays were so rubbish.

        • felix 3.1.1.1

          That’s ok k k, we all knew you were an idiot anyway.

        • mik e 3.1.1.2

          Missing Link back at bullying best see We will have to get a couple of planes for you like in the movie primitive obese gorilla

      • beachbum 3.1.2

        Hmmmm so you dont travel ……..anymore……!! Thats after you admit to having been to all the places you wanted to go.

        Are you suggesting that others should not have the opportunity to go places that interest them and just take your word that its not worth it?

        • lprent 3.1.2.1

          I never said that others shouldn’t experience the joys of cattle class…

          I like inflicting educational pain. Ask any troll on kiwiblog that got dumped out of here involuntarily. Although they don’t describe it as educational and tend to get bombastic about the experience at the slightest reminder :twisted:.

          For that matter one of the companies I helped set up sells management simulations. I was the lead programmer and I specifically designed them for MBA students pain. After all, having done a MBA (gained the educational experience) and compared it to the real world experience of management I knew exactly where the courses could do with a little hubris inducing enhancement.

          What vto and I were pointing out is that the experience is as boring as crap for anyone with a brain that remembers previous experience. If repetitive pain can be avoided, then I make a point to avoiding it.

          For instance, Lyn has to bug out of the country for her doco or work every few months. Picking up the collapsed remains after she has to do something like 4 work filled days in Shanghai, or going to a film festival in Ireland or the Netherlands for a week is a salutatory lesson to me about why it is a stupid idea…. She was pretty excited about this travel two years ago but I reckon she is only a year or so from outright avoidance behaviour..

          • beachbum 3.1.2.1.1

            Gotcha….Yes I enjoyed the “novelty” of travel once upon a time and then ended up avoiding it whenever I could. And prefer not be in cattle class..

      • M 3.1.3

        Mmmm hmmm vto and Lynn

        People in tourist destinations especially in poorer areas are indentured servants forced to work and sell goods to keep overfed and spoilt first-worlders happy. Have people never seen TV programmes about other cultures or read books? Hell, NZ has enough immigrants from far flung places – why not try to get and know some of these people. I’ve been lucky to work with people from many different places and when you get to know them and find out about their culture and traditions I think it’s a good substitute – certainly better than participating in the most destructive form of planet killing – air travel.

        As Lynn says we have the technology so why isn’t it being used? I’m amazed that companies and government departments still allow people to fly everywhere for conferences/meetings that could be done by videolink – it’s really just an excuse for a wankfest and an expensive junket at a restaurant. People at a senior level should have a good phone manner or at least employ one when dealing with customers.

        Wake up people, the party’s over. With all the shit in the financial markets, some of which is due to peak oil, extreme weather and environmental destruction – Japan is a nation of people in a death camp – the curtain hiding all this toxicity can’t be too far from falling.

        If you have a car, use it as little as possible and walk, take the bus or cycle, get used to staying at home or being very local, grow some food if you can and adjust your expectations because if you don’t reality will force you to.

        • Populuxe1 3.1.3.1

          Hahahaha – you sound like one of those Americans who get a passport once so they can visit “Paris, France”, and take their own stamps. Obviously you have never been further than Australia, because you would know that you can’t get a feeling for a culture unless you see the people in it. Similarly certain canonical buildings and artworks can only be experienced in direct relation to physical proximity to really make sense. Also, I have to say, I feel so energised in other countries because there is so much going on – even Australians have this enthusiasm that makes you want to make and do things. I suppose that being involved with the arts and the academic world, I’m used to thinking of it as an international culture.
          And no – video conferencing leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to picking up the subtle nuances and making people at their ease – we are still basic primates at heart. Also time differences are a total bastard – there are some things you simply cannot do by video link (nor is the technology all that widely available, and the jerkiness of skype gives me a colossal headache.). You dismiss the junket with the relish of one who has never been useful enough to someone else to be offered one – more often than not it’s a treat well-earned.
          I think the Japanese would be very surprised to know they live in a death camp – outside of the main cities are vast areas of countryside and nature, and even at their poorest they can still pretty much buy whatever they want.
           
           

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.3.1.1

            International air travel is in decline. Airlines have a very limited future. Your points on face to face contact are correct, but it won’t matter if most people (and businesses) cannot afford travel.

          • M 3.1.3.1.2

            ‘Obviously you have never been further than Australia…

            I was not born here and have travelled but like Lynn the scales fell from my eyes many years ago as I knew even before peak oil was to the fore that fossil fuels are a finite resource. As to feeling energised I would say that it’s very much and individual thing and I cetrtainly do not have a lack of stimulation in my life – in fact I don’t tend to need much sleep as I feel so energised a lot of the time – thank fuck for the Net.

            ‘You dismiss the junket with the relish of one who has never been useful enough to someone else to be offered one – more often than not it’s a treat well-earned.’

            Far from it I haven’t been short of treats but then again I don’t need treats to make me feel special and it’s just buying into the consumerist paradigm of the populace, particularly the first world. As to a treat well earned I’m sure the people living in tent cities in the US sure believe that the banksters who wrecked the US economy really deserved those bonuses even after the government bailouts of their shady institutions.

            ‘I think the Japanese would be very surprised to know they live in a death camp – outside of the main cities are vast areas of countryside and nature, and even at their poorest they can still pretty much buy whatever they want.’

            Yeah, hope that includes a Giga counter – they’re selling like hotcakes these days probably much like KI tablets. Nuke fallout has been recorded in Canada and many other regions of the US and if it’s going to raise cancer rates in those countries it would appear that the Japanese who are really up close and personal can look forward to a ramp up in cancer and birth defects.

            A good site on the situation in Japan is Fairewinds:
            http://fairewinds.com/

            Giga counter sales:
            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8537159/Wary-Japanese-send-sales-of-Geiger-counters-soaring.html

            • Populuxe1 3.1.3.1.2.1

              Clearly travel doesn’t broaden the mind in all cases. “in fact I don’t tend to need much sleep as I feel so energised a lot of the time – thank fuck for the Net.” – not remotely the same thing at all, you obviously don’t understand what I mean about being in a milieu (unlike New Zealand) which values culture, creativity and intellect. What you are describing is a soulless, solipsistic on-line ego-wank.
               
              I don’t need treats to make me “feel special”, but as a freelancer working hand to mouth I really really enjoy them. And junkets are hardly the same as the ridiculous bonuses the Gordon Geckos of this world pay themselves, and in any case, it’s barter, payment in kind, not capitalism – nor is the cost of one dinner in a fancy restaurant realistically going to rescue a homeless person from the street indefinitely. Oh the money might help for a couple of days, but I’m not going to be some hypocritical martyr and pretend that I think I occasionally deserve a pleasant experience.
               
              Yes, Japan’s cancer and birth rate will ramp, but they are probably the best country in the world to deal with it – grotesque as it is to say, they have more expertise with radiation than anyone, down to being very careful about who they have children with. They’re buying Geiger counters because they what to be prepared, and also a sort of bleak pop culture trend – something the Japanese are rather prone to. It’s not a “death camp”, it’s a horrific set back they will weather. As Chernobyl has demonstrated, we are only now learning how robust communities and environments can be despite high levels of radiation exposure. The legacy will be hideous and lasting, but Japan isn’t going to disappear.

              • M

                We’ve reached peak everything and people are just going to have to rein themselves in. It’s not soulless to leave something of the earth for future generations many of whom will wonder “what we’re they thinking?”. Your assertion about travel broadening the mind has a “nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah” tone and not everyone can afford to travel or may be afraid of flying but I wouldn’t think it would render them insular.

                Not denying treats are nice or saying I don’t indulge but in many societies the casual throw-away mentality aided and abetted by marketing departments has led to rates of unrealistic growth and rapidly depleting non-renewable resources, almost a case of let’s see who can use up precious resources the fastest. Martyrdom doesn’t come into it as it has been a conscious decision to use less so there is no feeling of having been hard done by.

                No Japan won’t disappear but can’t really see many people wanting permanent residency in Japan or anyone wanting to take them in given they will harbour radiation within their bodies.

                • Populuxe1

                  No, I can’t afford to travel but fortunately I am considered sufficiently worthy to get a rare professional development grant or scholarship once in a while. I make good use of it. Given the sheer number of Kiwis who scrimp and save to go on OE’s your assertion that “not everyone can afford to travel or may be afraid of flying but I wouldn’t think it would render them insular” just sounds redundant. Sure it might not render them insular, but it probably wouldn’t make me feel terribly comfortable putting them in a position requiring a level of sophistication and awareness of the world. Even before the advent of the internal combustion engine, the Grand Tour was considered essential to the education of artists, scholars, writers, architects and future leaders. I see no reason for this to cease – it will be difficult, but people always find a way even if it is by steam, sail or dirigible.
                  You show a singular lack of understanding about the effects of residual radiation even at high levels, it’s spread, and how long it lasts in the human body. Yes there will be an increase in cancers and birth defects, but not catastrophically so – and for a comparative example the WHO report on Chernobyl  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs303/en/index.html
                  It is bad, but survivable.
                  If you have such a gloomy view of humanity and it’s future, why don’t you just euthanise yourself now rather than further depleting valuable resources?
                   

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Sure it might not render them insular, but it probably wouldn’t make me feel terribly comfortable putting them in a position requiring a level of sophistication and awareness of the world. Even before the advent of the internal combustion engine, the Grand Tour was considered essential to the education of artists, scholars, writers, architects and future leaders.

                    Don’t fuss mate, you can just hire young graduates from well off Tory families whose children have done study and OE’s in the UK, France etc. just like English and Key’s children have done or are doing right now. Its best to fill up the upper echelons of the public sector and business with people who understand what the world is truly about after all.

                    You can’t really expect people from the serf class to do a “Grand Tour” after all, just like you can’t expect them to do a skiing Christmas at Stadt.

                    It is bad, but survivable.

                    The people and their children who don’t die from the ill effects of the radiation contamination will survive, yes. The ones who do, won’t.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Tsk tsk CV – don’t be a dick. You don’t have to be a Tory to backpack around India or whatever. In my mum’s day you went to Europe on a ship and worked your arse off cleaning hotel rooms. And while I might have seen more of the inside of the Tory world than I should ever wish to, that’s why I hate their worldview. You might want to lose that chip off your shoulder – it seems to affecting your hearing.
                      And yes, survivable. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they know all about survival.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Also, the danger of not having been out of your own country is you lose empathy with other countries. Look at the US, the most powerful state in the world with the wost foreign policy because the people doing the voting have very little idea of the existence of the outside world – or at least are oblivious or hostile to it. Much of what NZ has going for it is the relative awareness and sophistication of it’s people – we do more good in the Pacific than we do ill, I suspect, and we have one of the least hated armies in the world. Our ability to engage with other countries and peoples has always been a strength.

                  • just saying

                    Do you read your own comments back to yourself populuxe1?

                  • M

                    ‘No, I can’t afford to travel but fortunately I am considered sufficiently worthy to get a rare professional development grant or scholarship once in a while.’

                    Nice narcissism.

                    ‘If you have such a gloomy view of humanity and it’s future…’

                    Bollocks – preserving stuff for future generations gloomy?

                    ‘why don’t you just euthanise yourself now rather than further depleting valuable resources?’

                    You first – with your mindset your footprint will be larger.

                    • Populuxe1

                      What narcissism? Have you absorbed the local variety of Tall Poppy Syndrome so thoroughly, and given your “I’ve done it all, you wouldn’t want it” attitude, I’m begining to wonder if it’s a future that those generations would want to be born into. I’d rather look at optimistically solving those problems for them rather than bequeath them a miserable dwindling decline.

                • Vicky32

                  Your assertion about travel broadening the mind has a “nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah” tone and not everyone can afford to travel or may be afraid of flying but I wouldn’t think it would render them insular.

                   
                  It makes me very sad that those who have travelled are now saying that we who have never had the money to do so, should be happy to never do so, even if we get the money, because it’s irresponsible to the environment. I assure you that if I ever got the chance to do what the middle classes have all done, and go further than Australia, the environment will just have to take its chance! (I walk everywhere – have never had a car, because I’ve never had enough money- so I consider I’ve earned the chance.)
                   
                   

              • Colonial Viper

                Buying geiger counters in Japan post Fukushima is like buying depth gauges on the Titanic.

                Informative but in the final analysis the good it does is?

    • felix 3.2

      Yes vto boring indeed. The kind of holidays people go on so they can tell people they went on holiday.

    • RJL 3.3

      Sure, going somewhere boring for a holiday is boring.

      Sure, flying on a plane for a long time is boring.

      And looking at pictures of other peoples holidays is very boring indeed.

      But as long as you are going somewhere where you can do/see/eat/experience things and meet people that you could not normally do, then a holiday is fantastic. And a fantastic holiday doesn’t always require a jet plane trip — but neither does a jet plane trip preclude a fantastic holiday.

      If you are having a boring holiday it’s because either you went somewhere boring or you yourself are a bore.

      • King Kong 3.3.1

        “If you are having a boring holiday it’s because either you went somewhere boring or you yourself are a bore.”

        Or you are poor and don’t have the reddies to travel so try to belittle the experiences of those who can.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.3.2

        You missed the point which is that humanity has become homogenised. Basically what anyone would do there is the same as what they do at home. Interestingly enough, it seems to have been the tourist industry that did it as well – they set things up so that the tourists, most of which come from westernised nations, would be comfortable when they got there.

        • RJL 3.3.2.1

          Don’t be stupid. Humanity has always been homogenized. People have always done much the same thing everywhere — it is part of being the same species. So, yes, in a trivial sense, people are people even if they are speaking a different language and wearing a different hat to you.

          And, sure if you go on a holiday to somewhere that has a big shopping mall, and you actually go into that shopping mall — yes, it looks much the same as a shopping mall anywhere.

          However, the fact that people are (maybe) wearing different hats, and are (maybe) speaking a different language and that different destinations do actually have something other than shopping malls to offer you means your holiday need not be boring.

          • Colonial Viper 3.3.2.1.1

            Don’t be stupid. Humanity has always been homogenized. People have always done much the same thing everywhere…And, sure if you go on a holiday to somewhere that has a big shopping mall, and you actually go into that shopping mall — yes, it looks much the same as a shopping mall anywhere.

            Wow. “Shopping mall” lol

            You just assumed that Americanization = Global homogenisation.

            Bad assumption. Which the Americans failed to learn in Iraq, which they are failing to learn in Afghanistan, and which they will no doubt also fail to learn in Iran.

        • Populuxe1 3.3.2.2

          That is so much patronising bullshit. I like to travel because there are cultural experiences I simply can’t have here: art, architecture, language, etc. Also human relationships – I have much loved friends around the world and no amount of online chat can ever match spending quality time with someone. And no, humanity hasn’t become homogenised, there is a richness and diversity of communities out there that is well worth exploring because it teaches you about your humanity and no amount of virtual web-surfing can give you that. The OE is essential to preventing Kiwis from an existence as boring, complacent, insular, provincial ignorami – ie, Americans.

      • MrSmith 3.3.3

        Personally I like Sam Hunts take on holidays, he says, “I’ve never had one as I’ve never had a job!”

      • felix 3.3.4

        “But as long as you are going somewhere where you can do/see/eat/experience things and meet people that you could not normally do, then a holiday is fantastic.”

        I don’t really wish to pour scorn on anyone else’s sense of fun RJL, just noting that other people’s ideas of a good holiday are often quite boring to me.

        I think vto mentioned sitting by a pool in a resort on an island – frankly I can’t imagine anything more tedious. It’s always struck me as the kind of holiday people go on when they specifically don’t want to meet new people and experience other cultures, but hey whatever floats your lilo I guess.

    • International tourist arrivals reached 980m in 2011, a 4.4% rise on 2010. Estimates are that it will top 1bn in 2012.

      Europe has over half of these arrivals and experienced a lot of the growth. It suggests that people are doing more short haul trips and fewer long haul trips. It’s very easy, of course, to do an ‘international trip’ in Europe. Driving 10 miles to the next town can do it.

      NZ is long haul for just about everyone except Australians (and it’s not that short a trip for some of them). That’s the reason for the downturn here of visitors from UK, US and a bit of an upturn from Australia and Asian generating regions.

      On the question of motives, ‘escape’ is one that turns up repeatedly in the literature. Crompton way back in 1979 referred to it as ‘escape from a perceived mundane environment’. So, in a sense, far from being the outcome, boredom can be what causes people to travel.

      Sometimes travel is as much about where (and what) you’ve left as it is about where you go. 

      • Colonial Viper 3.4.1

        The idea that international tourism will stay a major industry in NZ over the next 20 years needs to be rethought. Especially when airtravel once more becomes the preserve of the very wealthy and very famous.

  4. tc 5

    Also in OZ for the first time in 20 years or so the commodore has been knocked off it’s perch as the number 1 seller by the Mazda 3.

    Faster, cheaper BBand also helps keep people off the roads…..not that Joyce gives an F with both the transport and telecom’s hats he wears.

  5. insider 6

    People hanging onto cars longer is not some subliminal message on peak oil – why would people keep using less efficient older cars in such circumstances? Wouldn’t conservation be the trend? More like the impact of new emissions regs limiting the range of imports particularly at the bottom end and a couple of years financial crisis

    • vto 6.1

      Agreed. Recent reductions in the use of cars and planes is more to do with most everyone having less money to spend on cars and planes.

      • Vicky32 6.1.1

        . Recent reductions in the use of cars and planes is more to do with most everyone having less money to spend on cars and planes.

        It makes me quite sad, that whereas all the middle class people did their “O.E”, and are now telling the rest of us that we mustn’t (because of peak oil/climate change etc) – most of we working class people never did get the chance to travel, as we never had the money!
        (I remember years ago, chatting to a solo mother just like me, except for her tony and tory background) who was waxing enthusiastic about art in Venice, and when I told her I’d never seen it, asked me “But where did you go for your OE?” She was gobsmacked when I broke it to her gently that except for 1% of the school’s population, none of my classmates had travelled, or even had a gap year in which to go to Europe and look at art – instead we’d gone straight to work…)

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.2

        Agreed. Recent reductions in the use of cars and planes is more to do with most everyone having less money to spend on cars and planes.

        You speak as if the continuing economic circumstances and peoples lack of discretionary spending power are somehow independent of trends in energy depletion.

        I would argue that they are strongly, though not always directly, related.

        Put another way. If petrol was back to $1.20/L a lot more people would be doing a lot more km’s than they are now.

    • Blighty 6.2

      “People hanging onto cars longer is not some subliminal message on peak oil – why would people keep using less efficient older cars in such circumstances”

      answer in the post –

      “people find more of their transport budget eaten up by fuel and have less for capital investment -ie buying cars”

      “They don’t upgrade to newer, more efficient models, they keep their cars longer, buy cheaper old second-hand cars and if they do buy a new vehicle it’s likely to be a cheap, fuel-efficient partial replacement like a motorcycle or moped so that they can keep their gas guzzler in the garage more.”

      Peak oil prices squeeze us so that we have less money to invest in countering peak oil. Put it another way – the decline in available oil energy in our economy means less energy is there to build transport capital that uses less oil energy. This is a well-understood fact in resource economics.

      We keep our old cars and try to drive them less, instead..

      • insider 6.2.1

        Fuel is relatively stable recently and efficiency can smooth the transition. I’ve just exchanged a 1992 car for a 2004 one. My cost of driving has dropped due to the 30% or so efficiency improvement that a newer car with slightly smaller motor achieves. I’d suggest low car turnover is due to income issues (concerns about jobs driving conservative decisions) rather than the running costs.

        • lprent 6.2.1.1

          I’d suggest low car turnover is due to income issues (concerns about jobs driving conservative decisions) rather than the running costs.

          In my case it is because I don’t drive much – at present on average I’m using a tank of petrol every 6-7 weeks (currently about $110). That is mostly because I sometimes go to Rotorua to irritate my parents. My annual petrol bill these days is less than the cost of registration, warranty and insurance.

          Why would I want to replace my current car? Someone put 220 thousand kilometres on it and it will probably last me another decade or so if I keep it in a garage when it is not in use. It cost me less than my laptop to purchase, unlike the car it costs me even when I don’t use it, and I use it less than my laptop.

          If there was a simple way to just have a hired car whenever I need one, it’d be cheaper to do that.

          • Lanthanide 6.2.1.1.1

            “If there was a simple way to just have a hired car whenever I need one, it’d be cheaper to do that.”

            Actually the idea of a local car rental business is probably what we’ll see in the future. Most people will commute on bikes, scooters or motorbikes, and when you need your weekly shopping trip to actually transport things, bike down to the local car rental business and pay them $10 so you can take the car down to the supermarket for 2 hours.

    • Lanthanide 6.3

      Actually insider if you bothered to do the maths (which admittedly aren’t in the post, either) you’ll find that it doesn’t make sense to spend $10k on a new(er) car that will consume only $2,000 of petrol per year instead of $3,000. At that price/rate it would take you 10 years to break even.

      You’d be much better off spending $500 on a scooter and shifting your vehicle use so your petrol outlay is only $1,500/year.

      • insider 6.3.1

        But people do or don’t buy cars for all sorts of reasons and you always lose money on cars no matter what, it’s how you prioritise your spending. Improved efficiency is one of the important drivers. Ability to fund the purchase is another. Looming warrant bills on an older vehicle another. Personal prestige and pride I’d suggest is another key one. Suggesting people hang onto cars for fear of ‘peak oil’ is so counter intuitive as to make it a nonsense.

        • Lanthanide 6.3.1.1

          They don’t hold onto cars for “fear of ‘peak oil'” and the only person who has suggested that is yourself.

          You asked the question “why would people keep using less efficient older cars in such circumstances? Wouldn’t conservation be the trend?”

          I told you why. Because it doesn’t make economic sense to replace a fuel-inefficient car with a fuel-efficient one if you’re going to have to pay an upfront sum of $10k to do it.

          Now if you could magically get a fuel-efficient car for $2,000 instead of $10k, then yes, that might be worth doing. But the fact is, that doesn’t generally happen.

          • insider 6.3.1.1.1

            The whole post is about people ‘adapting’ to peak oil consciously and unconsciously.

            Car decisions are always ‘uneconomic’ – you pay a whole stack of money up front and endless running costs, but they do it because it makes it easier to take the kids to sport on Saturday. People are primarily not buying because of the general economy and because Govt regulation changes are increasing the cost of bottom end vehicles, two huge barriers to upgrading. Remove those and then you’d see a big change in turnover even if fuel costs were lower – the 90s and 2000s showed exactly that.

            • Lanthanide 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Produce evidence that the price of cars has increased at a rate greater than inflation and you might have a point.

    • I hang on to my old (1997) car because it is comfortable and reliable and there is no pressing need to replace it. It’s a bit of a guzzler but pay as I go is cheaper than covering the upfront outlay of a newer car.

      • fender 6.4.1

        Tell the truth Petey, you have been holding off updating your ride in expectation of a ministerial vehicle being handed to you, but you bet on the UF horse and it keeps running the wrong way.

  6. johnm 7

    Where is AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH ? This is right in his passionate territory. Plse return!

    • King Kong 7.1

      We are all going to die from an environmental armageddon.

      How do I know this? I am just a hell of alot more switched on to this stuff than everyone else.

      There you go John M I have just saved you from 50 ranting paragraphs from AFKTT and delivered exactly the same points.

    • insider 7.2

      I think he’s off fortifying his cabin

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 8

    The first graph is very weak: it doesn’t support the notion that “passenger movements have been stable” unless you cherry-pick 2004 as a start date – and even then the trend is still up. It’s the same as claiming “no warming since 1998″.

    I agree with the general thrust of the article, but I don’t think we do ourselves any favours by fudging the data.

    • insider 8.1

      If movements are stable and fuel efficiency is improving, that implies peak demand not peak oil.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        If movements are stable and fuel efficiency is improving, that implies peak demand not peak oil.

        whoah big boy…don’t forget that peak oil looks exactly like peak demand and vice versa.

        And that there is a fair chance that they will go hand in hand because they are so interdependent.

  8. Gosman 9

    So the market is working just as you would have expected without massive Government intervention. Who would have thunk it?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      The market is reacting in spite of government intervention. Who would have picked that a Tory government would be so incompetent?

    • Lanthanide 9.2

      In fact the current government intervention, spending billions on roads of notional significance, is exactly the wrong type of government intervention.

      We’d be better off if they simply did nothing.

      • insider 9.2.1

        never saw you as an ACT supporter Lanth with your encouragement of hands of govt ;-)

        • Lanthanide 9.2.1.1

          I’m encouraging governments not to do things are demonstrably harmful to the country. In that respect I am definitely not an ACT supporter.

      • just saying 9.2.2

        Geez those bastards must have laughed. Spending billions on holdiay highways just after peak oil, and even making it the poster-child of the already hilarious ‘brighter future’ election campaign.
        But then, I’m sure many of the players were quite literally* ‘laughing all the way to the bank”

        *the current usage meaning of ‘literally’.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      Except that the government isn’t paying attention to the market or any of the other facts going around and so keeps building roads. The people may be reacting to the market, the government isn’t.

      Of course, the big problem that we have is that the market is reactive and thus change comes about after the change was actually needed. This is where the government should be leading and planning for a resource constrained future and it’s not doing that. Instead it’s going for more growth which can’t possibly happen.

      • AAMC 9.3.1

        +1

        Adam Dmith wrote  in the 1700’s Gosman, time for some updated thinking!

        • Gosman 9.3.1.1

          Karl Marx wrote in the 1800’s yet it doesn’t stop many people on here thinking his words are gospel.

          • McFlock 9.3.1.1.1

            So did Darwin.
             
            Personally I think Marx identified a number of problems with the capitalist system. I disagree with the wishful thinking of the solutions he posed, but he was among the first to identify problems and demonstrate their existence through comprehensive empirical research. Remember, he started in the period where Semmelweis and Snow were being mocked for attributing disease to something other than bad smells.  
              
            Although people can debate his communist solution/prediction ad nauseum, many of his principles of the problems of capitalism hold true, which is why he is studied by unexpected people. Abit more reliable than Adam Smith, but even then Smith needs to be read in entirety, not just taking the crib notes out of context. Smith had a bit to say on the role of government to moderate trade, as I recall from my uni days. 

            • Draco T Bastard 9.3.1.1.1.1

              Smith had a bit to say on the role of government to moderate trade, as I recall from my uni days.

              Yep, he did and used the banking system and the corruption within it as an example.

          • Draco T Bastard 9.3.1.1.2

            Marx still has the best and most accurate critique of capitalism. Smith put forward a theory on the free-market which has been shown to be almost completely bunk. And then there’s the fact that capitalism can’t work as free-market anyway – that’s the reason we have patents and other monopolistic protections for the capitalists. Without them they wouldn’t be able to make a profit.

          • mik e 9.3.1.1.3

            Gosman Marx and smiths thinking are closer than you think then Lenin’ s theory is probably closer to social democracy and was probably closer to the Muldoon model than the way you think before you criticise something it may pay to read the real story before you start making silly assumptions Neither of them had the whole story sorted Modern computers and good research have found that economics is becoming more of a science than theory. Society today is neglecting the cohesive type policies ,consumerism has taken over the world , its all about the individual the community of mankind doesn’t count any more.
            Modern society is a Narcissistic beast only caring about inanimate objects “Con”sumer products & services.

            • McFlock 9.3.1.1.3.1

              Lenin was a bit too in favour of secret police and authorising mass executions for my taste.

      • insider 9.3.2

        Roading improvements could do a couple of things – give opportunities for efficiency in frieght through route consolidation and give improved efficiency through congestion reductions. In an environment of static fuel demand and saturation of vehicle numbers and trips, that could reduce demand further so could be a good investment. The projections for Europe and the US is that they will use less fuel in 10-15 years than they are today.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.3.2.1

          Roading improvements could do a couple of things – give opportunities for efficiency in frieght through route consolidation and give improved efficiency through congestion reductions.

          Rail’s better especially when electrified.

          In an environment of static fuel demand and saturation of vehicle numbers and trips…

          It’s not static but growing. Well, at least the governments are trying to grow the demand – otherwise known as growing the economy.

          The projections for Europe and the US is that they will use less fuel in 10-15 years than they are today.

          They’ll be using less in a couple of years due to there not being enough to go around.

        • mik e 9.3.2.2

          Given the right conditions Muldoon would have no doubt had a go at mass executions as well he used the secret police for political purposes.

  9. just saying 10

    It’s a bugbear of mine that the cost of registration, along wih the cost of public transport, means that it is uneconomic for many car owners to not drive. I can’t understand why the ACC levy isn’t entirely loaded onto petrol prices. This would be much fairer – the more you drive the more likely you are to have an accident, whereas just having a vehicle available, not so much.

    I’d like to see an extra petrol levy ontop of this dedicated to upgrading and subsidising public transport. The sooner petrol becomes more unaffordable, the sooner using a car will be something that people use as a luxury or for emergencies. I think this would help us transition to the new post-peak reality.

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      “This would be much fairer – the more you drive the more likely you are to have an accident, whereas just having a vehicle available, not so much”

      Yip, you’re right. I think keeping a small part, maybe 20%, on the vehicle registration would still be worthwhile though. It could be adjusted based on your vehicle class: 4WDs could be charged more, for example. Similarly motorcyclists, when they get into accidents, generally come out much worse off than car drivers do. Charging the levy only on petrol wouldn’t capture this facet.

      • just saying 10.1.1

        Reducing the number of SUVs would be worthwhile on so many levels. It’s a pity that vehicles like the Rav 4 are very often chosen by the elderly and those with other disabilities, because they are so much more accesssible for them.

        On the positive side, giant SUVs must be becoming a more and more ‘elite’ every day, and driving them akin to lighting cigars with $100 bills. I’d love to know what proportion of those vehicles owners actually pay taxes on the costs of running them though.

        • insider 10.1.1.1

          So bascially you just want a spite tax on people whose decisions you don’t like because you are like, just so much smarter than them. Why not take over their bank accounts too so that they can only buy when and what you want them to?

          • Lanthanide 10.1.1.1.1

            It’s generally not good for the economy to have people spending $$$$ on petrol that goes offshore when they could be spending $$ to achieve the same outcome (transportation), and spend the remaining $$ on other things in the local economy.

          • just saying 10.1.1.1.2

            Since when have petrol taxes and road-user charges been “spite taxes”.
            If you actually read what I wrote you’d see I was predicting their use must eventaully decline because less and less people will be able to afford their huge petrol costs, and wondering if their drivers might be statistically more likely to be among those who hire tax-deductible tax accountants to creatively find ways of avoiding taxes of all kinds.

            edit: Do I detect some defensiveness on the subject of SUVs insider?

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.2.1

              “Spite taxes”

              Awesome phrase

              CT and the right wing always come up with ultra cooler memes than the Left do. Shame, but true.

          • mik e 10.1.1.1.3

            inciter Wasting A finite resource is stupid, it puts the price up sooner plus pollutes our atmosphere at many levels.
            Rav’s are not bad on fuel consumption its the bigger tractor types which are more dangerous to other road users as well carrying heavy bull bars that destroy safety impact zones in cars that really get my goat.

        • fender 10.1.1.2

          The gridlock outside many schools at 3pm is caused by the ever-increasing amount of shiny 4wd’s that have never seen or likely to see mud in their usable life. The drivers of these eyesores however dont seem to be able to judge the width accuratly though and traffic flow suffers.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      I can’t understand why the ACC levy isn’t entirely loaded onto petrol prices.

      That won’t work as ACC needs a reasonably constant income and you won’t get that if you put the charge onto a variable.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        Uh, I think you had a minor reaoning fail there – one point made in this post is that kms travelled, no. of road movements etc appear to have levelled off.

        That could form the basis for a reasonably steady income for ACC via charges on petrol.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1.1

          Take the ACC charge off rego, put it on fuel or RUCs and watch as the amount travelled goes down thus lessening the amount going to ACC. I’ve actually thought for awhile that ACC needs to go onto general taxes rather than being its own tax – it’s the cheapest and easiest funding option.

          • Colonial Viper 10.2.1.1.1

            Hmmmm but if the amount travelled on roads goes down and cars less used the no. of traffic accidents/injuries will go down as well – so it should match up?

            Plus the positive environmental spin off of less private vehicle use.

            Why not charge to the activity what that activity actually costs to society instead of approportioning the costs to the general population?

            • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1.1.1.1

              Hmmmm but if the amount travelled on roads goes down and cars less used the no. of traffic accidents/injuries will go down as well – so it should match up?

              Nope. The administration is essentially a fixed cost and so as less premiums come in a higher proportion of the income will go to that administration decreasing the amount spent on actually getting people fixed. Some mix would be best and that’s what we have. There’s probably an argument for increasing the amount of ACC within the petrol taxes, dropping the amount in the rego and having the administration of ACC fully funded from general taxes.

              • fender

                A wet dream for the right, chance to lay off some more public servants.

              • Colonial Viper

                I don’t really buy that argument. In terms of objectives, we’re not here to keep the fixed costs of ACC small, we’re here to reduce the number of vehicles and injuries on the road.

                Also, moving the fixed costs of ACC from 7% to 8% of levies collected (or whatever it is) is a bit of a “meh” moment IMO.

  10. james 111 11

    How many times have you predicted Peak Oil again another con

    • Richard Christie 11.1

      Oh hark to James 111 !
      He thinks the planet is an open ecosystem and fossil fuel supplies are eternal.

      • james 111 11.1.1

        Oh Hark to Richard

        he believes the Con started by the Oil companies so they could push up prices. That we should all mount our trusty horses ,and donkeys ,and ride to work now

        • Richard Christie 11.1.1.1

          Why waste your time in here James?

          Publish your findings and your solutions and claim your Nobel prize.
          Get to it, there’s no time to lose.

        • Lanthanide 11.1.1.2

          Oil companies are the ones insisting that peak oil isn’t true…

          • Colonial Viper 11.1.1.2.1

            That must be why oil majors like BP are slowly transforming themselves into something more akin to natural gas companies. Yes, I am being serious.

            The oil companies ain’t stupid. They have energy actuaries and oil field geologists who know exactly what the score is.

            Don’t mistake what they are saying in public for public consumption as being what they are actually thinking.

  11. james 111 12

    Lets get rid of the Doomsday oil predictions ,and look at the facts where Oil comes from its refillable in many cases.

    Fossil Fuel vs. Abiotic Oil

    It appears that, unbeknownst to Westerners, there have actually been, for quite some time now, two competing theories concerning the origins of petroleum.

    One theory claims that oil is an organic ‘fossil fuel’ deposited in finite quantities near the planet’s surface. The other theory claims that oil is continuously generated by natural processes in the Earth’s magma. One theory is backed by a massive body of research representing fifty years of intense scientific inquiry. The other theory is an unproven relic of the eighteenth century. One theory anticipates deep oil reserves, refillable oil fields, migratory oil systems, deep sources of generation, and the spontaneous venting of gas and oil. The other theory has a difficult time explaining any such documented phenomena.

    So which theory have we in the West, in our infinite wisdom, chosen to embrace? Why, the fundamentally absurd ‘Fossil Fuel’ theory, of course – the same theory that the ‘Peak Oil’ doomsday warnings are based on.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      “It appears that, unbeknownst to Westerners”

      Actually it has been ‘knownst’ to Westerners. It just never got anywhere because there’s no credible scientific evidence to back it up.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2

      “Unbeknownst to” James, these two theories have competed for the minds of scientists for the last hundred years or so. Approximately two scientists still give the idea any credence, and one of them is dead. Out of respect for his other widely-respected contributions to science, people are still quite polite about it.

      • Peter 12.2.1

        It may even be that Thomas Gold was right – the Russians certainly thought that organic oil was being produced. But even if they are right, the quantities of organic, renewable oil being produced in the “deep, hot biosphere” are so pitifully small compared with what we burn through in a day that the theory is irrelevant when it comes to reserves.

        It’s simply a red-herring, used for people to deny reality for a bit longer.

        • RedLogix 12.2.1.1

          Exactly.

          You only have to think about it for a few moments. If abiotic oil was capable of supplying oil at anything like the 85-90m barrels a day currently being consumed … then over geological time periods the amount of oil produced would be truly monstrous. Probably the entire planet would have to be km deep in the damned stuff.

          You have to remember that it took tens of millions of years to produce the same oil that we’ve consumed about half of in less than 150 years.

    • Richard Christie 12.3

      “It appears that, unbeknownst to Westerners, there have actually been, for quite some time now, two competing theories concerning the origins of petroleum…….

      :More from the big bag of stupid.

    • mikesh 12.4

      I don’t think it necessarily makes much difference. Presumably abiotic oil would decline just as quickly, otherwise why did American oil peak around 1970?

    • Populuxe1 12.5

      And the earth is flat, and the sun orbits around it…

  12. james 111 13

    So you still believe the Oil comes from dinosaurs even though most of it is based under the Middle East ,and there were very few Dinosaurs there. Did they travel under ground at 4000 feet die and rot there.
    Oh dear very interesting question isnt it still there is nothing like a good environmental con to stir things up.

    Oh by the way why do some oil well refill after being pumped dry. Is that because more dinosaurs are dying LOL for pharks sake get real

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      Nope, don’t believe that either.

    • insider 13.2

      No most comes from marine microorganisms in ancient shallow seas or from concentrations of plant matter. Saudi Arabia and Mid America were shallow seas. NZ stuff tends to be more plant matter based I believe.

      As for refilling reservoirs, it’s to do with migration of untapped oil within the reservoir due to pressure changes. A bit like when you suck hard on a straw in crushed ice. Everything tightens up after a while and tehre is no flow. Leave it to relax a bit and liquid repools in the places they pooled over time, only not as much as before.

      • lprent 13.2.1

        Leave it to relax a bit and liquid repools in the places they pooled over time, only not as much as before

        And does it naturally over many centuries (if you are lucky). It depends on the porosity of rock that is under considerable overburden so it isn’t going to be fast. It isn’t something that you can rely on in anything other than the long-term.

    • infused 13.3

      I’ve read a lot on this as well. A lot of the Russian deep wells are thought to have an endless supply.

      • McFlock 13.3.1

        By idiots. They might be big, even refreshed at a given rate (doubtful), but limitless is just pointless exagerration.

  13. james 111 14

    Well here are some more scientists who take a totally different view peak oil is nothing more than another green con.

    The issue of renewable oil is not the only reason that Peak Oil is a con, but a good summary has just been published on energy analysis website 321energy.com. – Fintan

    If hydrocarbons are renewable-
    then is “Peak Oil” a fraud?

    by Joel Bainerman 31 Aug, 2005

    The question is critical due to the enormous amount of coverage the issue of “Peak Oil” is receiving from the mainstream press. If the supply of hydrocarbons is renewable- then the contrary to the conventional wisdom being touted throughout the mainstream press today- the world is NOT running out of oil.

    Professor Emmanuil Chekaliuk told the conference on Petroleum and Petroleum Geology in Moscow that:

    “Statistical thermodynamic analysis has established clearly that hydrocarbon molecules which comprise petroleum require very high pressures for their spontaneous formation, comparable to that required for diamond…

    To suggest that hydrocarbon molecules spontaneously evolve in the regimes of temperature and pressure characterized by the near-surface of the Earth, which are the regimes of methane creation and hydrocarbon destruction, does not even deserve consideration.”

    Contrarily, the statistics of the international petroleum industry establish that, far from diminishing, the net known recoverable reserves of petroleum have been growing steadily for the past fifty years. Those statistics show that, for every year since about 1946, the international petroleum industry has discovered at least five new tons of recoverable oil for every three which have been consumed….

    As Professor P. Odell of the London School of Economics has put it, instead of “running out of oil,” the human race by every measure seems to be “running into oil”…. Continues

    [lprent: If you quote it, then link it. This makes it easier for people to read the whole pile. This was the first one of the numerous ones on google. http://www.jcrows.com/hydrocarbons.html ]

    • insider 14.1

      Odell’s a highly respected oil economist. Linking his views with an abioticist argument is quite misleading.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        Dude come on, the world will NEVER run out of oil.

        But its going to run out of oil we can afford. At $3/L petrol will still definitely be available. But a whole lot more people will decide its not worth it and go off the road permanently.

        • mik e 14.1.1.1

          Jturd most likely we will find out how much oil is around when the straits of Hormuz is shut down

        • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.2

          So who’s going to be happy spending $200 to refill their Falcon or Commodore every 8 or 9 days?

    • Lanthanide 14.2

      “the world is NOT running out of oil.”

      Correct, it is not. And I don’t believe any credible scientist would suggest that it is.

      What is happening, is that we are approaching (or have passed) the peak rate at which we can extract oil.

      There will be oil left for hundreds, potentially thousands of years. The problem is that in 10 years time, we might need 100m/barrels a day to continue Business As Usual, but it’s only possible to extract 60m from the earth.

      The reason we have this peak is not because there isn’t enough oil in the earth, it’s because the oil that is left is in the earth is found in what are called oil fields. It takes (a lot) of time and money to start production on a new oil field. When the big old oil field you were drilling from starts to run out of oil, you have to go drill new wells in other oil fields. The biggest, cheapest and easiest to reach oil fields have already been drilled, leaving only the smallest, most expensive and difficult ones left.

      Simple economics says that when demand outstrips supply, the price of the product will rise to a point sufficient to reduce demand or increase supply. This means oil might cost $300/barrel, instead of $100 like it does now. This means that petrol might cost $5/litre, instead of $2/litre like it does now. This means the economy might grow at rate of -5%, instead of +0.5% like it does now.

  14. james 111 15

    Says Dr. Kenney: “There stands no reason to worry about, and even less to plan for, any predicted demise of the petroleum industry based upon a vanishing of petroleum reserves. On the contrary, these considerations compel additional investment and development in the technology and skills of deep drilling, of deep seismic measurement and interpretation, of the reservoir properties of crystalline rock, and of the associated completion and production practices which should be applied in such non-traditional reservoirs”

    If Kenney is correct, not only are any predictions that the world is “running out of oil” invalid, so also are suggestions that the petroleum exploration and production industry is a “mature” or “declining” one.
    The impact on the planet of the conclusions of this debate

    Much research remains to be done on “alternative” theories of the how much hydrocarbons are left in the world- unfortunately- those entities most able to do this research- the western multinational oil conglomerates- have the least interest in arriving at any conclusion other than those that are part of the “Peak Oil” stream of thought. Today the mainstream press has accepted as a given that the world has only a finite amount of oil and natural gas- and thus any decision taken on how to deal with the world’s future needs are based on these conclusions. If they are erroneous- then the world is about to embark on a plan to provide for its energy needs for the coming century based on a false notion.

    Research geochemist Michael Lewan of the U.S.Geological Survey in Denver, is one of the most knowledgeable advocates of the opposing theory, that petroleum is a “fossil fuel”. Yet even Lewan admits:

    “I don’t think anybody has ever doubted that there is an inorganic source of hydrocarbons. The key question is, ‘Do they exist in commercial quantities?'”

    We might never know the answer to that question because both sides of this debate are not being heard by the general public. If the Russians have accepted the theory that hydrocarbons are renewable- and over time they will become the leading exporters of oil and gas worldwide- this fact alone requires these alternative theories of how fossil fuels are created- is required.

    It behooves western governments to begin taking these alternative theories seriously- and design future energy policies based on possibility that they are correct. Whatever strategies for meeting the world’s ferocious appetite for energy are devised today- will impact the planet for decades to come.

    In this issue- we simply can’t afford to be wrong.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      lol an emeritus professor without a single biochemical or geophysical qualification to his name says it so it must be true. I always used to think the National Party had to work quite hard to get people to believe bullshit until I saw James.

      • james 111 15.1.1

        Well your mates the comrades (Russians) dont believe its true I for once believe them on this one.
        Answer my question how come most of the oils lies under a place where there were very few if any dinosaurs. This is the one question that blows peak oil out of the Water. Very similar to one that poor old Darwin couldnt answer

        [oil isn’t made of dinosaurs. it’s mainly the remains of zooplankton and algae laid down on the beds of shallow seas hundreds of millions of years ago. No-one serious believes the abiogenic oil theory. It was just two crazy guys’ idea in the 1950s. there’s nothing to back it up. Zet]

        • The Voice of Reason 15.1.1.1

          And my word of the day is ‘bonkers’. Thanks for inspiring me, James.

        • wtl 15.1.1.2

          “Dinosaurs”? LOL. Watching too many cartoons?

          • Lanthanide 15.1.1.2.1

            Sounds like we got ourselves a gen-yoo-ine tea partier here!

            • mickysavage 15.1.1.2.1.1

              So James 111 not only do we not have to worry about climate change but this whole ganfangled peak oil nonsence is a big piece of nonsense.
               
              We can live it up and consume and drive and fly like there is no tomorrow.
               
              Hope you are right but do you really want to bet your planet on it?

              • McFlock

                Well I for one would rather live in a world where all the apocalyptic predictions about climate change and oil depletion come true, than risk living in a world with a plentiful supply of non-climate-changing hydrocarbons (but where we also have other fuel infrastructures we developed just in case).   /sarc

        • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.3

          One minor detail Zet: Fred Hoyle was not “a crazy guy”: I first heard about this deep hot biosphere notion on Real Climate, and I was surprised to see the reaction from the moderators there; commenters ridiculed the hypothesis and its authors only to be rebuked by the professors, who reminded them that Hoyle made valuable contributions to science.
          We can look back and say it sounds crazy, sure, but so does quantum entanglement.

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      Says Dr. Kenney: “There stands no reason to worry about, and even less to plan for, any predicted demise of the petroleum industry based upon a vanishing of petroleum reserves.

      James 111.

      No one has predicted the demise of the petroleum industry,

      You really don’t understand what is going on here. You aer correct we are not going to run out of oil. There will be oil in the earth forever. Just not the oil that we can afford to burn.

  15. ad 16

    When this column is translated into political terms for New Zealand, commentators are already pointing to the Green Party as the natural point of contact for media comment. This commentariat view will translate into consistently higher media profile for them.

    Witness the Genesis decision to can the Lammamoor project. On National Radio this morning, Greens were given good airplay even though they stated from the outset that they had never had a position on the matter. Labour was absent.

    Witness also the most recent Roy Morgan poll of the year – Green are significantly up again, Labour is static.

    It may well be that there is a test for the Greens in this Parliament as the Greens track towards 20% and are hence attacked by Labour’s Mallard, Jones etc. But the best response the Greens have had to that is to respond with the same kind of calm and dignity that Jeanette Fitzsimmons displayed in Parliament.

    The real question is whether the Greens and Labour can unite against the Government, start operating like that in the House, and appear as if they are ready to be the government. It would take the meshing of two vastly different political cultures to be able to achieve that, and it is the single greatest difficulty to a progressive government next time, not whether National can get partners to form a further government.

    Imagine if Labour simply ceded to the Greens its Environment and Conservation and perhaps even Transport portfolios. After all that is what a Coalition government would probably look like. In reality Labour are never going to outcompete the Greens in these areas. It is what any alternative-government politics needs.

    It could also be efficient for Labour to cede some of its Select Committee slots to the Greens – to just let the Greens have the running on some bills, and in turn for the Greens to cede some of theirs. This will again be good practise for actually having to form a common legislative agenda as a government and to cooperate.

    Possibly this shift will occur in the media anyway as the Greens start to hire more media and research staff with their greater parliamentary funding, and Labour in turn has less. Default media commentary will shift perceptibly more to the Greens.

    Previous practise is that the Greens are utterly shut out of Labour coalitions. That’s simply no longer an option next time.

    National has shown that it responds adequately – just adequately – to the general disasters of being in government. It also remains very, very popular.

    Unless the Greens and Labour show in Parliament that they can work together with substantial cooperation, then there is little reason for the electorate to be persuaded that they can operate together as a government.

    A testbed for all of this is of course The Standard. Can Green and Labour supporters look like they are united on issues and stand together in the broader political market of live discourse.

    And so a challenge for The Standard: which site will be the natural home for any petition against asset sales? With that petition will come of course huge traffic and profile. Is The Standard ready? Because a common Green-Labour site is what a progressive government will have to operate as well.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      It would take the meshing of two vastly different political cultures to be able to achieve that, and it is the single greatest difficulty to a progressive government next time, not whether National can get partners to form a further government.

      Very, very true. While indeed there is some considerable overlap at the political and policy level, the core problem that the typcial Green voter is socially liberal, while the core Labour voter is pretty solidly working class conservative.

      While it’s smart political strategy to have two seperate brands to cover such disparite ‘markets’ as it were… it requires some smart thinking to get the best value from it without inflicting mutual damage.

      I’ve always been a pan-lefty; I’ve consistently backed both the Greens and Labour over the years and I’d love nothing more than to see them transcend the stupidities of the past. Really.

      • Vicky32 16.1.1

        I’ve always been a pan-lefty; I’ve consistently backed both the Greens and Labour over the years and I’d love nothing more than to see them transcend the stupidities of the past. Really.

        I know I have the reputation here of being socially conservative, so it stands to reason that I back Labour all the way… I don’t trust the Greens and haven’t for at least the past 18 months. I fear they find the ‘baubles of office’ a wee bit too tempting, and also, I see that they are middle class to a man (and woman.)
        They’re not averse to a spot of bene bashing either, as befits their Tory origins..

        • Armchair Critic 16.1.1.1

          They’re not averse to a spot of bene bashing either, as befits their Tory origins.
          WTF – when have the Greens done any bashing of beneficiaries? They’ve been fierce advocates, especially when Sue Bradford was an MP.

          • Vicky32 16.1.1.1.1

            WTF – when have the Greens done any bashing of beneficiaries? They’ve been fierce advocates, especially when Sue Bradford was an MP.

            Well, not when Bradford was in the Greens, obviously! To be honest, I am talking more about the individual Green members/voters I came across when I was working at the end of last year – and on the dreaded Facebook… The Blue-Greens…

            • Armchair Critic 16.1.1.1.1.1

              oh, anecdotal evidence, right.
              I suppose if you choose not to vote for a party due to the characteristics you observe in some of their supporters, then you must be one of the multitude that don’t vote. On those grounds there’s no one to vote for.
              But then again you say you back Labour all the way – did you notice that they’ve enjoyed “the baubles of office” more than the Greens, and there are plenty of middle class Labour supporters.

              • Vicky32

                oh, anecdotal evidence, right.
                I suppose if you choose not to vote for a party due to the characteristics you observe in some of their supporters, then you must be one of the multitude that don’t vote. On those grounds there’s no one to vote for.
                But then again you say you back Labour all the way – did you notice that they’ve enjoyed “the baubles of office” more than the Greens, and there are plenty of middle class Labour supporters.

                What an odd assumption on your part, that I don’t vote! In previous years, I would party vote Green, but this year, I came across so many comments from Green supporters that ‘gave me furiously to think’. Sure there are middle class Labour supporters, but I’ve yet to hear that braying Tory complacency from them..

                • Colonial Viper

                  I have met more than one trendy young professional November 26 Green voter who said that their second choice would have been the National Party, and definitely never Labour.

                  They cared about the environment and economic sustainability (from an environmental standpoint).

                  And they thought the country had too many beneficiary bludgers and that Labour was the party of hand outs to the lazy and undeserving.

                  • Vicky32

                    And they thought the country had too many beneficiary bludgers and that Labour was the party of hand outs to the lazy and undeserving.

                    Whew, I am glad it’s not just me!

                  • M

                    ‘And they thought the country had too many beneficiary bludgers and that Labour was the party of hand outs to the lazy and undeserving.’

                    Yes, I reckon some Greens are like M & Ms – a green shell but all blue underneath because they might not want to seem like completely heartless bastards so salve their conscience by caring about the environment, buying pitifully small amounts of organically produced potatoes at farmers markets for steep prices all the while wishing to stick it to beneficiaries as they’re so sure they will not lose their terribly important jobs.

                    I know someone who used to be on the DPB and because she has the looks and charm now has a partner for whom money is no object and who is very generous materially. She has “righted up” so much I can scarce believe it is the same person a few years ago that used every means to economise. She voted Green at the election and her second choice would have been National because she was sick of bludgers – the air was so thick with irony it was an effort to suppress a laugh – the fact that she could be one argument away from the DPB probably hasn’t crossed her mind.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yep. The intoxicating ego effects of privilege, creature comforts and wealth.

                      Also the ability to wash ones hands of any reminder of an uncomfortable, painful and embarrassing past of poverty.

            • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1.1.1.2

              The Blue-Greens are a National front group.

    • John D 16.2

      The Greens are spokemen for the bird-chopping industry.

      Why?

    • tc 16.3

      Great comment and a good way forward in order to get some traction and toss out the big business neoliberal fixated NACT but with the likes of Mallard and Jones around it aint going to happen as they think they can do everything.

      Another good test of whether Shearers got a way forward.

    • MrSmith 16.4

      Very Good ad.

      The thing I hope and believe both parties understand is they have a certain percentage of the vote in the bag whatever they say or do, they only need a small swing to take power, yes there will be a coalition and what’s wrong with that, we have one now, so they need to trust there core voters will stay with them and take some risks to gather those swing votes, a little dog whistling now and then (that National is so good at) is all there core need to hear.

    • Interesting comments AD and I think you touch on an area that will be of extreme interest to both parties in the next couple of years.  How much do they cooperate and how much do they contest.  

      Your proposed distribution of responsibilities is spot on but knowing many of the personalities I think that the chances of it being followed through are slight …

      The thought of a combined attack on the Government also really appeals.

      One point that I do disagree with you on is the shutting out of the greens of previous coalitions.  It was everything to do with the numbers and Peters and Dunne’s green repulsion than a lack of good will on the part of Labour.

      This is actually worthy of a guest blogpost and more intense scrutiny by everyone. 

      [Done…RL]

  16. randal 17

    you never miss your water till your well runs dry.

    • McFlock 17.1

      Unless it’s a fracking bore, in which case you might miss your water when it starts getting replaced by contaminants in the well.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        Although you can keep your house warm in winter by setting alight the water coming out of your cold taps.

  17. Barry 18

    While I agree with the general thrust of the article, I think that you are drawing a long bow in some cases. Sloppy use of data invalidates many of your conclusions.

    For example the first graph does not justify the statement:

    “passenger movements have been stable since 2004″.

  18. Only done a quick scan of the comments on this thread, most seem to be discussing how to stack deckchairs.
    “adapting to peak oil” means getting a gun and a good stack of ammo, and a 3 month supply of food stacked in the ceiling.

    Fill up your attic with brand new shoes
    a pair a week until the oil-crash news
    pick sizes and styles that will sell and last
    because when there’s no cars shoes wear out fast

    Don’t tell a soul (I intend no pun)
    you can’t defend against a grim mans gun
    pack some for you – you’ll need some too
    and maybe some tacks and maybe some glue

    and all the things that strugglers need
    some axes and shovels and long-life seeds
    and fishing tackle and guns and bows
    and books on things that nobody knows

    and needles and thread and lots of wool
    and keep it up ’til your attic is full
    tell no-one at all not even your kin
    just store it and wait for the fun to begin

    and maybe those shoes will be worth more than gold
    and worth more than diamonds whenever they’re sold
    and with care and with skill your attic will be
    a bank for your future, just try it and see

    When I hear you guys discussing what gun to buy or how to store rice etc, then ‘we who understand’ will start to think some of you get it. …… yeah right …………
    But keep voting and paying into your KS fund.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      Nah for the most part NZ won’t descend into the guns, gold and beans thing that the US is doing. Fracturing into provinces with a mild weakening of central govt rule is a possibility however.

      If it gets serious enough Auckland will depopulate. Its not a sustainable population centre.

  19. burt 20

    I ride a scooter or a bicycle if it’s just me getting about my daily business. The road’s going to have a lot more people like me on it soon; so drivers – get use to it.

  20. Populuxe1 21

    Hydro and wind power. Electric cars.

  21. Jenny 22

    A scholar can know the whole wide world’s affairs without leaving his own gate.

    Confucious

    While never being completely true. Is truer now, than ever before.

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