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The Standard

Peak oil enters mainstream: Labour listening, Nats not

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, May 27th, 2011 - 81 comments
Categories: election 2011, sustainability, transport - Tags:

The Greens and environmentalists have been talking about peak oil forever. Unfortunately, the Cassandras of New Zealand politics have been ignored for far too long.

Now, the IEA and IMF have joined them in warning that governments need to act immediately.

After decades of bouncing from cloud to cloud, predicting that enough oil to satisfy demand would simply show up when needed, the IEA has, over the past few years, cut its future production forecasts dramatically (and embarrassingly) to the point where it now concedes production of conventional crude peaked in 2006. This

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with the IEA’s chief economist, Faith Birol, on RNZ is well worth a listen.

Oh and the IEA says New Zealand is well past its own production peak, no matter how many millions the government spends subsidising foreign oil companies to come and undertake risky deepsea drilling off our coast.

The IMF has joined the IEA in suddenly waking up to the danger of peak oil that it had wanted to ignore. It’s major report on oil predicts a “downshift in the trend growth of oil supply”. That ‘trend growth’ has been flat for the past half a decade, so what do you think a ‘downward shift’ means?

The UK government is reacting by putting together an oil shock response plan based on $250 a barrel oil by 2014 (remember when oil was $25 a barrel? Aren’t we in an oil shock now?)

What about New Zealand?

Well, if you want really good energy policy, of course, you look to the Greens. They’ve been right for so long and we all know what they’re saying, so lets see what the major parties are doing.

Almost overlooked among the talk of ETS, R&D, and fair minimum wage at its congress, Labour also pledged to cancel one of National’s white elephant motorway. Great stuff but that must only be the beginning. Labour has framed the cancelling of the $1.7 billion Puhoi to Wellsford holiday highway as a ‘nice to have’, a choice that we can’t afford to take when there are other more important things to fund. I’m not actually worried if Labour doesn’t start talking about peak oil explicitly as long as it walks the talk by cancelling more useless highways and putting money into energy R&D. The economic argument for doing this writes itself without the need to get into the peak oil side of things.

And what about our government? What is the Nats’ reaction to the oil shock we’re currently experiencing and the warning from major institutions that more are on the way? Well, they gave more money to oil exploration in the budget, and they’re planning four more ‘Roads of National Significance’.

These ‘vital’ roads include forking out hundreds of millions on an improved highway between Cambridge and Taupo – a road that sees 6,000 cars a day at present. Given that the current RoNSs have benefit cost ratios as low as 0.6 (we’ll get 60 cents of benefit for every dollar we spend on Transmission Gully, and they’re planning to spend a billion on it), I shudder to think what wastes of money the next four down the list will be. Looking at the list, new RoNSs seem to be part of the silly old romantic notion of a four-lane highway running the length of the country, which Maurice Williamson used to talk about. National plans to pull money out of highway and local road maintenance as well as public transport infrastructure to pay for these new white elephants. This in a time when traffic levels on the motorways we have are falling.

It’s simple. If you want affordable transport in the coming years, you want a government that is going to build a transport system better designed for future oil shocks. And that means you want a Labour-Green government, not the day-dreamers we’ve got now. Remember that on November 26th.

– Bright Red

[hat-tip to the indefatigable Dennis Tegg whose blog on oil is an amazing resource.]

81 comments on “Peak oil enters mainstream: Labour listening, Nats not”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Incidentally, recent IEA forward projections are now more pessimistic than some of the projections done by peak-oilers back in 2005-2008.

    • Yeah we thought a 3% decline was going to be real bad, but then the IEA came out with 9.1% decline …. unless we found another 4 Sadie Arabia’s, including drilling in every deep water basin on the planet.

  2. PeteG 2

    Maybe a National-Green government would work too, outside coalition the Greens scored with the house insulation scheme (that I recently took advantage of), they might negotiate more positive conservation changes in coalition.

    • Armchair Critic 2.1

      I reckon a National-Green government is the most likely way NZ would end up with a Labour government with an absolute majority, at the following election. Even under MMP.
      /off topic.

  3. r0b 3

    Nice post Bright Red. Hope you’ll keep sending in guest posts like these!

  4. exit lane 4

    its great that Labour will can the holiday highway – but its drawing a long bow indeed to suggest that Labour are listening. If they were they would by now have gone public with their concerns about the next oil shock – as Chris Huhne in the UK has done….and in a Tory Coalition to boot.?

    Where is the Labour plan? If we can cope with a major disaster like the Christchurch earthquake we can cope with being told the truth about what an energy decline means to our economy and way of life.

    As Denis Tegg’s blog points out the UK has obtained reports which project a decline of 1.7% in GDP for 2 successive years and much higher inflation and unemployment if oil prices continue to rise
    http://oilshockhorrorprobe.blogspot.com/2011/05/nz-budget-2011-ignores-oil-shock.html

    You expect National to ignore these threats but how come Labour is saying nothing?

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      “You expect National to ignore these threats but how come Labour is saying nothing?”
       
      Because bearers of bad news don’t get elected. This should be evident from National’s ridiculously optimistic budget.

      • PeteG 4.1.1

        Because bearers of bad news don’t get elected.

        We don’t know that. All we know is that none of the parties will risk bearing bad news (except about their opposition of course). National have sort of done it a bit with their “must tighten belts” message but it’s been a very mixed message.

        • mickysavage 4.1.1.1

          Because bearers of bad news don’t get elected.
          We don’t know that.
           
          Come on PeteG remember Labour’s desire to have minimum standards for light bulb efficiency and all the cries of “nanny state” and “telling us what to do”?  It was almost like a lynch mob.  I bet you were there with a pitch fork and yelling out all sorts of things about how the PM was a lesbo.
           
          Bearers of bad news find it really hard to get elected.  Some people seem to prefer leaders that smile and wave rather than tell it like it is.

          • PeteG 4.1.1.1.1

            I’ll take a bet with you on that. How much?

            Trying to force people to change light bulbs was a silly move – the method, not the intention to move to more efficiency. I still have mixed feelings about fluorescents, they can be slow to light, have different light, and their longevity isn’t always what it was cracked up to be. I still use a mix of bulb types depending on the need.

            Some of the response was way over the top, but it wasn’t quite as lynch mob as you seem to think, you shouldn’t focus so much on the blogs.

            I mostly ignored it all. And I’ve never commented on the sexual preferences of any Prime Minister – I’m surprised you’ve brought that subject up.

          • mickysavage 4.1.1.1.2

            Trying to force people to change light bulbs was a silly move – the method, not the intention to move to more efficiency.
             
            It was setting a minimum standard.  What did you want the Government to do, spend 20 years talking and consulting and hoping that people will change their behaviour?
             
            Epic fail PeteG, Labour showed bravery in the way it set the policy and you have just contradicted youself by suggesting that Labour would not “risk bearing bad news”.

            • PeteG 4.1.1.1.2.1

              It didn’t show bravery, it was an ill-considered approach at trying to force people to do something they didn’t want to do, and it backfired, politically and conservationally.

              • Come on PeteG.  The publicity and rationale went like this:
                 
                1.  These lightbulbs use much less power than conventional lightbulbs.
                2.  These lightbulbs cost more but last considerably longer than conventional light bulbs and are much more economical.
                 
                Are you able to argue with that?
                 
                Besides your previous suggestion was that Labour was not brave enought to do the right thing and I just handed you a gilt edged wrapped in ribbon example of where they were brave to their disadvantage even thought the opposition was hysterical rather than reasoned.
                 

                • Draco T Bastard

                  3.) These efficiency standards will save us hundreds of millions per year and put back the necessity of building a new power station a few more years.

                  The continued use of incandescent light bulbs is an example of market failure. The energy efficiency standards that Labour brought in (and the fuckwits in Nact cancelled) are a good example of regulation correcting for market failure.

                • PeteG

                  3. These lightbulbs take time to reach full strength, and many people don’t like the quality of light the emit.
                  4. The reliability and longetivity of some brands haven’t live up to claims.
                  5. People often resist being forced to do things they don’t think they should have to do.

                  I agree that we need to look at all ways of trying to reduce energy needs. It usually works better if you get the people on side and happy to phase chnages in rather than offside and pissed off.

                  • John D

                    These lightbulbs also contain a good deal of unpleasant material that needs to be disposed of carefully.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Actually, John, the amount of mercury in them is very very very minute, to the point that disposing of them in landfill won’t register any difference considering all the other toxic compounds already there. Sure, recycling them is preferable, but recycling *anything* is preferable to dumping it.

                      Somehow that whole topic has been blown way out of proportion, a lot of it seemingly by people who want these bulbs to be a commercial success.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It usually works better if you get the people on side and happy to phase chnages in rather than offside and pissed off.

                    Sure. But why take onboard the problem of cajoling and sweet talking and persuading people to make their gentle hand-held way to the life rafts as the ship is going down? Who’s got time or money to do that?

                    There is an opinion out there that democracies beholden to monied interests are hopeless at dealing with stuff like this. So far that opinion is proving spot on. Too slow, too timid, too entrenched in the moneytocracy.

                    When did the Club of Rome formulate it’s analyses and warnings? Moving on this 30 years ago would have given modern civilisation a real chance at building sustainable growth.

                    But the rich and the powerful of the day, and of today, are still quite happy to kick the can down the road a little bit more.

                  • Deadly_NZ

                    Well if you have one in the Toilet, at least you dont get blinded like you used to when you flicked on the light.

              • Colonial Viper

                It didn’t show bravery, it was an ill-considered approach at trying to force people to do something they didn’t want to do, and it backfired, politically and conservationally.

                Meh people are going to have to get used to it.

                There ain’t going to be time for no dancing girls and flash marketing cajoling trying to convince people to do the right thing no more.

                Robert Atack and co. are generally right. Subtlety is not going to get the job done, it has not gotten the job done, and we have a maximum of only 5-6 years left to get ourselves set up.

                At that stage $4/L petrol will be a fond memory that we will all dream of.

                • Daveosaurus

                  Unfortunately, Atack’s tinfoil-hatted rantings are useless. Worse than useless: they are counterproductive, in that anyone who tries to speak sense about peak oil or climate change is at risk of getting lumped in with him and their opinions thereby disregarded.

      • exit lane 4.1.2

        But a Tory Government is to develop an oil shock response plan in co-operation with peak oilers, and is openly talking about the threat to the UK economy.   Labour could at least start with a similar contingency plan.  Labour more timid than Tories?

        • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1

          The election cycle in the UK is quite different. First, it’s 5 years, not 3, and second, they’re just into their second year.
           
          Impacts of the oil shock(s) are going to take place in the next 3-4 years. This is within the time frame of the current UK government, but not in the time frame of the current NZ government. That means the current UK government needs to handle the threat well, or there’s likely to be huge turmoil on their watch, and they could be thrown out of government. In NZ, it means the incoming government is going to have to deal with it. But if you’re pessimistic about the future, you won’t be elected.

          • exit lane 4.1.2.1.1

            nice try  … but if the Nats can talk openly about the threat of our economy being adversly affected by euro zone collapse, china’s bubble bursting, US economy tanking, debt deleveraging and all manner of other global nasties why is peak oil off the public agenda for both Nats and Labour?  we are all grown ups here.
            the heading of this post is Labour is listening on peak oil.  Apart from canning the holiday highway, (which may be just a money saving exercise without any connection to peak oil – how would you know?) where exactly is the evidence for that Labour is listening ?

            • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1.1.1

              “why is peak oil off the public agenda for both Nats and Labour?”
               
              Because the science around peak oil is far from certain, mainly because OPEC countries won’t provide the necessary data to make good predictions. Of course this in itself is a big flashing red light, but it still means that concrete data isn’t available. There is also too much money invested in maintaining the status quo.
               
              Also peak oil, if it plays out as many are expecting to, completely and utterly dwarf all of those problems, like comparing a brief sun shower to a thunder storm.

              • exit lane

                “Because the science around peak oil is far from certain”

                if you wish to be distracted as to the exact date of the peak.  But the data on the effect of oil shocks on the world and our economy is clear – 10 of the last 11 recessions have been related to oil shocks – see-
                http://historysquared.com/2011/03/05/james-hamilton-understanding-historical-oil-shocks/
                and http://bit.ly/kDMZzR
                the data also confirms that when oil reaches around 5% of GDP or about $US85 a barrel – western nations with a lag – go into recession.  we are there already.
                lack of data is not an excuse for inaction its lack of political will and courage.
                and it seems the posts here have been distracted from the original premise that Labour is listening on peak oil.  Yet to see any concrete evidence of that.

                • M

                  Amen exit lane, I don’t think people need absolute figures as to when, how much etc but those who read and try be up with current events know disruptions are on the way. I’ve read Twilight in the Desert by Matt Simmons and I think that the assumptions based on the information available and future projections before the KSA got tight-lipped show that there is something to hide/worry about.

                  Before the “attacks” of 9/11 Chaney and co had thoroughly mapped the oil fields in the ME – one would have to say why such intense scrutiny?

  5. queenstfarmer 5

    “putting money into energy R&D… The economic argument for doing this writes itself”?? It would need to “write itself” because no rational person would write it. Whatever miniscule amount (of borrowed money) NZ puts into green energy R&D will be of no consequence. We don’t have anywhere near the technical, personell, or financial resources to do significant R&D on clean-green tech. We should be focussing on where we can make a difference, like clean farming, smart uses of IT, etc.

    • Blighty 5.1

      The post is suggesting replacing spending on motorways with spending on public transprot and R&D – not borrowing more.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      It would need to “write itself” because no rational person would write it.

      Actually, a rational group of people wrote it – an irrational, psychopathic group denounce it. It seems that you’re in the latter group.

      We don’t have anywhere near the technical, personell, or financial resources to do significant R&D on clean-green tech.

      We could have if we decided to keep them instead of encouraging them to leave.

      • queenstfarmer 5.2.1

        Actually, a rational group of people wrote it

        Link? You haven’t said what the “it” is that I am supposedly “denouncing”.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1

          Wow, you’ve forgotten what you wrote already? Hey, I’ve got an idea, why don’t you go back and read it.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.2

        I have to agree with Queenstfarmer on one thing – there is actually no time for green energy R&D any more.

        The only time we have left should be used for identifying and refining the best already available tech and deploying it on a massive scale.

        No future fandangled hydrogen engines and electric cars please; lets go with wood gas, solar water heating and wind power. We know that stuff already works and we can get it to work better.

        • M 5.2.2.1

          ‘No future fandangled hydrogen engines and electric cars please; lets go with wood gas, solar water heating and wind power. We know that stuff already works and we can get it to work better.’

          Yes CV, doing what you can while you can is the best I reckon. The home insulation scheme is good but I’m doubtful about the heat pump scheme as the grid will be under massive strain and the thing that gets me is that there was an ad on TV the other night extolling the virtues of a bloke wandering around the house in just his boxers because he had a heat pump, aarrgghh.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.1.1

            The home insulation scheme is good but I’m doubtful about the heat pump scheme as the grid will be under massive strain…

            If the grid can handle most people using standard electrical heaters then they most certainly will be able to handle people using heat pumps. After all, a standard electrical heater at best produces 1kw of heat for 1kw of power (Changing energy from one type to another is never 100% efficient so there is loss but I can’t find the numbers). The most efficient heat pumps get ~7kw of heat for 1 kw of power. Heat pumps manage this efficiency by not using the electricity to produce heat but by using it to transfer the heat from where it is to where you want it.

            Biggest problem with heat pumps is that you need to get the ones protected for sea air in NZ.

            • weka 5.2.2.1.1.1

              I’d really like to see some figures on this. In the colder parts of the South Island people are removing wood and coal burners and putting in heat pumps. This equals an increase on the demand on the grid and increase in demand for more windfarms and hydro, which aren’t going to be so easy to build once oil gets very expensive. Wood is a far better source of heating for domestic use, both environmentally and in the face of peak oil. There are probably some exceptions to this (Chch in winter is particularly a problem).

              As an aside to that, the grid should never be the sole source of power for heating, access to water and cooking. The quakes should have taught us that, but actually we’ve had storms in various parts of NZ before the quakes that left many people without heat in winter and some without water for periods of time. These kind of events are only going to get worse as climate change and peak oil effects increase. The ability of civil defense and other organisations to help us all is going to decrease. Having the ability to heat one’s home without reliance on the grid seems at least as essential as having an emergency kit. (and we were damn lucky that quake2 happened in summer not in a bad mid winter).

              • Draco T Bastard

                I’d really like to see some figures on this.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_pump#Efficiency

                When used for heating a building on a mild day of say 10 °C, a typical air-source heat pump has a COP of 3 to 4, whereas a typical electric resistance heater has a COP of 1.0. That is, one joule of electrical energy will cause a resistance heater to produce one joule of useful heat, while under ideal conditions, one joule of electrical energy can cause a heat pump to move much more than one joule of heat from a cooler place to a warmer place.

                I believe Mitsubishi-Electric and Panasonic both manufacture at least one with a CoP of 6.5.

                As an aside to that, the grid should never be the sole source of power for heating…

                Agreed. I’d prefer houses built to Passive House standards utilising Passive Solar design backed up by a heat pump. Building new is the best option but retro-fitting could also be possible for some homes.

                • weka

                  I didn’t mean figures on heatpump efficiency. I meant figures that installing heat pumps will save on electrical power (and thus dams and windfarms). It only saves if you are changing from a less efficient system to a more efficient system. I’m not convinced that is true, because most people I know are switching from wood/coal to heatpumps which will result in more electricity usage not less. That might not be true up north, but in the coldest places it is.

                  “I’d prefer houses built to Passive House standards utilising Passive Solar design backed up by a heat pump.”

                  I think geograpy is important here eg how much sun, snow/ice, what degree frosts etc.

                  “Building new is the best option but retro-fitting could also be possible for some homes.”

                  Lots of houses could be reclad in strawbale for increased insulation, and every new house could be design for passive heating and solar hot water. It’s a no brainer really, and if we were serious about peak oil that’s what we’d be doing. Shelter basics, along with food security are more central IMO than how the economy will survive.

                  • Armchair Critic

                    I didn’t mean figures on heatpump efficiency. I meant figures that installing heat pumps will save on electrical power…
                    I’d wondered about that, too. Currently I use no electricity to cool my house in summer. If I were to install a heat pump and use it to cool my house in summer, that figure would inevitably rise. I don’t plan to install a heat pump, but hundreds of thousands of others have. Some of them must have been in the same situation as me, not using any electricity to cool their houses in summer.

      • fermionic_interference 5.2.3

        We do have the technical knowledge of the personnel who are based in our universities. They are in areas such as energy management, physics, electronics and engineering.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.3.1

          Listening to scientists, engineers and academics to help guide the future of NZ?

          No way, we can’t allow that.

  6. What Labour should do next is pledge to put the money from the Holiday Highway into the Queen Street train loop.  This project is absolutely vital for Auckland’s rail system.  Without it possible train trips max out in three or four years time at current rates of growth.
     
    With it and Britomart’s potential throughput is doubled.
     
    We can cancel a project with a tiny economic benefit compared to the construction cost that will only cause more gas to be consumed and replace it with a project that will be fueled by electricity and will be viable for decades to come.  Both will cost approximately the same.
     
    Seems pretty simple to me.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      I agree, micky.
       
      I don’t know much about Auckland, having only visited it’s airport waiting for connecting international flights, but would such a policy by Labour be a vote-grabber? Apparently people voted for Len because of his transport vision.

    • Armchair Critic 6.2

      Simple is often dangerous, and this is an issue that Labour could come unstuck on.
      I’d say “we will not proceed with the holiday highway” and “we will proceed with the CBD rail loop, and other improvements to rail in Auckland”. I don’t see that it is necessary to link the two, in a cause and effect, or conditional, manner.
      I would acknowledge that parts of the existing road need improvements to reduce accidents and save lives, and confirm that these will be done as soon as funding is available.
      I understood the holiday highway had no net economic benefit, rather than a tiny benefit.
      Labour also need to be aware that electricity as the main fuel for transport is not viable until a hell of a lot more electricity generation capacity is created. Hence a commitment to changing from fossil fuels to electricity for transport requires a plan to generate the electricity.
      Not being able to address these issues (i.e. treating it like it’s simple) has numerous pitfalls.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        I understood the holiday highway had no net economic benefit, rather than a tiny benefit.

        0.6 is negative. We lose 40 cents for every dollar invested.

        Labour also need to be aware that electricity as the main fuel for transport is not viable until a hell of a lot more electricity generation capacity is created.

        And what we have is maintained which is why it’s necessary to start dredging all those hydro lakes.

        Personally, I see it as more likely in the medium term that we will see less and less transport being used so that our power generation will be enough without sudden major investment in new plant.

        • Armchair Critic 6.2.1.1

          0.6 is negative. We lose 40 cents for every dollar invested.
          Yeah I know, I was trying to be polite and leave a little room for any troll that wanted to debate the point. I’ve calculated BCs for NZTA (back when they were Transit) for a living, so I have a reasonable understanding of what they mean.
          And what we have is maintained which is why it’s necessary to start dredging all those hydro lakes.
          A lot of older large dams are not designed in a sustainable way and create numerous issues. They really need to be decommissioned and replaced, either at the same site, nearby or with new capacity somewhere else. Dredging isn’t that expensive, but dewatering the silt and storing it is a huge undertaking and very costly. If it needs to be transported a reasonable distance (more than a few km) then that’s even more cost. And, worse than that, it all needs to be done again in fifty years or so, because dredging does not make the design of the dam sustainable (in terms of dealing with silt), along with the associated transport and finding another place to store the silt
          Personally, I see it as more likely in the medium term that we will see less and less transport being used so that our power generation will be enough without sudden major investment in new plant.
          Depends on what you mean by “less transport being used”. My gut feeling is that people value the ability to travel widely and easily. Until we are compelled not to, or prevented by changed circumstances, the amount of travel people do won’t change much.

          • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1.1

            And, worse than that, it all needs to be done again in fifty years or so…

            I’d recommend continuous dredging or few years rather than leaving it to build up. It’d be easier and cost less. As for where to put it, I’d be looking at getting it out to the farms to replace both lost soil and nutrients.

            Depends on what you mean by “less transport being used”. My gut feeling is that people value the ability to travel widely and easily.

            Yes, I should have been clearer.

            People value it as much as they can afford it. Increasing petrol prices have seen a decrease in road usage and I expect that to continue with increased use of public transport and even public transport is based upon what people can afford – even if it’s “free” to use. Resource availability and, I hope, democratic control of those resources is what will define the future. We can no longer afford to leave control of our resources to a few “rich” people who are only interested in the own well being.

            • Armchair Critic 6.2.1.1.1.1

              I’d recommend continuous dredging or few years rather than leaving it to build up. It’d be easier and cost less.
              Can’t agree, continuous dredging would be an exercise in frustration, unless the silt load was enormous. Much better to build a dam that could pass most of the silt downstream. I’d agree with a more frequent dredging programme for Roxborough, if it wasn’t better to decommission it.
              As for where to put it, I’d be looking at getting it out to the farms to replace both lost soil and nutrients.
              Good luck finding a farmer to take it. The silt will be the same stuff that the farmers would have scraped up and disposed of after floods, if the dam had not been built. ‘Cept most of the remaining nutrients will have been washed out over the decades the silt has sat behind the dam.
              In any case, I think the solution is partially upstream of the dams. Regional Councils need to do more to prevent land being used in a way that encourages erosion

        • mickysavage 6.2.1.2

          Agreed Draco.  It would be more correct to say that the economic benefit received is smaller than the financial outlay.
           
          Agreed also that the source of electricity needs to be renewable, windmills everywhere and a humungous tidal generator in the Cook Strait for starters.
           
          Also we need to persuade people to work a day a fortnight at home.  This will instantly reduce peak hour traffic by 5% if half the working population can be persuaded to do this.

          • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.2.1

            Biggest problem I’ve had with getting to work from home is that the business won’t allow it.

          • fermionic_interference 6.2.1.2.2

            Why are we in NZ mostly ignoring Geothermal power production?

            We sit in a privileged position in the “ring of fire” and we have many geothermally active areas, we should be using them to protect out rivers and the habitats of the animals who live there.

            edit*
            We do have wairakei built in ’58 but surely wehave room for expansion on this?

            • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.2.2.1

              100MWe added at Kawerau in 2008. Another 39 MWe at Mokai 2 in 2005.

              So they are thinking about it.

              • Carol

                It is being looked into. I had an idea that geothermal was not an unlimited source of power and that eventually the source would be exhausted. But apparently it’s more that it is a bit unpredictable whether it will be continuous or give out for a while.

                Another problem is the power station needs to be near the source. And the source is usually in an area with a lot of volcanic-type activity. Nevertheless, there are possibilities for development being investigated in NZ:

                http://www.nzgeothermal.org.nz/elec_geo.html

              • Colonial Viper

                Indeed, I think that a power station can commonly take heat out of an area faster than the geothermal resource can replenish it. Over time the output of the station naturally drops. I understand that they sometimes need to practically mothball a station for extended periods of time to let the heat build up to a usable level again.

  7. National also appears to be thinking about synthetic fuels. The port at Clifford Bay may well be a coal / synfuels trans-ship / export port. Hence the need to dig up lignite and coal wherever it is found. That does nothing for greenhouse gases and climate change…so I think it[‘s fair to say a big chunk of the current camp is still – effectively – in the denialist camp in so far as they may talk about it….but plan to actually DO next to nothing…really. If push comes to shove they may just make taxpayers subsidise farmers. A greenhouse gas “bailout”. Clearly, there is no sense of urgency about either peak oil or climate change detected emanating from this government.

    I’ve been following these issues for almost 20 years, first as potential problems “one day” and later as approaching realities. The Greens have been talking about them for decades as things we needed to be aware of and plan for.

    It’s been frustrating to watch “those who know better” look down their noses all this time at people who expressed these concerns. Especially galling in hindsight is the Don Brash-lead National Party of 2005 being openly scathing about peak oil even as we were only months away from the peak actually occurring. What this brough home for me is how reckless they are. How imprudent. How lacking in both care and thought.

    Add that all together and it means the National Party is deeply incompetent in every way that matters: intellectually, philosophically and practically.

    NZ voters need to be helped to understand how incompetent they are, too. if they actually understood what the state of play is now, the National Party would be polling at ACT party levels…and grateful to be doing so well.

    I’m voting Green. They have been correct for literally *decades*. Time they got the credit for being competent in ways that the two major parties still can’t manage.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      The port at Clifford Bay…

      Anybody who puts a port in at Clifford Bay needs their head read. There’s a reason why ports are universally in harbours and that reason hasn’t changed since the first ships set sail. So, unless they want to turn Clifford Bay into an artificial harbour, it will forever remain an open beach.

      NZ voters need to be helped to understand how incompetent they are, too. if they actually understood what the state of play is now, the National Party would be polling at ACT party levels…

      The psychopaths and their immediate supporters make up about 20% of the population. And they certainly wouldn’t be “grateful” for polling that high – they’d be blaming everybody else no matter how much evidence was presented of them being disconnected from reality.

      I’m voting Green.

      Yeah, me too. Te Mana Party started with a hiss and a roar and then sputtered out. On top of that I feel certain that they wouldn’t be taking into account Peak Oil and it’s effects.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        Mana is focussing on the by-election at the moment. After that’s over with, I’m sure they will roll out more of a national platform.

      • Robert Atack 7.1.2

        Hone asked in the house twice for a cross party meeting on Peak Oil and Climate Change

        • Robert Atack 7.1.2.1

          me again
          This happened because I informed the Maori Party that this meeting was taking place, but Hone was ignored by … you got it Labour and the Greeds to name a few of them.

          Need for Cross Party Commission on Peak Oil
          Thursday, 6 December 2007, 3:35 pm
          Press Release: The Maori Party

          Maori Party Repeats call for Cross Party Commission on Peak Oil

          Hone Harawira, Climate Change Spokesperson for the Maori Party

          Thursday 6 December 2007

          The Maori Party has today reiterated the call it made on 4 September 2005 to establish a cross-party parliamentary commission on peak oil.

          Right at this moment in London an All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas and the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group are meeting to focus on the interaction between oil depletion and climate change and whether a combined solution can be developed said Hone Harawira, Climate Change Spokesperson for the Maori Party.

          And more on what the poms are doing

          http://peakoiltaskforce.net/http:/peakoil.solarcentury.com/government-to-work-with-business/
          Government to work with business on plans to tackle peak oil threat

          Business leaders today welcomed a commitment by the Government to work with the private sector on contingency plans to protect the UK and its economy from the growing risk of rising oil prices.

          It follows a meeting between Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and representatives from the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES).

          During the meeting, the Secretary of State agreed that the Department for Energy and Climate Change and ITPOES should work more closely together on peak-oil threat assessment and contingency planning. The collaboration should begin with a joint examination of concerns that global oil supply will begin to fall behind global demand within as little as five years – far earlier than previous widely-held assumptions.

          …………………….
          They even have a minister who DOESN’T think peak oil is “a load of crap”

          Unlike our lot of fuckwits

          Nick Smith “Peak oil is a load of crap”
          In May 2005 I recorded this conversation with Nick. But alas as I said at the end, it was like discussing religion. Even though he new I had been defacing National party billboards,
          http://oilcrash.com/articles/pm_agree.htm – he showed no recognition, since then I have sent Nick and most New Zealand politicians at least 5 DVDs
          http://oilcrash.com/articles/you_tube.htm
          http://oilcrash.com/articles/mystery.htm
          http://oilcrash.com/articles/concernd.htm
          and I handed Nick another 4 DVDs with 16 documentaries at Al Gore’s presentation in Auckland on the 14 November 2006
          http://oilcrash.com/articles/algore01.htm – If Nick had bothered to watch the information I’ve given him, he would be one of the most informed environment ministers in the world.
          Alas as you will hear Nick admitted he only has an attention span of ten minutes.

  8. randal 8

    unfortunately oil users are like junkies. they wont do anything until there is an intervention.

  9. Speaking of demanding smarter spending on transport — The Greens did a great job of writing up a detailed form submission on the Government Policy Statement on Transport Funding, which is being consulted on until 5 pm today. Take 30 seconds and you can submit it — every little bit helps! The more people who raise these issues, the harder it will be for the Govt to justify their position.
    http://www.greens.org.nz/takeaction/quicksubmission/make-submission-world-class-public-transport

  10. While Labour may be waking up to the peak oil issue at a national level, the Labour councillors down in the capital are still stuck in the 1960’s. According to the Save the Basin Reserve campaign it was Labour’s two councillors that helped get the NZ Transport Agency’s dirty work done to make sure the Wellington council signed up for Steven Joyce’s RONS plan.

    Perhaps their more enlightened parliamentary colleagues should have a word with them and suggest that they toe the newly-minted party line over roading projects so Labour at least looks consistent.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The Labour Party and the Labour caucus have no control over what those councillors do.

      • That’s pretty obvious! :-)

        However if the councillors are going to advertise themselves as being Labour, they can still do significant damage to the party’s brand at a national level. So the party needs to either educate them or have a long think about whether they should be standing on a Labour ticket if they’re going to undermine policy. You can certainly bet that the Nats will be pointing out any inconsistencies between national policy and local implementation.

  11. “The Greens have been talking about peak oil forever.”
    Don’t make me laugh.

    The greeds had more on their website about marijuana than oil for years, they professed to be the ‘peak oil’ party just before the 2005 election, then not a thing about it during that election.
    Kedgly was more worried about chickens and lipstick.
    Donald thought tourism was the economic answer to the West Coast.
    The clown Lock literally ran away from me during an anti Iraqi invasion march in Wellington back whenever, because he didn’t want to be given yet another DVD.
    That Aussie idiot talked about the economy and not peak oil 2 years ago – from my YouTube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAKD4ZMqZhc

    The New Zealand green party are being dishonest in the way for example, Russel Norman not only doesn’t mention peak oil, but sounds like a spokes person for a business as usual future, saying such things as “everyone gets a fair go”, when in a world fast depleting in most of our natural resources a ‘fair go for all’ is something the environment just can not deliver.
    Their spin (see below) reads like an imposable to fill wish list, showing the greens have no idea at all of the ramification of a 3% + decline in global energy supply starting about now, the spin from their ‘co’ leader leaves you thinking we all have to look after nature for the ‘economy’
    The Green Party’s support of the KiwiSaver scam is proof they have no idea, if they think Russel’s ‘economy’ is going to survive the next 30-50 years, then they are truly fools, and if they don’t then clearly they are lying.

    They called me an environmental extremest back in 2002 in the Levin Conical, They got the cops on me for placing http://www.dieoff.org on their whordings. They told all their candidates not to mention http://www.oilcrash.com before the 2005 election.

    THEY ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM

    And Labour and the Greeds backed the ponzi GROWTH based savings scam Kiwi Saver.
    What part of up to 9% decline in oil don’t they understand?
    No oil = no economy = no interest on savings ……….. at least for the 18 yo joining KS now

    They are ALL lying to us.
    But you are happy with that, so the game continues.

    About the only guy I could give a + to in the Greed Party is Paul Bruce at least he ran The End of Suburbia at the Paramount way way back when it first came out, Kedgly bought a video copy from me on the day …. but obviously never watched it.
    And least we forget Fitsanything knew about PO before 1999 yet sat on the information.
    March 2000 email http://oilcrash.com/articles/greed.htm
    “You’re quite right. Shell Oil International is working on the assumption that between 2005 and 2010 world oil demand will outstrip the capacity of the wells to supply.
    Then the price will really go up. So get your bike out! Earth matters is a good name – must keep it in mind. Thanks for writing.”
    Yet in 2005 they said peak might happen within the next 10 years
    They had a meeting with Bruce Thompson in 2004
    «Rod Donald seemed fully convinced that getting the message out was desirable, Jeanette Fitzsimmons had also seemed very determined to go public.»
    Bruce Thompson, 18/03/04
    It took them about a year to start ‘getting the message out’ after this meeting. And they still backed KS ????

    And lets not forget Mallard, Hodgson, Duynhoven all said peak wouldn’t happen until 2037 ish
    It is all clearly stated on my site, with lots of their idiot letters, and not just to me.

    We fucking told them so.

  12. In 2006 I asked the gutless trash for $30,000.00 to send every secondary school an information pack, so at least the children had an opportunity to learn the facts http://oilcrash.com/articles/concernd.htm
    I got a promise from Labin which died on her lips.
    And that was it
    Guess the kids didn’t vote, so didn’t count … well they are over 18 now.
    If the lying gutless pricks started every press conference with an apology, I would still like to see them given a rotan or better still the cat of nine tails.
    We need to bring back Treason, and hang them

  13. Bored 13

    As somebody who has harped on about Peak fekkin everything forever I have at times felt Cassandra like, damned to not be believed, ridiculed. To all those who dont believe it, cheers, I get the last laugh. Will see you all the RWNJs and their “mainstream” brethren on the downward slope.

  14. Afewknowthetruth 14

    ‘Labour listening, Nats not’

    That headline is quite a laugh. Throughout the entire term of the last Labour government, when there WAS time to implement some mitigation strategies, those who raised the issue of Peak Oil were ignored by the idiots Hodgson, Mallard, Parker and their cohorts Cullen, Clark etc.

    Now that we have been totally vindicated and the globalised economic system is imploding, we have idiots in Labour talking about economic growth, Kiwisaver, the future of tourism, blah blah lblah.

    Peak Oil equals economic contraction, collpase of the banksters Ponzi scheme. collapse of fiat currencies and collapse of the economy.

    Peak Oil portends the end of the consumer society.

    Peak Oil portends no cars, no tourism, and very few jobs in the traditional sense of employment.

    Peak oil eventually equates with mass starvation and population collapse, since the vast majority of people are dependent on food that is grown/harvested/ distributed courtesy of oil.

    Labour will NEVER embrace appropriate strategies to deal with Peak Oil because appropriate strategies include negative population growth, termination of the industrial economy, establishment of wide scale local food production etc. … pretty much the opposite of what Labour promotes.

    Labour would have to admit that they have been totally in the wrong for a decade and put NZ stright into the quagmire we are now in: politicians just don’t do that. By and large, politicians are deceitful, self-serving, ignorant and arrogant by nature, and lack ethics. Anyone wiht a brain knows that.

    The only good thing about Peak Oil is that the huge reduction in CO2 emissions that is inevitable may prevent abrupt climate change. However, before we see total collapse of the economy, we will undoubtedly see desperation attempts to prop up things for just a little bit longer, whichever mainstream party is in power after the election.

    And then there’s Global Dimming, which will be reversed by the collaspe of industrialism and put global warming into hyper-drive.

    • What he said 😉

    • Colonial Viper 14.2

      Peak Oil portends no cars, no tourism, and very few jobs in the traditional sense of employment.

      Relax, there was tourism (think Crusades) and jobs as ironsmiths in the Middle Ages.

      And there will be again.

      Sheeesh some people are just so bleak. Its not like mankind hasn’t lived without 98 Octane before.

      • weka 14.2.1

        There won’t be Tourism though, not the kind we have now that we’ve based our whole economy on. How are we going to get 1 million visitors every year without cheap oil? – getting a bunch of knights to the Middle East from the UK is far easier than getting anyone to NZ ;-p

        Can’t say that I see the loss of that tourims as a downside though.

      • rainman 14.2.2

        But not at the same scale as today, and with as few skills.

  15. Credit where credit is due – Helen did come out and say it http://www.youtube.com/user/oilcrash1#p/u/99/YxIp5h0Xtuc This is my You Tube recording of Helen saying on the 18-4-2006 “I’m sure (the rise in oil prices) is causing concern in every country. Because everyone is on the receiving end of the same phenomenon. Which is oil prices very high, because WE’RE PROBABLY NOT TOO FAR SHORT OF PEAK PRODUCTION, IF NOT ALREADY THERE, and that concentrates the mind….. snip…. And some comments I made at the time …… (kind of same old same old) ………yet her fool minister of energy David Parker came out a week later saying the world wouldn’t peak until 2030 – 37, we truly have idiots for leaders in New Zealand, and that goes for National as well, another bunch of con artistes who think the Kiwi Saver is a good idea, while in the light of Helen’s peak oil statement we (those who can work it out) know there will not be an economy worth 2 cents soon enough ……………..

    Also I rang her press sectary to ask what Helen meant by peak production, and the press girl didn’t have a clue, and 2 days later when I rang her back she still didn’t. Yet you can clearly hear Helen state “If not already there”

    So yeah they are an extremely thick lot if it has taken them 5 years to catch up with Helen’s comment ?
    How much are we paying these clowns?

  16. Sorry to be posting so much, but this is my ‘forte’, pinging politicians and Peak oil
    This is Nick ‘peak oil is a load of crap’ Smith http://www.youtube.com/user/oilcrash1#p/u/53/KIMiKUxCY4U

    And 2037 Mallard http://www.youtube.com/user/oilcrash1#p/u/67/QTDgYIWu0nA

    How about this from Harry http://oilcrash.com/articles/duynhovn.htm
    “I understand from Caroline Parlane in the Ministry of Economic Development that you are in regular communication with her and have sent her a wealth of information? Articles, CDs and tapes on the issue of oil supplies. She has undertaken to let me know if she finds anything in that information of which I am not currently aware or of which she thinks I should be informed.”

    So did Caroline say anything ‘new’, or cover up the facts I was presenting – pre Cullen Fund or Kiwi Saver ?
    Or did Harry know it all and didn’t need updating?
    Now mayor of New Plymouth, staying close to the energy supply. Is that insider trading?

  17. U 4 United 17

    Question: How to achieve “peak oil” before achieving “peak exploration?”

  18. # Afewknowthetruth
    A little bit of reality. We had almost ten years of Labour government in which these issues could have been addressed had there been the will. The last mention I recall is Jeanette Fitzsimons trying to introduce the topic in the 2005 election; saying that we had a window of opportunity during which we could use the oil we had to make a transition to renewables. She wasn’t listened to and we have Labour as well as National pushing the ‘growth paradigm’ myth – if anything Goff and Labour are WORSE in this regard.

    No, I’m afraid the switch has been turned off for ‘business as usual’. We may perhaps be able to burn expensive and totally unsustainable forms of fuel, put off the evil day (and fry the planet in the meantime). But the crunch is going to come – probably sooner than you think with the global economy headed for the ‘second dip’ which it is unlikely to come out of.

    So, forget dreams of a Labour-Green government (after another term of National the die will be well-and-tryly cast): better to start building sustainable communities and prepare for a post-petroleum world (‘a world made by hand’)

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