Peak oil in Tasmania

by Christine Materia

Tasmania, like the rest of the world, is facing “The Long Emergency” – the greatest challenge that it is likely to ever face. Oil depletion is at the core of this challenge.

The hard cold truth is that Tasmania is part of the world and although we may produce plenty of hydro-electric power, hydro provides just one third of our direct energy consumption – oil and gas provide the rest. (We actually consume even more in embodied energy – particularly in the foods, fertilizers and all of the manufactured goods that we import.)

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A must-see video clip!

Here’s an Australian produced video “What the Economic Crisis Really Means – and what we can do about it “ that expounds in just 12 minutes the depth of the human predicament and what can be done about it.

Expertly produced with neat hand drawing animation, this educational video explains the slowly disintegrating global economy and its relationship with oil depletion (= rising energy prices).

Please circulate to those who may be interested…. ahem… or who ought to be interested!

Posted in Background info, In-depth analysis, Responses / solutions | 1 Comment

Why are petrol prices being buried by government?

by Chris Harries

Tas government hides oil report

Members of this citizens’ lobby spent much time and effort contributing to the state government’s Oil Price Vulnerability Study, a project that cost the Tasmanian taxpayer some $300,000. Following a protracted two year gestation, the Report was finally released in December of last year (2013), and reported in the Mercury.

Although obviously massively ‘sanitised’ as it passed the desks of multiple heads of agency and ministerial advisers we were surprised that the final report, although truncated, was refreshingly clear in its language and reasonably blunt about Tasmania’s particular vulnerability to oil supply disruptions and likely price increases at the petrol pump.

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UTAS taking Peak Oil seriously

Good News! – Tasmania’s university, UTAS, has moved ahead of state government, having just released its Peak Oil Risk Analysis.

Described as a global first for the tertiary education sector, the UTAS study has investigated the likely impacts of increasing world oil prices on its business operations staff and student population. (Download the study here.)

In so doing UTAS is the first significant non-government institution in Tasmania to incorporate rising oil prices seriously in its business risk assessments, thus providing a leadership model whereby other Tasmanian businesses and institutions can incorporate oil price into their business risks.

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Posted in Industry sectors, Issues: | 3 Comments

Peak, what peak?

by Chris Harries

Amid continuing media headlines that the US is experiencing an energy bonanza and will soon rival Saudi Arabia in production of hydrocarbons, it is somewhat disturbing how many people are reading those pointed headlines at face value, some even questioning whether oil depletion is a problem after all.

For those who wish to dig deeper than the headlines, below are some links to articles that give a much more robust picture of the true story. If you wish to keep abreast on these issues we urge you to read through these erudite essays and invite your comment.


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‘Living Smart’ – this Monday

Sustainable Living Tasmania is presenting a ‘Living Smart’ workshop this coming Monday, focussed on peak oil.

This is an opportunity to find out about likely impacts of peak oil on daily life and how best to prepare and respond.

Please click on flyer at left to see details.

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Electric cars and Tasmania’s future

by Chris Harries

More than anything else, cars represent our freedom and independence. We”ve become so dependent on them we”ll do almost anything to not let go. And, let”s face it, most of us like driving. So with climate chaos and the prospect of petrol prices going through the roof it”s not hard to see why so many people are seduced by the prospect of simply switching to a nice, clean, “pollution-free” electric car.

With at least a dozen electric and electric hybrid models hitting the new car market(#1), the age of the electric car is coming, so let”s have a look at some practical and ethical implications.


The “pollution-free” myth

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Why are oil prices going wild?

by Chris Harries

“No Peak Oil In Sight”
“Oil Boom Shakes Up Energy Politics”

So scream the headlines. If you read them as fact you’ll be forgiven for believing that Peak Oil is simply not a threat to us any more. So what is going on? If world oil supply is peaking then why have oil prices been on such a roller coaster in recent times?

The Peal Oil lobby is right now experiencing exactly what the Climate Change lobby has experienced for some time, a headlong rush by conservative media commentators to say that it’s all been a big hoax and that there’s no problem after all.

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Posted in Discussion, In-depth analysis | 4 Comments

Send a ‘please act now’ to Minister McKim

Dear climate / peak oil champion,

We are asking for a few moments of your time to petition the state government because we are concerned that it is sitting on an important investigation that should be made public.

To his credit, in 2010 Minister Nick McKim gained budget 
funding for an important ‘Oil Price Vulnerability Study’ to be undertaken. The purpose of the study was to find out:

    1) what sectors of the Tasmanian community will be 
affected by rising fuel prices and
    2) the best ways to minimize such negative impacts on 
Tasmanian citizens, communities and the economy.

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Nicole’s message to Tasmania

In March Peak Oil Tasmania was pleased to co-host a visit to Tasmania by Canadian writer and systems analyst Nicole Foss, who presented at two lively lectures in Hobart and Launceston. Foss has become an expert in the complex global financial and energy systems and focuses a lot of her work on the pressing problem of oil depletion.

Thanks to Hobart climate science writer, Peter Boyer, below is his overview of what Nicole had to say:
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Posted in Discussion, The economy | 1 Comment