Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Lateline with Tony Jones: Peak oil hits the TV: Some fifty years after M.Hubbert King announced the concept of 'peak oil' it hits the electronic media in Australia (just in time for the world peak itself to hit!). This is the first time I have seen it in the media, and a google search appears to pick up ZERO references to 'hubbert peak' or 'peak oil' in the Australian print media. Surely things can't be as bad as all that, perhaps I am searching wrongly? As Prof Goodstein said in the interview he conducted with Jones (strangely not transcribed to the website) this is 'the end of civilisation as we know it' and the 'biggest issue of the day' but the media and political attention is practically non-existent.... The dismal reality is that preparations for an oil shortage and transition to a renewable energy economy are and continue to be essentially negligible.

Goodstein also pointed out that for nuclear energy to replace our energy needs the US would need to build 10,000 of the biggest reactors possible, a staggering number at staggering cost, and even then uranium supplies would last only 10-20 years. Fast breeder reactors could extend the life of these supplies but the by-product is plutonium.... The really bad news seems to be that there is no substitute in sight for what we are shortly about to lose in the form of oil, and this fact simply has not hit home yet.

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