Richard Heinberg of ASPO and author of the Peak Oil Protocol gave a talk at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ on Thursday 11 Oct, 2007. Richard first outlined what Peak Oil is about, gave some up to date statistics and discussed some of the responses that are being taken in places around the world. The main points I gleaned from his talk are as follows:
1) Conventional Oil production peaked in 2005 at 74.2 million barrels/day.
2) All liquid fuels peaked in July 2006 at 85.5 million barrels/day.
3) The energy content of all fossil fuels will peak circa 2010.
4) The 200 year period of coal availability is seriously wrong. Coal production is expected to peak in 15 - 20 years.
5) A sudden switch to nuclear energy production will exhaust supplies of uranium within an even shorter time-frame.
6) The Oil Export Quandry will exacerbate fuel depletion as follows:-
- Net oil exporting country becomes flush with money
- A boom in the local economy causes internal demand to rise
- This leads to a reduction in exportable fuel.
7) Scarcity of fuel will be a bigger driver of society than fear of climate change, according to an almost buried US DOE report written in 2005.
8) Governments are not doing enough. Pressure MUST come from constituents.
9) Optimism is a deliberate attitude that must be adopted in the face of the uncertainties ahead.
10) Transition towns and sustainable communities are springing up in various places and enabling people to become optimistic about making changes that will be necessary.
Richard focussed on the positive aspects of culture change and carefully avoided exploring the gloomy mechanics of economic collapse and its inevitable conflicts. His talk was well received by the fairly full lecture theater.