by Derek Wilson — August 1st, 2004
Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Energy
Dear Mr Hodgson
On the 15 June I sent you the document “The Oil Age is Over: What to Expect as the World Runs Out of Cheap Oil, 2005-2050”, by Matt Savinar. It is a most comprehensive and valuable addition to a fast growing literature about the on-going depletion of global oil and gas reserves.
Matt Savinar is a mid-25-year old Californian lawyer who on graduating started to seriously examine his surroundings. What he found shocked. In his own words:
“Civilization as we know it is coming to an end.” This is not a wacky conclusion of a religious cult, but rather the result of a diligent analysis sourced by hard data and the scientists who study global “Peak Oil” and related geopolitical events. So who are these nay-sayers who claim the sky is falling? Conspiracy fanatics? Apocalypse Bible prophecy readers?
To the contrary, they are some of the most respected, highest-paid geologists and experts in the world. And this is what’s so scary.
George W. Bush’s energy advisor, Mathew Simmons, has acknowledged that: “The situation is desperate. This is the world’s biggest serious question…”. When asked for advice on what might be done Simmons said the best thing we could do was to pray!
I ask you Minister to copy, read and digest this work. Ever increasing numbers of the public are becoming aware of a future for their children and grandchildren which can only be described as bleak and worse. The crisis is here now.
Basic science and maths clearly show that we must make significant reductions now in our energy consumption. As international oil guru Colin Campbell puts it:
“Oil and gas are finite fossil fuels from the geological past that are inevitably subject to depletion. Eventually we must run out, [in other words, they are not ‘renewables’; as often called], but what matters is the inevitable peak of production when growth gives way to decline. The wider implications of this historic discontinuity are colossal.”
Governments have made grievous errors of judgement and policy in the past. To transfer the haulage of heavy goods from rail to road was one such, while allowing our whole rail system to deteriorate was another. On a lower level John Banks, no doubt egged on by corporations, is pushing his motorway for all he’s worth. The construction of Auckland’s Eastern Corridor will be completed about the time Dick Cheney’s prediction comes true — namely, that what petrol is left will be far too expensive for the ordinary motorist to drive a vehicle.
We are facing the increasing disintegration of our civilisation. I enclose material concerning a public screening of the film showing part of this break-up. All Parliamentary Parties have been invited. As Minister of Energy you should certainly attend.
More people are asking why is a country like New Zealand so unprepared for this impending catastrophe? Agreed, we have hydro power, but that won’t continue to serve all our needs. So the Coal Association has got into the act advocating the use of this CO2 generation energy source. Great stuff! Our present wind generated energy is but a tiny token while solar power is virtually non-existent. I can only ask again why our governments have not subsidised solar power throughout the country? The answer, I suppose, is that there is no money to be made out of it — short term. These technologies of course will not solve our energy problems for they are not transport fuels any more than is hydrogen.
I reiterate, our civilisation is faced with the most serious problem of its entire time. The demise of its present growth-at-all-costs paradigm is a certainty. Your government (any government) should not only be fully aware of this situation but should be doing all it can to help its people come to grips with their very unpleasant future.
Oil, the oxygen of our profligate materialistic consumer society, provides the energy which literally makes the world go round. Our civilisation — the western industrialised part of it — is, as I’ve said, unsustainable. Globalisation and all that goes with it must be quickly reversed. Growth, the be-all and end-all of economists and politicians, is now recognised among many leading authorities as our greatest disaster. Our world is finite. Its resources are finite. The ideology of corporate power, free trade and perpetual growth is the ideology of the cancer cell and an absolute impossibility on this finite earth. Just as a continuously growing cancer eventually destroys its life-support system by destroying its host, this continuously expanding global economy is surely and mercilessly destroying its host — earths ecosystems. The political applications of this creeping death have been described as “forms of economic illiteracy derived from political ideology”.
Are economists and politicians unable to or incapable of understanding this fundamental issue? It certainly looks like it for they have done little if anything to act appropriately. I could go on at greater length but I’m told Ministers only read the first page of anything, and this is already one page too long!
Sincerely Derek Wilson
CC The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.
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