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Dr John K Monro


Mr Gerry Brownlee
National Party Energy Spokesman
Parliament Buildings


Dear Mr Brownlee,

I received a copy of an e-mail sent to Robert Atack recently in regard to peak oil, from Wayne Mapp. Robert Atack is well known for his vociferous concern about peak oil. I share that concern, perhaps expressing myself less forcefully. I am also even more concerned with the global warming issue, which I consider a massive threat to humanity’s comfortable existence on this planet. Helen Clark would seem to agree, having herself said that global warming poses a bigger threat to our survival than that of a nuclear holocaust. Your party leader, John Key, has also stated, less robustly perhaps, his concern in regard to global warming, a relatively recent change in his views, but welcome nevertheless, and has committed National to policies that would see New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emissions fall by 50% by 2050 (not that this is in any way sufficient, of course). So I read Wayne Mapp’s comments in regard to peak oil with great concern, because he told Robert Atack «In any event, the issue is primarily a market, not government issue. The only thing the government can do is encourage oil/gas exploration in New Zealand which is clearly desirable irrespective of the peak oil argument».

Can you tell me please, as energy spokesman for the National Party, how Wayne Mapp can state that oil and gas exploration in New Zealand is desirable irrespective of peak oil, when at the same time you are stating that global warming is a serious issue and we need to be cutting back on our CO2 emission? Surely the point is that oil and gas exploration, and presumably discovery, and presumably therefore use of the resource and further CO2 emissions, is NOT AT ALL DESIRABLE, in any circumstances. I would urge you and the National Party to support a moratorium on the further exploration for gas and oil, and use the money saved to invest in renewable energy resources and energy efficiency. I would also ask you to urge the present Labour government to do the same.

It seems to me that all the professed concern in regard to global warming, whether from your party or the Labour Party, is just so much empty and cynical rhetoric. Declaim how profoundly concerned you are, proclaim grand-sounding targets, but whatever you do, don’t rock the economic boat, don’t restrict anyone’s right to pollute our atmosphere, never threaten anyone’s right to drive a car, however economically and environmentally damaging this is, and don’t ever leave resources in the ground if you think you can get richer by extracting them, and to hell with the consequences.

Your party, the Labour party, nearly every industrialist and most of the world are surely mad. We are poisoning the very planet that sustains us, when even the meanest animal species knows not to foul its own nest, and yet this is what all of you seem determined to do. It is literally beyond all reason, all comprehension and all morals.

I truly despair,

Dr John K Monro


PS With oil now steady above US$100, it’s beginning to look like Robert Atack was right all along. The next few years will be very interesting, and probably very uncomfortable, for a world addicted to oil. This could all have been avoided by a bit of wise and strategic long-term planning, but as Wayne Mapp has so plainly pointed out, it is not the function of government to plan, but merely to allow the market to perform, or not, as the case may be. It will all be very illuminating, and salutary, I’m sure, but just a bit too late, much in the way that the cigarette smoker learns a salutary lesson from personal experience that an addiction to tobacco can cause lung cancer, but just a bit too late.