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Bush energy advisor puts Peak Oil on world agenda

29 April 2005

Bush energy advisor puts Peak Oil on world agenda

A significant international oil industry conference in Scotland has acknowledged the imminent threat of Peak Oil and it's time New Zealand's Government did the same, says Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

The latest Guardian Weekly, on New Zealand newsstands this morning, leads with reports that Matthew Simmons, an adviser to US President Bush and chair of Wall Street energy investment company Simmons, told 'Depletion Scotland', an oil supply conference in Edinburgh last week, that "Peak Oil - when global oil production rises to its highest point before declining irreversibly - was rapidly approaching even as demand was increasing".

"Matthew Simmons is a leading international energy analyst, so his call is making decisionmakers worldwide sit up and take notice," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Green Party's Energy and Transport Spokesperson.

"The most startling part of his reported statements is that Saudi Arabia may well have peaked in production in 1981. Coupled with Peak Oil geology expert Colin Campbell's new estimate that production could peak as soon as next year and the International Energy Agency moving its estimates forward from 2037 to 2013, both mentioned in the same report, Simmon's statement takes the issue to a whole new level internationally.

"The Greens therefore repeat our call for the Government to urgently develop a program for reducing New Zealand's oil dependency.

"We need a careful analysis of every major sector of our economy and our trading relationships to establish where they are most vulnerable and how that can be changed.

"We can only mitigate the impact of Peak Oil. But it will be much easier to take steps such as building a truly effective public transport system and a national rail system, which use a lot of energy to build but not much to run, while energy is still relatively cheap.

"We need to stop importing inefficient cars and go for the most fuel efficient models. We need to start to develop low energy farming systems now and look at how to carry our exports and imports with less energy.

"Change is inevitable, but we can try to make that change more gentle, more humane and more democratic than just going cold turkey on oil," said Ms Fitzsimons.

The Guardian articles are available online: 'Analyst fears global oil crisis in three years' - www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1470221,00.html 'The end of oil is closer than you think' - www.guardian.co.uk/oil/story/0,11319,1464119,00.html

ENDS

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