Peak oil plan needed to avoid default to coal

media-releases

The Government and Opposition today voted against a Greens motion calling on the Government to plan for peak oil in the light of the most recent global figures showing that a shift from oil power to coal power is increasing global greenhouse emissions.

"The global financial crisis drove manufacturing from the developed world into the developing world, thereby replacing oil with coal and increasing greenhouse emissions," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

"If we don't start planning now, peak oil will repeat that process many times over with disastrous outcomes. Australia needs to kick the oil addiction before peak oil kicks it for us by driving prices sky high.

"Martin Ferguson is already promoting coal-based transport fuels as a way to keep Australia's coal sector flourishing. The climate impact of such a short-sighted move would be horrendous.

"We must start planning now to bring on the sustainable alternatives of renewably-powered electric vehicles, both public and private, and tackle the climate and peak oil crises together.

"The International Energy Agency whistleblower's report is shocking but unsurprising to those of us who have watched the refusal by Australian governments to acknowledge the peak oil threat."

Notice of motion

I move that the Senate:
a) Notes that:

i. Neither the former Howard government nor the Rudd government implemented the first recommendation of the 2007 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee report into Australia's future oil supply and alternative transport fuels, namely, that Geoscience Australia, ABARE and Treasury reassess both the official estimates of future oil supply and the 'early peak' arguments and report to the Government on the probabilities and risks involved, comparing early mitigation scenarios with business as usual.

ii. Of the nine recommendations of that Report, only recommendation 6 relating to incentives for fuel efficient vehicles have even been considered let alone addressed.

iii. In the week beginning 8 November 2009, the International Energy Agency issued its annual 'World Energy Outlook', predicting that global oil demand is forecast to rise from 85m barrels per day 2008 to 105m barrels per day in 2030.

iv. A whistleblower at the International Energy Agency has claimed "it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying" and that a "senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves".

(b) Calls on the government to immediately develop a national plan to respond to the challenge of peak oil and Australia's dependence on imported foreign oil.