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Australians guzzle oil while supplies dwindle

Annie Guest, The World Today (ABC)
…ANNIE GUEST: Whether 2006’s higher petrol prices have pushed more Australians to walk, cycle or catch public transport remains to be seen.

They should be, according to a Parliamentary inquiry whose participants include Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan and two other Coalition members.

In their interim report tabled today, they urge the Federal Government to plan for imminent declining oil supply.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Australia should be planning for peak oil before 2030.

There is overwhelming evidence that the world is running out of oil and certainly the age of cheap, plentiful, easily accessible oil is over.

ANNIE GUEST: The Australian Greens chaired the inquiry into Australia’s oil supply and alternative fuels. One of their representatives, Senator Christine Milne says all members agreed Sweden sets a good example.

CHRISTINE MILNE: Sweden has moved to end its oil dependency by 2020. Australia needs a plan to reduce its dependency on oil.

ANNIE GUEST: The Committee was told significant sections of society have limited capacity to cope with sustained oil prices, and it’s contributing to more people losing their homes to bank repossessions.

The report says gas will become Australia’s major fuel after oil, and the Government should be encouraging gas infrastructure now.

It recommends significantly increasing the 2010 target of less than one per cent of transport biofuels and found energy challenges must be solved while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
(8 Sept 2006)

Local PO effort in Queensland

Kim Bax, Beaudesert Peak Oil
Record of a local effort to raise awareness of peak oil in Beaudesert Shire, Queensland.
(6 Sept 2006)

Australian Senate recognizes peak oil

Original: Tank low and running on fumes
William Birnbauer, The Age (Australia)
A controversial theory that global oil production will peak within 25 years has been embraced by a Senate committee with the warning: be worried now.

The committee says that, like Sweden, which plans to be oil-free by 2020, Australia should be preparing for an irreversible decline in world oil supplies.

A report released last week by the Senate’s rural and regional affairs and transport committee is the first official recognition at a national level of the “peak oil” theory. This suggests that global oil production will peak before 2030, then start declining, with terrible social and economic consequences.

While some energy groups dismiss the theory, saying higher petrol prices will boost exploration, the Senate committee urges immediate steps to plan for the “enormous changes” involved in a future less dependent on oil.
(10 Sept 2006)

Online official report:
“Australia’s future oil supply and alternative transport fuels”

Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Commonwealth of Australia
Chapter One – Introduction

  • Structure of the report

Chapter Two – Future oil demand and supply

  • World oil production and consumption

  • ‘Peak oil’ critique of official predictions
  • Comment
  • Oil production and consumption in Australia

Chapter Three – Economic and social impact of high fuel prices

  • Introduction

  • The effects of recent price increases
  • Long term effects of a scenario of rising oil prices
  • The risk of supply side disruptions
  • Avoiding adverse impacts
  • Comment

Chapter Four – Supply side responses

  • Overview

  • Searching for more oil in Australia
  • Biofuels
  • Non-conventional petroleum
  • Gaseous fuels – natural gas, LPG and hydrogen

Chapter Five – Demand side responses

  • Increasing the fuel efficiency of vehicles

  • More use of rail for long distance freight
  • Encouraging walking, cycling and public transport in cities
  • Other matters: fringe benefits taxation of company cars

(7 Sept 2006)The interim report is online – go to the original for downloadable PDFs of the chapters of the report. The report is also downloadable as a single PDF (315 KB).