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Australian government report: Peak oil is real, get ready

Future Oil Supply Uncertainty Highlighted
Media Release from the Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation

A report tabled in State Parliament today highlights the need for Queensland industry, primary producers and communities to lessen their dependence on imported oil supplies.

The report – Queensland’s Vulnerability to Rising Oil Prices – was tabled by the Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, Andrew McNamara, who authored the report as a backbencher before his appointment as a Minister last month.

Mr McNamara said the report canvassed a range of options for reducing Queensland’s reliance on oil imports, from reducing our demand to developing alternate energy sources.

“I’m now in the unique position, as the Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, of having to co-ordinate a whole-of-Government response to my own report,” Mr McNamara said.

“Obviously, as the report author, I have some ideas on what needs to be done, based on what I discovered as part of preparing the report, and the report makes a range of recommendations.

“However, the most important thing I learned was that, while further analysis needs to be done, this issue is both real and imminent.

“The focus of the report was the concept of peak oil – the point at which maximum world oil production is reached - which is predicted to lead to shortages and consequent significant price increases.

“If nothing changes in our energy mix and demand patterns after that point, we can expect significant liquid fuel price increases, and price increases in those things that are made from oil such as fertilizer and plastics and those things that rely on oil such as agriculture, construction and transport.

“The Taskforce sought to present the most likely time frame for peak oil, to assess its impact on the mining, transport and primary industry sectors, and then recommend options to minimise the impact on Queensland.

“The report concludes that the overwhelming evidence is that world oil production will peak within the next 10 years.

“The report recommends that a prudent risk mitigation approach requires a mix of initiatives such as:
• reduction in consumption of liquid fossil fuels;
• encouraging the development and use of alternative fuels, technologies and strategies; and
• preparation for demographic and regional changes, as Queenslanders change travel, work and living habits in response to rising fuel prices.

“The future availability of fossil fuel and alternate energy supplies is one of the main sustainability issues facing society today.

“The recommendations are preliminary, and more detailed analysis including detailed modelling of the downstream impacts and substitution effects of the various proven and evolving alternative energy technologies will be a necessary next step.”

Editorial Notes: Contributor Stuart McCarthy writes: Here it is finally! The full report is available at www.epa.qld.gov.au/link/?id=3777 BA: The report is a 158-page PDF. Energy Bulletin has published: Preface and Introduction to the report Writings by McNamara Articles or links that mention him

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