Welcome to the ODAC Newsletter, a weekly roundup from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, the UK registered charity dedicated to raising awareness of peak oil.

Addictions are hard to break, and while Al Gore challenged his compatriots to go cold turkey and break their fossil fuel dependence within 10 years, those searching for a quick ‘fix’ seized on a first report from USGS on the nature of possible Arctic oil resources. As Dr. Michael Smith of energyfiles.com points out in our Guest Commentary this week, the Arctic ‘finds’ are of negligible significance to the overall depletion picture.

Robbie Diamond, president of the Securing America’s Future Energy think tank, commented with regard to Gore’s speech that “We have hundreds of years of infrastructure with trillions of dollars of investment that is not simply going to be made obsolete.” The reality is of course that peak oil and energy depletion will do just that, and in this light, Post Carbon Institute (a sponsor of ODAC) has just released a plan to help address the urgent need to get industrial nations off fossil fuels and onto renewable electricity. Unusually, the plan stresses the need to reduce energy consumption.

The fact that we are facing extreme challenges, which require urgent and radical action, was highlighted in the UK this week with the release of two reports exorting policy makers to act. In the first, a panel including ODAC trustee Jeremy Legget, proposed a Green New Deal for the UK to address the triple challenges of the credit crunch, peak oil and climate change. The other, which came from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil (APPGOPO), addresses The Impact of Peak Oil on International Development. You can access both reports from our Reports & Resources page.

With the British International Motor Show taking place in London this week, what caught the imagination of the press more than these important reports, was news of electric cars. This is of course the kind of revolution which is much easier to sell. Even if the technology were ready to go, the fact that electricity needs to be generated before if comes out of the socket is little discussed. There are many countries around the world already experiencing regular blackouts, though these are still comparatively rare in Europe and the US.

One UK body which can’t be accused of a lack of creative thinking this week is BAA. In order to support its argument for a third runway at Heathrow it included in its modelling a plane which exists neither in reality nor even on the drawing board.

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UK needs ‘Green New Deal’ to tackle ‘triple crunch’ of credit, oil price and climate crises
Peak oil to hinder world development -UK lawmakers
Oil price falls as US gasoline demand wanes
Speculators Aren’t Driving Up Oil Prices, Report Says
TNK-BP chief executive quits Russia
Arctic holds 90bn barrels of oil and gas equal to Russia’s reserves
Guest Commentary: Dr. Michael R. Smith – www.energyfiles.com
“Estimates of the total undiscovered resources lying within the Arctic Circle are of academic interest only. They have no bearing on the short and medium term future of the oil and gas industry and oil and gas supplies. In any case there are numerous discovered accumulations of oil in Canada and Russia, as well as vast quantities of discovered gas in all the countries bordering the Arctic, all of which await development should permissions and capital be forthcoming. These are the areas where cash-rich oil companies (due to shortages of large scale opportunities elsewhere) are now concentrating their efforts. Perhaps the huge resources numbers provided by the USGS, which are completely speculative anyway, have current political ramifications for those countries with land claims on unresolved areas within the Arctic but, in practice, they do not affect the energy security (and environmental challenges) the world faces over the next two decades.”

Threat from lack of gas capacity, expert says
Scottish & Southern Energy warns on profits as fuel bills set to soar

Energy: Coal-fired power stations will lock UK into a high-emissions future, say MPs

National nuclear lab to be set up
UK’s nuclear clean-up industry in turmoil, report reveals
Indian Government Survives Confidence Vote

Gore: Make all U.S. electricity from renewable sources
Post Carbon Institute Releases Plan for Al Gore’s Generational Challenge to Repower America

BAA invented ‘green’ jumbo to help win Heathrow case
Energy efficiency schemes ‘could save British business £2.5bn a year’
Green Streets project reduces carbon footprint and energy bills

Ministers embrace electric car revolution
US car giants go small and electric