Energy security and government

President Obama has made comments as part of the US election campaign saying climate change was not a hoax. Good. But this got me thinking about what’s going behind the scenes as far as energy security is concerned. Does the US government worry about Peak oil (post Hirsch)? If they did, it should effect how they act on climate change and seek to persuade the US population its real.

Our last government here took climate change very seriously.  I’m very proud to say they enacted the worlds first climate change act, although other countries have now followed.  But when it came to peak oil they were myopic (apparently).  An ex-minister was commissioned to write a report on energy security and basically said there was nothing to worry about.  In 2007 (ish) I made a Freedom of Information request on Peak oil and was told there was 30 years supply left (before peak).  A standard answer, as others I knew and read about (such as George Monbiot) did the same.  In 2009 I went to an all party Scottish Parliament renewable energy meeting on electric cars.  We were given as part of the documentation a projected fuel increase table until 2030.  When I pointed out to the woman organising the meeting that the projected prices per litre in 2030 were largely achieved in 2008, she agreed but said they had been told not to scare anyone. However, something must have changed I think towards the end of labour’s time in office.

When I made the same request for policy documents under the new coalition government I had a completely different response (eventually).  My request was refused due to the fact that there were too many documents.  What has puzzled me ever since is was there policy action under labour we didn’t know about or were these myriad documents all produced in the first six months or so of the new government?  Another question I have is the same thing going on in other countries such as the US?  Are governments working on this in secret so as not worry everyone?  Has labour’s view in this changed in opposition? Ed Milliband’s summer reading included “Prosperity without growth” by Tim Jackson.

Incidentally the chief scientific officer for the devolved Scottish government was reputed to be in complete denial as far as Peak oil was concerned, but then decline in oil supplies is not something the current administration wants to draw attention to with its desire to break up Britain.

Lots of questions here but few answers.  Working on Peak oil in secret is better than nothing but it would be better to work on this together.  Then there are Christian’s attitude to all this, but that is subject matter for another post…

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Neil

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