Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Hirsch Report - Missing in Action

Global Public Media report that the controversial "Hirsch Report" into Peak Oil has disappeared from the internet

In Brief: Half a year after its release, the Hirsch report is nowhere to be found. For several months it was archived, in PDF format, on a high school web site (, Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, Calif.). On July 7 the report disappeared from that site. The Atlantic Council ( is considering publishing the Hirsch report; however there is no projected date of release. When contacted, Dr. Hirsch replied that the document is "a public report, paid for and released by DOE NETL, and that it therefore could be reposted at will."-By Richard Heinberg

Good news. I have an original copy of the Hirsch Report, (PDF format, 1.2mb). If you want it leave me comments and I'll send it out to you.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fucktard Studies in Globalisation

Trolling the pages of a little text on "Strategy" trying to find interesting snippets for my students I stumble upon this clueless example of complete ignorance by Eric Hobsbawm, The New Century .

We are certainly a single global economy compared with thirty years ago, but we can say with equal certainty that we'll be even more globalised in 2050, and very much more in 2100.

Interestingly Hobsbawm blindly stumbles vacantly passed the actual issues that make his claim a nonsense, in the very next sentence he argues,

Globalisation is not the product of a single action, like switching on a light or starting a car engine.

The coffee I was slurping at the time involuntarily regurgitated itself as if of a mind of its own. By 2050 much of the industrialised petroleum dependant McBullshit that we are all familiar and comfortable with will be decimated. The seemingly endless march of container loaded shipping moving raw resources to China, turning it into the shit we buy at the Whorehouse (Warehouse in NZ, Walmart in the US) and shipping it back here, will have slowed to a trickle if not completely disappeared.

Severe and brutal energy shortages the result of demand for oil surpassing the available supply are possible within a few short years, certainly within a decade. The price of oil will be so high airline companies will collapse, construction of Olympic villages will halt and projects for new roads will finally be seen for what they really are - a complete and utter waste of resources, investment in a possible world which will not exist. Rampant inflation and recession will infect the western economies like a virus.

We live in times of energy abundance, there is more of virtually everything you can imagine. The general public, Hobsbwam and millions like him ignorantly assume that the economic good ole times will roll on forever. Such fantastical notions make a raft of errors all related to fossil fuel availability and demand.

In 45 years time contrary to Hobsbwam's seemingly utopian "global village" we will be living in a time where there will be almost half the fossil fuel supply currently available. With a decline in the commodity that literally drives the western world so too will come the gradual reversal of all that depends upon the resource. Globalisation, along with populations will decline.

The price of fossil fuel continues to increase. Yet no one seems to blink an eye. The warning signs are lost on politicians and the general public. Consumptive society, it's inherent dependancy upon 3% economic growth per annum, fueled by oil, is in for one fuck of a shock. The end of corporate globalism, financial and property markets, and the beginning of political mayhem, extended austerity and hardship is just around the corner.

Better to buy a scooter now.

Steve McKinlay

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The 'A' Bomb In Wardour Street

Where the streets are pave with blood,
With cataclysmic overtones,
Fear and hate linger in the air,
A strictly no-go deadly zone,
I don't know what I'm doing here,
Cause it's not my scene at all,
There's an 'A' bomb in Wardour Street,
They've called in the Army, they've called in the police.
Paul Weller, 1978

I think there are two thoughts we ought to seriously consider in respect of the terrorist bombings in London last week.

Firstly, much media commentary has, in my opinion, vaulted to the naive conclusion that the bombings are Islamic fundamentalist (Al Qaeda) retribution for the UK's involvement in the war in Iraq. A seemingly obvious corollary to this position being that because New Zealand was not involved in the invasion of Iraq we would not be considered a target by Al Qaeda, JI or other terrorist cells operating in our vicinity.

Two issues aside immediately, firstly that New Zealand actually has troops based in both Iraq and Afghanistan, in this sense we are involved whether we like to think we are or not, and secondly multinational Islamic terrorist groups had been executing terrorist attacks for at least a decade prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Nevertheless it is a tempting position to hold, a kind of simplistic justification that somehow makes sense of the carnage and at the same time immunises ourselves from having to face the possibility that it could ever be possible in this country. Yet those holding this belief, I argue, are missing the point. Furthermore, the complacent belief that we could be immune to such threat ought to immediately raise questions about the nature of such a belief and what it might be based upon.

Rohan Gurnaratna, author of Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, points out that since 9/11 Al Qaeda's network within the Asia-Pacific has remained virtually intact. Cells had been particularly active in the Philippines and Malaysia and it is now common knowledge (since Bali) that Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI) was inflitrated in the early 90s and is the face of Al Qaeda in our part of the world. The current spiritual leader of JI, Abu Bakar Bashiyar lives in Indonesia. JI was formed by Abdullah Sungkar and after his death in 1999, Bashiyar his closest friend took over. It was a meeting between Sungkar and Osama in Afghanistan that spawned JI (Gurnaratna, 2002, p189).

Australia and New Zealand's isolation offer some natural level of protection however the very nature of our liberal democracies offer up vulnerabilities not currently exploitable in nations with now much tightened level's of security. Just as the terrorist threat moved beyond the Middle East in the 1970s and 1980s, and with rapidly developing technological global communications terrorist cells could operate with relative ease in both New Zealand and Australia. Our inherent ideological weakness (a free liberal society) combined with a growing terrorist threat in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore make our part of the world according to Gurnaratna, Al Qaeda's new theatre.

And the point is this, it is not the invasion of Iraq that is the direct cause of any, least not recent terrorist activities, it is our way of life, it is the excesses, degradation, arrogance and freedom of western styled democracy that is the target of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. The absense of Islamic shari'ah law and the substitution of man-made civil law looms large in the mind of an islamic extremist. Those burying their heads in the sand about possible terrorist attacks in New Zealand ought to rethink their position. Terrorists are opportunists. And New Zealand is rapidly rising up the list of liberal democracies that present clear and tangible opportunities.

One blunt response I heard last week as news broke of the terrorist attack in London was this - "who cares?". Thus the second consideration I ask readers to think about begins with these headlines today;

Suicide Bombers Kill 34 or 21 Killed, Scores Wounded in Baghdad Bombing

You might find a small article buried away in the recesses of your local newspaper, a search on Google News turned up plenty of links, most weren't running this as a cover story. You could run the argument that Iraqi deaths aren't as important as British deaths, or perhaps more acutely, that the information isn't as interesting or relevant.

But then, who really cares right?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Governments Pork-Barrel Roading Policy
...and NFI Award Winner of the Week

It’s election season right, let’s roll out the pork-barrel. Such can be the only conceivable reason this Government on election hogmanay, as the sun sets on the era of cheap oil, decides to invest millions in an infrastructure that has absolutely no future.

Oil hovers around US$60.00 per barrel and is predicted by many analysts to exceed US$80 as a northern hemisphere winter descends with all the demand surge that will bring. The “price of oil” has all but hijacked the G8 summit in Edinburgh as the issue of the day. And why, because world leaders are slowly beginning to realise that without it [oil] there is no economy. Tropical storms Cindy and Dennis will surely see oil push out beyond $65 within the week.

Yet our Government still of the belief that oil will return any day now to US$25 per barrel continue to wish and hope that the good old happy motoring days of unending economic growth and suburban utopia will carry on regardless. Meanwhile we stupidly encourage more and more people to migrate to xurbia, the far-flung extensions of the suburban dream and drive for an hour and a half everyday to work in the 70’s platform shoe equivalent of the motor vehicle, the SUV. Driven by showpony wankers, as necessary and relevant as the millenium dome, these vehicles (and the desire to own such global-warmers) need to be eliminated.

The unsympathetic truth is that the more roads we build the greater our problem will be in the long run – it’s money that could have been spent preparing ourselves for an era of extended austerity. Cheap abundant oil is all but over. The price of oil is moving in one direction, upwards. From now onwards oil will increase in price at a rate far in excess of inflation. Much to the chagrin of the demi-gods of capitalism – economists, there are no alternatives.

Roads will not become gridlocked with solar and hydrogen powered vehicles as the National party suggest,

we would be happy to receive any material (from you or from
anybody else) suggesting that the forms of alternative energy that are already
developed will somehow reduce the need for proper roading

Bryan Sinclair, Special Advisor to Don Brash, in email correspondance April 2005)

(NFI Award Winner this week)
Just as blissfully ignorant, Peter Dunne of United (No) Future for thinking that building the multibillion dollar white elephant (the Transmission Gully road) is an idea even worthy of rational debate.

This project would barely be finished as oil prices begin causing serious economic and social impacts across the industrialised world. The days of sitting in a car for three hours a day to and from work will be long gone before Transmission Gully is completed let alone paid for. A fact that will be reflected in this years election results, United Future (along with ACT) are an increasingly irrelevant party that haven’t moved out of the 20th Century, operating on assumptions that most of us let go of a decade or more ago.

Steve McKinlay for
Powerless NZ
07 July 2005
PowerLess NZ is a growing group of scientists, energy analysts and concerned citizens whose principle objectives are to alert both Government and the general public to New Zealand’s looming energy crisis. Our aim is to support development of renewable energy resources at both a private and public level, as well as encourage a firm move away from dependence upon fossil fuels.
More information about global peak oil and resource depletion can be found at and