Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Clueless March Toward Oblivion

We, in all likelihood, are going to have significant shortages of
gasoline, Bush said. I would urge people to recognize this, not to

That's Jeb Bush, Texas Governer.

With analysts on cable news channels raising the possibility that Rita could push gas close to $5 a gallon, some Floridians on Thursday were filling up - just in case.

This is sure to have a flow on effect in New Zealand because the overall world wide surplus will diminish. Expect petrol to be out toward $1.60 within a week or two.

If you own one of those big fuck-off monster SUV's that guzzle gas - bad luck. If you've just purchased one, take a good look in the mirror, slap it with a cold spoon, acknowledge your own stupidity and get "chump" tatooed across your forehead.

I spend less than 12 bucks a week on petrol. An extra gold coin won't worry me much.

Oh sure, this is just a spike caused by a supply security. But, these spikes will become increasingly common as supply is unable to meet demand and minor supply constraints manifest on the international market.

The price of oil is only going in one direction. Furthermore, once that available supply is unable to meet demand (18 months) we'll see what we might call superspikes. That's when the ideological stupidity of the argument "the oil companies can't tell me what I can drive" will come face to face with realpolitik - will the market provide - oh sure, mind you the scarcity factor on Vespas will have significantly increased by then.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Long Emergency Begins

People obsessed with Britney Spears sprog and the lastest in the Paris Hilton hacker debacle obviously didn't notice that 2 major US airlines hit the wall this week. Two weeks after the US's all time biggest natural disaster the timing is ironic if not uncanny.

Hilariously TIME magazine reports "bankruptcy is not the end", ha, like death is not the end.

It seems like the only honest reports of these bankruptcies are coming from this side of the world. The US blinkered by NASCAR and the latest barbie doll drama are in total denial.

This is simply a correction based on the increasing scarcity of oil. More airlines will follow, and the next in line will be major megamarket stores.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Why I'll be Voting Greens.

I've never voted for the Green Party before although being a surfer, windsurfer, tramper, living with a Scottish father that grew all our vegetables, I remember getting a telling if I threw a banana skin in the bin and not the compost bucket. Being these things and more I guess I've always had a point of view that took into consideration ecology, conservation as in "conserving".

It was pragmatic, rather than "trendy". And so, it became common sense.

People often ask me what I am doing when I discuss Peak Oil with them. I am doing a lot.

Did I say I ride a vespa. The savings in petrol are financing the scooter. In a couple of years I'll have a lot more money in my pocket (more than Brash's tax cut would have put in my pocket actually). You think petrol prices will drop - think again.

Our entire house is double-glazed and we use two methods of super-efficient heat generation in the winter (heat pump and wood burner). The summer doesn't need anything other than opening the big bi-fold doors to keep us cool.

We have a Solahart Kf series solar water system. It makes financial sense, no conventional hotwater system pays for itself - the Solahart does. That's the Scot in me.

We've made all these investments out of our own pocket, because yes it takes an upfront investment for a saving in the long term. We are lucky most people can't afford to make the investment.

The Green party (energy policy here) are the only party that understand this stuff. Care enough about it to offer workable systems that will get other New Zealanders making these kinds of choices.

And they are the only party that will get into power that understand peak oil. The rest are a pack of delusional dreamers. Labour have only just (this week and in code) admitted that production peak of oil is a serious issue. They need the Greens for advice and direction. They need the Greens to continue to remind them.

If you care about this stuff, if understand peak oil. There is no other choice. Sell yourself out on Saturday for a pitiful 30 bucks a week in your pocket and temporarily cheaper petrol (to the tune of 2 or 3 bucks a week), or vote with your mind, for the future. Vote Green.

Remember, wishing a problem will just go away never works.


Monday, September 12, 2005

"A Leader Must Have a Vision"
Don Brash, Leaders Debate (sometime last week)

Never mind if that vision is an apparition, you'd think the vision that Don Brash had was one of virgin Mary Mother of God indicating that oil will return to $35 a barrel.

I want everyone to think very carefully about this. The Brash/Key decision to cut petrol tax is nothing more, nothing less than a blatent cynical election bribe. Lets examine why.

1. The argument is that the cut is a temporary subsidy while petrol prices are high. Sure enough it's only been promised for 6 months. However current petrol prices are not temporarily high. In fact this is the beginning of a future where fossil fuel prices will only trend in one direction, up! The end of cheap oil is here, as all time global oil production maximises and demand continues to soar the scarcity factor in oil will only push the price higher. Unless significant (billion barrel +) oil fields are found, or demand significantly reduces no long term downward trend in oil prices will be seen. So, get used to it.

2. I have always argued that as the price of oil moves higher and as shortages begin to manifest lobby groups (such as motorist lobby groups, farmering groups, etc.) will complain vehemently for subsidies. Well, lo behold, the National party are the first pack of soft bellied politicians to cave into subsidy demands. Removing tax from petrol places the tax burden on all tax payers, including those like me (who rides a vespa to cut my petrol costs) and even more so, on those who use public transport, don't have a car, ride bikes, walk etc. Be fucking angry, you are now subsidising arseholes who drive Ford Explorers and Toyota Prado's - that really pisses me off.

3. The GST argument. John Key like the pot-licking economist he is argues that the extra GST collected by Government in higher fuel costs justifies the tax cut. This is a nonsense. Imagine you have a fixed 200 dollars of disposable income every week (hopefully you have more, but lets keep the figure simple) You have to share this cash round, so if you save a bit there, you might have a bit more to spend down Courtenay place on a Friday night. So, if you spend all this money the GST component is about $23. You will only NOT pay GST if you don't spend the money. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that higher fuel costs result in higher GST collected by Government. You simply have less (GST generating) money to spend on other stuff.

4. Higher fuel costs at this time are a clear signal to the market (and the individual) that alternatives are worth investigating. By reducing tax on fuel you are signalling back to Wanktank V8 drivers that it's ok to continue buring petrol with utter disregard for the situation we will shortly find ourselves in. There is no incentive for people to get rid of their global warmers in exchange for something more sensible (and fun) (like a Vespa), or indeed public transport. Thus we are exacerbating the problem, we are developing a false sense of security in the clueless herd. When really high petrol prices come ($3 a litre) what do you do then?

5. We need this tax to begin to build infrastructure that does not depend directly upon fossil fuels. National (United no Future and ACT, but they are now irrelevant) are sadly totally delusional about the future of energy. Outer suburban lifestyles and happy motoring freeway lifestyles are reflections of a century of prosperity predicated upon cheap accessible oil. That time is over. Instead of trying to recapture the glory days we need to get realistic and begin building a future that is not oil dependant. We need to begin doing this now.

If you are clever, if you have any wetware between the ears you'll see National's ploy for what it is. You will realise that reducing the petrol tax is not only pointless but counter-productive to dealing with the end of cheap oil.

Steve McKinlay
for PowerLess NZ.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Two Very Good Peak Oil Articles

Having a break from writing, here are two excellent articles worth reading.

Peak Oil and the Working Class By Dale Allen Pfeiffer

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Storms of August By Tom Whipple


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Institutionalized Plonkerism
and if bullshit was bitumen...

Unbelievably following the virtual destruction of New Orleans and surrounding towns people still don't get it. Whining like a fucked diff, the combustion engine lobby are all collectively screaming for fiscal relief at the petrol pump, the lastest joke is the email going round asking drivers to boycott service stations today. As if that is going to make a jot of difference. If you don't buy your petrol today, you're just gonna buy it tomorrow. I guess the project of dumbing down of the general populus is still on track.

Don Brash, should he seize power in 11 days time, intends giving back New Zealander's billions of dollars in tax cuts (so they can all go out and buy new Ford Explorers and plasma TVs) meanwhile borrowing billions more to build a ridiculous and (by the time it's complete) largely pointless maze of roads in Auckland. Ironically arguing by creating wider more complex set of traffic problems - this will increase ecnomic growth.

What Brash is utterly and contemptously ignorant of is the fact that the days of the daily drive from your cosy suburb 40 kilometres from Queen Street is all but over for people on less than 80k a year.

Cheap oil is finished, and in the face of blindingly obvious warnings (Katrina, Gulf of Mexico - taking out 20 odd offshore oil rigs, petrol $1.55 a litre, oil - increase in price 500% since 1998, peak oil predicted by 2007) people STILL DON'T GET IT.

The rapid (within 48 hrs) descent into a contemporary state of nature in New Orleans would no doubt have Hobbes turning in his grave. It serves as a sober reminder that we are at any point in time 2 to 3 days away from utter distruction and despair.

You can bet the next argument for a rise in the oil price per barrel will be the shortage now emerging in the US strategic reserve as it taps into that stockpile (reckoned to be close to 800 million barrels) to bail out whinging motorists having to pay 3 bucks a gallon.

Even Mallard is on the bandwagon, arguing we here in NZ should conserve gas to help our good friends in the States. Anyone that seriously believes this will make a difference is delusional.

New Zealand uses much less than 1% of the entire petroleum usage world wide, any saving we make will be counted as a miniscule fraction - a real number preceded by several zeros. You wanna feel good. Take the bus to work one day this week, call up the Red Cross and donate 10 bucks. Then thank your arse you live in New Zealand.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

NFI Award Winner of the Week

Delusional thought continues unhindered as petrol and oil prices continue the endless march skyward.

The NFI award this week must go to...
Christchurch Holden Enthusiasts' Club President John Miller.

"Miller, who drives a 5.7-litre Holden SS, acknowledged that he owned a petrol-thirsty car, but said he should not have to give up his passion for petrol company 'greed'. "

Petrol price rises prompt backlash