Historic Peak Oil Motion Defeated
In Australian Senate
By Dr Gideon Polya
22 November, 2009
Peak oil is the point in time at which maximum oil production occurs and after which production declines. Peak oil has already happened for nearly all oil producers including the US and Venezuela (in 1970), Indonesia (1991) and Russia (2007), with peak oil rapidly approaching in Kuwait (2013), Saudi Arabia (2014) and war-torn, US-occupied Iraq (2018). .
Aside from the evident arrival of Peak Oil with record, business as usual (BAU) oil consumption (with the booming economies of China and India also demanding their fair share), future use of oil for transport and heating is contraindicated by (a) the massive and growing use of scarce oil resources as the feedstock for industrial production of plastics and pharmaceuticals and (b) the urgent need, according to top climate scientists, to return atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from the current, dangerous, climate-disrupting 390 parts per million (ppm) to a safe and sustainable level of 300-350 ppm. .
Sensible people have recognized the problem of Peak Oil for decades – indeed I remember the indignation of my organic chemistry professor nearly half a century ago over the fact that we were actually BURNING this valuable feedstock for the organic chemical industry that provides us with a cornucopia of sophisticated products from all kinds of plastics to life-saving pharmaceuticals.
However the corporate world has failed to act on the problem and the corrupt, corporation-lobbied, Western politicians have failed to act on Peak Oil except by securing control over oil supplies by a century of subversions, civil wars, invasions, occupations and genocides as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention. For a history of the carnage inflicted by oil- and resource-hungry USA in the post-war era see William Blum’s book “Rogue State” but for a wider history of every country of the world before, during and after WW2 and for estimates of the horrendous human cost of the 20th and 21st century American, European and Japanese Oil Wars see my book “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”. [3, 4, 5].
The human cost of the Oil Wars and of European colonialism, neo-colonialism and hegemony in general can be estimated as avoidable mortality (excess mortality, avoidable deaths, excess deaths, deaths that did not have to happen) which is the difference between the actual deaths in a country and the deaths expected for a decently run, peaceful country with the same demographics.
Thus the 1950-2005 excess mortality/ 2005 population (both in millions, m) and expressed as a percentage (%) can be calculated for the USA and for each country occupied by the US in the post-1945 era. (the asterisk (*) below indicates major occupation by another country as well): the USA [8.455m/300.038m = 2.8%] - Afghanistan* [16.609m/25.971m = 64.0%], Cambodia* [5.852m/14.825m = 39.5%], Dominican Republic [0.806m/8.998m = 9.0%], Federated States of Micronesia [0.016m/0.111m = 14.4%], Greece* [0.027m/10.978m = 0.2%], Grenada* [0.018m/0.121m = 14.9%], Guam [0.005m/0.168m = 3.0%], Haiti* [4.089m/8.549m = 47.9%], Iraq* [5.283m/26.555m = 19.9%], Korea* [7.958m/71.058m = 11.2%], Laos* [2.653m/5.918m = 44.8%], Panama [0.172m/3.235m = 5.3%], Philippines [9.080m/82.809m = 11.0%], Puerto Rico [0.039m/3.915m = 1.0%], Somalia* [5.568m/10.742m = 51.8%], US Virgin Islands [0.003m/0.113m = 2.4%], Vietnam* [24.015m/83.585m = 28.7%], total = 82.193m/357.651m = 23.0% .
The 1950-2005 excess deaths in countries occupied in the post-war era by the US, UK, Apartheid Israel and France total 82 million, 727 million, 24 million and 142 million, respectively (for details see “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”). [4, 5].
Professor Noam Chomsky has cogently described the Middle East oil as the key strategic area of US foreign policy: “The area of greatest concern is the Middle East. There is nothing novel about that. I often have to arrange talks years in advance. If I am asked for a title, I suggest “The Current Crisis in the Middle East.” It has yet to fail. There’s a good reason: the huge energy resources of the region were recognized by Washington sixty years ago as a “stupendous source of strategic power,” the “strategically most important area of the world,” and “one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” Control over this stupendous prize has been a primary goal of U.S. policy ever since, and threats to it have naturally aroused enormous concern.” .
President Barack Obama made lots of fine rhetorical statements during his election campaign and indeed has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However under his dishonest, racist, warmongering and war-making Administration, in a mere 10 months the US and its allies have been involved in attacking and/or occupying a swathe of Middle East countries namely Somalia, Sudan , Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and NW Pakistan.
Just in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories alone post-invasion violent and non-violent excess deaths total 0.3 million, 2.3 million and 3-7 million, respectively , and refugees total 7 million, 5-6 million and 3-4 million, respectively, with a further 2.5 million refugees generated by war under Nobel Peace Prize-winner Obama in NW Pakistan – a Palestinian Genocide, Iraqi Genocide and Afghan Genocide as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention.
Smarter, non-racist, non-violent and non-genocidal ways of dealing with Peak Oil and the worsening Climate Emergency involve rational risk management, this successively involving (a) getting accurate data, (b) scientific analysis and (c) sensible, informed system change to minimize risk.
At a city level, Bloomington, Indiana , USA has led the way by recognizing the Peak Oil problem in 2006 and setting up a Peak Oil Task Force in 2007 to apply sensible risk management to protect the city from negative consequences of Peak Oil. Other cities may well move to do likewise. .
However at a national government level the approach seems to be to be a policy of ignoring the Awful Truth and of keeping Peak Oil under wraps.
Thus Tom Whipple writing in the Energy Bulletin recently (November 2009) exposed how the US government was attempting to manipulate public information on Peak Oil: “Last week we had an early insight into the recriminations when the UK's Guardian newspaper (formerly the Manchester Guardian) published an exposé on how the world's official keeper-of-the-books on energy matters, the International Energy Agency (IEA), has been manipulating its forecasts. Two senior IEA officials, one active and one retired, were the sources of the story which was corroborated by others who have had close contact with the inner workings of the IEA in recent years. The most damning part of the exposé was the allegation the manipulation of the oil production forecasts was done at the behest of the United States government which feared the consequences, should it become generally known and believed that oil soon would no longer be available in unlimited quantities. Oil products would become too expensive for many uses and the world would change forever.” [8, 9].
In Australia the Australian Greens recently attempted to introduce what, to the best of my knowledge (please let me know otherwise ASAP), may be the first ever Peak Oil motion introduced into a national assembly. Unfortunately, in the Federal Parliament of pro-coal, fossil fuel-obsessed, climate criminal Australia (the world’s worst per capita greenhouse gas polluter), the motion was defeated 31 to 6 on 20 November 2009 with the five Australian Greens Senators supporting the motion and one supposes South Australian independent Senator Nick Xenophon as the sixth supporting vote. .
The Australian Greens motion, moved by Australian Greens Deputy Leader Senator Christine Milne, was as follows.
“I move that the Senate:
a) Notes that:
i. Neither the former Howard government nor the Rudd government implemented the first recommendation of the 2007 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee report into Australia's future oil supply and alternative transport fuels, namely, that Geoscience Australia, ABARE and Treasury reassess both the official estimates of future oil supply and the 'early peak' arguments and report to the Government on the probabilities and risks involved, comparing early mitigation scenarios with business as usual.
ii. Of the nine recommendations of that Report, only recommendation 6 relating to incentives for fuel efficient vehicles have even been considered let alone addressed.
iii. In the week beginning 8 November 2009, the International Energy Agency issued its annual 'World Energy Outlook', predicting that global oil demand is forecast to rise from 85m barrels per day 2008 to 105m barrels per day in 2030.
iv. A whistleblower at the International Energy Agency has claimed "it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying" and that a "senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves".
(b) Calls on the government to immediately develop a national plan to respond to the challenge of peak oil and Australia's dependence on imported foreign oil.”
Australian Greens Senator Milne has supported action to respond to Peak Oil as follows: “"The global financial crisis drove manufacturing from the developed world into the developing world, thereby replacing oil with coal and increasing greenhouse emissions. If we don't start planning now, peak oil will repeat that process many times over with disastrous outcomes. Australia needs to kick the oil addiction before peak oil kicks it for us by driving prices sky high. Martin Ferguson [Australian Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism] is already promoting coal-based transport fuels as a way to keep Australia's coal sector flourishing. The climate impact of such a short-sighted move would be horrendous. We must start planning now to bring on the sustainable alternatives of renewably-powered electric vehicles, both public and private, and tackle the climate and peak oil crises together. The International Energy Agency [IEA] whistleblower's report is shocking but unsurprising to those of us who have watched the refusal by Australian governments to acknowledge the peak oil threat." .
There is immense danger to the Planet from a shift from conventional oil to alternative carbon-based transport fuels. Thus the legislatively-mandated use of biofuel in the US, UK and EU means using food as fuel in a world in which 4 billion people already suffer from malnutrition and has already contributed to enormous increases in food prices in recent years (16 million people already die worldwide each year from deprivation and deprivation-exacerbated disease). While oil and natural gas reserves have been substantially depleted, these resources are dwarfed by enormous reserves of coal, methane hydrates, oil sands and oil shale that are already being exploited for carbon-based transport fuels. Thus methane is being extracted from coal mines and coal can be used to generate combustible synthesis gas (carbon monoxide, CO, and hydrogen, H2) which can thence be converted to liquid hydrocarbons by the Fischer-Tropsch process.
Top US climate scientist Dr James Hansen (head, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, adjunct professor at Columbia University and a member of the prestigious US National Academy of Sciences) has written a letter with a detailed Appendix to the PM of Australia, Kevin Rudd (aka KRudd for his pro-coal stance) setting out the danger to the Planet from further exploitation of these alternative carbon fuel resources, namely the huge coal reserves (notably in climate criminal Australia, the world’s leading coal exporter and worst annual per capita GHG polluter), huge methane hydrate deposits (under the oceans, now bubbling to the surface in the shallow parts of the rapidly warming Arctic), and huge shale oil and tar sands reserves (notably in climate criminal Canada where tar sands are being exploited and provide the biggest single source of imported oil for the US): “Figure 3 shows reported fossil fuel reserves and resources (estimated undiscovered deposits). Reserves are hotly debated and may be exaggerated, but we know that enough oil and gas remain to take global warming close to, if not into, the realm of dangerous climate effects. Coal and unconventional fossil fuels such as tar shale contain enough carbon to produce a vastly different planet, a more dangerous and desolate planet, from the one on which civilization developed, a planet without Arctic sea ice, with crumbling ice sheets that ensure sea level catastrophes for our children and grandchildren, with shifting climate zones that cause great hardship for the world’s poor and drive countless species to extinction, and with intensified hydrologic extremes that cause increased drought and wildfires but also stronger rain, floods, and storms. Oil and coal uses differ fundamentally. Oil is burned primarily in small sources, in vehicles where it is impractical to capture the CO2 emissions. Available oil reserves will be exploited eventually, regardless of efficiency standards on vehicles, and the CO2 will be emitted to the atmosphere. The climate effect of oil is nearly independent of how fast we burn the oil, because much of the CO2 remains in the air for centuries.” .
Climate criminal Australia (the world’s leading coal exporter and worst annual per capita GHG polluter) has set its course to effective business-as-usual burning of fossil fuels FOREVER. While top climate scientists urge a rapid DECREASE of the atmospheric CO2 concentration to 300-350 ppm, current Australian Government policies commit Australia to INCREASE its already huge domestic and exported CO2 and methane (CH4) emissions. Indeed the recent decision by the Australian Labor Government and Liberal-National Party Opposition (collectively known as the Lib-Labs) to permanently exclude agriculture from any carbon pollution caps means that the Lib-Labs have committed Australia to over 50% of its huge GHG emissions FOREVER. .
The pro-war, war criminal, pro-coal, climate criminal, US lackey Australian Lib-Labs have now underscored their greedy, anti-science, anti-humanity, genocidal commitment to GHG pollution by the 31 to 6 rejection of the Greens’ historic Peak Oil motion in the Australian Senate.
We must hold the climate criminals legally, commercially and electorally Accountable for their crimes against Humanity and the Biosphere. While Western car drivers will continue to look the other way in relation to the worsening Climate Genocide (from ignorance or politically correct racist hypocrisy), I suspect that they WILL react angrily at the ballot box over the continuing Peak Oil lying, betrayal and inaction by Western governments.
The Euro-American conscience, deadened by 8 years of genocidal Bush-ite and racist Zionist (RZ) terror hysteria and warmongering, is unperturbed by Obama the Bomber (Gringo lingo: B-ah-mer) and 2.5 million Pashtun refugees from NW Pakistan and the 20 million Muslim refugees generated in toto by the racist, genocidal, Oil Wars of the racist Zionists (RZs) and US Alliance. However Western car-drivers are rapidly getting wise to Obama the Bummer (also more or less in Gringo lingo: B-ah-mer) over Peak Oil and the already manifesting climate disruption downside from man-made global warming (greatly increased intensity and extent of forest fires, doubling of hurricane intensity, and other climate change-related heatwave, flood, drought and sea level rise impacts occurring in the oh-so-nice West).
We all must take action in the face of worsening First World-imposed climate genocide that is predicted to kill 10 billion people this century from unaddressed global warming, this predicted carnage including 6 billion infants, 3 billion Muslims, 2 billion Indians, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis.
Decent people must act urgently to help save Humanity and the Biosphere of the Planet by (a) informing everyone they can about the worsening Climate Emergency and Climate Genocide and by (b) urging and taking individual and collective action by Sanctions, Boycotts, Green Tariffs, Reparations Demands and Prosecutions against people, products, corporations and countries involved in the worsening Global Warming, Climate Injustice and Climate Genocide .
. Wikipedia, “Peak oil”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil .
. 300.org,”300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm”:
. William Blum, “Rogue State” (Zed Books, London, 2006).
. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007):
. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (2008 lecture):
. Noam Chomsky, “Imminent crises: threats and opportunities”, Monthly Review, vol. 59, number 2, 2007:
. “Bloomington (IN) Peak Oil Task Force Legislation and background material”, Post Carbon Cities, 5 December 2007:
. Tom Whipple, “The Peak Oil crisis: accusations”, Energy Bulletin, 18 November 2009:
. Terry Macalister, “Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure, says whistleblower”, Guardian, 9 November 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/n
. Australian Greens, “Peal Oil plan needed to avoid default to coal”:
. Dr James Hansen, Letter to Australian PM Kevin Rudd, 27 March 2008:
. Gideon Polya, “We are running out of time tosave Humnaity and thre Biosphere”, Countercurrents, 20 November 2009:
Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003:
Targets-Plant-Bioactive-Compounds/dp/0415308291 ). He has recently published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ and http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya) and an updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History, Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2008: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ). He is currently teaching Biochemistry theory and practical courses to second year university agricultural science students at a very good Australian university. Words having failed, he also paints huge Paintings for Peace, Planet, Mother and Child: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ (anyone is free to reproduce these images with attribution in the interests of Humanity).