Making my presentation on peak oil to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil

Paul Mobbs & MEIR:

‘Peak Oil, the Decline of the North Sea and Britain's Energy Future’

A presentation to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil (APPGOPO), Westminster, 2009

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Britain faces a series of problematic choices in order to re-negotiate our lifestyle within the biophysical limits that will assert themselves over the next few decades. These problems cannot be avoided, and they are complex because they affect so many aspects of our economic, social and material well-being today. For that reason they are innately political, and thus require the political parties of Britain to engage with these issues in order to map out a means of dealing with the crises these changes will generate.

APPGOPO presentation paper
click to download the paper

Following on from the publication of Energy Beyond Oil in 2005, and my continued work on the energy and economic implications of our ‘consumer lifestyle’ since then, in 2009 I was invited to give a presentation to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil (APPGOPO).

The premise of my paper?:

Britain is, in microcosm, an example of the transition the entire globe must make in order to adapt to the global peaks in energy and resource production over the course of this century. Just as we were the first to industrialise in the Eighteenth Century, and develop the systems of the modern urban industrial city in the Nineteenth Century, so we can lead the way in managing the inevitable decline of the growth economy and the transition to a less energetic, smaller-scale economic paradigm during the Twenty-First Century.

APPGOPO presentation slides
click image to download the slides

Promoting such a message may not, in terms of today's policy framework, be a realistic proposal for any leading politician. The fact that these truths are ultimately unavoidable, and will have to be addressed at some time in the near future, means that public opinion may be even more adverse when the energy problem spills over into the wider economy; it's therefore a matter of political judgement as to whether the lesser of two evils would be to have this troubling debate today, or to put it off until the resultant crisis requires far more unpleasant action.

In retrospect, the presentation was somewhat ‘radical’ for that audience; particularly as the thing I was talking about – resource crises leading to higher prices and inflationary pressures which could collapse the economy – was just beginning to bite at that point from the 2008 crash. This message, though, needed to be said; and whether they liked it or not, or whether it is politically acceptable to present it, or not, this will become the leading issue of the economic debate in Britain over the rest of this century.