Monday, January 30, 2012

Mercury in New Brunswick

That levels of mercury are high and pervasive in New Brunswick and the northeastern US has long been known. A new report Mercury in Terrestrial Ecosystems of the Northeast from The Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham Maine underscores the issue. The report provides a good overview of the impact of mercury and related policy issues. The key finding is that mercury accumulation, previously considered a risk for aquatic ecosystems, is also found in many wildlife species living on the land. Unfortunately, the study is limited to 11 northeastern states, so there is little direct information about New Brunswick.

Their website, however, does have links referring back to the results of an earlier 2001-05 project focusing on mercury disposition in the aquatic systems of Northeastern North America. This project, which involved Environment Canada as a partner, provides information about NB.

One of the more interesting aspects of the new report is the information comparing the US sources of the emissions in 1990 with those in 2005. Emissions from medical and municipal waste incinerators have been reduced by over 95%, while emissions from coal fired electrical generating plants remain essentially unchanged.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stoneleigh: the Trust Horizon

Stoneleigh's concept of the Trust Horizon is among the most interesting sociological ideas for understanding the dynamics of the Transition Era, the period we are now in, a period of rapid and sometimes chaotic decentralization. The following is an excerpt from Stoneleigh's speech, Beyond the Trust Horizon, which is hosted on her The Automatic Earth blog.

Listen to James H. Kunstler's insightful discussion on the Trust Horizon on "KunstlerCast" with Duncan Crary.

[Note: the Trust Horizon is a very tangible reading of Joseph Tainter's collapse theory in The Collapse of Complex Societies.]


Beyond the Trust Horizon

Relationships of trust are the glue that holds societies together. Trust takes a long time to establish, and much less time to destroy, hence societies where trust is wide-spread, particularly for long periods of time, are relatively rare. In contrast, societies where trust does not extend beyond the family, or clan, level are very common in history.

The spread of trust is a characteristic of expansionary times, along with increasing inclusion, and a weakening of the 'Us vs Them' divide. Essentially, the trust horizon expands, both within and between societies. Over time it can encompass higher levels of organization - from family to community to municipality to region to nation and beyond - so long as the expansionary dynamic continues to support it.

Within societies this leads to relatively stable and (at least temporarily) effective institutions, and bolsters the development of the rule of law. The rule of law means that law constrains the powerful (more than usual), and there is a reasonable degree of legal transparency and predictability, so that people are prepared to trust in the fairness and accessibility of justice. Naturally, the ideal is never reached, human nature being what it is, but it can be approached under the most favourable of circumstances.

Within societies, trust also confers political legitimacy (ie a widespread buy-in as to the right of rulers to rule). Where there is legitimacy, there is relatively little need for surveillance and coercion. A high level of trust (all the way up to the level of national institutions) is thus a prerequisite for an open society.

Between societies, an expansion of the trust horizon tends to lead to political accretion. Larger and more disparate groups feel comfortable with closer ties and greater inter-dependence, and are prepared to leave past conflicts behind. The European Union, where 25 countries with a very long history of conflicts have come together, is a prime example.

However, all expansions have a limited lifespan, as do the benefits they confer. They sow the seeds of their own destruction, especially when they morph into a final manic phase and begin to hollow out the substance of social structures. Institutions, whether public or private, retain the same outward form, but cease to operate as they once did. For a while it is possible to maintain the illusion of business as usual (or effectiveness and accountability as usual), but not indefinitely. Everything is subject to receding horizons eventually, and trust is no exception.

Over time institutions become sclerotic, unresponsive, self-serving and hostage to vested interests, at which point they cannot be reformed, as the reform would have to come from those entrenched individuals who have benefited most from the status quo. Institutions become demonstrably less effective, while consuming more and more of society's resources. Corruption, abuses of power, lack of accountability and the loss of the rule of law become increasingly evident, exactly as we have seen with unauthorized wire-tapping, extra-ordinary rendition and many other actions undermining the open society. Once this happens, trust is living on borrowed time. That is very clearly the case in many developed societies today.

Trust in existing organizational structures does not disappear overnight, but ebbs away as institutions decay or the extent of their corruption is revealed. The loss of trust from higher levels of organization undermines the fabric of a society now operating beyond the trust horizon. When trust contracts, socioeconomic contraction is just around the corner. Bank runs are a particularly good example of this. People are currently waking up to the extent of the recklessness, irresponsibility and self-serving short-termism of the banking system, and realizing that reliance on top-down human promises is far riskier than they had supposed. When they cease to trust in those promises, they will are very likely to vote with their feet.

Societies in this position lose a critical pillar of support - the collective acceptance of their people. Governing institutions lose legitimacy, at which point the cost of governance increases significantly, because where there is no trust, resource-intensive surveillance and coercion develop instead. Our societies in the developed world, where institutional decay is well underway, stand on the brink of such a transition.

Where resources are scarce, as they will be soon enough, the diversion of a larger percentage of what remains towards this purpose will aggravate that scarcity considerably. This will further anger people, which is likely to lead to a downward spiral of mutual provocation and recrimination. Most of us have not seen this vicious circle of human sentiment to any great extent, but this is the natural consequence of the collapse of trust.

On the way down, as on the way up, there are effects both within and between societies, as the 'Us vs Them' dynamic sharpens once again. 'Us' becomes ever more tightly defined, and 'Them' becomes an ever more pejorative term. The result is division between disparate groups of people within a society, for instance the unionized and non-unionized, the haves and the have-nots, or different religious or ethnic groups. When there is a paucity of trust, and not enough resources to go meet highly inflated expectations, the risk of conflict is very high. Previously formed political accretions are at a high risk of coming unglued as they will no be longer supported by trust. The European Union should take note.

Between societies, where the existing range of divisive parameters is likely to be much larger, and where there may be a past history of conflict, the risk of conflict flaring up again rises significantly. This is especially likely if societies attempt to deflect blame for the situation they find themselves in towards other nationalities.

We are already seeing evidence of the growing anger, and the change it will usher in as the trust horizon shrinks. In the US, the Tea Party movement is the most obvious example. All major change comes from the ground-up, where the power of the collective is expressed in ways that either support or undermine the actions and intentions of central authorities. It is the interaction between the power of the collective and central authority that determines where a society will head.

The Tea Party movement is a ground-swell of public anger, very much in the tradition of major transformative grass-roots initiatives. It is exactly what one would expect to see at the brink of a collapse in the trust horizon - a movement grounded in negative emotion that both stems from a loss of trust and in turn acts to aggravate it in a self-reinforcing positive feedback loop. The danger with such a movement manifesting such powerful negative emotions is that it will precipitate a major over-reaction to the downside, commensurate with the irrational exuberance we saw to the upside. The anger is largely unfocused, and where it is specific, it is not fully-informed.

The primary target of the Tea Party is big government, but this ignores a major part of the big picture. The abuses of power we have seen are not purely a manifestation of metastatic public authority, but an expression of corporate fascism - the blending and merging of public and private interests in social control. One look at the revolving door between the banking system (where banking law is written) and the US treasury should be enough to demonstrate this.

The Tea Party movement represents largely (but not solely) the unfocused anger of people who know they have suffered, or are about to suffer, substantial losses, but do not (typically) understand the system well enough to understand why. The movement is casting about for someone to blame, as such movements always do on the verge of a trust collapse. The danger is that someone with facile populist answers will come along, offering a target for the urgent desire to blame someone for what has happened and is happening.

This is already happening, as powerful funding sources and nascent populists circle around and seek to tap into the trend for their own purposes. It is absolutely to be expected that existing top-down power structures, or political opportunists with their own agenda, will seek to hijack bottom-up movements as they develop. My primary concern is that in doing so they will lay the foundation for a society attempting to live far beyond the trust horizon, and where there is no trust, and consequently no political legitimacy, there will be surveillance, coercion and repression instead.

It will be easy for movements grounded in negative emotion to gain a foot-hold in the coming environment, as this is very much where the collective mood will lie in the aftermath of a Ponzi collapse. Blame-games will be very tempting (and populists have their own prejudicial ideas as to who should be blamed). However, this would not be compatible with maintaining the constructive and cooperative mindset we need if we are to have a hope of avoiding an over-reaction to the downside that has the potential to magnify the impact of what is coming enormously.

Personally, I would like to encourage the development of a different kind of grass-roots momentum for change, along the lines of what is being developed (albeit not nearly quickly enough so far) by the Transition Towns movement and other comparable initiatives. The key advantages that this kind of approach has are two-fold - the scope of its component activities, based on relocalization, match where the trust horizon is headed, and its driving force is the desire to build rather than to tear down.

Working within the trust horizon is important, as it means individual small-scale initiatives can benefit from the same kind of social support at a local level that larger-scale ones once did at a societal level, when trust was more broadly inclusive. Local currencies work for exactly this reason. While the task will still be difficult, it has a chance of being achievable, especially where the necessary relationships of trust have been established before hard times set in. It is very much more difficult to build such relationships after the fact, but relationships built beforehand may actually strengthen when put to the test.

Trying to maintain a positive and constructive focus at the local level, where trust has a chance to survive, and perhaps even thrive in hard times, and to avoid being drawn into a blame-game, will be an uphill battle. It is nevertheless something we need to do as a society, if we are to have a chance to preserve as much as possible of who we are through what is coming.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Systems: Economic and Ecological

Two items worth contemplating:
  1. Simon Johnson in The Libertarian and the Lobbyists explores the role of government regulation (or lack thereof) on the recent financial crash. Of particular interest is the discussion of the findings from two recent IMF reports by Prachi Mishra analyzing lobbying practices in the US.
    Legislators, of course, have different preferences about what kinds of laws to support, which can make it hard to study mechanisms of political influence precisely. But Igan and Mishra approach the problem in a clever way – they look for instances when elected officials switched their position on legislative proposals that surfaced more than once. And they devote a lot of effort to figuring out what caused this switch. ...
    A big increase in lobbying expenditures helps to persuade legislators to switch their votes. And “whether any of the lobbyists working on a bill also worked for a legislator in the past sways the stance on that bill in favor of deregulation.” It is deregulation, of course, that financial firms want – fewer rules and less oversight of any kind. And it really is all about whom you know, and how you know them. In particular, your value as a lobbyist seems to depend very highly on whom you worked with in the past. Igan and Mishra find “spending an extra dollar is almost twice as effective in switching a legislator’s position if the lobbyist is connected to the legislator compared to the case where the lobbyist is unconnected.” ...
    Essentially, financial firms have been buying the right to take on more risk. When things go well, executives in these firms get the upside – mostly in terms of immediate compensation, because few executives are compensated on the basis of risk-adjusted returns. That means that when the risks materialize and the firms suffer losses, the costs fall on taxpayers.
    Ron Paul is right to point to imbalances of power and massive distortions within the financial sector. He is also correct that many government policies favor relatively few big firms – and favor them in a way that encourages excessive and dangerous risk-taking.
    But Paul and others are wrong to argue that the government is the ultimate cause of all financial evil. Executives in financial firms want to take big risks. They like arrangements under which they win even when they lose.
    Big financial firms can more readily buy the necessary political protection (in the form of deregulation), enabling them to become even bigger and more dangerous. This incentive structure has only become more extreme since the financial crisis of 2008.
  2. Erle Ellis describes the findings of his most recent publication, All is Not Lost: Plant Biodiversity in the Anthropocene, as:
    the first spatially explicit global assessment of contemporary patterns of terrestrial plant biodiversity (native loss + exotic species gain) at regional landscape scales.The main result: humans have caused a net increase in plant species richness across two-thirds of the terrestrial biosphere, mostly by facilitating species invasions. In most regional landscapes, native species losses were significantly lower than exotic species gains, with agriculture species causing minor increases, but ornamental species sometimes play a large role that is still hard to assess.

    While I'm not convinced Ellis's focus on the shift from biomes to anthromes captures the most fundamental characteristics of the Anthropocene, the work is both provocative and, as a result of his heavy use of maps, visually interesting. A number of relevant links are contained in this post by Andrew Revkin.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Aussie Gov't '09 Report Predicts Peak Oil at 2017

A study of peak oil conducted by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) for the Australian Government was completed in 2009 and then buried. The study was leaked on Jan. 20, 2012 in an Australian newspaper. The study examines both conventional and non-conventional (deep water, shale and tar sands oil), combined with the effects of world GDP, fuel prices and demand.

BITRE Report 117: Transport energy futures: long-term oil supply trends and projections


In 2007 the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) commenced a project to look in a strategic way at possible alternative transport energy futures.

This was driven by a perceived need to address two key challenges to ‘business-as-usual’ for Australian and world transport: oil depletion and global warming.

To examine the oil depletion issue, it was necessary to assemble large amounts of data over long periods of time (centuries in a large number of cases). BITRE has had long experience with assembling lengthy datasets from multiple and sometimes conflicting data sources, and then analysing their dynamics. This is what has been done here, to examine the oil production prospects of over 40 countries/regions around the world, as a preliminary to delineating the scope of the oil depletion challenge.

Recognising that the issue of the timing of oil depletion is a highly controversial area, where information can be contested and where there is a range of views and
positions, comments are expressly invited on this report.

Future reports will examine 1) world oil demand/price relationships and 2) the kinds of responses to the twin challenges of oil depletion and global warming that may be possible in terms of alternative fuels and propulsion technologies.

This report has been compiled by Dr David Gargett.

Phil Potterton
Executive Director
Bureau of Infrastructure Transport, and Regional Economics
March 2009


This report would not have been possible without huge amounts of data published in graphical form by Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere.

In addition, production data from the Energy Information Administration of the US Department of Energy has been utilised extensively.

Many other authors have provided specific items of data and are listed in the Data Sources section at the end of the report.

At a glance

The trends in discovery of oil can be used to project similar trends in the subsequent production of oil. Using a method developed here, forecasts of future oil/liquids production for 40 countries/regions around the world have been produced.

The oil production prospects of different countries and regions vary immensely. However, on balance, when an aggregation is done across the globe, it is predicted that world production of conventional oil is currently just past its highest point (conventional oil is oil pumped from wells on land or in water less than 500 metres deep). A predicted shallow decline in the short run should give way to a steeper decline after 2016.

However, deep water and non-conventional oil production are growing strongly, turning a slight decline into a plateau for total crude oil (non-conventional oil is heavy and viscose or indeed tar-like oil). Given the growth in deep and non-conventional balancing the shallow decline in conventional production, it is predicted that we have entered about 2006 onto a slightly upward slanting plateau in potential oil production that will last only to about 2016—eight years from now (2008). For the next eight years it is likely that world crude oil production will plateau in the face of continuing economic growth. After that, the modelling is forecasting what can be termed ‘the 2017 drop-off’. The outlook under a base case scenario is for a long decline in oil production to begin in 2017, which will stretch to the end of the century and beyond. Projected increases in deep water and non-conventional oil, which are ‘rate-constrained’ in ways that conventional oil is not, will not change this pattern.

Importantly, these forecasts assume that world oil production is not constrained in the near term by reduced demand arising from lower world economic growth. Depending on the length of time before a return to more normal levels of world economic growth and resulting higher demand for oil, the dropoff is likely to be delayed.

The outlook is not really changed much if a scenario of increased Middle East oil production is played out. The result of that scenario is that oil production continues its growth for longer and then falls far more precipitously. Arguably, this could be a worse scenario, as far as the world being able to cope comfortably with the transition. The possible effect of higher prices in bringing forward production would have a similar effect. Higher prices might also stimulate exploration but are no guarantee of significant further discovery.

Thus at some point beyond 2017 we must begin to cope with the longer-term task of replacing oil as a source of energy. Given the inertias inherent in energy systems and vehicle fleets, the transition will be necessarily challenging to most economies around the world.

Coping with the supply reductions will be compounded by the fact that shrinking oil supply will interact with measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to address climate change. While there are opportunities for joint solutions, there will also be conflicting demands. For example, two of the more obvious sources of alternative motive energy are coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids. Both of these would involve increased emissions.

[The complete Energy Bulletin summary is at the link.]

[The complete report is available online as a 474-page PDF.]

© Commonwealth of Australia, 2009
ISSN 1440-9569
ISBN 978–1–921260–31–5
March 2009/INFRASTRUCTURE 08294

This publication is available in hard copy or PDF format from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics website at — if you require part or all of this publication in a different format, please contact BITRE.

An appropriate citation for this report is:
Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), 2009, Transport energy futures: long-term oil supply trends and projections, Report 117, Canberra ACT.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Climate Change and Extinctions

Biologists have long argued that the current rate of species loss rivals the five great mass extinctions of the geological past. As long ago as 1993, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimated that Earth is currently losing something on the order of 30,000 species per year, or three species per hour. Some biologists have begun to feel that this biodiversity crisis — this “Sixth Extinction” — is even more severe, and more imminent, than Wilson had supposed. Significantly, where past extinction events were the result of physical processes, the current uptick is largely a product of human actions: transformation of the landscape and resultant habitat destruction, overexploitation of species, pollution, and the introduction of alien species. An article in the current issue of Nature argues that climate change may significantly increase the rate of species extinction through processes that have not previously been considered. Here's how Nature describes the article
More species may become extinct as a result of climate change than previously thought, a modelling study suggests. As the climate warms, many species are predicted to shift their ranges to stay within comfortable temperature zones. However, some species will be better able to do so than others. Mark Urban at the University of Connecticut in Storrs and his colleagues have created a model that takes into account the competition that species face for habitats when they move to new ecosystems. They modelled the effect of 4 °C of warming over 100 years on 40 simulated species, and found a much higher number of extinctions than did models that do not account for species competition and species' differing dispersal abilities. Even species with broad heat tolerances might be outcompeted — either by the arrival of newcomers in their current habitats or by native species in ecosystems that become habitable to them in future.
More technical details are provided in the abstract below:
Most climate change predictions omit species interactions and interspecific variation in dispersal. Here, we develop a model of multiple competing species along a warming climatic gradient that includes temperature-dependent competition, differences in niche breadth and interspecific differences in dispersal ability. Competition and dispersal differences decreased diversity and produced so-called ‘no-analogue’ communities, defined as a novel combination of species that does not currently co-occur. Climate change altered community richness the most when species had narrow niches, when mean community-wide dispersal rates were low and when species differed in dispersal abilities. With high interspecific dispersal variance, the best dispersers tracked climate change, out-competed slower dispersers and caused their extinction. Overall, competition slowed the advance of colonists into newly suitable habitats, creating lags in climate tracking. We predict that climate change will most threaten communities of species that have narrow niches (e.g. tropics), vary in dispersal (most communities) and compete strongly. Current forecasts probably underestimate climate change impacts on biodiversity by neglecting competition and dispersal differences.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Design in Nature

I recently came across a reference to the forthcoming book by Adrian Bejan and J. Peder Zane Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization. Here is the publisher's blurb:
In this groundbreaking book, Adrian Bejan takes the recurring patterns in nature—trees, tributaries, air passages, neural networks, and lightning bolts—and reveals how a single principle of physics, the Constructal Law, accounts for the evolution of these and all other designs in our world.

Everything—from biological life to inanimate systems—generates shape and structure and evolves in a sequence of ever-improving designs in order to facilitate flow. River basins, cardiovascular systems, and bolts of lightning are very efficient flow systems to move a current—of water, blood, or electricity. Likewise, the more complex architecture of animals evolve to cover greater distance per unit of useful energy, or increase their flow across the land. Such designs also appear in human organizations, like the hierarchical "flowcharts" or reporting structures in corporations and political bodies.

All are governed by the same principle, known as the Constructal Law, and configure and reconfigure themselves over time to flow more efficiently. Written in an easy style that achieves clarity without sacrificing complexity, Design in Nature is a paradigm-shifting book that will fundamentally transform our understanding of the world around us.
There are lots of similarities between Bejan's ideas and Geoffrey West's work on scaling laws. At its heart, as argued here, Bejan wants to replace explanations of form based on processes of growth with an explanation that emphasizes flow.His website has an interesting set of resources and his TedX talk is below.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Study of Migration and Climate Change

from the Energy Bulletin:

Climate Change, Migration and Conflict: Addressing Complex Crisis Scenarios in the 21st Century

by Michael Wertz and Laura Conley


Migration adds another layer of complexity to the scenario. In the 21st century the world could see substantial numbers of climate migrants—people displaced by either the slow or sudden onset of the effects of climate change. The United Nations’ recent Human Development Report stated that, worldwide, there are already an estimated 700 million internal migrants—those leaving their homes within their own countries—a number that includes people whose migration is related to climate change and environmental factors. Overall migration across national borders is already at approximately 214 million people worldwide, with estimates of up to 20 million displaced in 2008 alone because of a rising sea level, desertification, and flooding.

One expert, Oli Brown of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, predicts a tenfold increase in the current number of internally displaced persons and international refugees by 2050. It is important to acknowledge that there is no consensus on this estimate. In fact there is major disagreement among experts about how to identify climate as a causal factor in internal and international migration.

But even though the root causes of human mobility are not always easy to decipher, the policy challenges posed by that movement are real. A 2009 report by the International Organization for Migration produced in cooperation with the United Nations University and the Climate Change, Environment and Migration Alliance cites numbers that range from “200 million to 1 billion migrants from climate change alone, by 2050,” arguing that “environmental drivers of migration are often coupled with economic, social ad developmental factors that can accelerate and to a certain extent mask the impact of climate change.”

The report also notes that “migration can result from different environmental factors, among them gradual environmental degradation (including desertification, soil and coastal erosion) and natural disasters (such as earthquakes, floods or tropical storms).” (See box on page 15 of the report for a more detailed definition of climate migrants.) Clearly, then, climate change is expected to aggravate many existing migratory pressures around the world. Indeed associated extreme weather events resulting in drought, floods, and disease are projected to increase the number of sudden humanitarian crises and disasters in areas least able to cope, such as those already mired in poverty or prone to conflict.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

UK Leading Planning Group Plans for Peak Oil

from the Energy Bulletin:Review of RTPI’s Discussion Paper, Peak Oil: The Implications for Planning Policy
by Rick Munroe

[The study focuses primarily on spatial planning, transportation and food security.]

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) describes itself as “the UK’s leading planning body….” It recently released a 59-page discussion paper on Peak Oil, partly in preparation for a forum on this issue which is scheduled for January 17th in London.

RTPI describes the purpose of its study as follows:
This discussion paper sets out the findings of a study undertaken into the issue of Peak oil and the implications for spatial planning. It aims to promote discussion, raise awareness among transport and spatial planners of the issues around peak oil and suggest an agenda for action by professionals. It is intended as an introduction and primer to the issue; further work will be necessary… to ensure that the concept is properly taken into account in future planning (p. 1).

This study is a compilation of three discrete activities.

1. Literature review.
The RTPI team examined several first-rate sources: the pioneering work of Hubbert, as well as more recent work by Hirsch, Energy Watch Group, the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) and the IEA’s landmark 2008 World Energy Outlook. The writing team relied on these sources for credible, balanced reference material.

2. Critical evaluation of present spatial and transport planning (including “discussion of the shortcomings of present approaches in this respect”).
The authors examined existing UK government documents and were struck by the absence of attention to Peak Oil. With respect to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the authors found, “Reviews of the literature undertaken for this study revealed no apparent published information or consideration explicitly by DECC concerning Peak Oil, with the exception of the acknowledgement that a key challenge facing DECC is to ensure energy supplies after North Sea oil and gas production has peaked” (p. 15).

With respect to the UK government’s 2007 Energy White Paper, the authors note, “Indeed, the term Peak Oil does not even appear in the White Paper” (p. 15).

Within the planning community, the RTPI team points out, “Peak Oil is not well recognized in spatial planning although some direct effects of Peak Oil will be experienced in the UK within time horizon of national and local plans” (p. 16).

With respect to UK transport planning, the authors note that the new White Paper “remains resolutely silent on the issue of Peak Oil…” (p. 18).

The RTPI team also notes the ongoing inattention to food security: “The area that is almost completely ignored in development plans is that of food security” (p. 18).

With respect to UK policy development in general, the RTPI team concludes, “there are few examples of the Peak Oil concept being explicitly considered in policy development” (p. 20).

Given the relative absence of proactive work within the UK on Peak Oil, the authors “would welcome contributions from readers indicating other examples which could inform the development of policies in the UK in this respect” (p. 21).

3. Recommendations for planners
The RTPI report offers its own recommendations in addition to directing readers to progressive initiatives which have been undertaken by other agencies (eg. Transition Towns, Zero Carbon Britain, Low Carbon Communities Network, etc).

The focus of their recommendations is primarily the transport sector and is summarized in this pointed observation: “Given that Peak Oil will happen at some point, albeit with uncertain timing, and the possible profound and severe impacts that it could engender, integrating Peak Oil mitigation into transport policy is imperative” (p. 42).

Continues at Energy Bulletin.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

the complete RTPI discussion paper is found here.