under the linoleum
tale for our times
years of bombing the Arabs
all over again
tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
loiter near the exit
Rain, glorious rain! Oil-slicked water coursed down Werrong Lane, piling plastic bags and bottles up on the drain grates. There wasnt much work in the PI game, but thanks to a fat cheque from Simone Warne I didnt really need it anyway, so I hunkered down in the Brushtail Café brooding over a cider and the weeks newspapers.
It was pouring in Sydney, and the North Coast and even west of the mountains, but still Warragamba Dam wasnt filling up. It just wasnt raining where Sydney really needed it.
It was an object lesson in resource constraints. If rain wont fall on the catchment, you wont get any water in the dam and youre going to have to figure out Plan B, pronto.
It reminded me of that other huge, unthinkable problem; the one thats behind the inexorable rise in the price of petrol. Its so big, scary and imminent that nobody in the mainstream media or the government will mention it, even though its sitting there like a big steaming turd on the political table.
I was contemplating this metaphor when Bruce and Tarkis from the advertising agency ambled into the café, dripping water on the floor.
Geez, didja see the price of petrol down at the servo. You reckon this is the Peak Oil thing? Bruce asked me.
Yeah, Itll be worse by Christmas, I said. Just look at these dumb evasions in the Sydney Morning Herald. On Saturday 25 June the front page headline reads Crude shock get ready for $1.20 a litre and PM admits he is powerless to act, but if you searched the entire story you couldnt find the words Peak Oil anywhere.
riffled through a few more papers. And look, it got sillier a
couple of days later, when Matt Wade wrote a story headlined Steep
petrol prices locked in for years. So why is it rising? Once again
Peak Oil doesnt figure. Lingering concerns about the worlds
oil refining capacity and perceived threats to supplies from oil-rich
Nigeria, is Matts guess. Silly Kim Beazleys calling
for more tax cuts so the punters can afford to keep guzzling gas. And
talk about the bleeding obvious Qantas Boss Geoff Dixon says
he isnt confident oil prices will fall dramatically in the next
two or three years.
Tarkis plonked three ciders down on the table. Is that the best Sydneys newspaper of record can do? Talk about studious avoidance of the facts! The price of crude suddenly hits $60 a barrel in the middle of the northern summer and they put it down to lingering concerns about refining capacity? What do they think will happen during the northern winter, when demand really shoots up?
Absolutely. This isnt about refining, its about supplies of crude oil. Its about the fact that the world has already used up just about half of all the extractable oil in the ground. Within five years at the outside, supplies will start going south by at least two per cent every year, and demand just keeps going north.
took a swig on my cider. Although they wont admit it, every
government in the world that isnt headed by total morons suspects
thats true. The Chinese are watching the Americans who are eying
the Europeans, and theyre all deciding theyd better move
fast and bid highest to corner whatever source they can cos they
know its going to get harder and harder to get at whatever
price. This isnt going to be a nice thing to watch. Markets wont
sort it out. The Iraq war is just the start.
reckon about these hybrid cars, like the Prius are they the answer?
Tarkis asked. They only use half the fuel.
not running out of oil