Sir Peter Gluckman – what I sent…..

Below, in italics, is what I sent to Sir Peter Gluckman, chief science advisor to the Prime Minister. I also sent copies to John Key, Bill English, and Gerry Brownlee.

Dear Sir Peter, and associates,
I write to ask what, if any, research has been done into the timing and impact of peak energy flows.

Simple physics tells us that work requires energy, and that efficiencies can only produce diminishing returns.

It is also reasonable to assume that fossil fuels are (by definition) a finite resource, and that production must therefore peak.

I presume you also understand the exponential function, it’s inability to double ad-infinitum, and the associated acceleration-to-demise.

If the peak of energy supply means the peak of work do-able, at what point will growth in activity cease? Have you investigated this?

Given that we must be ready to replace fossil fuels with something more permanent, and that the transition must be completed before oil becomes essentially unobtainable, what timeframe is in place for that initiative?

My information is that ‘Light Sweet Crude’ supply peaked in 2005, that ‘All Liquids’ peaked in 2008, and that it will be mathematically impossible to revisit that peak, beyond 2010. (Sources and graphs on request) Is this your understanding?

If not, what are your sources?

If the (standard for Governments) IEA 2008 report is your basis, have you satisfied yourselves as to why ‘Slide 7’ appears hand-pixelled, and fails to transmit graphed undulations, as (for instance) the ‘Campbell 2004 Scenario’ graph does.

Do you understand the concept of EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested) and how do you anticipate this effecting the right-hand side of the Hubbert Curve?

Are you familiar with the Export Land Model, and it’s ability to impact supply to importing nations such as New Zealand?

My own understanding of the above two, is that while there may be one half of the resource remaining by volume, there is significantly less as measured by EROEI, a graph which diverges rapidly from demand projections.

Given that work done has/will peak(ed) with peak energy flows, have you advised the Prime Minister as to whether Economic Growth can be sustained beyond growth in the amount of physical work done?

Has any cross-discipline (Treasury presumably) investigation been done, into whether peak activity via peak energy will mean peak fiscal activity, and whether current fiscal systems can indeed survive beyond peak physical growth?

Thank you for your consideration

I have had acknowledging replies from English’s secrerary (temp2!) saying it had been forwarded to Brownlee. I have similar from Brownlees Sec, saying it was recieved, and forwarded to the Minister.

We wait. Did Gluckman know about EROEI? Can he explain it to Key? What will they say in their replies – if they actually reply?

Two choices – don’t reply, or reply with vague¬† obfuscatirial optimism.

The third choice is to acknowledge that the game is up, and that we have to do something entirely different – called sustainability last time I looked.

I wait with bated breath – but don’t hold yours……..


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