Radio New Zealand The Panel – truth or opinion, Mora?

Somewhere just before 4.30 this afternoon, jammed in after a burst of Chch regurgitation, came a little piece about fuel prices.

i think the fellow was the media front for NZOG, Chris Roberts.

If Mora had listened, Roberts gave a couple of very good, very thoughtful pieces of information. But Mora wasn’t listening. He had a preconceived outcome in his head, as the final remarks clearly indicated. 

I expect unbiased truth-seeking from a public radio service, if I want opinions based on (what I presume is) an insecure middle-class need to believe that things will continue, just because it would be inconvenient if they don’t, I’d go elsewhere. Macdonald did much better. He at least knew enough to discuss Saudi spare production.

Roberts said two things – that oil won’t be going back down past $100/barrel anytime soon, due to supply and demand. He also pointed out that the tar-sands (Mora called it ‘Canadian Oil’) have a pretty low EROEI, although he made the point in lay terms. He also – rightly – made the point that at $100/ barrel, sources so-far not viable would be looked at.

Mora failed to ask the obvious journalistic question: “Will it be enough to replace existing supplies?” The answer is no, by a widening margin – and Roberts knows that too. Then, at the end, Mora made it quite clear he thought ‘speculation’ (or he might have used the word ‘investment’ – I think not,and ain’t gonna check, me being on a land-line) was behind it all – something Macdonald did nothing to quash.

It is fair to question the comments that come from an outfit standing to ‘profit’ from increased oil prices. I thought long and hard about Matt Simmons, after reading Twilight in the Desert. There went an investment banker specialising in energy. Add to that the ratio of padding to substance in the book…… It’s only by doing a lot of first-principle thinking, that you can sort the wheat from the chaff.

To avoid  that, Mora could have invited an independent expert – my pick would the Prof Bob Lloyd, Energy Studies, Otago University Physics Dept. Mora used him once before – but on a safe topic. Maybe the truth would have out, and maybe that wasn’t the objective. Which is where I started out.

Here’s the graph that puts Mora’s “they always find more, and not always in deep water” in proper perspective:

Discoveries peaked in 1965, a very long time ago. To speak of “spikes” and “always” implies that both items – Discoveries and production – are somehow a flat-line continuum.

Now if you were to put money on that graph, I wouldn’t call it speculation. That’s such a long, solid, noiseless, global trend,  that I’d call it a dead cert.

There’s a fine line between media socially altering understandings (Drew Pearson /Washington Merry-go-Round comes to mind) attitudes, and the straight-out obfuscation of an inconvenient reality. In my book – and not for the first time (think climate change) Mora crossed it.


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