Hochstetter Supporting Lecture - "Mission control, we have a problem: New Zealand and fossil fuel use"
Presenter/Speaker: Dr Mike Isaac, GNS Science, Wellington.
Date: Thursday 2 August 2012 - Thursday 02 August 2012
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
New Zealand relies on fossil fuels for transport and the industrial commodities which support our way of life. For electricity generation we are fortunate - a small population, abundant wind and rain, suitable topography and a bonus of geothermal steam ensures only a minor part of our electricity comes from gas and coal.
Even if anthropogenic climate change from CO2 emissions were unproven, the precautionary principle should ensure we do our best to reduce emissions because the consequences are potentially severe. My argument is not about climate change - it is about unwillingness or inability to stop or severely limit the use of fossil fuels.
Peak Oil has passed and we are in the age of Hard Oil. Profit-seeking companies drill in difficult, deep water environments because easy oil can no longer supply the world demand. We - you and me - create that demand. New Zealand exports crude oil but we import far more. We buy it on a world market increasingly supplied from deep water oil wells. Is it ethically acceptable to import oil yet ban drilling in our own territory? Where's the moral high ground in chaining yourself to a drill ship if your lifestyle involves international air travel and cars?