As well as taking action at the community level, I feel there is much constructive work to be done at local and national Government level. I began lobbying Manchester City Council in May 2009, and after just two visits to my local councillor's surgery I was given a place on the Council's Environmental Advisory Panel, through which I have been able to build up many links. My interactions with them are becoming increasingly meaningful and I am optimistic about persuading them to adopt a Peak Oil Resolution or to form a Peak Oil Task Force, as several other cities around the world have already done.
On the 27th October 2009 I went for the first time to a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group On Peak Oil And Gas (APPGOPO) at the House of Commons. I was curious to find out why so much UK policy making, seems to overlook the valuable information on Appgopo's website (www.appgopo.org.uk). The meeting consisted of an excellent presentation by Steve Sorrell (UKERC) of what has been described by retired CIA analyst Tom Whipple as "clearly the most sophisticated report (on world oil depletion) of any that has been done so far". The report had been released only that month, yet out of around 50 people in attendance, there was just one MP present, APPGOPO chairman John Hemming.
At the local government level, attention seems to be equally lacking. I have had to explain what peak oil is to most of the councillors I have met, and Nottingham and Bristol councils are about the only two cities in Britain who have officially acknowledged the issue.
This is at a time when warnings of the grave risk to the UK and world economy, posed by peak oil, are coming from oil companies, universities, banks, and companies such as Virgin Group, Stagecoach Group and Yahoo.
I have been lobbying for some months now, and trying to locate the political blockades preventing the spread of peak oil awareness and debate. Unlike some, I am convinced that:
1. Politicians genuinely unaware of peak oil can be made aware
2. Politicians aware of peak oil can be supported and encouraged to take meaningful action
3. Politicians obstructing the growing awareness of peak oil can be identified and challenged
4. Politicians are human beings
Whilst there are still enormous question marks over what the best alternative energy strategies will be (these may vary from county to county, city to city), what we can know for absolute certain is that peak oil is not receiving anything like the attention it deserves, and this lack of attention is an enormous obstacle to dealing with it. However, the urgency of the situation, the strength of the evidence, and the fact that Irish and Australian politicians are now openly speaking about, and forming policy around peak oil, mean that for those lobbying the UK authorities on this issue, the wind is firmly behind us.
Rather than training you to win future arguments, I hope this website will assist you simply in broadcasting the result of arguments that are now well and truly over. If they haven't already, global oil and gas production are going to peak, the UK is unprepared, and many of our leaders, especially at council level, are oblivious to the implications.
Through learning, raising awareness, and leading others to action, we can not only help to create a safer, saner and less oil and gas addicted world, but in the process we can meet fascinating people, develop skills, gain a birds-eye view of our deeply unique place in human history, and also "step up" to our now unprecedented ability to shape the rest of it.
- Joel Prittie, January 2010