A big car park at the airport

April 1st, 2012 atam Posted in Earth, General, Peak oil | No Comments »

I’ve often wondered whether, apart from a handful of Transition Towners on Lantau and the green souls at Kadoorie Farm, anybody else in Hong Kong understands what peak oil is and how it will affect us.

Well, apparently there is at least one – and what an excellent letter he penned too, which appeared in today’s Sunday Post. Here’s what he said:

“The recent decision to proceed with the construction of a third runway at Hong Kong’s airport is a potentially splendid decision if it can be built quickly enough. When many of the world’s airlines have either gone bust or significantly downsized due to rising fuel prices, the third runway will make a superb park-and-ride car park for all the mainland drivers who wish to visit Hong Kong in their vehicles provided they can afford the fuel to run them.

“For those readers who think I’m simply being sardonic, I currently earn my living visiting remote and dreadful places in support of an organisation whose job it is to find oil and gas in such locations because there is no longer any easy low-hanging carbon energy fruit to be picked. It’s more difficult and dangerous to find and extract and the price is going to continue going up. I wish my day rate would do the same.

“In a recent Bloomberg article, referring to Emirates Airlines, the Dubai-based carrier’s president said he could think of a ‘load of airlines that are teetering on the brink or are really gone.’ He said if you moved forward to Christmas, ‘another eight or nine months, and we’re going to see this industry in serious trouble.’

“Politicians and businessmen lie about this matter because the morons they need for their survival (voters and customers) don’t want to hear the truth.

“Go ahead, build the car park.”

(Mark Ranson)

What’s even more interesting is that it was reported only yesterday that Obama has decided to play a high-stakes game to sideline Iran by restricting its ability to earn revenue through oil exports. He reckoned there was sufficient oil around to cope with the resulting shortfall – but only just. “In a statement, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said the administration acknowledged that the oil market had become increasingly tight, with output just besting demand,” the report said, which went on to say that “some energy experts question whether Saudi Arabia really has enough spare capacity to make up for the loss of Iran’s oil.”

Hong Kong’s government may be proud of its huge reserves now and happy to mute dissent by offering one-off sweeteners. Soon enough though we’ll be regretting the billions spent on infrastructure to serve an oil-based society, rather than having it invested in cushioning ourselves against the social and economic shock that rising oil prices will bring.

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