by Gareth Hughes
Today the UK Government released its draft Carbon Plan containing some 130 actions and targets to reduce emissions.
With petrol prices nearing record highs, UK Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, said Britain had no option but to speed up efforts to move away from oil. “Getting off the oil hook is made all the more urgent by the crisis in the Middle East. We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and secure energy from low-carbon sources.”
We’re facing the same pain at the pumps here, yet the focus on what to do about it in the media seems to limited to advising people to ‘pump up their tires, go easy on the brakes and close the windows’ which is simply a Band-Aid covering up our severe dependence on oil for transport.
New Zealand is one of very few countries with no modern strategy to deal with oil price shocks and last year turned down a Green Party request for an inquiry. Oil is the lifeblood or our economy and as research I released last week shows that every increase of $US1 in the price of a barrel of oil wipes out $40m to $60m of New Zealand’s annual gross domestic product, and destroys between $22m and $33m in household spending. We’re hooked on oil and in denial about it.
We have comprehensive plans for biosecurity, terrorism, and the Rugby World Cup and I believe it’s irresponsible for our Government not to develop a comprehensive oil price shock plan.