Jon Sumby

THESE six reports have not been written by what John Howard and other fascists call ‘cafe latte greenies’ or ‘Chardonnay socialists’, or even ‘lentil-munching hippies’. They are the considered assessments by a Lord of the Realm, a Knight of the Realm, a US Presidential Appointee, and internationally respected scientific thinkers. People straight from the mainstream of society.
Hirsch Report on Peak Oil for the US Dept of Energy (2005):
‘The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past “energy crisis” experience will provide relatively little guidance. The challenge of oil peaking deserves immediate, serious attention, if risks are to be fully understood and mitigation begun on a timely basis… Peaking will result in dramatically higher oil prices, which will cause protracted economic hardship in the United States and the world. However, the problems are not insoluble. Timely, aggressive mitigation initiatives addressing both the supply and the demand sides of the issue will be required… In the developed nations, the problems will be especially serious. In the developing nations peaking problems have the potential to be much worse… Mitigation will require a minimum of a decade of intense, expensive effort, because the scale of liquid fuels mitigation is inherently extremely large… World oil peaking represents a problem like none other. The political, economic, and social stakes are enormous. Prudent risk management demands urgent attention and early action.’ (n.b. The Hirsch Report places Peak Oil as happening in 2016 or at the latest, 2027.)


[Dr. Robert L. Hirsch is a Senior Energy Program Advisor at SAIC. His past positions include: Senior Energy Analyst at RAND;
Vice President and Manager of Research, ARCO Oil and Gas Company;
General Manager, Exploratory Research, EXXON;
Assistant Administrator for Solar, Geothermal, and Advanced Energy Systems (a Presidential Appointment);
During the 1970s, he ran the US fusion energy program, including initiation of the Tokamak fusion test reactor.]

Woodside Petroleum Report to ABARE (2002):
‘Projections by Australian Government forecasting agencies indicate that Australia is facing a rapid decline in liquid petroleum production over the next decade. Liquids self-sufficiency is expected to decline from an average of 80-90% over the past decade to less than 40% by 2010… The economic implications for Australia are significant including a rapid deterioration in Australia’s trade deficit on liquid hydrocarbons (from a surplus of $1.2 billion in 2000/01 to a projected deficit of $7.6 billion by 2009/10)… Declining production over the next decade appears inevitable. However, options to reduce the longer-term decline are available. These will take time to implement so urgent action is required.’


[Woodside is Australia’s largest publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production company, with a market capitalisation of more than A$26 billion (US$19 billion). The report author, John Akehurst, was the managing directory of Woodside Energy in 2002]

Worm, B., et al. (2006) Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services. Science 314:5800 p. 787.

‘For our own sake and for the sake of fishing communities, for the whole culture that’s involved with this, we need to conserve these extremely valuable resources and do that soon and we know how to do that,’ he said.

In an analysis of scientific data going back to the 1960s and historical records over 1,000 years, the researchers found that marine biodiversity – the variety of ocean fish, shellfish, birds, plants and micro-organisms – has declined dramatically, with 29 per cent of species already in collapse.

Extending this pattern into the future, the scientists calculated that by 2048 all species would be in collapse, which the researchers defined as having catches decline 90 per cent from the maximum catch. This applies to all species, from mussels and clams to tuna and swordfish, said Dr Worm, lead author of the study. Ocean mammals, including seals, killer whales and dolphins, are also affected.

“Whether we looked at tide pools or studies over the entire world’s ocean, we saw the same picture emerging,’ he said in a statement. “In losing species we lose the productivity and stability of entire ecosystems. I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are – beyond anything we suspected.”

“When ocean species collapse, it makes the ocean itself weaker and less able to recover from shocks like global climate change”, he said. The decline in marine biodiversity is largely due to over-fishing and destruction of habitat he said in a telephone interview from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.’ – From:

[Boris Worm, along with Daniel Pauly, is considered one of the World’s most knowledgeable and expert marine scientists in the field of global ecological systems; specialising in global ocean ecology.]

IMPORTANT another critical factor here:

Living Planet Report by WWF:
‘Current global consumption levels could result in a large-scale ecosystem collapse by the middle of the century, environmental group WWF has warned. The group’s biannual “Living Planet Report” said the natural world was being degraded “at a rate unprecedented in human history”.

Terrestrial species had declined by 31% between 1970-2003, the findings showed.

It warned that if demand continued at the current rate, two planets would be needed to meet global demand by 2050. The biodiversity loss was a result of resources being consumed faster than the planet could replace them, the authors said. They added that if the world’s population shared the UK’s lifestyle, three planets would be needed to support their needs. The nations that were shown to have the largest “ecological footprints” were the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Finland.

Paul King, WWF director of campaigns, said the world was running up a “serious ecological debt”. “It is time to make some vital choices to enable people to enjoy a one planet lifestyle”, he said.

The Living Planet Report:

Lord May – The Sixth Great Extinction (2001):

‘HILO, HAWAII – Among the scientists gathered here in August at the annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, the despair was almost palpable. “I’m just glad I’m retiring soon and won’t be around to see everything disappear,” said P. Dee Boersma, former president of the society, during the opening night’s dinner. Other veteran field biologists around the table murmured in sullen agreement.

At the next morning’s keynote address, Robert M. May, a University of Oxford zoologist who presides over the Royal Society and until last year served as chief scientific adviser to the British government, did his best to disabuse any remaining optimists of their rosy outlook. According to his latest rough estimate, the extinction rate – the pace at which species vanish – accelerated during the past 100 years to roughly 1,000 times what it was before humans showed up. Various lines of argument, he explained, “suggest a speeding up by a further factor of 10 over the next century or so…. And that puts us squarely on the breaking edge of the sixth great wave of extinction in the history of life on Earth.”’


[Lord (Robert) May earned his doctorate in Physics at the University of Sydney before switching disciplines to population and mathematical biology. Lord May has accumulated a solid record of noteworthy accomplishments in the field of mathematical biology.

One of Lord May’s major contributions was to be the first to build a model that includes environmental stochasticity and spatial heterogeneity in studies of population dynamics, and thereby contributing to our ability to formulate environmental policies. He also drew attention to these characteristic changes in populations for the purposes of managing ecosystems.

For example, in collaboration with others he has explored the ways fishing affects the multispecies ecosystems of the fishing grounds. “Exploitation of Marine Communities” reports the results of this work. Since 1995, he has been Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Government and Head of the Office of Science and Technology. In 2000, he was appointed President of the Royal Society of London, a position with a rich tradition (dating back to Newton) and one of the most esteemed in the world of science.]

Stern Report on Climate Change for the UK Government:
‘The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response. This Review has assessed a wide range of evidence on the impacts of climate change and on the economic costs, and has used a number of different techniques to assess costs and risks. From all of these perspectives, the evidence gathered by the Review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting.

Climate change will affect the basic elements of life for people around the world – access to water, food production, health, and the environment. Hundreds of millions of people could suffer hunger, water shortages and coastal flooding as the world warms… Even at more moderate levels of warming, all the evidence – from detailed studies of regional and sectoral impacts of changing weather patterns through to economic models of the global effects – shows that climate change will have serious impacts on world output, on human life and on the environment. All countries will be affected. The most vulnerable – the poorest countries and populations – will suffer earliest and most, even though they have contributed least to the causes of climate change.

The costs of extreme weather, including floods, droughts and storms, are already rising, including for rich countries. Adaptation to climate change – that is, taking steps to build resilience and minimise
costs – is essential. It is no longer possible to prevent the climate change that will take place over the next two to three decades, but it is still possible to protect our societies and economies from its impacts to some extent…

Ultimately, stabilisation – at whatever level – requires that annual emissions be brought down to more than 80% below current levels.’

Download all or part of this report at:

[Sir Nicolas Stern was the Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank from 2000 to 2003. Then, in 2003, he became second permanent secretary at H.M. Treasury, initially with responsibility for public finances, and also head of the Government Economic Service. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1993 and is also an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004 he was made a Knight Bachelor.]