Archive for April 16, 2008


If anybody listened to the Today programme this morning, at about 8.30 there was a discussion on rising oil prices, during which Roger King (Chief Executive of the Road Hauliers Association) said the following:

“The government should establish a benchmark, say $110 a barrel for fuel, and every time it rises above that, reduce the element of fuel duty to give the opportunity for a more stable transport cost within the UK.

We cannot go on like this. If the fuel price is going to rise ever higher, then there is going to be a very, very substantial problem for the whole of the UK and we need some kind of government intervention, I think now, because otherwise we are facing a real crisis.

Transport is at the bedrock of our modern civilisation… We have got to contain the rising costs of that element in our society, otherwise the consequences are going to be substantial. We cannot go on facing ever-increasing oil prices without somebody adopting a strategy to accommodate the worst impact of this, we cannot just leave it to the market.”

Now, I’m not an economist, so I don’t really feel qualified to comment on the suggestion of stopping taxing oil after a certain amount (aside from a gut reaction that we want people to drive less, not more, and to be less dependent on oil, so making it more affordable is only going to exacerbate the problem, or at the very least only ease it in the short term – but don’t take me as an authority on this, please!), but while I was listening to this, I wanted to jump up and down pointing at the huge elephant that had just lumbered into the room.

Okay, so it was refreshing to have such an honest, frank acknowledgement on the Today programme of just how much oil underpins our society and just how vulnerable we are when it gets more expensive: these are things we need to talk about very loudly. However, to quote Crude Awakening, “they aren’t making a whole lot more dinosaurs these days”.

Maybe our strategies for accommodating the worst impact of this could be something other than scrabbling around trying to prop up our oil-dependence with short-term fiscal measures…. Maybe? Anyone?


April 16, 2008 at 8:13 am 2 comments

Most recent ramblings

April 2008
« Mar   May »
The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."