Friday, July 11, 2008

Petrol report a wake-up call: environmentalists

ABC News Online, Posted Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:00pm AEST 

Updated Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:07pm AEST

Environmentalists say a CSIRO report predicting the price of petrol could rise to $8 a litre in 10 years should serve as a wake up call to the public and governments.

The Fuel for Thought report by the Future Fuels Forum outlines the worst case scenario if the demand for oil outstrips supply and the nation does not shift to alternative fuel supplies.

Monica Richter, from the Australian Conservation Foundation, says time is running out to address the issue.

"We have a big challenge ahead to de-carbonise our society and the sooner we start doing it the less it's going to cost us in the future," she said.

"We hope the report is a conversation starter for sane, long-term thinking for reducing our dependence on oil and dealing with the challenge of climate change."

Petroleum engineer Phil Hart from the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas believes it will not be long before the demand for oil will outstrip supply.

"Oil production has been essentially flat since 2005, and we have only another couple of years at this same sort of level of production before we start seeing oil production going into decline," he said.

The head of GM Holden has welcomed the report into the effects of rising oil prices, saying the industry is facing one of the most challenging market conditions in recent history.

Managing director Mark Reuss says the automotive industry needs to adapt to the changing global conditions.

"With the fuel prices, the government interest and industry interest at levels never seen before this is truly a transformational time for both Holden and auto industry to on leverage ourselves from fossil fuels," Mr Reuss said.

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