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'The End of Oil' October 11th Conference PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 July 2005

You can read a comprehensive report on the conference:

Audio files from the conference.  Many thanks to Wendy Bell for providing these.

If you have any reports or audio files from the conference that you would like to contribute please contact us.  If anyone is willing to transfer these into transcripts, that would be appreciated.

Powerpoint Presentations ( Click here for free PowerPoint viewer software )

  • You can view Chris Skrewbowski's presentation here 
  • You can view Tim Lang's presentation here.

Forum threads have been started for the four workshops:
  • Energy and climate change.  View the Powerpoint introduction and the Sustainable Energy Challenge (excel file)
  • FoodClick here to view the PowerPoint from this talk.
  • Transport.  View the notes on this by clicking here (word document).
  • Economy and Money.  View the conference notes by clicking here (word document).

On 11 October 2005, in London, a major conference looked at the peak oil problem and its impact on climate change, the world's food supply and the world economy. Speakers included Michael Meacher MP, Tim Lang and Andrew Simms (of NEF), and the chair was Dr Ian Gibson MP. The conference was being organised by East Anglia Food Link, CRed, Sustain and PowerSwitch.org.uk.

The world’s oil supply is running out.

Most analysts agree that once we pass the half-way point in the world’s oil reserves, production will begin to drop off as the remaining reserves are more difficult to extract. Some believe that point will come in the next 12 months, others think we have 10 years or more left. But either way, we need to prepare now by reducing our dependency on this finite resource.Oil and gas supply 85% of the energy used in the UK. By comparison, nuclear supplies 4% and renewables 1%. Can nuclear be expanded by a factor of 20, or renewables by a factor of 85? Will coal fill the gap, and at what cost to global warming? Do we have enough coal left to expand its use 12 times over?

We rely on energy to produce, process and transport food. As energy becomes more expensive, will our food system revert to local production and organic methods? Can the world continue to feed itself at all without cheap energy? What steps should we be taking right now to avert future hunger?

Does the end of cheap oil herald the end of globalisation? Is the notion of continual economic growth consistent with a shrinking energy supply? Some observers predict a recession of 1930s proportions, but lasting much longer. Others believe the economic system could be reinvented along sustainable lines.


This conference will aim to discuss the problems arising from a peak in oil production, and to begin to plan responses to ameliorate those problems.

It was aimed at policy-makers, business people, NGOs and individuals who use energy or eat food.

Speakers included
Michael Meacher MP  - Former Environment Minister
Chris Skrebowski - Editor, Petroleum Review
Tim Lang - Professor of Food Policy, City University
Andrew Simms - Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Richard Douthwaite - Author of “When the Wells Run Dry”
Keith Tovey - Reader in Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

The conference took place at The Insurance Hall, London EC2 from 09:30 to 4:00.

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