Economic development in the 20th century was fuelled by plentiful cheap energy. It has been clear for decades that the energy outlook for this century is totally different (Lowe 1977). There is disagreement about the peak of world oil production, with optimists thinking it might still be up to 10 years away, while pessimists think it has already passed (Deffreyes 2001). Whether optimists or pessimists are right) there is no escaping the conclusion that the age of plentiful cheap petroleum fuels is ending; the scientific basis for 'peak oil' was established more than 50 years ago (Hubbert 1956). So the energy source which now powers almost all our transport will certainly become more expensive. Depending on the politics of the Middle East, oil supplies may also be limited. The near-term future will require a new approach to transport. Public subsidies have encouraged road freight rather than rail and coastal shipping, while inept urban planning has encouraged single-person car use for city trips. These wasteful practices are squandering limited petroleum fuels.
Ten Commitments: reshaping the lucky country's environment