The End of Cheap Oil - The Consequences
Dan Box, Tully Wakeman and Jeremy Smith
1st October, 2005
Our lives are now so dependent on oil that it is impossible to conceive of a world without it. Before long, however, we will have no choice. The sooner we start planning for that reality, and changing the way we live, the better our chance of survival.
On September 9, 2000, a hastily assembled force of lorry drivers and farmers arrived at the gates of Shell’s Stanlow petrol refinery near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire and threw their vehicles across the road, blocking the entrance to the plant. Protestors, led by farmers from St Asaph in North Wales, climbed into the cab of a tanker that had crossed a pavement to bypass the blockade. Police had to break up the ensuing struggle, before clearing the road.
The farmers were furious at the high prices they were paying for fuel, driven up by increasing taxes they said were forcing many out of business. They took their cue from France where, on August 28, French fishermen blockaded ports and within days won a reduction on fuel costs. Sensing a similar opportunity, French lorry drivers and farmers began blocking the refineries to protest at a 75 per cent increase in the price of diesel after a rise in world oil prices. At first the country’s Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, stood firm, but soon concessions were on the table.
Inside Stanlow, 60 drivers were trapped, unable to leave the refinery. As a result, 1.8 million litres of fuel destined for hundreds of petrol stations around the country went...
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