For peak oil geeks, the Hirsch Report is a document of near-Biblical significance. It was written by Robert Hirsch at the behest of the Department of Energy, and published in 2005. (You can read a summary here [PDF].)

It’s disappointing, then, to hear what Hirsch personally recommends as a response to peak oil. Over at Transition Culture, Rob Hopkins reports on a talk by Hirsch at the (ongoing) International Peak Oil and Gas Conference in Pisa, Italy:

What he basically argued was that we need to plan for keeping all the US’s cars on the road, so how can we do that? By using the fuels that are technically feasible to bring onstream in time for the peak, such as coal to liquids and the tar sands, at a cost of $1 trillion per year, this could be done, so we need to get on with it.

I confess to being flabbergasted at the insanity of this proposal.

As Hopkins says, this is what you get when you take peak oil very seriously and global warming (or sustainable culture generally) not very seriously at all. I suspect Hirsch’s thinking is closer to the norm than the exception in the halls of power

Here are Hirsch’s PowerPoint slides. More details about the conference at Hopkins’ place, as well as here and here.