Oil crashes above $71 per barrel: will politicians wake up to peak oil?

Today (June 10), oil prices rose above US$71 per barrel. That's more than double the annual low of US$33.87 last winter.

Petroleum prices  often rise in the summer, but the pace of the recent uptick has the potential to slow an economic recovery. It's not good news for the B.C. tourism and film industries. That's because higher oil prices inevitably push up the value of our dollar because Canada has become a petrostate, thanks to the oilsands.

When oil shot up to US$147 per barrel last year, it had a devastating impact on international trade.

This afternoon, the new B.C. Liberal cabinet will be sworn in. The B.C. Liberal ideology has been centred on turning Vancouver into a "gateway" for trade from Asia. This has resulted in massive public investments in infrastructure projects, including a $1.4-billion expansion to Vancouver International Airport.

The province has also suggested that there will be a  shortage of industrial land for port operations.

But what if this ideology misses the mark in the same way that Marxist ideology missed the mark for the former Soviet bloc?

What if oil prices keep rising, and we end up with far more regional trade and far less trans-Pacific trade? Will B.C. have foolishly bet the farm on converting agricultural land into roadspace to ship containers from Asia?

Will Port Metro Vancouver have foolishly secured agricultural land to store containers from Asia when, in fact, there won't be so many containers coming from Asia in the future?

These are important public-policy questions. We'll have more on this topic in the print edition of the Georgia Straight, which will be distributed across Metro Vancouver on Thursday (June 11).

Comments

We're now using Facebook for comments.

3 Comments

seth

Jun 10, 2009 at 11:37am

Peak oil NOT!!.

This is the newly refinanced banks taking a flyer with public funds on the unregulated commodity market.

When it hit $147 a barrel, JPMorgan Bank owned 40% of the worlds oil production. The crooks at these banks couldn't meet their margin calls and down it all went. Got blamed on some black people buying more of a house than they could afford.

Now refinanced with public money they are at it again.
seth

Evil Eye

Jun 10, 2009 at 11:41am

Campbell doesn't care about Peak Oil, it's just not on his radar screen. Why, if he did, he would have to disappoint his buddies on the Road Builder's Association, by canceling Gateway.

Oh yes, he would also embarrass his Minister of Transportation (Falco) that all his statements about Gateway are wrong.

Then BC Ferries will have to mothball those big gas guzzling German (Deutch Zitrones) ferries because they are far too expensive to operate.

That $ billion $ dollar Sea to Sky highways will also look a tad overbuilt, as well as that $$ billion $$ convention centre that very few will travel to use.

His pet RAV P-3 will look silly because it will be cheaper to build LRT from Vancouver to Steveston (via the Arbutus Corridor), than to extend RAV!

Oh yes Campbell will just want to forget about Peak Oil.

Vancouver Resident

Jun 10, 2009 at 1:09pm

We are milking this peak oil story way too much. Even if there is a peak in oil production now or soon, the world is already starting to shift to electric cars.

We'll be building power plants to power the electric cars and to lessen the demand for oil. I'm an engineer and can already see it coming at work. Quit panicking over peak oil and give it a rest.

If you are truly looking for something interesting to write about, start writing about how TransLink has essentially converted most hydro-electric trolley bus routes into diesel bus routes with noxious diesel buses on the UBC trolley bus routes and soon to be noxious diesel buses on the trolley bus route to SFU while the City of Vancouver dithers over smacking TransLink to ban diesel buses on trolley bus routes.