Mayor Gregor Robertson and Coun. Andrea Reimer are promising they will make Vancouver ready for peak oil.
“We have to address peak oil,” Robertson told the Georgia Straight at City Hall. “That’s a hard reality.”¦I think it could end up compounding the looming challenges we face with oil supply and an economy that’s totally dependent on cheap energy right now.”
Peak oil refers to the point at which the rate of global oil production maxes out, sending the supply of the resource into an inevitable decline.
In October, the U.K. Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security released a 43-page report entitled The Oil Crunch. The report anticipates peak-oil-related problems hitting the U.K. starting in 2011 and says the threat posed by peak oil is greater than that of terrorism.
Robertson and Reimer both say that lower oil prices don’t mean that action on peak oil should wait.
“Andrea Reimer is leading the charge on the ”˜greenest city’ initiatives, and I will speak with her about how we integrate a peak-oil strategy,” Robertson said. “Certainly it needs to be factored in. I think we underestimate this at our peril right now, and it needs to be factored in with the decisions we are making this term for sure.”
Reimer said she would like to see a task force created to address the issue.
“The thrust of it would be, what is the impact on citizens living in Vancouver of the phenomenon of peak oil?” Reimer told the Straight in a separate interview at City Hall. “What’s it going to impact the most?”
Regarding task-force members, she named as possible candidates UBC professor Bill Rees, Vancouver Peak Oil Executive founder Richard Balfour, and FarmFolk/CityFolk cofounder Herb Barbolet.
In November, Rees, originator of the ecological-footprint concept, said that Robertson’s interest in peak oil was “encouraging”.
“It’s one thing to recognize a problem, but it’s quite another to create policies that will address it effectively,” Rees told the Straight.
“Now, if they act [Vision Vancouver acts] assuredly, consistent with their beliefs here, they’ll probably be thrown out in the next round, because they will upset so much of the public,” Rees said. “That is, unless they explain it adequately. What politicians fail to do is educate the public on why certain policy directives are necessary. They fail to put in place the accompanying policy directives that will ease the pain of transition.”