Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for November 4th, 2007

Peak Oil

with 7 comments

Georgia Straight

Interesting contrast of views between Bill Rees of UBC and Mark Jaccard of SFU.

Last week at the NDP meeting someone was saying that the idea of “peak oil” had more resonance than “global warming” or “climate change”. I think that people are actually more worried now about the impacts of CO2 on our environment than our politicians want to acknowledge. After all, we seem to be doing very well out of the growing demand for our very expensive oil sands and our petro-dollar.

What is very significant is that the things we need to do, and our governments need to do, are pretty much the same as they have been for the last forty years. As our politics have shifted rightwards, governmnets have made all sorts of noises and set many targets, but have actually done very little.

I especially like this quote from Bill Rees

The automotive companies have enormous political clout because of the huge employment associated with them. And the fact they have continued to build totally market-stupid automobiles and are getting run out of the country is already panicking the politicians.

And really upsetting Buzz Hargrove come to that – faced with massive layoffs at Chrysler. But the Big Three have always preferred to persuade their customers to buy bigger, more expensive vehicles (“mini car mini profit” was a Ford maxim back in the sixties!). So I am afraid we can have no sympathy for the corporations, but hope those laid off can find new jobs in the booming service economy.

What was strange this week was the muted response to the Alberta government hiking oil royalties – something they should have done some time ago. The first step for both federal and provincial governments should be to start shifting from income and sales taxes into carbon taxes. They are awash with cash, so they can afford to experiment a bit, but sending the right signals is surely the obvious thing to do?

Written by Stephen Rees

November 4, 2007 at 4:58 pm