Here is the article from the Sun newspaper
'Peak oil' crisis, and drastic change, coming our way
Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, April 11, 2008
In the 1990s the Vancouver Board of Trade's debt clock travelled the nation, delivering a doom and gloom message about Canada's $583-billion debtload.
The public's consciousness was raised, allowing politicians to impose change through hardship. Today, the debt is under control and attention has shifted to climate change.
In the U.S., Al Gore just launched a $300-million ad blitz to increase awareness about climate change, aiming to have his fellow citizens cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by 90 per cent by 2050.
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Something similar needs to happen on the so-called "peak oil" front because the world is running out of cheap oil.
So far, that something is not happening. Not here. Not in the U.S., which consumes 25 per cent of the world's oil. In the presidential campaign, none of the candidates is discussing policies to wean Americans off oil. But then, as one-time PM Kim Campbell said in 1993, elections are no time for serious issues.
Even as most politicians remain mum on the coming petroleum challenge, signs at Vancouver gas pumps advertise the crisis with a posted price of $1.25/litre.
Peak oil -- the point at which global demand for oil begins outstripping supply -- generally is targeted to occur some time between now and 2020.
The end of cheap oil is confronting society just as it's grappling with climate change which will make adaptation more daunting. After all, if climate change weren't a problem, we could turn to coal -- not an option when greenhouse-gas cuts have been mandated by an international protocol.
And so, "the age of the 3,000-mile Caesar salad is coming to an end," declares New York author James Kunstler in The End of Suburbia, Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream, a documentary film produced in 2004 and being shown tonight in Vancouver.
Transport is fuelled 95 per cent by oil. And it's not just California lettuce that may not be viable. The North American way of life is on the chopping block. The film really strikes a chord when you contemplate that when it was produced gasoline sold for 89.9 cents/litre. The price has gone up nearly 30 per cent.
Kunstler observes that "America took all its postwar wealth and invested in a living arrangement that has no future." Canada did the same. Per capita, we consume energy at more than twice the European rate despite similar lifestyles.
The film focuses mainly on car dependency. Too many of us live far from city centres, in hard-to-heat homes with double garages. We shop at huge malls, commute to work along vast stretches of asphalt sparsely fringed with stores and takeouts, purchase goods from faraway places. It's a way of life that may well be doomed.
A 12-member citizens group, the Vancouver Peak Oil Executive, was formed recently in Vancouver to spread word about the necessity of change. It aims "to build awareness of the imminent peak oil crisis and its potential effects on the metro Vancouver area."
The VPOE is promoting "relocalization" -- getting people to walk to work, buy locally produced food and goods, shop at corner stores.