Village Vancouver

Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities

Climate Change and Peak Oil

Climate Change

It is happening.  Our global climatological norms, upon which everything from agriculture to the security of shelter is based, are changing rapidly.  Arctic and antarctic sea ice and the world's glaciers are melting faster than at any time in the past several thousand years.  Global surface temperatures are rising.

Human-driven emissions of carbon dioxide are accelerating dramatically, almost every year.  While down or flat in 2009, due to the global recession, CO2 emissions rose by 512 million metric tons from 2009 to 2010, a 6% increase!  (Note: A sustained 6% annual increase would double mankind's output of this dangerous greenhouse gas in just 12 years.)  But it gets worse; this single year increase is higher than the "most extreme range of the assumptions" made at Kyoto and subsequently, assumptions that would force global temperatures to rise "as much as 6.4 degrees" by century's end.  Replace "as much as" with "more than."  That's very hot.

Read this short analysis of global climate change by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US government to evaluate the key pieces of evidence for yourself.

Is the human race at fault for this?  Do we want or need to find out by taking no action at all?  Can we do something about it?  If we did something, what would happen?  How would our lives change?  Are there other benefits from reducing our carbon footprint that go beyond "merely" saving the earth?

Welcome to a debate that has captured the attention of the globe, and that will change the future of humanity like no other discussion in human history.  

We in Village Vancouver are at the epicentre of this debate, because we are working on solutions, not excuses.  We are making changes, every day, to change the course of human history, for the better.

At the governmental level, there are many policy choices that could augment the work we are doing at the critical, grassroots level.  Both policy and behaviour must change together.  Read about some innovative policy proposals tailored to the BC economy here.

Read more at The Big Think.

And if you think Vancouver, the city or metro area, is in any way "better than the rest," which might make sense given our mild climate and low-carbon (in operation) hydro power, think again. Per capita, Vancouver is building more new road space, pouring more concrete, and importing more consumer goods than any other region of Canada. The average insulation value of Vancouver homes is falling quickly due to the construction of concrete and glass high-rises with R-values just over 2--in comparison with R15-20 in new low-rise construction. Flight miles per capita are also on the rise, with Vancouver and area airports showing dramatic growth in the past 20 years.

If you want to look at some more of the inconvenient truths, check out this carbon map of BC created by the Tyee Solutions Society and UBC.

About Peak Oil

VV group: Energy

Projects: FED-AP (Food Energy Descent Action Plan), Solar Roof and all relocalisation and community self reliance projects

 

Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. But Peak Oil is not really the issue. It's the consequence of Peak Oil... The End of Cheap Oil... that is the issue that will affect us all.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), world crude oil production peaked in 2006 and will taper off from now on. Only a narrow minority of experts see unconventional oil--e.g. Alberta tar sands, deep oil drilling--even just replacing what is lost from depleted wells.  Meanwhile, China and India--accounting for almost a third of the world's population--are doubling their use of oil every 15 years, with China expected to surpass European consumption within 8 years.

Regardless of the projection, the fact is that we need to start readying ourselves NOW for the impacts of peak oil, because the changes required will take time and likely more time than we have left.  Canadians use more oil per capita than Americans!

Peak Oil, combined with Climate Change and Global Economic Instability are the threats that Transition Towns was formed to mitigate.

Just to weave the climate change and peak oil situations together...

  • Climate change makes this carbon reduction transition essential
  • Peak oil makes it inevitable
  • Transition initiatives make it feasible, viable and attractive to change our course

Transition Towns help us navigate this inevitable shift to a post-carbon world, in a way that's effective, collaborative, and proactive.

For some simple Peak Oil introduction videos watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEFpRQj0nbE&feature (2 min)
or
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwNgNyiXPLk&feature (18 min)

 

Or read this 2011 university commencement address by Richard Heinberg, as reported in Yes Magazine.

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