San Francisco Peak Oil Report
“…And most importantly, with all of these policies, start now. Conditions will be far better in the long run if the City begins addressing this unfolding challenge immediately. The transition cannot be done quickly; the City faces a limited window of opportunity to begin, after which adaptation will become enormously difficult, painful, and expensive. There is no time to lose.”
Extract from the report on Energy Bulletin, here.
In March 2009 the the San Francisco Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force published its report on the city’s vulnerability to peak oil and gas. The report acknowledges the threat to San Francisco from peak oil and gas and includes a raft of recommendations. On 23 July the report was slated to be presented to the Board of Supervisors at the Government Audit Committee meeting.
San Francisco was born at the beginning of the oil age, and the city has flourished during an era in which fossil fuels became the foundation of our economy and society. Petroleum and natural gas heat our homes and light our offices; they fuel the trucks that bring us our food and the cars and buses that move us around; they drive our industries and power the information technologies that marvel the world. Today, the City and its inhabitants are utterly reliant on fossil fuel energy: 84% of the energy consumed in San Francisco comes from oil and natural gas.
Because petroleum and natural gas are finite resources, this situation cannot last. If San Francisco is to thrive in the 21st century and remain a world-class city, it must begin planning today for how to maintain itself in a postfossil fuel age….
…As production of oil and natural gas eventually begin to decline, San Francisco will face a painful adjustment – unless it prepares in advance. Experts are divided on exactly when the decline will begin, with some arguing that the peak of production may not occur until as late as the 2030s, and others positing that the peak has, in fact, already happened. Regardless of the exact date of the peak, what is clear is that the sooner the City of San Francisco addresses this looming threat and prepares for the difficult transition ahead, the better off the City and its residents will be.
It is the job of the Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force to assess the degree and nature of San Francisco’s vulnerability to an eventual, inexorable rise in fuel prices, and ultimately a scarcity in oil and natural gas.
Addressing these impacts will not be easy. The challenges of reducing our overall reliance on energy from fossil fuels and finding new sources of energy are so enormous that they will require an array of adaptive strategies at every level of government.
Some of the most important strategies for the City to pursue include:
* Instruct City agencies and departments that planning must include a scenario of energy decline.
* Implement our city energy buying cooperative, Community Choice Aggregation, and move ahead with the planned efficiency programs and development of electricity based on renewables.
* Encourage the installation of local, renewable, distributed electric generating facilities.
* Pursue the conversion of the electric system to a smart grid.
* Convert vacant and underutilized public and private properties to food gardens.
* Vastly expand urban agriculture programs and services.
* Expand passenger capacity of all mass transit.
* Avoid infrastructure investments which are predicated on increased auto use.
* Convert City equipment, buses, and trucks to 100% biodiesel from reclaimed lipids, as feasible.
* Discourage private auto use by disincentivizing car travel and ensuring that alternatives (walking, bicycling, public transportation) are competitive with driving.
* Expand the potential for rail and water transport, for both passengers and freight.
* Encourage local manufacturing that utilizes recycled material as feedstock.
* Retrofit the building stock for energy conservation, efficiency and on-site generation.
* Begin an education plan, to inform San Francisco residents about Peak Oil & Gas and its implications.
And most importantly, with all of these policies, start now. Conditions will be far better in the long run if the City begins addressing this unfolding challenge immediately. The transition cannot be done quickly; the City faces a limited window of opportunity to begin, after which adaptation will become enormously difficult, painful, and expensive. There is no time to lose.
Published Mar 9 2009 by City & County of San Francisco, Archived Jul 21 2009
San Francisco peak oil task force report by San Francisco Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force
Source: PostCarbon Institute