Archive | Peak Oil

League of Women Voters Presentation on Peak Oil

League of Women Voters Presentation on Peak Oil –2/10

Public Invited at 7pm on February 10th

John Kaufmann, Senior Policy Analyst with the Oregon Department of Energy’s Conservation Division, will discuss “peak oil” on February 10th at 7pm. The event will be held in the Board Room of the Multnomah County Building, 501 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland. The event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Peak oil is the premise that world oil production has reached its maximum and will soon begin to decline, with major economic and social implications. Mr. Kaufmann will discuss evidence demonstrating the peak is imminent; alternative forms of energy; the likely impacts of peak oil on society; and possible demand-side solutions, including recommendations from Portland’s Peak Oil Task Force.

Mr. Kaufmann has led energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts with the Oregon Department of Energy for 25 years. He was lead staff to the Portland Peak Oil Task Force and the primary author of the report.

Portland Community Media will broadcast the discussion on Channel 30 on Thursday, February 12, at 8 p.m.; Tuesday, February 17, at 1 p.m.; Friday, February 20, at 11 p.m.; and Tuesday, February 24, at 5 p.m.

The discussion is presented by the League of Women Voters of Portland. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government.

When the Oil Runs Out…

Portland State University
Center for Transportation Studies
Fall 2008 Transportation Seminar Series

Speaker: David L. Goodstein, Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology

Topic: Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil

Flier with abstract:

Speaker sponsored by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium Visiting Scholarship Program

When: Friday, November 14, 2008, 12:00 – 1:00p.m.

Where: PSU Urban Center Building, SW 6th and Mill, Room 204

Local Governments Acknowledge Inconvenient Truths

Two interesting new reports out that deal with our energy and climate future.

First, Metro has released a draft background paper as part of the Regional Transportation Plan update: Key Environmental Issues and Metro’s Mitigation-Related Activities in the Portland Metropolitan Region.

It’s not online yet, but here are a couple of key paragraphs from the trends section:

Climate Change and Global Warming

Climate change poses a serious and growing threat to Oregon’s economy, natural resources, forests, rivers, agricultural lands, and coastline. Emissions are created as a by-product of fuel combustion and from evaporation of the fuel itself. The combustion of fossil fuels produces a cocktail of greenhouse gases (GHG’s) that trap heat in the atmosphere and cause global warming. The United States is the largest energy user in the world and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

It is estimated that transportation accounts for 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in Oregon and this is predicted to increase by 33 percent by 2025 because of increased driving.

Oil Dependence and Increasing Uncertainty of Supply and Price

The U.S economy’s reliance on foreign oil is mainly due to transportation. Figure 2 displays how transportation’s share of US petroleum use has been increasing; the transportation sector consumes 66% of oil supplied to US economy, up from 55% in 1975.

This dependence on oil is an issue for long range transportation planning, considering the uncertainty surrounding oil’s supply and price. Uncertainty is defined as a measure of the decreasing confidence that supply and price of oil will not be much different next year compared to today’s figures.

Although the exact timing of the peaking of oil supply is unpredictable, certain changes can be anticipated and strategies developed to ease the effects. The uncertainty of oil prices should be considered as transportation investments are being developed as part of the RTP update. The RTP should continue to emphasize land use and transportation planning to reduce mean travel distances and enable greater use of public transit, walking and bicycling as viable transportation options and modes that are less susceptible to oil price fluctuations than private automobiles.

And on Friday, the City of Portland’s Peak Oil Task Force released the public comment draft of its report (PDF, 364K). I’ve only had the chance to go through it once quickly, but it doesn’t duck the hard questions.

Among the recommendations:

Prevent over-expansion of transportation infrastructure that may not be a good investment with higher fuel prices. Air, long-distance truck and car travel are likely to be reduced in response to peak oil, and land use patterns are likely to become more compact. Thus, investments in expanding road and air capacity could be stranded, depending on when the peak occurs. The Port of Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation and other agencies need to consider the impacts of peak oil when developing capital construction plans for major facilities.

  • Encourage the Port of Portland to examine the timing and impacts of a peak oil scenario on air traffic when developing plans to expand the airport.
  • Require Portland Office of Transportation to consider the impacts of rising oil prices when deciding where to invest scarce transportation infrastructure funds.
  • Invest in infrastructure that meets access and mobility needs with less fuel.

Anyone care to speculate on how to evaluate the Columbia Crossing in light of that recommendation?

Here’s a quote from Task Force Chair Bill Scott:

“The Task Force findings illustrate the enormous economic and social vulnerabilities and opportunities that could result as fuel supplies cease to be abundant and inexpensive,” said Task Force Chair Bill Scott. “The magnitude of this issue led the Task Force to explore far-reaching solutions. Our lead recommendation is that Portland cut its oil and natural gas use in half over the next 25 years.”

Now if only the Federal Government would find its way back to reality-based policy-making.

Breaking our Addiction to Oil

(via the Coalition for a Livable Future newsletter – I hope the registration deadline is somewhat flexible)

The Worldwatch Institute, Oregon Environmental Council, Illahee, and the Sightline Institute present:

American Energy:
Breaking our Addiction to Oil
Christopher Flavin President, Worldwatch Institute

Wednesday, September 27, 2006
7:00-8:00 pm Wine and Dessert Reception
8:00-9:30 pm Speaking Program

Multnomah Athletic Club
1849 SW Salmon Street
Portland, Oregon 97205

$25 for general admission, $20 for students with valid ID at the door.
Pre-registration is required by Wednesday, September 20th.

To register please click on this link: