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Resolution/Ordinance: Berkeley Peak Oil and Gas Resolution
Published 18 December 2007 by Berkeley City Council (original article)

Resolution passed by the Berkeley City Council on December 18, 2007 acknowledging the challenge of Peak Oil and the need for Berkeley to prepare a plan of response and preparation. The resolution also recognizes the work of the group Oil Independent Berkeley.

Published 18 December 2007 by Berkeley City Council,

[The pdf also includes a Peak Oil and Gas Fact Sheet prepared by Oil Independent Berkeley and copies of resolutions from other U.S. cities. - Ed.]

Resolution acknowledging the challenge of Peak Oil and the need for Berkeley to prepare a plan of response and preparation.

WHEREAS, world oil and gas production are nearing the point of maximum production ("Peak Oil") and will enter a prolonged period of irreversible decline leading to ever-increasing prices;1 and

WHEREAS, the United States consumes 20 million barrels of oil per day, although its domestic production has peaked and is now in decline2; and

WHEREAS, 42% of California’s electricity supply is generated from natural gas3; and

WHEREAS, the State of California uses 88 billion gallons of diesel a year to pump water4; and

WHEREAS, conventional food growers use 400 gallons of petroleum to feed one American for one year5; and

WHEREAS, global demand for oil and natural gas continues to increase and these trends in energy consumption are not sustainable; and

WHEREAS, alternative sources of transport fuels from tar sands, coal, or oil shale require high energy inputs and increase total carbon dioxide emissions; and

WHEREAS, due to competition with food crops and the need to maintain biological diversity, the potential for biomass fuels to replace petroleum is limited6; and

WHEREAS, price signals of petroleum scarcity are likely to come too late to trigger effective mitigation efforts in the private sector, and governmental intervention at all levels of government will be required to avert social and economic chaos; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Energy’s risk management consultants stated in 2005 that, "The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past 'energy crisis' experience will provide relatively little guidance. The challenge of oil peaking deserves immediate, serious attention, if risks are to be fully understood and mitigation begun on a timely basis"7; and

WHEREAS, a study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy demonstrated that a ten to twenty year lead time is required to effectively transition from economic dependence on petroleum, while current measures supported by the federal government will replace only 3-weeks worth of gasoline consumption by 2012;8 and

WHEREAS, there continues to be a profound lack of leadership at the state and federal levels of government on energy policies for industries, municipalities and citizens to move away from oil dependence; and

WHEREAS, Berkeley residents and businesses will be negatively affected by rising oil and energy costs, which will disproportionately affect low income residents; and

WHEREAS, the City of Berkeley and its citizens and businesses depend on oil and natural gas for their economic welfare and their most critical activities, including transportation, food supply, water delivery, health care and electricity; and

WHEREAS, a large majority of money spent on fossil fuels leaves California, while many of the solutions to lessening dependence on fossil fuels may result in local jobs and substantial economic benefits; and

WHEREAS, Berkeley residents and businesses are not currently aware of the full implications of an impending decline and will benefit from greater attention to this topic; and

WHEREAS, in the November 7, 2006 elections, the citizens of Berkeley overwhelmingly passed Measure G calling for the City of Berkeley to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, the success of which depends upon reducing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels; and

WHEREAS, the City of Berkeley has a history of adopting innovative environmental policies and measures, such as the precautionary principle, and can play a leadership role in what may become one of the greatest political economic and societal issues of the next half century.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the City Council of the City of Berkeley acknowledges the enormous challenges of confronting Peak Oil; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Manager shall come up with a proposal for the City staff to consider the impact of sharply rising energy prices and oil depletion in future transportation and land use plans, in any updates to the General Plan, future budget processes, policies and practices, and the City of Berkeley’s dependence on products that require substantial amounts of oil to produce and ship; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Berkeley shall coordinate its efforts to reduce its use of fossil fuels and build a sustainable, local/regional economy with other Bay Area municipalities, counties and transit authorities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council of Berkeley expresses its appreciation for the efforts of Oil Independent Berkeley to educate the City of Berkeley and its residents about Peak Oil and supports Oil Independent Berkeley’s efforts over the next year to assess the City’s vulnerabilities to Peak Oil and to make recommendations to the City regarding how to minimize and mitigate Peak Oil impacts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan shall take account of the Peak Oil problem, and that the City Manager shall facilitate Oil Independent Berkeley's participation and contribution to the Plan so that Berkeley can substantially reduce its reliance on fossil fuels; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Berkeley encourages immediateaction at the state and federal level to begin planning for Peak Oil with a concerted effort to reduce energy consumption and research sustainable alternatives.

1 Hirsch, RL, R Bezdek, and R Wedling, 2005. Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management,
2 American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, "Reducing Oil Use through Energy Efficiency", 2006,
4 Tom Chorneau, "Governor’s water supply plans all wet," San Francisco Chronicle, 10/6/07
5 Christopher Cook, Diet for a Dead Planet, New Press, 2004.
6 UN-Energy, 2007. Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers,
7 Hirsch et al.
8 Hirsch et al;

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