Politics

Quite a Red Herring

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 25, 2006

Today's Hamilton Spectator reports on some of the early feedback from energy consultant Richard Gilbert's planned Peak Oil report to City Council this Friday.

Gilbert's report casts considerable doubt on the economics behind the city's aerotropolis development plan, which will open up twelve hundred hectares of farmland around Hamilton Airport for commercial and industrial development.

Gilbert's writes, "if oil prices rise steeply, the aviation industry could be especially vulnerable, particularly freight movement, putting the aerotropolis concept at risk, to the extent that it depends on air freight."

Hamilton Chamber of Commerce CEO John Dolbec dismisses the report, saying, "we regard the whole peak oil thing as a red herring brought forward by people who are against airport development."

"The whole peak oil thing" is a "red herring"?

Really?

Now, let's set aside the arrogant presumption behind Dolbec's contention that the global peak oil phenomenon exists to thwart his airport expansion plans. Does he really think Richard Gilbert, CIBC World Markets, Leeb Capital Managemnt, Goldman-Sachs Global Investment Research, the Bank of Montreal, Simmons & Co. Intl., oil investor T. Boone Pickens, Jones Heward Investments Inc., Groppe, Long & Littell, to name just a few of the mainstream energy industry analysts predicting a near term global peak in oil production, are co-conspiring with Hamiltonians for Progressive Development to put the kibosh on Dolbec's grand vision?

Desperation planning, indeed.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal.

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By jason (registered) | Posted April 25, 2006 at 21:30:25

it's getting tougher and tougher for Hamilton's uneducated, old boys club to defend their wacky ideas and 1950's style planning. In the past they could dimiss groups like Friends of Red Hill as weird environmentalists or malcontents. Now, with heavy hitters like the groups you mention above (there are many others too) that are the exact types that always used to support, in principle, ideas presented by Hamilton's establishment. As the times have changed and the world has changed, those financial institutions are in a line of work that demands they keep up with the times or risk losing (themselves and their clients) tons of money. Hamilton's planners and politicians have their work cut out for them trying to convince the general public that CIBC and Simmons & Co. are simply 'weird environmentalists' or 'malcontents'. Of course, we all know they'll still try, and they'll have plenty of help from our city's 'mainstream' media, but Hamiltonians have access to news sources online and on Cable and Satellite TV. As annoying as this overloaded media age is it will help inform Hamiltonians of world issues that they'll never hear correct info on from the Spec or CH. Perhaps this signals the end of the long regime that has held our city back for decades.

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted April 26, 2006 at 11:28:56

I think the problem is many folks simply don't understand Peak Oil. I myself had some difficulty getting to grips with the whole 'net energy' idea, and even appreciating the extent to which we have become oil dependent. Another problem is that Peak Oil theorists are easily accused of being alarmist. This seems to be a common approach to dismissing an intelligent point of view. If the point of view is remotely alarming and/or difficult to understand, proponents are dismissed as 'extremists' and 'out of touch'. This is a highly ignorant way of tacking a 'debate'. If Dilbert wants to pick apart the Peak Oil argument, he should tackle each aspect head on, and articulate his counter arguments. A wave of the hand and a dismissive 'this is all a red herring' really means that this debate does not serve his own agenda and/or he doesn't understand it. It's also hypocritical of him and his 'Business As Usual' crew. The BAU folks in Hamilton will happily become hysterical over their own pet projects - like Aerotropolis, Red Hill or Maple Leaf Food plants - by telling people such projects are 'critical' to Hamilton's success and promising thousands of jobs, whilst having very little evidence to support such claims. Whose fishing for red herrings now?

Not once has anyone in Hamilton ever thought of asking them to provide any Yr 1-5 Return On Investment data to validate the projects that do get approved (Has the Glanbrook Bus Park made us any money? Or the Linc? How many jobs and $'s were promised? Where's the post-implementation analysis? No business would survive in these conditions)

At the end of the day it's all Bullshit and I'm fed up (so there!)

Love

Ben

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