San Francisco Becomes First U.S. City to Pass Peak Oil Resolution

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Campaign by Local Activists Persuaded Board of Supervisors of Looming Energy Crunch; Landmark Initiative Urges Development of ‘Action and Response Plan’

San Francisco on Tuesday became the first U.S. city to pass a resolution acknowledging the threats posed by peak oil, urging the city to develop a comprehensive plan to respond to the emerging global energy crunch.

The resolution ( which won unanimous support by the Board of Supervisors was sponsored by Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, Jake McGoldrick, Sophie Maxwell and Chris Daly. It cites an influential study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy, known as the Hirsch Report (, which raises concerns about the nation’s ability to avert a major crisis from the peak and decline of oil production.

The measure comes on the heels of an increasingly effective grass roots campaign by groups such as San Francisco Oil Awareness, Post Carbon San Francisco, and SF Informatics, who have sponsored mailings and meetings targeting Bay Area elected officials for more than two years. San Francisco has been making strides in the area of energy independence, energy watchdogs have reported. According to a year-long study by using over 600 data points, San Francisco is the city third best able to cope with an energy crisis.

Michael Poremba, spokesman for SF Informatics, congratulated the Supervisors on their action Tuesday. “We are thrilled to see the city finally acknowledging the peak oil issue,” Poremba said. “Our society runs on oil, our economy runs on oil, and farsighted local governments should begin planning now--indeed years ago--for an era of declining supplies, because that era is starting now.”

Citizen’s group San Francisco Oil Awareness played a key role in bringing the idea of a resolution in front of city officials. Members of the group, including Jennifer Bresee, Allyse Hartwell, Dennis Brumm and David Fridley, formed a committee promoting a draft resolution discussing the issue with officials on the Board and at other venues.

Local peak oil activists have been gaining wider recognition in recent months as the topic has gained traction in the media and in the U.S. Congress, where Congressman Roscoe Bartlett introduced the first-ever “peak oil resolution” and formed a caucus to study the issue. Members of the SF Post Carbon group were featured in a recent article in surveying the growing movement.

Among the high-visibility tools used by the groups is a colorful poster called The Oil Age, created by SF Informatics in association with Global Public Media. The poster traces the history of oil production worldwide and displays relevant energy statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, BP Statistical Review and other industry sources. The poster was hand delivered to dozens of Bay Area elected officials in January, including the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, The Department on the Environment and the Commission on the Environment.

“The poster is a great way to open up city officials’ doors,” said David Fridley, a scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and a member of San Francisco Oil Awareness. “It’s a very effective passport into the halls of power because of its polished and professional quality.” Co-member Jennifer Bresee agrees, “Plunking down this poster in front of a supervisor is a lot more effective than trying to explain it in words alone,” she says.

Copies of The Oil Age poster can be purchased at To date, over 1,600 posters have been donated to teachers worldwide. And thanks to Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, the poster has been distributed to every member of the U.S. Congress.

PDF of San Francisco’s Peak Oil Resolution available at:

Robert L. Hirsch, R. Bezdek, R. Wendling, Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management, February 2005 (


About SF Informatics

SF Informatics represents a group of concerned citizens committed to researching and communicating critical ecological and societal trends worldwide. For more information: Poster ordering or donation information:

About San Francisco Oil Awareness

San Francisco Oil Awareness works to raise awareness of the Peak Oil predicament with elected officials, neighbors, and friends. The group offers a framework for those who want to begin the difficult work of transforming our society to achieve as graceful a "Power Down" as possible. For more information

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Michael Poremba
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