Green Calgary`s Dilemma

July 16, 2007

Calgary-based senior economist at ATB Financial, Todd Hirsch comes to the unsettling conclusion that Albertans can enoy the boom as long as the chaos in the Middle East continues, global fossil fuel supplies remain insufficient and innovations in really inexpensive and accessible alternative energy sources are not found.

If the price of oil plummets to less than $50 US, the oil in the oil sands becomes too costly to extract. Hirsch lists the kinds of geopolitical, economic and scientific changes that would have to take place to make this happen.

Hirsch, Todd. 2007. “Alberta May Dodge the Bust Bullet this Time Around.” Comment. Globe and Mail. July 14. A19.

This photo was taken at 8:30 pm, July 14 from St. Andrew’s Park, Calgary,AB at the end of Toronto Street just above Crowsfoot Trail.

A timeline of boom and bust

1973 Global Oil Crisis. Alberta oil fuelled a financial boom that resulted in record-breaking population growth, housing starts, and construction activity (Hirsch 2007: A19).

1981- OPEC production was surpassed by that of other countries. Global energy supplies increased, energy prices collapsed and the US economy sagged. As oil prices collapsed, Calgary’s boom turned to a financial and real estate bust. Some overextened homeowners walked away from their mortgaged homes (Hirsch 2007: A19).

2007 Alberta is experiencing a financial boom with real-estate prices soaring, increased migration to the province and labour shortages (Hirsch 2007: A19).

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