One of the plenary debates this week was around an opinion, drafted by a British member, Derek Osborn (Various Interests Group) about ‘facing the oil challenges’. The opinion was special in two ways. First, it was an opinion requested by the European Parliament, which was a previously rare occurence but an indication of the Committee’s growing profile among parliamentarians. Second, and as with the Delapina opinion (see previous post), it had to be drafted very rapidly and therefore Derek had to act as a ‘General Rapporteur’ (in effect, it’s the Committee’s ‘fast track’ procedure). I’ll post a link to the adopted opinion here as soon as it has been finalised, but during the debate I was struck by an observation made by Stéphane Buffetaut (Employers Group), President of the Committee’s Sustainable Development Observatory. He recounted that he had been talking with some oil industry executives and one had told him that the age of oil would end like the stone age had ended – not because there were no more stones, but because of a technological leap. Thinking about it, our generations have been living through the ends of a number of ‘ages’, precisely because of such technological advances – the age of steam, the age of the typewriter and the fax, the age of the incandescent lightbulb….