Drumbeat: February 2, 2010
Posted by Leanan on February 2, 2010 - 10:21am
Dear President Obama,
Your State of the Union speech last week laudably referenced clean tech and renewable energy several times. We ask that you follow your words with action, by leading the transition to a post-carbon economy and a healthier world.
You also spoke of our need to face hard truths.
Hard truth: Our continued, willful reliance on fossil fuels is making our planet uninhabitable. We are evicting ourselves from the only paradise we’ve ever known.
Hard truth: No combination of current and anticipated renewable sources can maintain our profligate energy usage as the global supply of fossil fuels heads for terminal decline.
MOSCOW (UPI) -- For most of the past decade, Russian leaders and their top officials and businessmen have believed that their huge reserves of oil and gas would guarantee them prosperity and global influence for decades to come. But suddenly some cracks are emerging in that confidence.
As often happens, technology is changing the conventional wisdom. Over the past five years the combination of two technologies has transformed the energy market in the United States and now threatens to do the same elsewhere in the world.
A skirmish over an oil field on the shores of Africa's Lake Albert highlights Big Oil's intense interest in Uganda -- a rising star of African energy.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects total natural gas output in the EU to decrease from 216 billion cubic meters per year (bcm/year) in 2006 to 90 bcm/year in 2030. For the same period, EU demand for natural gas is forecast to increase rapidly. In 2006 demand for natural gas in the EU amounted to 532 bcm/year. By 2030, it is expected to reach 680 bcm/year. As a consequence, the widening gap between EU production and consumption requires a 90% increase of import volumes between 2006 and 2030. The main sources of imported gas for the EU are Russia and Norway. Between them they accounted for 62% of the EU’s gas imports in 2006. The objective of this thesis is to assess the potential future levels of gas supplies to the EU from its two main suppliers, Norway and Russia.
Having an adequate supply of available electric power at reasonable prices is vital to existing business activity, as well as future economic development. However, studies (by my firm as well as other entities analyzing the issue) consistently show a potential shortage of electric power in Texas without significant capacity additions to the electric grid in the coming years.
Lagos — Strong indications emerged at the weekend that the new demand by oil marketers for issuance of promisory notes before they could access banks loans was actually sponsored by bank executives.
Oil Marketers, under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), have listed issuance of promissory notes by the Federal Government as a part of new requirement before they would resume full importation.
LAHORE: The business community has strongly criticised the decision of the government for increasing petroleum prices and said it would result in price hike and play havoc with every sector.
Karachi—To overcome energy crisis Pakistan is currently working on gas import options including LNG imports of 300-600mmcfd of gas in the next three years besides the much talked about piped gas from Iran with total imported quantity quoted at 2100mmcfd.
However the energy experts feel that since both projects will come on stream with substantial time lag, it is feared that the gas shortage will worsen substantially till the time the much delayed Iran gas pipeline project materialized.
CEBU — The Provincial Government of Cebu is encouraging investors in the power industry to consider putting up a nuclear plant in Cebu to provide a lasting solution to the power crisis in the Visayas grid.
MOSCOW, February 1 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia’s electricity transit to the Baltic states via Belarus will amount to about 3 billion kilowatt-hours in 2010, an official at the Russian electricity export-import operator Inter RAO UES said on Monday.
“The transit agreement with Belenergo envisions planned capacities and quantitative indicators for Inter RAO UES’s electricity transit through the Belarusian national power grid,” the official said.
(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, expects to lose about $1.6 billion in its solar and shipping businesses this year, said Chief Financial Officer Byron Grote.
In 2010, BP expects the quarterly loss, excluding non- operating items, for alternative energy and shipping and some other businesses to average around $400 million.
Nobody worried about cold-weather performance of electric vehicle battery packs when it was warm outside, but now that Old Man Winter has descended, the problem is beginning to surface. When cars have a range of no more than 100 miles, the loss of 20 to 30 percent of that is a very big issue indeed.
The relationship between income and energy use is no coincidence, and recognizing that simple fact is an essential part of getting past the current stalemate and finding answers to climate change, Roland-Holst, an adjunct professor in Berkeley's Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, told the 100 or so climate-change experts gathered at Berkeley Thursday for "Beyond Copenhagen: Forging a Global Response to Climate Change." The conference reviewed what happened at Copenhagen and looked at the future of ongoing negotiations over global warming.
ARE economist David Roland-Holst's chart — which one of his graduate students calls his 'demonic bubble bath' — shows the tight relationship between energy use and prosperity, a key climate change issue. Based on World Bank and International Energy Agency data, the vertical axis plots per capita energy use in terajoules/year; the horizontal is per capita income as measured by the GDP. Bubble sizes represent population.
BANGKOK – Oil prices headed toward $75 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as regional stock markets snapped a losing streak and economic data suggested U.S. crude demand could improve.
Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 27 cents at $74.70 a barrel at early afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.54 to settle at $74.43 on Monday.
As 2009 ended, a report issued by the International Energy Agency (IEA) received scant media attention, but it has huge implications for future U.S. economic growth and national security.
Faith Birol, chief economist for the IEA, announced that unless there are major new oil discoveries, something his agency does not expect, the output of conventional oil production will peak in 2020. The agency's official conclusion is that production will reach a plateau sometime before 2030.
The news was startling from an agency that had previously refused to predict when oil supplies might stop growing. In fact, the IEA, closely watched by the world energy markets as an objective analytical source, had previously downplayed the prospects that oil production was reaching a peak.
20 reasons Global Debt Time Bomb explodes soon: Which trigger will ignite the Great Depression II, wipe out your retirement?
6. Peak Oil and the Population Bomb. China and India each need 500 new cities. The United Nations estimates world population exploding 50% from 6 billion to 9 billion by 2050: Three billion more humans demanding more automobiles, exhausting more resources to feed their version of the gas-guzzling "America Dream."
(Bloomberg) -- Total SA, Europe’s largest refiner, plans to halt refining operations at its idle Flanders plant permanently after the recession eroded demand for oil products.
“I don’t see the possibility that the refinery will restart,” Total’s head of refining, Michel Benezit, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “It makes no sense to continue refining when there are no clients.”
(Bloomberg) -- Yosef Maiman, who holds 22 percent of Israel’s only importer of gas from Egypt, said the country’s record gas discovery off the coast of Haifa will increase demand for the fuel and help grow his business.
“Eventually the market will make room for the both of us,” Maiman, 63, said in an interview at the Herzliya Conference, referring to billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva, whose Delek Group Ltd. is part of a partnership that made the gas discovery last year. “Converting an economy from fossil fuels to gas isn’t a quick process, but the more gas we get, the more usages we will find for it. I hope it will benefit our company as well.”
(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, expects the recovery from last year’s recession to be “slow and gradual” as fourth-quarter earnings missed analyst estimates.
(Bloomberg) -- Italy will spend as much as 36 percent more on oil this year, the equivalent of about 1.8 percent of gross domestic product, according to industry group Unione Petrolifera.
LUANDA (AFP) – India has stepped up its efforts to gain an economic foothold in Africa in a new scramble with China for the continent's resources, signing energy deals with top oil producers Angola and Nigeria.
(Bloomberg) -- PetroChina Co., the country’s biggest oil and gas producer, plans to sell 11 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) of notes in its first domestic debt offering this year to help finance domestic and overseas expansion.
Cash requirements for the company’s exploration, refining and pipeline divisions will continue to rise “significantly” this year, PetroChina said in a statement yesterday on the Web site of Chinabond, the nation’s largest debt-clearing house. The sale of the seven-year, medium-term debt will be on Feb. 5.
(Bloomberg) -- CEZ AS Trading Director Alan Svoboda said the Czech Republic’s largest utility anticipates continued recovery in power usage.
“Demand should continue to improve” in the first quarter, Svoboda said today in an interview at a conference in Prague, adding that future growth in electricity consumption will be linked to economic recovery.
(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria plans to auction some 2 billion barrels of oil reserves by the end of the year, the Financial Times reported, citing comments from Emmanuel Egbogah, special adviser to the president on petroleum matters.
A Baylor University researcher has used a new search method that he adapted for use on the seafloor to find a potentially massive source of hydrocarbon energy called methane hydrate, a frozen form of natural gas, in a portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. John Dunbar, associate professor of geology at Baylor, and his team used an electrical resistivity method to acquire geophysical data at the site, located roughly 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The Baylor researchers were able to provide a detailed map of where the methane hydrate is located and how deep it extends underneath the seafloor.
A panel of experts convened by the mayor and City Council issued more than 100 recommendations Monday on how to make New York City’s building codes more environmentally sound by imposing energy-saving requirements on construction and renovation work.
ScienceDaily — Painting the roofs of buildings white has the potential to significantly cool cities and mitigate some impacts of global warming, a new study indicates. The new NCAR-led research suggests there may be merit to an idea advanced by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu that white roofs can be an important tool to help society adjust to climate change.
China’s overall federal stimulus investments in smart grid projects will surpass the United States’ in 2010, according to a forthcoming market research report — though not on a per capita basis.
Japanese carmakers, such as Toyota, are developing an affordable hydrogen car using fuel cells. Meanwhile, the government and energy companies are funding hydrogen refueling stations needed for the cars' widespread use.
Coal-powered generating stations retrofitted to run on a mixture of coal and dried wood pellets can produce cost-competitive, emission-reduced electricity even without the advent of a cap-and-trade system, according to a new biomass life cycle analysis published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology.
For utilities under pressure to meet renewable portfolio standards, biomass should be considered along with wind, solar and small-scale hydro, says Heather MacLean, the lead researcher and an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto.
(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the oil company that started an ethanol venture with Cosan SA Industria & Comercio in Brazil, is pushing biofuels as an alternative energy investment over wind and solar.
A co-founder of the San Francisco solar-purchasing brokerage One Block Off the Grid, or 1BOG, as it is more commonly known, says his business model is proving effective.
DAKAR (Reuters) - Millions in West Africa's arid Sahel belt could face famine this year unless the world acts quickly to help, the European Union's humanitarian aid arm said on Thursday.
The warning came as Niger confirmed the veracity of a leaked government forecast that half its population will face food shortages this year after a dive in grain production, but said it had enough food stocks to care for the most needy.
One in eight Americans — 37 million — received emergency food help last year, up 46% from 2005, the nation's largest hunger-relief group reports today.
Children are hit particularly hard, according to the report by Feeding America, a network of 203 food banks nationwide. One in five children, 14 million, received food from soup kitchens, food pantries and other agencies, up from 9 million in 2005, the year of the group's last major survey.
The company that protects the copyrights on the works of Theodore Geisel, better known as the children’s book author Dr. Seuss, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Massachusetts company looking to get into the coal business under the name Lorax — the title character of a story published in 1971.
“There’s no reason for them to use the term,” said Karl ZoBell, the long-time lawyer for Dr. Seuss Enterprises, “except to purloin the good will attached to the book and use it for a company that appears to be the opposite of everything the book is about.”
LIMA (AFP) – Peru's mining, oil and energy association (SNMPE) said Saturday it has expelled US mining company Doe Run from its roster for not cleaning up its pollution problems, which environmentalists say are among the worst in the world.
In Albrecht’s view, the residents of the Upper Hunter were suffering not just from the strain of living in difficult conditions but also from something more fundamental: a hitherto unrecognized psychological condition. In a 2004 essay, he coined a term to describe it: “solastalgia,” a combination of the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root –algia (pain), which he defined as “the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault . . . a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home.’ ” A neologism wasn’t destined to stop the mines; they continued to spread. But so did Albrecht’s idea. In the past five years, the word “solastalgia” has appeared in media outlets as disparate as Wired, The Daily News in Sri Lanka and Andrew Sullivan’s popular political blog, The Daily Dish. In September, the British trip-hop duo Zero 7 released an instrumental track titled “Solastalgia,” and in 2008 Jukeen, a Slovenian recording artist, used the word as an album title. “Solastalgia” has been used to describe the experiences of Canadian Inuit communities coping with the effects of rising temperatures; Ghanaian subsistence farmers faced with changes in rainfall patterns; and refugees returning to New Orleans after Katrina.
Nashville, TN (Billboard Publicity Wire/PRWEB ) -- Andy Fraser, founding member of the influential 1970’s rock group, ‘Free,’ and writer of their mega-hit “All Right Now,” continues to spread the message about global warming and resulting catastrophic climate change through his powerful song and video, “This is the Big One.”
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Copenhagen climate talks went nowhere. The Senate's attempt to pass a global warming bill appears stuck. But that's doesn't mean greenhouse gas laws aren't coming.
The Environmental Protection Agency, spurred by a Supreme Court ruling, is racing to fill the void. As early as March, the EPA could be required to cap greenhouse gases from things like power plants and large factories, essentially doing what Senate Democrats want, without a messy vote.
The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions reduced by nearly 2 per cent during 2008, compared with 2007, the latest statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show.
Publishing its final estimates for 2008 today, the Department says that the drop show that the UK is ‘on target’ to meet it’s our Kyoto-set target of 12.5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. It total the drop of 1.9 per cent in emissions brings the UK emission-levels to 19.4 per cent below 1990 levels.
(Bloomberg) -- Japan wants to achieve 60 percent or more of its target for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions through efforts within the country, Nikkei English News reported, without saying how it obtained the information.
Reporting from Washington - The United States, China and dozens of other countries accounting for nearly 80% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions have signed onto a voluntary agreement to curb climate change.
If the countries make good on their pledges, they will dramatically reduce the emissions scientists link to global warming, but not enough to hold temperatures to levels scientists say are needed to minimize risks of drought, flooding and other catastrophic effects.
Forests in the eastern United States appear to be growing faster in response to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a new study has found.
The study centered on trees in mixed hardwood stands on the western edge of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland that are representative of much of the those on the Eastern Seaboard.
All are growing two to four times as fast as normal, according to a study published in Tuesday’s issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
After controlling for other variables, scientists concluded that the change resulted largely from the increase in carbon dioxide, a major factor in climate change.