Drumbeat: September 15, 2012
Posted by Leanan on September 15, 2012 - 10:34am
BEIJING (Reuters) - Thousands of Chinese besieged the Japanese embassy in Beijing on Saturday, hurling rocks, eggs and bottles as protests broke out in other major cities in China amid growing tension between Asia's two biggest economies over a group of disputed islands.
Paramilitary police with shields and batons barricaded the embassy, holding back and occasionally fighting with slogan-chanting, flag-waving protesters who at times appeared to be trying to storm the building.
"Return our islands! Japanese devils get out!" some shouted. One of them held up a sign reading: "For the respect of the motherland, we must go to war with Japan."
New Delhi (IANS) Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday called for direct cash transfer of subsidies in food, fertilizers and petroleum by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan period that began April 1, 2012, to bring down the subsidy burden.
"I would urge that by the end of the 12th Plan, these three major subsidies be rolled out across the country through direct cash transfers to the beneficiaries," Chidambaram said at a meeting of the Planning Commission called to finalise the Plan.
Direct cash transfers would bring down the subsidy burden as the money would go directly to the "genuine" beneficiaries and "plug leakages" in the implementation of these schemes, he said.
Oil climbed to the highest level in more than four months as the Federal Reserve’s plan to buy mortgage securities boosted demand for commodities and stocks.
Futures rose above $100 after the Fed said yesterday that it would make additional purchases of debt in a third round of so-called quantitative easing. The move followed a European Central Bank bond-buying announcement on Sept. 6. Crude also gained on concern that protests in the Middle East and North Africa will disrupt shipments.
The power of hurricanes to drive up oil prices is diminishing as the proportion of U.S. crude coming from the Gulf of Mexico falls to a 14-year low because of the increase in onshore shale production.
Fresh stimulus action from the Federal Reserve drove commodity prices sharply higher Friday, but experts say don't expect the QE3-fueled boost to last long.
Gas prices in August on average rose to $3.78 per gallon in Ohio and $3.80 in the region, the highest average prices ever recorded for the month, and the first monthly increases since March, according to a Hamilton JournalNews/Middletown Journal analysis.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The EU's executive "as a matter of priority" is enforcing its single energy market laws it says in a draft text, seen by Reuters, that states its determination to create a barrier-free market-place, which has angered dominant gas supplier Russia.
Early this month, the European Commission announced it had opened an investigation into suspected anti-competitive market practices by Russia's Gazprom.
Speaking on Friday in Lithuania, which totally depends on Russia for its gas, Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Russia had to abide by the EU's internal market rules and stop offering widely varying prices.
SYDNEY (AP) -- Riot police clashed with about 200 protesters at the U.S. Consulate in Sydney on Saturday as demonstrations against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States spread to Australia.
The day of turmoil across the Arab and Muslim world put new Arab Spring leaders in nations such as Tunisia and Egypt on the defensive as Islamists showed their power to exploit popular discontent. The violence also kept President Barack Obama under pressure over his support for the Arab revolutions and over questions about whether his administration was caught unprepared for the threats to U.S. personnel and property.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has signed agreements to sell four million barrels of oil through private companies, an official was quoted as saying on Saturday, in an attempt to avoid Western embargoes.
European Union and U.S. sanctions aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear programme ban all imports of Iranian oil and apply to state-run and private firms, yet Iranian officials say private sellers can sidestep those measures.
South Korea stopped buying crude oil from Iran in August after its refiners lost insurance coverage on ships carrying the fuel from the Persian Gulf nation.
Purchases fell to zero last month, reducing imports from Iran for the first eight months of this year by 34 percent from a year earlier to 5.39 million tons, according to data posted on the Customs Service’s website today. South Korea bought 1.14 million tons of crude oil, or 36,738 tons a day, from Iran in August 2011.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran denied on Saturday that Turkey sharply increased its imports last month of Iranian crude in the face of a Western embargo, saying its exports had held constant.
FAL Oil Co., a United Arab Emirates-based energy trader that’s under U.S. financial restrictions for links to Iran, faces the forced sale of a fuel tanker held in Singapore to repay $57.6 million to DVB Bank SE.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq laid out more milestones on its path back to oil producing power, targeting 6 million barrels per day exports by 2017, and confirming it was currently pumping more than neighbour and fellow OPEC member Iran. Iraq's Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi said on Saturday he expected oil exports will reach 2.9 million bpd next year before hitting 3.5 million bpd in 2014 and 3.75 million bpd in 2015. Current production is at 3.2 million bpd, the highest level in three decades, and exports are at an average of 2.6 million bpd.
"We expect exports for this month to be more than 2.6 million barrels per day. So far they are at 2.6 million barrels per day, and output is at 3.2 million," the minister told reporters.
BEIJING (Reuters) - South Sudan may resume pumping oil as soon as November, China's ambassador to Africa said, adding Beijing was optimistic leaders in Juba will soon reach pricing terms with Sudan on piping crude through the country from which it recently split.
DAMASCUS (Reuters) - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said after talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday that the escalating Syrian conflict posed a global threat.
Activists say more than 27,000 people have been killed in the 18-month-old uprising against Assad, which started as mainly peaceful calls for reform but has become a bloody insurgency which is deepening sectarian tensions in the Middle East.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford voiced pointed support for foreign investment during a trade mission in China, just as Ottawa is reviewing the merits of China’s ambitious bid to acquire Canada’s Nexen Inc.
KAMPALA (Reuters) - Total SA expects to drill eight exploration wells in Uganda by end 2013, and will spend about $650 million on its activities in the same period, a senior company official said on Saturday.
Total entered Uganda's burgeoning petroleum industry early this year after it and China's China's CNOOC took up a third each of British explorer Tullow Oil's exploration assets in the country for a total of $2.9 billion.
Researchers from the University of Rochester and Texas A&M University have found that, over a period of five months following the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, naturally-occurring bacteria that exist in the Gulf of Mexico consumed and removed at least 200,000 tons of oil and natural gas that spewed into the deep Gulf from the ruptured well head.
By the time 2019 rolls around, citizens in South Africa might not have lights, air conditiong, or television. And you thought that cultures always move forward.
South Africa is in the precarious position of having only one company, state-owned Eksom Holdings, producing all of its electricity. Even worse, the country's demand for electricity is expected to outpace supply by early 2019.
Natural gas, however, is the simple solution to the nation's problem. Natural gas can be used to create electricity to power homes and office buildings. But one thing is stopping oil and gas companies from drilling for natural gas - the endangered black rhinoceros.
My co-producer and Generation Anthropocene creator Mike Osborne sat down with Zoback recently to talk through the science of fracking and the environmental dangers posed by pumping chemically treated water into the ground. Listen closely, and you will never hear Zoback defend the practice. It’s the science that he stands behind, whether industry chooses to live by it or not. Ultimately, Zoback argues that “Switching from coal to natural gas is part of that process [of decarbonizing the energy sector]. It’s not the solution; it’s part of getting us where we need to go.”
Carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. are at their lowest level in 20 years. It’s not because of wind or solar power.
Halliburton Co. crew members who lost a radioactive rod used in drilling wells in West Texas weren’t guilty of criminal conduct, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said as a hunt for the tool entered a fourth day.
LONDON (Reuters) - Two of nuclear power's greatest champions dealt the industry a heavy blow on Friday, with Japan deciding to phase out its plants and France confirming plans to cut its heavy reliance on the technology following concern over the Fukushima disaster.
TOKYO — Japan said Friday that it would seek to phase out nuclear power by 2040 — a historic shift for a country that has long staked its future on such energy, but one that falls far short of the decisive steps the government had promised in the wake of the world’s second-largest nuclear plant disaster last year.
PARIS — After just four months in power, the governing coalition of the Socialist Party and the Greens is already marred by deep ideological divisions over energy policy, in particular how quickly and sharply France should move to reduce its heavy dependence on nuclear energy.
A madness is taking hold. In the same week as Arctic ice cover is recorded at its lowest ever extent, two major countries decide to reduce or eliminate their use of the only proven source of low-carbon power that can be deployed at sufficient scale to tackle our climate crisis. Japan plans to phase out nuclear entirely by 2030, its prime minister announced today. The French president has just revealed a plan to dramatically reduce the country's reliance on nuclear, which currently gives France some of the cleanest electricity in the world.
Britain's windfarms broke a new record on Friday by providing over four gigawatts of power to the National Grid – enough to light and heat more than 3m British homes.
It beats a previous high of 3.8GW set in May and comes as a further 4GW of wind turbines are being installed, half on land and half offshore.
Remember when our car-free future was supposed to be powered by jet packs, transporters, and family-sized flying saucers? That happy postwar vision has long since devolved from Jetsonian utopia to post–peak oil apocalypse, a new Mad Max era of economic collapse and medieval brutishness. But while electric bikes can’t quite match the autonomy and convenience that yesteryear’s imminent dream machines once promised, they do suggest a future marked by technological progress and greater individual freedom.
My favorite is from 1976. American Electric Power, one of the biggest coal-burning utilities in the country, ran an ad in the New York Times to hype the idea that America has more coal than it knows what to do with. In the ad, there's a big picture of a little boy's face, and he's in tears. Below is the headline: "By the time he's out of 8th grade, America will be out of oil and gas." The ad claims that America has only 12 years of oil and gas left -- but, lucky for us, we have 500 years worth of coal.
Humans were tampering with nature long before the Industrial Revolution’s steam and internal combustion engines arrived on the scene. The invention of agriculture around 8,000 years ago, some argue, significantly changed ecosystems as it spread around the globe.
NEW HARMONY, Ind. — The summer's extreme drought is on track of being one of the nation's costliest natural disasters since 1980, according to Chris Hurt, a Purdue University agricultural economist.
Speaking to nearly 100 area farmers during a breakfast presentation Thursday at the Posey County 4-H Fairgrounds, Hurt said this year's drought, could become the second-most expensive weather event ever, ranking behind only Hurricane Katrina.
In addition to direct impact on farm incomes, it will have a residual inflationary effect on grocery prices for years to come, he said.
Geneva (IANS) The ozone layer outside the Polar regions will take 40 years to recover to its pre-1980 levels, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Friday.
PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande on Friday called for deeper cuts in European Union carbon dioxide emissions as he sought to put the environment back at the top of the international agenda.
Hollande recommended a 40 percent cut in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030 and a 60 percent reduction by 2040 at the European Union level, well beyond the 20 percent target set for 2020.
The far reaching implications of global warming are becoming clear, from mass extinctions to underwater islands, monstrous storms and everywhere in between, but what about the increasing effect on public health? It falls under the radar, but in actuality, the siren is getting louder each year. So much so in fact, that epidemiologist George Luber is spearheading the CDC’s public health sphere on global climate change.
“That's because emerging science shows that people respond more favorably to warnings about climate change when it's portrayed as a health issue, rather than an environmental problem.”
The 2012 version shows that planting zones have been shifting northward as winters become more mild. But a researcher contends that this long-awaited map is already outdated.
Sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk to its smallest extent ever recorded, smashing the previous record minimum and prompting warnings of accelerated climate change.