Articles in topic "Policy/Politics"
On 18th September 2014 the Scottish People will have a referendum on their future within the United Kingdom where they will be asked the simple question: Should Scotland be an Independent Country? Yes or No.
Should the people say yes then this will not only have far reaching political and socio-economic consequences for Scotland and the rest of the UK but it will also leave the rest of the UK’s energy security in a parlous state since the bulk of the remaining oil and gas reserves of the North Sea and Atlantic margin lie in Scottish waters. Or is it that simple?
The University of Aberdeen will host a two day conference / debate on The Politics of Oil and Gas in a Changing UK on the 8th and 9th of May 2013. Entrance is free for all those who wish to attend.
Sailors assigned to Riverine Group 1 conduct maneuvers aboard Riverine Command Boat (Experimental) (RCB-X) at Naval Station Norfolk. The RCB-X is powered by an alternative fuel blend of 50 percent algae-based and 50 percent NATO F-76 fuels to support the secretary of the Navy’s efforts to reduce total energy consumption on naval ships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gregory N. Juday).
In 2010 I conducted an interview with Tom Hicks, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Navy (Energy). During the interview, Tom described the Navy’s efforts in pushing for widespread availability of biofuels for Naval operations. He stated that sourcing alternative energy is a top priority for the Navy, and would enhance its war-fighting capabilities. He said the Navy sees itself in a leadership role in driving a transition to “homegrown, secure, independent sources of fuel.”
The goal, as described by Tom, is for biofuels to make a major contribution toward the fuel needs of the Navy by 2020. The Navy has embarked upon an initiative called the “Great Green Fleet” in which they would deploy a strike group on all alternative fuels by 2016. By 2020, the goal is for 50% of all of the Navy’s energy consumption to come from alternative sources. In pursuit of this initiative, the Navy is doing research, and testing and certifying all of their engines on renewable fuels.
Globally, only two reports are published on an annual basis wherein the world’s energy situation is fully scrutinized. These have a huge impact because in many government and company decision boardrooms – at least in Western Europe - everything which is written inside the two reports are seen as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We are talking about the International Energy Outlook of the United States Energy Information Administration, and the World Energy Outlook of the International Energy Agency funded by the OECD.
A number of years ago China decided it needs its own version of the truth. To develop an expertise in generating models which encompass energy-economy-environment to understand how energy policy affects the future of China. It was decided at the highest levels to create 1) a short term outlook to 2015 which has just been published, and 2) A long term outlook to 2050 which will be published next year. They both encompass the Chinese and World energy situation. However, as usual the communication/language barrier - Mandarin is difficult to read for Westerners - makes this unbeknownst in the western world.
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to attend the first presentation in the western world of the new China Energy Outlook, on 16 October at the Grantham Institute in London, delivered by Professor Han Wenke and Dr. Yang Yufeng. Both work for the Chinese Energy Research Institute, which is a part of the National Development Reform Commission of China, the government body in charge of macroeconomic planning.
More details below the fold for a summary of their talks and the China Energy Outlook (Executive Summary, English starts at page 19.)
On the evening of the first day of the 10th conference of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO), in Vienna, Rembrandt asked me if I'd write the usual summary again. My immediate answer was "no". Lack of time and motivation left me far from wanting such an undertaking. Hours later a title popped up in my mind; the dead time at airports and on airplanes provided the necessary space for the content.
The title "last conference" can be interpreted in various ways. It can refer simply to the latest, it can also allude to this being the last ever, or even the last I'll ever attend. I haven't quite decided which it is. Below the fold is a short account of my feelings about ASPO 10 - may it shed some light on the title.
This is a guest post by Dave Rutledge. Professor Rutledge is the Tomiyasu Professor of Electrical Engineering at Caltech, and a former Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science there. This post originally appeared on Judy Curry's Climate Etc. blog here.
In this post, I consider the limited impacts of climate policy on fossil-fuel production and discuss estimates of fossil-fuel production in the long run. Since this is a cross post, with the original aimed at an audience with a climate interest, it includes introductory material that will be familiar to most Oil Drum readers. I would like to acknowledge the comments on my two earlier TOD posts, The Coal Question and Climate Change and The Coal Question, Revisited, that have helped me in writing this post.
1. Climate Policy and Fossil-Fuel Production
I will start with the notion that the response of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has slow components that will dominate over time, like the exchange with the deep ocean and weathering of rocks. David Archer expressed this vividly, “A better approximation of the lifetime of fossil fuel CO2 for public discussion might be 300 years, plus 25% that lasts forever.” This means that from a climate perspective, it really does not matter whether we burn a particular ton of coal now or at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution—what counts is the total that the world burns in the long run.
This is a guest post by Mike "Mish" Shedlock, who is an investment advisor representative with Sitka Pacific Capital Management. Mish blogs at Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis, where this post first appeared.
A major part of the United States' misguided policy on ethanol usage came to an end as the $6 billion-a-year ethanol subsidy dies
America's corn farmers have been benefiting from annual federal subsidies of around $6 billion in recent years, all in the name of ethanol used as an additive for the nation's vehicles.
That ends on Jan. 1, when the companies making ethanol will lose a tax credit of 46 cents per gallon, and even the ethanol industry is OK with it -- thanks in part to high oil prices that make ethanol competitive.
Subsidized since 1979 as a homegrown fuel cleaner than gasoline, corn ethanol had plenty of opponents, environmentalists among them.
Environmentalists question the cleaner energy premise -- adding factors like tractor diesel emissions and fertilizer runoff make it dirtier, they say.
"Corn ethanol is extremely dirty," Michal Rosenoer, biofuels manager for Friends of the Earth, said in heralding the tax credit's demise. "It leads to more climate pollution than conventional gasoline, and it causes deforestation as well as agricultural runoff that pollutes our water."
Opponents also see corn ethanol, which now takes a larger share of the U.S. corn crop than cattle, hogs and poultry, as a factor in driving food prices higher.
"The end of this giant subsidy for dirty corn ethanol is a win for taxpayers, the environment and people struggling to put food on their tables," Rosenoer added.
But there's a nearer-term battle brewing over corn-based ethanol. A 2005 law requires that 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel be produced by 2012 -- 6.25 billion gallons were produced in 2011. A 2007 revision gradually increases that to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
Does Thursday's announcement that the EU is considering to ban oil imports from Iran epitomise the draining of power from west to east? The big winners here will be China and India, who do not fear rising Iranian influence and who will gladly soak up any additional oil exports they may have to offer. However, ending this small dependency upon Iranian oil imports in Europe (Figure 2) does clear the way for military action without the need to ponder the immediate consequences on oil imports.
Figure 1 Iran displays export land traits where growing domestic consumption is eating into the oil available for export that has been declining slowly since 2003. Data from BP. Y-axis is barrels per day (1000s). Balance = production less consumption which is a proxy for net exports. Production = crude+condensate+NGL whilst consumption may include refinery "gains" and bio-fuel. In many countries there is also an active two-way trade in crude and refined products.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently issued a report called Report on the first Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR), which has as its purpose helping the DOE choose among conflicting priorities.
The new report sets priories based on a distorted view of the future. One issue is that it is trying to set priorities based on an overly optimistic view of energy supply presented in the EIA's International Energy Outlook 2011 (IEO 2011). Another issue is that it overlooks the way the US and world economy can be expected to change as a result of lower oil and natural gas supply. A third issue is that its view of climate change mitigations is based on a view of fossil fuel supply that is far greater than is likely to be the case.
The DOE needs to re-think its priorities for an entirely different kind of world--a world of energy scarcity. In a world of energy scarcity, citizens are poorer and less able to pay for basic services, much less higher-priced services. Maintaining basic transportation and electrical services for as much of the population as possible needs to be a top priority. Some government agency, presumably the DOE, will need to make certain that rationing systems are set up so that essential industries get the fuel they need and essential workers are able to obtain transportation to work.
This change in approach in priority-setting requires a very different mind-set than is currently being promulgated through the press. Let me start by explaining where we are today.
Like many of you, I am often unhappy with our political leaders. One thing that annoys me the most is that many will say or do just about anything to get elected. By now, you have surely heard the news that Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has promised a return to $2/gallon gasoline if she is elected president:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- President Michele Bachmann has a promise: $2 gas.
"Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again," Bachmann told a crowd Tuesday in South Carolina. "That will happen."
"The day that the president became president gasoline was $1.79 a gallon," Bachmann said. "Look what it is today."
The UK desperately needs a new energy strategy based on a realistic assessment of its assets, its needs and the options available to it. Unfortunately, its freedom for technical and financial manoevre is deeply restricted by its self-imposed Climate Change Act and its commitment to the EU's 20-20-20 targets. Its technically illiterate, if financially canny politicians and civil service do not appear to understand that the world’s financiers are not likely to place the required £200 billion of long-term investment into their vision of a "low carbon" infrastructure while this concept remains so woolly and badly defined. If the UK government continues on this course, it will lead the country toward certain energy failure.
After hundreds of years of imperial and industrial power, the UK has suddenly become more or less powerless as a world player. With its North Sea resources fast depleting just when the world’s upstream energy producers of oil, coal and gas are struggling to meet rising global demand, saddled with a public debt of £ 1 trillion, and a massive trade deficit, its leading role as an innovative, world-class centre of scientific and manufacturing know-how being ceded to Germany, Japan and now China, it is ill prepared to become a net energy importer. Yet energy import dependence is what the country is rapidly headed for.