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No thanks to the govt, but coal may be on its way out in India anyway

The Centres recent directive to state-owned power generation firms to stop coal imports and instead buy domestic coal, saw skeptical voices warning against seeing it as a sign of new commitment to reduce coal consumption. However, there’s good reason to the hope that India may be moving away from coal, irrespective of the governments intent.
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News update

Trader Who Scored $100 Million Payday Bets Shale Is Dud
From Bloomberg News
Andy Hall, who was once awarded a $100 million trading bonus, has not seen his good fortune carry over to his bet on shale.

How Did Oil Make a Comeback?
Michael T. Klare, The Nation
Just five years ago, experts were predicting an imminent peak and decline in global oil production. Instead, we’re in the middle of a historic boom. What happened?

Oil rush in America
By Michael T. Klare, TomDipatch.com
Considering all the talk about global warming, peak oil, carbon divestment, and renewable energy, you’d think that oil consumption in the United States would be on a downward path. By now, we should certainly be witnessing real progress toward a post-petroleum economy. As it happens, the opposite is occurring. U.S. oil consumption is on an upward trajectory, climbing by 400,000 barrels per day in 2013 alone and, if current trends persist, it should rise again both this year and next.

Ozone layer shows signs of recovery after 1987 ban on damaging gases
From The Guardian
The ozone layer that shields life from the suns cancer-causing ultraviolet rays is showing its first sign of thickening after years of dangerous depletion, a UN study said on Wednesday. But continued rises in other greenhouse gases, as well as illicit usage of carbon tetrachloride, still has potential to undo gains.

India: The Deafening Silence On Climate Change
By Avinay Umesh-Saiyogita, Countercurrents.org
India is the third largest country in terms of carbon emission. India is the second largest country in terms of population. India is the the country to hold the biggest democratic elections in the world! To exclude the rest, these three factors are enough to highlight the rising importance of India globally. Still, why is there a deafening silence on climate change in India, not only by the media but also by the politicians, subsequently followed by the people as the two former agencies are responsible for prioritizing any agenda.

Three Limits To Growth
By Herman Daly, Steadystate.org
As production (real GDP) grows, its marginal utility declines, because we satisfy our most important needs first. Likewise, the marginal disutilitiy inflicted by growth increases, because as the economy expands into the ecosphere we sacrifice our least important ecological services first (to the extent we know them). A look at these rising costs and declining benefits of growth.

Can supermarkets ever be sustainable?
By Rob Hopkins, Transition Network
Walmart’s new boss is on a mission. Will his drive for renewable energy and waste reduction transform the supermarket model?

On becoming a Ecomodernist
From Peakoil.com
The last few years have seen the emergence of a new environmental movement — sometimes called ecomodernism, other times eco-pragmatism — that offers a positive vision of our environmental future, rejects Romantic ideas about nature as unscientific and reactionary, and embraces advanced technologies, including taboo ones, like nuclear power and genetically modified organisms, as necessary to reducing humankind’s ecological footprint.

News update

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for irreversible collapse?
A new study sponsored by Nasas Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of collapse are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history. Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to precipitous collapse often lasting centuries have been quite common.

Download a copy (pdf file) of the study: A Minimal Model for Human and Nature Interaction, authored by Safa Motesharrei, Jorge Rivas and Eugenia Kalnay.
From The Guardian

 Global riot epidemic due to demise of cheap fossil fuels
If anyone had hoped that the Arab Spring and Occupy protests a few years back were one-off episodes that would soon give way to more stability, they have another thing coming. The hope was that ongoing economic recovery would return to pre-crash levels of growth, alleviating the grievances fueling the fires of civil unrest, stoked by years of recession. But this hasnt happened. And it wont. Instead the post-2008 crash era, including 2013 and early 2014, has seen a persistence and proliferation of civil unrest on a scale that has never been seen before in human history.
From The Guardian

Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, has released a stark report on global warming. The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.
From the New York Times

Warm, too warm, and warmer still: The climate movement must face up to its colossal failure
There is no disputing the climate movement’s breadth, depth, diligence, passion or commitment. Crucially, it’s also right, fighting for nothing less than the future of our civilisation. But playing out in slow motion in front of our eyes, we are witnessing its complete collapse. Sustainability conferences hijacked by oil officials and sponsored by Big Oil are but symptoms of a deeper malaise.
From www.eco-business.com

Where Does the Flatness of Oil Production Come From?
For CONVENTIONAL oil, the peak annual global production was about 30 billion barrels (in 2010), but it is now down by about 10%. The TOTAL of global oil production, however, has been more or less flat since about 2002. The discrepancy is due to the fact that the grand total includes UNCONVENTIONAL oil (shale oil, tar-sands oil, natural-gas-liquids, etc.). Mysteriously, the decrease in conventional oil and the increase in unconventional oil balance each other out almost perfectly. But this doesnt make sense. How is it possible that the rise in unconventional oil and the decline in conventional oil and almost exactly cancel each other out, keeping the grand total of annual oil production continuing flat year after year?
By Peter Goodchild

The Crocodiles of Reality
Ive suggested in several previous posts that the peak oil debate may be approaching a turning point—one of those shifts in the collective conversation in which topics that have been shut out for years or decades finally succeed in crashing the party, and other topics that have gotten more than their quota of attention during that time get put out to pasture or sent to the glue factory. I’d like to talk for a moment about some of the reasons I think that’s about to happen, and in the process, give a name to one of the common but generally unmentionable features of contemporary economic life.
By John Michael Greer

Video: Agriculture in a Changing World
Agriculture is the oldest environmental problem, the Land Institutes Wes Jackson tells us early in this 27-minute video. Through interviews with 11 scientists, researchers and environmental experts, this short documentary considers that fate of agriculture and the environment in the age of agri-business and climate change. Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, Tad Patzek , Wendell Berry, Mark Shepard and the rest of the cast explain that big agricultures insatiable need for revenue not only afflicts the environment with toxic fertilizers, pesticides and carbon emissions, it degrades the state of agriculture itself by destroying the soil and subverting the natural evolution of animals, plants and insects. It is as unsustainable as it is unstoppable.
From www.postcarbon.org

Peak Oil Review Mar 17
by Tom Whipple, originally published by ASPO-USA
From www.resilience.org

 

 

Review: The real price of development

Book Review in The Hindu, 29 October 2013

Creating Space: Ecological Limits and Economic Development by Ramprasad Sengupta; Oxford University Press. Rs. 1250

Many sins are committed in the name of development. We are becoming aware that much of what were hailed as achievements over the past few centuries were actually “sordid boons.” Curiously, the words ecology and economics have a common root, oikos, which means ‘habitat’ in ancient Greek. But dialogues between economists and ecologists/environmentalists on how to achieve development with the least incomprehension of, and violence to, habitat have been of recent origin.

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