Archive for the tag “Fracking”

News update

NASA: World Locked Into at Least 3 Feet of Sea Level Rise
Common Dreams
New research underway indicates that at least three feet of global sea level rise is near certain, NASA scientists have warned. Thats the higher range of the 1 to 3 feet level of rise the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave in its 2013 assessment. Sea levels have already risen 3 inches on average since 1992, with some areas experiencing as much as a 9-inch rise.

Climate change will alter ocean bacteria crucial to food chain – study
The Guardian UK
Climate change will have irreversible and unprecedented impacts on crucial ocean microorganisms that could trigger dramatic effects further up the food chain, according to scientists. The bacteria trichodesmium is known for surviving in nutrient-poor parts of the ocean, where it converts nitrogen gas into a material that can be used by other forms of life – from plankton to whales – which all require it to grow.

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste
Scientifc American
the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.

India prone to vector-borne diseases, heatwaves due to climate change
Down to Earth
Indias extreme vulnerability to climate change will have a direct impact on the health of its population, experts said at a seminar on Friday. The World Health Organization has predicted in a report that between 2030-50, climate change will cause 250,000 additional deaths. The Himalayan region is prone to vector-borne diseases, especially malaria and dengue, Ramesh Dhiman of the National Institute of Malaria Research, said at a seminar on “Climate Change and Health Risks”.

Organic farming to get a big boost in Maharashtra
The Indian Express
The Maharashtra government is drawing up a comprehensive plan to promote organic farming in a phased manner as an alternative to chemical fertilisers. The Ministry of Agriculture is preparing the draft and special allocations will be made to meet the target. The stress on organic farming reflects the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s view that chemical fertilisers should be done away with and organic manure should replace it.

WTO rules against India in solar panels dispute with the US
Live Mint
A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel has ruled against India in a dispute raised by the US over the country’s solar power programme, requiring the government to offer a level playing field to both foreign and domestic manufacturers of solar panels. India is likely to appeal against the dispute settlement panel’s ruling, which could give it a two-year breather to implement the programme.

India to face power surplus, 300 million people may not be able to afford
The Economic Times
India may be heading for a huge surplus of generation capacity because the 300 million people who dont have access to electricity also dont have the means to buy power from new plants that are being set up to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modis vision of power for all, experts said.

The Guardian UK
Local governments in China have submitted plans to relocate or upgrade almost 1,000 chemical plants in the wake of the massive explosions in Tianjin earlier this month that killed 147 people. The blast at a warehouse storing toxic chemicals was China’s worst industrial accident in recent years. There has been criticism it was located too close to densely populated residential areas. China’s industry minister, Miao Wei, said local governments were finally moving ahead to implement plans to relocate and upgrade chemical plants.

Answering Resistance From All Sides, Germany Moves to Ban GMO Crops
Common Dreams
Germany became the latest country in the European Union to take a stand against genetically modified (GMO) crops in its food supply. German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt told government officials that he will seek to implement the European Unions opt-out rule to stop GMO crop cultivation in the country, including those varieties which may be approved by the EU, according to documents seen by Reuters this week.

HBO documentary key driver of opposition to fracking, study finds
The Guardian UK
An Oscar-nominated HBO documentary that showed American homeowners near hydraulic fracturing sites setting fire to their tap water may have been the main trigger for a surge in public opposition to the oil and gas production technique, according to a study to be published next month. Gasland, produced by the film-maker Josh Fox in 2010, sparked a rise in online searches, social media chatter, news coverage, and environmental activism surrounding fracking that may have led to a series of local attempts to ban the industry in the years that followed, according to the paper which will be published in the American Sociology Review’s October edition.

News update

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF
The Guardian UK
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas.

The IMF Tells a Half-Truth
Richard Heinberg
It’s certainly helpful to have an accounting of the externalities of our collective fossil fuel consumption. But the choice of the word “subsidies” over the more precise “externalities” makes a difference: governments can cancel subsidies in the forms of tax breaks and gifts, but they can’t so easily cancel fossil fuel externalities without curtailing fossil fuel consumption—and that’s a big job, if they’re to do it in a way that doesn’t entail the rapid, uncontrolled collapse of society.

Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?
Larry Elliott, The Guardian UK
In terms of reducing global poverty capitalism has been a success, but this growth has put pressure on the planet. The question, therefore, is whether it is possible to marry two seemingly contradictory objectives. Can we imagine a future that is cleaner, greener and sustainable – one that avoids climate armageddon – without abandoning the idea of growth and, thus, forcing living standards into decline? The answer is that it will be hellishly difficult, but it is just about feasible if we make the right choices – and start making them now.

Seven Surprising Realities Behind The Great Transition to Renewable Energy
Earth Policy Institute
The global transition to clean, renewable energy and away from nuclear and fossils is well under way, with remarkable developments happening every day. The Great Transition by Lester Brown, Janet Larsen, Matt Roney, and Emily Adams lays out a tremendous range of these developments – here are seven that may surprise you.

How Sustainable is PV Solar Power?
Low Tech Magazine
Its generally assumed that it only takes a few years before solar panels have generated as much energy as it took to make them, resulting in very low greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional grid electricity. A more critical analysis shows that the cumulative energy and CO2 balance of the industry is negative, meaning that solar PV has actually increased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions instead of lowering them.

The Counterfeit Shale Revolution (pdf)
Arthur Berman
The shale revolution is counterfeit. Tight oil and shale gas are imitations of something valuable and shale promoters intentionally deceive the public about their true value. It is counterfeit because the cost of produc4on is more than the global economy can bear. Producers and analysts deceive the public with misleading and incorrect break-even prices that exclude important costs or are based on exaggerated reserves. There is no shale revolution: it is a final, desperate effort to squeeze the last remaining petroleum from the worst possible rock.

Are we approaching peak population growth?
Max Roser
Since the 18th century, the world population has seen a rapid increase; between 1900 and 2000 the increase in world population was three times as great as the increase during the entire previous history of humankind – in just 100 years the world population increased from 1.5 to 6.1 billion. But this development is now coming to an end, and we will not experience a similarly rapid increase in population growth over the course of this century.

Book Review of Overshoot by William R. Catton Jr.
Craig Straub, The Social Contract
Catton concludes that the human community is condemned to bet on an uncertain future. Misperception of the human situation will motivate efforts to pursue solutions which make matters worse. An ecological understanding of the human predicament will help avoid constructing the road to hell paved with good intentions.

News update

Its Official: Global Carbon Levels Surpassed 400 ppm for Entire Month
Common Dreams
Marking yet another grim milestone for an ever-warming planet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed that, for the first time in recorded history, global levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged over 400 parts per million (ppm) for an entire month—in March 2015. This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times, said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, in a press statement. Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.

Climate Change – Too Late To Halt?
Sanjeev Ghotge, Countercurrents.org
Since the CO2 concentration reached 400 ppm last year (2014), this means that the earths atmosphere will eventually heat up by 2 deg C, since we have no proven and tested technologies for decarbonizing the atmosphere. The time is now well and truly past for holding the line at 2 deg C. Roughly speaking, we are on course to reach 2 deg C by 2050, 4 deg C by 2100 and 6 deg C by 2150. A few years this way or that will hardly matter or disprove the basic science.

Beyond petroleum frackings collapse heralds the arrival of peak oil
Paul Mobbs, The Ecologist
The death of peak oil has been much exaggerated. Take out high-cost unconventional oil and production peaked ten years ago, and even North Americas fracking and tar sands boom has failed to open up new resources both big enough to make good the shortfall, and cheap enough to reward investors. We really do need to be thinking beyond petroleum.

Peak Russia + Peak USA means Peak World
Ron Patterson
World oil production jumped in 2011, hardly moved at all in 2013 but it was up by more than 1.5 million barrels per day in 2014. And after such a huge gain everyone and their brother were singing “peak oil is dead’. But if you scroll down through the 37 major world oil producers it becomes obvious that a majority of nations have peaked and most of them are in steep decline.

Why the World’s Appetite for Oil Will Peak Soon
Amy Myers Jaffe, The Wall Street Journal
The world’s economy is experiencing transformational changes that, I believe, will dramatically alter patterns of energy use over the next 20 years. Exponential gains in industrial productivity, software-assisted logistics, rapid urbanization, increased political turmoil in key regions of the developing world, and large bets on renewable energy are among the many factors that will combine to slow the previous breakneck growth for oil. The result, in my opinion, is as startling as it is world-changing: Global oil demand will peak within the next two decades.

How Much Longer Can The Oil Age Last?
Gaurav Agnihotri, Oilprice.com
Are the dynamics of global energy changing with current improvements in renewable energy sources and affordable new storage technologies? Can the oil age end in the near future? Will we ever stop feverishly analyzing the rise and fall of oil prices? Or, will oil remain irreplaceable in our life time?

Solving Soil Loss is Simple, But Requires a Mindset Change
Patrick M. Lydon, FinalStraw.org
By accounts of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, we have less than 60 years of farming left if we continue our modern chemical-industrial based farming processes. Natural farming, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, agroecology – there are many versions of sustainable agriculture, but the common thread they all tackle is the need to take better care of our soil and the environments in which we grow food. Why is this the least bit important to most people?

Food Security: The Urban Food Hubs Solution
Sabine OHara, Solutions Journal
Food security demands a diversified food system that includes urban communities as locations for food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste reduction/reuse. The Urban Food Hubs concept of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) tests the feasibility of small-scale urban food systems that include these four key components.

A Community Resilience Take on The Great Transition
Richard Heinberg
We can learn from crisis; cultural anthropology shows that. But, in this instance, we need to learn fast, and perhaps some organized effort to aid that process would be well spent. Planetary boundaries discourse could help explain to frightened masses why the world seems to be falling apart around them, while community resilience-building could help them adapt to changed conditions.

Destroying vs altering nature, the fragile vs the resilient Earth
Kurt Cobb
When we put nature in one category and humans in another, we make humans an outside and preeminent force over nature. We (falsely) imbue ourselves with god-like power to control nature. In this case, control means we get what we want without self-annihilating effects. For who could say that they are in control of a plummeting airliner headed for a crash just because they still have the ability to move the throttle.

News update

The Fracking Bust Hits Home
Wolf Richter, Wolf Street
In the latest reporting week, drillers idled another 84 rigs, the second biggest weekly cut ever, after idling 83 and 94 rigs in the two prior weeks. Only 1056 rigs are still drilling for oil, down 443 for the seven reporting weeks so far this year and down 553 – or 34%! – from the peak in October. Never before has the rig count plunged this fast this far.

Part Of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Starting Slow, Unstoppable Collapse
The Huffington Post
The huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse in an unstoppable way, two new studies show. Alarmed scientists say that means even more sea level rise than they figured. The worrisome outcomes wont be seen soon. Scientists are talking hundreds of years, but over that time the melt that has started could eventually add 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels.

Cold Fusion Takes Another Step Towards Credibility
Oilprice.com
Professor Alexander Parkhomov of Lomonosov Moscow State University has published a paper describing his successful replication of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat LENR or cold fusion device. It seems Parkhomov managed to acquire enough working data from Swedish and Italian academics to execute an experimental replication that offers data showing 2.74 more energy out than put in.

Why Cheap Oil Does Not Mean that Peak Oil is a Myth
Chris Rhodes, Energy Balance
Peak oil is a fundamental tenet of the Transition Towns concept, but the current return of “cheap oil” has muddied the waters about how to discuss it. Heres a response to the debate following the prevailing low oil price, set within the context of whether or not we can now dismiss peak oil, e.g. as is currently being contested.

Charts showing the long-term GDP-energy tie (Part 2 – A New Theory of Energy and the Economy)
Gail Tverberg, Our Finite World
In Part 1 of this series, I talked about why cheap fuels act to create economic growth. In this post, we will look at some supporting data showing how this connection works. The data is over a very long time period–some of it going back to the Year 1 C. E.

Who gets left with the unburnable carbon?
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
Christophe McGlade is a research associate in energy materials modelling at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. He recently co-authored, with Paul Ekins, a paper called “The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2°C”, a paper whose stark call to leave the substantial majority of fossil fuels in the ground generated a lot of media coverage

Fossil Fuel Use is Limited by Climate, if Not by Resources
Chris Rhodes, Energy Balance
A study by researchers at University College London conclude that it will be necessary to leave some two thirds of the fossil fuels available to us unburned, to achieve just a 50% chance of keeping global warming within the 2 degree C limit. From their analysis, they deduce more specifically that it is necessary to leave one third of the oil, half of the gas and more than 80% of the worlds coal in the ground, up to 2050.

Why People Dont Believe in Climate Science
Global Warming Is Real
It’s a hoax, it’s the sun, it’s scientists after grant money, it’s a play for world domination. Then there’s Al Gore, the favorite straw man for many climate change deniers. One thing is clear, facts don’t matter. A climate change narrative based solely on facts hasn’t worked and won’t work. Why is this?

How One Neighborhood in Seoul Sparked a Movement of Urban Villages
Cat Johnson, Shareable
In 1994, when city officials threatened to remove trees from the top of Mt. Sungmi, in Mapo-gu, Seoul for the creation of a water facility, a group of neighbors joined forces to oppose the plan. By banding together, a community was created. After defeating the plan for the facility, the community continued to organize, eventually becoming the Sungmisan Village which encompasses a one-kilometer radius at the base of the mountain and now connects over 700 families.

News update

Climate change inaction pushes doomsday clock closer to midnight
The Guardian, UK
The symbolic doomsday clock moved to three minutes before midnight on Thursday because of the gathering dangers of climate change and nuclear proliferation, signalling the gravest threat to humanity since the throes of the cold war. It was the closest the clock has come to midnight since 1984, when arms-control negotiations stalled and virtually all channels of communication between the US and the former Soviet Union closed down.

Mapping The Worlds Greatest Risks (According To Davos)
Zero Hedge
The Global Risks Landscape, a map of the most likely and impactful global risks, puts forward that, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, “interstate conflict” is once again a foremost concern. As The World Economic Forum notes, these multiple cross-cutting challenges can threaten social stability, perceived to be the issue most interconnected with other risks in 2015, and additionally aggravated by the legacy of the global economic crisis in the form of strained public finances and persistent unemployment.

Brazils Biggest Oil Company Is Headed For Disaster
Matt Badiali, Wolf Street
Of all the companies hurting from lower oil prices, few are in more danger than Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. The state-owned oil company owns some of the largest untapped oilfields in the world; so it’s a darling of emerging-market investors. But it isn’t. The company’s spending is out of control, its profit margins are shrinking, and its debt is soaring. In short, Petrobras is a study in how not to run an oil company.

Peak Oil Pulled a Fast One on Me
Allan S. Christensen, From Filmers to Farmers
What we might be about to find out is how vulnerable the United States’ shale boom is to low prices, and how profitable fracking actually is. Here’s Terry Lynn Karl in a recent conversation with Andrew Nikiforuk: “We are in a situation where oil supply limits can cause recessions, and oil supply gluts can cause stock market failures.” The reasons to get off oil seem to be piling up.

How Wall Street Drove the Oil & Gas Drilling Boom That’s Turning into a Disaster
Wolf Richter, Wolf Street
Wall Street made money off the entire spectrum of companies associated directly or indirectly with oil and gas. It was one heck of a party. Here are the top 10 banks that in 2014 extracted the most investment-banking revenues from the oil and gas sector, or rather from its investors. Together, the ten skimmed off $3.52 billion last year.

Off-Grid Energy in India: Identifying Early Adopter Markets
Sanjoy Sanyal and Pamli Deka, The Energy Collective
The potential market for off-grid electricity in India is large, with more than 300 million people living without access to electricity. With such an expansive market, how do enterprises decide where and how to focus? Is the market selection based on a robust methodology or something more akin to a blindfolded dart game? Should companies focus on a small niche market or is there a need for diversification from day one of operations?

Whiplash!
Dmitry Orlov, Club Orlov
The fix for low oil prices is low oil prices. Past some point high-priced producers will naturally stop producing, the excess inventory will get burned up, and the price will recover. Not only will it recover, but it will probably spike, because a country littered with the corpses of bankrupt oil companies is not one that is likely to jump right back into producing lots of oil.

What Will 2015 Do For Peak Oil?
Ron Patterson, Peak Oil Barrel
The Cornucopians are exuberant, they believe that collapsing of oil prices dealt the death knell for peak oil. An oil glut, they say, is what we have, not peak oil. But an oil glut is exactly what we would expect at the very peak. After all, that is what peak oil is, that is the point in time when the world produces more oil than ever in history… and the most it ever will produce.

2015: the bad news

He who laughs has not yet heard the bad news.
Bertolt Brecht

(Editors Note: As a necessary corrective to the unbridled optimism of the mainstream media, heres a selection of forecasts for 2015 by some of the most insightful alternative voices on world politics, energy and the economy. For those in a hurry, heres a one-line summary: a global recession may be around the corner.)

The Cold Wet Mackerel of Reality
John Michael Greer
One of the entertainments 2015 has in store for us is a thumping economic crisis here in the US, and in every other country that depends on our economy for its bread and butter. The scale of the crash depends on how many people bet how much of their financial future on the fantasy of an endless frack-propelled boom, but my guess is it’ll be somewhere around the scale of the 2008 real estate bust. (Also read Greers follow-up post: A Camp Amid the Ruins)

Forecast 2015 — Life in the Breakdown Lane
James Howard Kunstler
The signal event of 2015 will be the disintegration of Tom Friedman’s global economy, the trade and banking relations we have known for about a quarter century, especially the frictionless flow of goods and capital between East and West.

Oil and the Economy: Where are We Headed in 2015-16?
Gail Tverberg
Eventually we are likely to experience a much worse situation than we did in the 2007-2009 period, although this may not be evident at first. It will be only over a period of time, after some of the initial “dominoes fall” that we will see what is really happening.

Five energy surprises for 2015
Kurt Cobb
The coming year is likely to be as full of surprises in the field of energy as 2014 was. We just don’t know which surprises! I am not predicting that any of the following will happen, and they will be surprises to most people if they do. But, I think there is an outside chance that one or more will occur, and this would move markets and policy debates in unexpected directions.

Oil Price Scenarios For 2015 And 2016
Euan Mearns
In this post I use an empirical supply and demand dynamic to try and constrain the oil price a year from now and in 2016. The outcome is heavily dependent upon assumptions made about supply and demand and the behavior of OPEC and the banking sector. Three different scenarios are presented with December 2015 prices ranging from $45 to $100 / bbl.

The bear is back: A cautionary tale of global gloom
Gerard Minack, former Morgan Stanley strategist
The problem is the next crisis will not be in the periphery and it will not be in the banks; it will be economic and it will be in the core.

11 Predictions of Economic Disaster in 2015 from Top Experts All Over the Globe
Centre for Research on Globalization
Over the past couple of years, we have all watched as global financial bubbles have gotten larger and larger. Despite predictions that they could burst at any time, they have just continued to expand. But just like we witnessed in 2001 and 2008, all financial bubbles come to an end at some point, and when they do implode the pain can be extreme.

News update

The First Shale Casualty: WBH Energy Files For Bankruptcy; Many More Coming
Zero Hedge
While the mainstream media continues to chant the happy-clappy side of lower oil prices, now, we have the first casualty of the shale oil leverage debacle as WSJ reports, on Sunday, a private company that drills in Texas, WBH Energy LP, and its partners, filed for bankruptcy protection, saying a lender refused to advance more money.

Water stress may curtail fracking, says World Resources Institute
BBC News
Water shortages could hinder fracking for shale oil and gas in many parts of the world, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has said. In the first report of its kind, the WRI found that 38% of the worlds shale resources were in arid areas or in those with severe water stress. Accessing fresh water was likely to present serious challenges, it said.

Natural gas: The fracking fallacy
Nature
The United States is banking on decades of abundant natural gas to power its economic resurgence. This paper in leading science journal Nature cites new research and concludes that it may be wishful thinking. The paper has prompted the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the University of Texas to join issue with Nature. A letter sent by EIA to the journal chides it for inaccurate and distorted reporting. You can follow the ongoing debate at Inside Energy.

This Oil Thing Is The Real Deal
The Automatic Earth
It’s no longer about which factors bring down oil prices, that’s old news; it’s about what oil prices bring down. The oil price drop is a much bigger event than the US subprime housing crisis, it’s bigger than everything put together that happened in 2008. And this time, central banks are lame sitting ducks.

The Real Cause Of Low Oil Prices: Interview With Arthur Berman
Oilprice.com
In a third exclusive interview with James Stafford of Oilprice.com, energy expert Arthur Berman explores:
• How the oil price situation came about and what was really behind OPEC’s decision
• What the future really holds in store for U.S. shale
• Why technology doesn’t have much influence on oil prices
• How the global energy mix is likely to change but not in the way many might have hoped

Peak Oil From The Demand Side: A Prophetic New Model
Peak Oil Barrel
The most attention-grabbing attempts to predict oil futures have come from geologists and environmental activists, who tend to look solely at production. An overlooked doctoral thesis by Christophe McGlade, Uncertainties in The Outlook for Oil and Gas, in contrast, focuses on how both supply and demand might be constrained in the coming decades. Peak oil researchers should take note of McGlade’s thesis because he predicted, in November 2013, that oil prices would sink, and that they will stay low throughout the second half of this decade.

News update

Why the Fracking Phenomenon Will Leave Us High and Dry
Asher Miller, Post Carbon Institute
A new, landmark report shows that hopes of a long-term golden era in American oil & gas production are unfounded.

Eight Pieces of Our Oil Price Predicament
Gail Tverberg
A person might think that oil prices would be fairly stable. Prices would set themselves at a level that would be high enough for the majority of producers, so that in total producers would provide enough–but not too much–oil for the world economy. The prices would be fairly affordable for consumers. And economies around the world would grow robustly with these oil supplies, plus other energy supplies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work that way recently.

Is there really an oil glut?
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Yes, the price drop has only just occurred, and, of course, we cant expect that it will have an immediate affect on consumption. But, increased consumption would likely take the oil markets back above $100 per barrel since small changes in supply and demand tend to move the oil price sharply. At the $100 level no one would be calling the situation a glut.

How can oil as dirty and destructive as the tar sands be profitable? Massive subsidies.
Priceofoil.org
A new report by Oil Change International, Cashing in on All of the Above: U.S. Fossil Fuel Production Subsidies under Obama, demonstrates the huge and growing amount of subsidies going to the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. every year. In 2013, the U.S. federal and state governments gave away $21.6 billion in subsidies for oil, gas, and coal exploration and production.

IPCC Report Says Climate Change Is ‘Severe, Widespread and Irreversible’
Bill McKibben, Ecowatch
Breaking the power of the fossil fuel industry won’t be easy, especially since it has to happen fast. It has to happen, in fact, before the carbon we’ve unleashed into the atmosphere breaks the planet. I’m not certain we’ll win this fight—but, thanks to the IPCC, no one will ever be able to say they weren’t warned.

Why We Can’t Ditch the 2 C Warming Goal
Jonathan Coomey, EcoWatch
The warming limit approach is the most powerful analytical way of thinking about the climate problem that the climate science and policy community has yet devised. So the answer is not to “ditch the 2 C limit,” but to use it to show (in Victor and Kennel’s words) that “politicians … pretend that they are organizing for action when, in fact, most have done little.

Hydropower May Be Huge Source of Methane Emissions
Bobby Magill, Climate Central
Reservoirs and hydropower are often thought of as climate friendly because they don’t burn fossil fuels to produce electricity. But what if reservoirs that store water and produce electricity were among some of the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions?

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world
New Scientist
As protests against financial power sweep the world, science may have confirmed the protesters worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

Terrifying US cluelessness on interest rates suggests politics is powerless
Andrew Critchlow, The Telegraph UK
Clues to the current market turmoil can be found in the Scottish referendum, the Ebola outbreak, and a set of seventeen dots. The last of these are the “dots diagrams” that the US Federal Reserve uses to illustrate where its officials think interest rates will be in the future. They provide a glimpse inside the decision-making process of the main monetary control room in the world. And the picture that emerges is, frankly, terrifying.

Report: Drilling Deeper

A reality check on U.S. Government forecasts for a lasting tight oil & shale gas boom

David Hughes, Post Carbon Institute

Drilling Deeper reviews the twelve shale plays that account for 82% of the tight oil production and 88% of the shale gas production in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) reference case forecasts through 2040. It utilizes all available production data for the plays analyzed, and assesses historical production, well- and field-decline rates, available drilling locations, and well-quality trends for each play, as well as counties within plays. Projections of future production rates are then made based on forecast drilling rates (and, by implication, capital expenditures). Tight oil (shale oil) and shale gas production is found to be unsustainable in the medium- and longer-term at the rates forecast by the EIA, which are extremely optimistic.

This report finds that tight oil production from major plays will peak before 2020. Barring major new discoveries on the scale of the Bakken or Eagle Ford, production will be far below the EIA’s forecast by 2040. Tight oil production from the two top plays, the Bakken and Eagle Ford, will underperform the EIA’s reference case oil recovery by 28% from 2013 to 2040, and more of this production will be front-loaded than the EIA estimates. By 2040, production rates from the Bakken and Eagle Ford will be less than a tenth of that projected by the EIA. Tight oil production forecast by the EIA from plays other than the Bakken and Eagle Ford is in most cases highly optimistic and unlikely to be realized at the medium- and long-term rates projected.

Shale gas production from the top seven plays will also likely peak before 2020. Barring major new discoveries on the scale of the Marcellus, production will be far below the EIA’s forecast by 2040. Shale gas production from the top seven plays will underperform the EIA’s reference case forecast by 39% from 2014 to 2040, and more of this production will be front-loaded than the EIA estimates. By 2040, production rates from these plays will be about one-third that of the EIA forecast. Production from shale gas plays other than the top seven will need to be four times that estimated by the EIA in order to meet its reference case forecast.

Over the short term, U.S. production of both shale gas and tight oil is projected to be robust-but a thorough review of production data from the major plays indicates that this will not be sustainable in the long term. These findings have clear implications for medium and long term supply, and hence current domestic and foreign policy discussions, which generally assume decades of U.S. oil and gas abundance.

For more details and to download the report, click here.

News update

U.S. Streaks Past Saudi Arabia as Worlds Largest Oil Producer
Breitbart News
The United States surpassed all other countries this year with daily crude oil and other petroleum liquids reaching 11 million barrels per day (mbd). Since the beginning of 2011, U.S. liquid fuels grew by more than 4 mbd, including 3 mbd of crude oil. The growth of U.S. production has been the “main factor counterbalancing the supply disruptions on the global oil market” and “has contributed to a decrease in crude oil price volatility since 2011”, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).

Oil supply and demand shuffled as new tight shale makes impact felt
North Denver News
World markets for petroleum and other liquid fuels have entered a period of dynamic change—in both supply and demand. Potential new supplies of oil from tight and shale resources have raised optimism for significant new sources of global liquids. The changes in the overall market environment have led the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to focus on reassessing long-term trends in liquid fuels markets for the 2014 edition of itsInternational Energy Outlook (IEO2014).

Is the Shale Revolution a Ponzi Scheme or the End of Peak Oil?
Reason
Rising prices at the beginning of the 21st century did, in fact, promote more exploration and faster technological progress, resulting in the shale revolution the U.S. is currently enjoying. If this dynamic is not unduly hampered, its a good bet that the prophets of bubble-bursting doom are wrong yet again. (Also see: www.shalebubble.org)

Reliance looking to sell US shale gas interest
Business Standard
Reliance Industries is looking to sell its 45 per cent stake in the Eagle Ford basin shale oil and gas venture in the US for an estimated USD 4.5 billion. RIL, which bought 45 per cent interest in Pioneer Natural Resources Cos Eagle Ford shale formation of south Texas for USD 1.3 billion, is working with Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to find a buyer, industry sources said.

Energy Expert Interview Series: Bill Reinert
Big Picture Agriculture
Bill Reinert was national manager of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s advanced-technology group for the past 15 years prior to his retirement in 2013. A staunch environmentalist, he helped establish a global model for cleaner energy use in the Galapagos Islands in conjunction with the WWF. As a futurist, and a leading global expert on energy and transportation trends, he helped to found the annual “Meeting of the Minds” events which focus on future smart urban planning, transportation, and energy use.

World War III: Its here and energy is largely behind it
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Ive been advancing a thesis for several months with friends that World War III is now underway. Its just that its not the war we thought it would be, that is, a confrontation between major powers with the possibility of a nuclear exchange. Instead, we are getting a set of low-intensity, on-again, off-again conflicts involving non-state actors (ISIS, Ukrainian rebels, Libyan insurgents) with confusing and in some cases nonexistent battle lines and rapidly shifting alliances such as the shift from fighting the Syrian regime to helping it indirectly by fighting ISIS, the regimes new foe.

Peak oil is here: the view from Barbastro
Ugo Bardi, Resource Crisis
Two days of conference in Barbastro were a hard reminder that oil is still the most important resource in the world. At the conference, a number of impressive speakers lined up to show their data and their models on peak oil. Antonio Turiel, Kjell Aleklett, David Hughes, Gail Tverberg, Michael Hook, Pedro Prieto. From what they said, it is clear that the future it is not any more a question of arguing about resources and reserves, lining up barrels of oil as if they were pieces to be played on a giant chessboard. It is not any more a question of plotting curves and extrapolating data. No: it is more a question of money. We are not running out of oil, we are running out of the financial resources needed to extract it.

The Thermodynamic Theory of Ecology
Quanta Magazine
John Harte, a professor of ecology at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed what he calls the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) theory of ecology, which may offer a solution to a long-standing problem in ecology: how to calculate the total number of species in an ecosystem, as well as other important numbers, based on extremely limited information — which is all that ecologists, no matter how many years they spend in the field, ever have.

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