Archive for the tag “Renewable energy”

Sagar Dhara: The climate challenge is deeper than technology

DEVELOPMENT AND DISARMAMENT ROUNDTABLE

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Technology’s role in a climate solution
If the world is to avoid “severe, widespread, and irreversible [climate] impacts,” carbon emissions must decrease quickly—and achieving such cuts, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, depends in part on the availability of “key technologies.” But arguments abound against faith in technological solutions to the climate problem. Electricity grids may be ill equipped to accommodate renewable energy produced on a massive scale. Many technological innovations touted in the past have failed to achieve practical success. Even successful technologies will do little good if they mature too late to help avert climate disaster. Below, experts from India, the United States, and Bangladesh address the following questions: To what extent can the world depend on technological innovation to address climate change? And what promising technologies—in generating, storing, and saving energy, and in storing greenhouse gases or removing them from the atmosphere—show most potential to help the world come to terms with global warming? Read more…

News update

Burning all fossil fuels will melt entire Antarctic ice-sheet, study shows
The Guardian, UK
Burning all the world’s coal, oil and gas would melt the entire Antarctic ice-sheet and cause the oceans to rise by over 50m, a transformation unprecedented in human history. The conclusion of a new scientific study shows that, over the course of centuries, land currently inhabited by a billion people would be lost below water. “For the first time we have shown there is sufficient fossil fuel to melt all of Antarctica,” said Ricarda Winkelmann, at the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who led the research published in the journal Science Advances.

Sooty South Asian air and global warming
Nalaka Gunawardene, Scidev.net
Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas capable of causing global warming and is not the worst culprit. Black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons and ground level ozone need to be controlled. In South Asia black carbon from cooking stoves and fuels like diesel, coal and wood are problematic.

Indian govt to allow private sector to manage 40% of forests
Hindustan Times
The government is set to throw open the management of up to 40% of Indian forests to the private sector to revive degraded forests but experts warn it may destroy complex ecosystems and deprive local communities of a livelihood. The environment ministry issued guidelines to the states last month, where it argued it didn’t have the resources to manage forests well and laid down the procedure to lease out degraded forests to private companies, who would “carry out afforestation and extract timber”.

Cleaning coal instead of wishing it away
Rahul Tongia, The Hindu
So called “clean coal” is under development worldwide. But carbon capture and sequestration is some years away from commercialisation, let alone competitive commercialisation. Thus, “cleaner coal” — in the form of more efficient coal plants — requires innovation to work well with Indian (high-ash) coal. Such efforts need support, ranging from technology, to policy support and financing.

Coal mining sector running out of time, says Citigroup
The Guardian, UK
US banking giant Citigroup says the global coal industry is set for further pain, predicting an acceleration of mine closures, liquidations and bankruptcies. The value of listed coal companies monitored by Citi has shrunk from $50bn (£32bn) in 2012 to $18bn in 2018, a trend it believes will continue. “On the demand side we think thermal coal is cyclically and structurally challenged and that current market conditions are likely to persist,” it says in a report.

Coal prices hit 12-year low as demand from China, India down
Kseboa.org
Coal futures have fallen to 12-year lows, hit by soaring production and a slowdown in global buying, including from India and China which until recently have been pillars of strong demand. Benchmark API2 2016 coal futures last settled at $52.85 a tonne, a level not seen since November 2003. The contract is now over 75 percent below its 2008 all-time peak and more than 60 percent below its most recent high following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan

$250 billion opportunity to invest in renewables: Piyush Goyal
Live Mint
India has a $250 billion investment opportunity in the renewable energy space, said Piyush Goyal, minister of power, coal and renewable energy, at Mint’s fifth energy conclave in New Delhi on Friday. This includes the peripheral transmission and generation segments as well. India plans to have 100,000 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity by 2022. The government has also set a target of generating 60,000MW from wind power by then.

Is This The Breakthrough Fusion Researchers Have Been Waiting For?
Michael McDonald, Oilprice.com
Fusion power may have just had the long-awaited breakthrough its backers have been waiting years for. A small secretive company in California called Tri Alpha Energy has been working on fusion power for years. It has built a machine that forms a high temperature ball of superheated gas and holds it together for 5 milliseconds without decay. That tiny timeframe is enough to get backers of the technology excited as it represents a huge leap forward in comparison with other techniques tried in the past.

The choir that sings out of tune
Nimesh Ved, The Hindu
A friend asked me on Facebook if we consider the impact of travel, especially air travel, on our ecological footprint. Surprisingly, many justified it as a ‘positive’ action. How can anyone justify flying in and out repeatedly for conferences? Doesn’t going for a study tour, for example, leave its own ecological footprint? We cannot do without travel and its resulting ecological footprint, but can we at least be conscious of the issue, discuss it and look at our own actions critically?

Picturing the End of Fossil Fuels
Bill McKibben
In the energy world, though, I’m willing to bet that these images are poison to the fossil fuel industry. It’s not just because of their sheer inhuman oversized ugliness, but because they manage to look somehow so antique. Or rather, so modern in a postmodern world. Even without understanding the science of climate change—the horror that the carbon from that digger and that drill rig is driving—you have a visceral sense that they’re in the wrong moment, the wrong mood.

 

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. That’s 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
India’s 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 don’t have access to electricity also don’t have the means to buy power from new plants that are being set up to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 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 Union’s “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

Doomsday in 10 years: India may run out of water by 2025
Nihar Gokhale, Catch News
We know quite well that water is scarce. Many even imagine that a Third World War will be fought over water. Nonetheless, the thought of taps running dry doesn’t come naturally. But maybe it is time to wake up – doomsday is likely just 10 years from now. This alarming figure was emphasised in the last Parliament session. In the Question Hour, Sanwar Lal Jat, the junior minister for water resources, quoted a study by a private consulting firm that said India won’t have enough water for its people by 2025.

How India Can Cut Short-term Carbon Emissions 70%
Darryl D’Monte, IndiaSpend
As India works on its voluntary commitments to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Indian experts have explained how the country could cut its carbon emissions from short-lived climate pollutants by nearly three-fourths using low-cost methods and, in the process, transform the lives of the poor. The US, EU and China are among the major countries which have declared their commitments; the global community is waiting to see what India does.

The Latest Science on Global Warming (by James Hansen & others)
Eric Zuesse, Countercurrents.org
Previous estimates of the coastal cities that will be flooded out of existence have been overly optimistic. The situation will likely be worse than has been projected. But measures can be taken that will probably succeed at preventing the outcome from being even worse than that.

July 2018 was warmest month ever recorded for the globe
Science Daily
The July average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.46°F (0.81°C) above the 20th century average. As July is climatologically the warmest month for the year, this was also the all-time highest monthly temperature in the 1880-2018 record, at 61.86°F (16.61°C), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.14°F (0.08°C).

Plan for Paris: looking beyond emission cuts
Sujatha Byravan and Sudhir Chella Rajan, South Asia Monitor
In the lead up to the Paris Climate Summit — Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 — an important buzzword in international climate circles is INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) that each country needs to commit itself to as its climate policy. Much of this is tacitly expected to mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions rather than adaptation, which would be about transforming or changing systems and institutions to enable us live in a warmer world. While we eventually have to reduce emissions to zero in order not to completely destroy the earth’s ecosystems, we also need to learn how to live on a planet that is on average at least about 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than in pre-industrial times.

Entering the Mega-Drought Era in America
William deBuyes, Tom Dispatch
On the U.S. Drought Monitor’s current map, a large purple bruise spreads across the core of California, covering almost half the state. Purple indicates “exceptional drought,” the direst category, the one that tops both “severe” and “extreme.” If you combine all three, 95% of the state is covered. In other words, California is hurting.

Why an Oil Glut May Lead to a New World of Energy
Michael T. Klare, Tom Dispatch
Major producers continue to pump out record levels of crude and world demand remains essentially flat. The result: a global oil glut that is again driving prices toward the energy subbasement.  While most oil-company executives continue to insist that a turnaround is sure to occur in the near future, some analysts are beginning to wonder if what’s underway doesn’t actually signal a fundamental transformation of the industry.

Wind Energy Could Blow U.S. Coal Industry Away
Oilprice.com
Though solar energy has become the poster child for renewable energy generally, the strongest player in the game, for now, is wind. Wind leads solar energy in capacity installed as well as output (world solar capacity passed 200 GW this year); and other than a few welcome cases (so far) where PV comes in under 5 cents per kWh, wind is generally cheaper.

Germany Struggles With Too Much Renewable Energy
Gaurav Agnihotri, Oilprice.com
Germany and its neighbors are now facing an unusual problem. With the dramatic increase in green energy usage, Germany is generating so much electricity from renewables that it is finding it hard to handle it. The excess electricity that is generated is being spilled over to its neighboring countries, thereby increasing the threat of a power blackout should there be a sudden supply disruption.

India Is Now World’s Fastest-Growing Major Polluter

620smoke

Sajai Jose

For the first time ever, the year 2014 saw India’s carbon dioxide emissions growth accounting for the largest share of global emissions growth, according to a new global report. India’s CO2emissions from energy use had increased by 8.1% during the year, making it the world’s fastest-growing major polluter.

It was the single-most significant trend revealed in the latest edition of British Petroleum’s comprehensive Statistical Review of World Energy, but the Indian media got the story upside down. Most coverage celebrated India’s sky-high energy-consumption figures, while glossing over its record-breaking emissions growth, a historical milestone with serious implications. Read more…

News update

G7 leaders bid ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to carbon fuels
Reuters
Leaders of the world’s major industrial democracies resolved on Monday to wean their energy-hungry economies off carbon fuels, marking a major step in the battle against global warming that raises the chances of a U.N. climate deal later this year. The Group of Seven’s energy pledge capped a successful summit for host Angela Merkel, who revived her credentials as a “climate chancellor” and strengthened Germany’s friendship with the United States at the meeting in a Bavarian resort. (Also read: Merkel convinces Canada and Japan on CO2)

India’s energy consumption increase at all-time high: BP
Livemint.com
India’s energy consumption increased by 7.1% in 2014, reaching an all-time high and accounting for 34.7% of the global consumption increment in 2014, said British oil and gas giant BP Plc. in its review of world energy consumption in 2014. The note by BP, called as the BP Statistical Review 2014, said India’s domestic energy consumption reached an all-time high in 2014 with the year seeing the fastest growth for the last five years.

BP boss widens transatlantic rift in energy industry over climate change
The Guardian UK
Bob Dudley,CEO of British Petroleum, said the UN’s global warming summit in December needed to broker agreements that encourage energy efficiency, renewable power such as wind and the use of gas. His comments came amid signs of a transatlantic rift in the oil and gas industry over how to tackle global warming. Last week, BP and a group of European oil companies including Shell and Total of France wrote a letter to the Financial Times calling for “widespread and effective” carbon pricing to be part of a Paris deal. It was dismissed by John Watson, chief executive of US-based Chevron, who said he believed that putting a price on carbon emissions was unworkable.

No, BP, the U.S. did NOT surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production
Kurt Cobb
Even the paper of record for the oil industry, Oil & Gas Journal, got it wrong. With the release of the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy, media outlets appeared to be taking dictation rather than asking questions about which countries produced the most oil in 2014. If they had asked questions, they would have ended up with a ho-hum headline announcing that last year Russia at 10.1 million barrels per day (mbpd) and Saudi Arabia at 9.7 mbpd were once again the number one and number two producers of crude oil including lease condensate (which is the definition of oil). The United States at 8.7 mbpd remained in third place.

Why EIA, IEA, and BP Oil Forecasts are Too High
Gail Tverberg
It is easy to get the idea that we have a great deal of oil resources in the ground. Given these large amounts of theoretically available oil, it is not surprising that forecasters use the approach they do. There appears to be no need to cut back forecasts to reflect inadequate future oil supply, as long as we can really extract oil that seems to be available.

We Could Power Entire World on Renewables by 2025, Says Global Apollo Program
Ecowatch.com
The authors of an initiative called the Global Apollo Program say that, given the required high level of investment, it should be possible within 10 years to meet electricity demand with reliable wind and/or solar power that is cheaper—in every country—than power based on coal. They say the scale of ambition needed to produce “baseload” power from renewable energy that is generated consistently to meet minimum demand matches that which sent the first humans to the Moon in 1969—at a cost, in today’s prices, of about $230 billion.

The Difficulties Of Powering The Modern World With Renewables
Roger Andrews, Energy Matters
Even if the world succeeds in developing wind and solar to the point where they supply 100% of its electricity the job is still less than half-done because electricity supplies the world with only about 40% of its energy. The remaining ~60% comes from the oil, gas and coal consumed in transportation, heating etc. How to decarbonize that? Again no solution is presently in sight.

Renewable Energy Will Not Support Economic Growth
Richard Heinberg
The world needs to end its dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. That’s the only sane response to climate change, and to the economic dilemma of declining oil, coal, and gas resource quality and increasing extraction costs. The nuclear industry is on life support in most countries, so the future appears to lie mostly with solar and wind power. But can we transition to these renewable energy sources and continue using energy the way we do today? And can we maintain our growth-based consumer economy? The answer to both questions is, probably not.

News update

The heat and the death toll are rising in India. Is this a glimpse of Earth’s future?
The Guardian UK
India is struggling to cope with one of the deadliest heatwaves to hit the subcontinent. And its attempt to do so is raising a question for the whole planet – how can humans cope with the kinds of temperatures that scientists fear may become ever more common? (Related: Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan)

Indian government to review hydroelectric dams in two river basins
The Guardian UK
An 11-member expert committee recommended that 23 dams on the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, the two main tributaries of the Ganga, be scrapped. Builders of six dams in the upper Ganga basin asked the court to allow their projects to proceed. The six were among the 23 vetoed dams. Instead of accepting the expert committee’s advice, the court asked for a review committee to specifically examine the environmental clearances given to these six dams.

Indian leadership on climate change: Punching above its weight
Samir Saran and Vivan Sharan, Brookings Institution
In the global discourse on climate change, India often gets singled out for resisting mitigation action and for its reliance on fossil fuels such as coal. In this paper we argue that in addition to the efforts directed toward coping with and adapting to climate impacts (e.g., recent floods in Kashmir and monsoon failure in 2014), India is also “punching above its weight” on mitigation.

Direct Actions Across UK Disrupt Fossil Fuel Business-As-Usual
Common Dreams
Anti-drilling activists across England sent a powerful message on Monday with a series of direct actions protesting the Cameron government’s promotion of “false solutions,” such as fracking, and the industries that are profiting in the face of runaway climate change. Among the 18 targets on Monday were public relations firms that represent fracking and nuclear power companies, a World Coal Association conference, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and various corporations which activists say are complicit in the global rise of carbon emissions.

Global Apollo programme seeks to make clean energy cheaper than coal
The Guardian UK
The Global Apollo Programme aims to make the cost of clean electricity lower than that from coal-fired power stations across the world within 10 years. It calls for £15bn a year of spending on research, development and demonstration of green energy and energy storage, the same funding in today’s money that the US Apollo programme spent in putting astronauts on the moon.

Why China’s CO2 emissions have been plummeting lately
Brad Plumer, Vox.com
Arguably the most important climate story in the world right now is the question of what’s happening in China. A recent analysis by Greenpeace International found that China’s carbon dioxide emissions have plunged nearly 5 percent, year over year, in the first four months of 2018.

Revolution? More like a crawl
Vaclav Smil
The reality of energy transitions is very different. Too many modern observers have become misled by the example of electronics, in which advances have followed Moore’s law — the now 50-year-old prediction that the number of components on a microchip will double every 18 months. This has allowed exceptionally rapid progress. But the fundamental physical realities that determine progress of energy systems do not behave that way: they are improving steadily, but far more slowly.  (Related: The energy revolution will not be televised)

The oil crash: something wicked this way comes
Ugo Bardi
With the ongoing collapse of the oil prices, we can say that it is game over for the oil and gas industry, in particular for the production of “tight” (or “shale”) oil and gas. Prices may still go back to reasonably high levels, in the future, but the industry will never be able to regain the momentum that had made its US supporters claim “energy independence” and “centuries of abundance.” The bubble may not burst all of a sudden, but it surely will deflate.

News update

Goldilocks Is Dead
Richard Heinberg
Five years ago I wrote an article for Reuters titled “Goldilocks and the Three Fuels.” In it, I discussed what I call the Goldilocks price zone for oil, natural gas, and coal, a zone in which prices are “just right”—high enough to reward producers but low enough to entice consumers. Ever since the start of the fossil fuel era, such a zone has existed, but not any more. This will have staggering consequences throughout the economy for the foreseeable future.

Cheap oil, complexity and counterintuitive conclusions
Kurt Cobb
It is a staple of oil industry apologists to say that the recent swift decline in the price of oil is indicative of long-term abundance. Cheerleaders for cheap oil only seem to consider the salutary effects of low-priced oil on the broader economy and skip mentioning the deleterious effects of high-priced oil. They seem to ignore the possibility that the previously high price of oil actually caused the economy to slow and thereby dampened demand–which then led to a huge price decline.

The oil glut and low prices reflect an affordability problem
Gail Tverberg
For a long time, there has been a belief that the decline in oil supply will come by way of high oil prices. Demand will exceed supply. It seems to me that this view is backward–the decline in supply will come through low oil prices. The oil glut we are experiencing now reflects a worldwide affordability crisis. Because of a lack of affordability, demand is depressed.  This lack of demand keeps prices low–below the cost of production for many producers.

Costa Rica uses 100% renewable energy for past 75 days.
How are they doing it?

Christian Science Monitor
The entire country of Costa Rica is currently running on completely renewable energy and has been for 75 days now. Relying mainly on hydropower, Costa Rica has not used any fossil fuels to generate electricity since the beginning of 2018. The heavy rainfall over the past year has kept hydroplants busy enough to power nearly the whole country, with geothermal, wind, biomass, and solar energy making up the deficit, according to a press release from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute.

Pollinating species declining, reveals first global assessment
International Union for Conservation of Nature
According to a new study by IUCN and partners, the conservation status of pollinating bird and mammal species is deteriorating, with more species moving towards extinction than away from it. On average, 2.4 bird and mammal pollinator species per year have moved one IUCN Red List category towards extinction in recent decades, representing a substantial increase in extinction risk across this set of species.

As Himalayan Glaciers Melt, Two Towns Face the Fallout
Daniel Grossman, Yale Environment 360
For two towns in northern India, melting glaciers have had very different impacts — one town has benefited from flowing streams and bountiful harvests; but the other has seen its water supplies dry up and now is being forced to relocate.

The Politics of Extinction 
William deBuys, Tomdispatch.com
To grasp the breadth of the carnage now going on, it’s essential to realize that the war against nature is being waged on an almost infinite number of planetary fronts, affecting hundreds of species, and that the toll is already devastating. Among the battlefields, none may be bloodier than the forests of Southeast Asia, for they lie closest to China, the world’s most ravenous (and lucrative) market for wildlife and wildlife parts.

How do Empires hunt bears? The control of natural resources from ancient Rome to our times
Ugo Bardi, Resource Crisis
How did the Romans manage to keep their Empire together so well and for such a long time? It was, obviously a question of control. The entities we call “states” (and their more aggressive version known as “empires”) exist because the center can control the periphery. This control takes various forms, but, basically, it is the result of the financial system: money.

News update

India’s 100 GW Solar Target Could Create 1 Million Jobs by 2022
The Energy Collective
Delhi is abuzz as the first renewable energy-financing summit organized by the Indian government, RE-Invest 2018, wrapped up with commitments totaling a whopping 266 GW of renewable energy in the next 5 years. For context of the magnitude of these commitments, the country currently has about 250 GW of total installed power from all sources. According to a new interim report, if India achieves its new target of 100 GW of installed solar energy by 2022, as many as 1 million FTE jobs could be created.

Is the US Overplaying Its Energy Hand?
Richard Heinberg
This is how empires crash: the folks in charge pay their information ministries to come up with only good news; rulers act on the basis of unrealistic assumptions; reality bites; and when it does, no one is prepared. The evidence suggests the United States is playing energy poker with a pair of jacks in its hand, but betting as if it had four aces.

Israel, Gaza, and Energy Wars in the Middle East
Michael Schwartz, Tomdispatch.com
Amid the many fossil-fueled conflicts in the region, one of them, packed with threats, large and small, has been largely overlooked, and Israel is at its epicenter. Its origins can be traced back to the early 1990s when Israeli and Palestinian leaders began sparring over rumored natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean off the coast of Gaza.

The Problem of Debt as We Reach Oil Limits (Part 3 – A New Theory of Energy and the Economy)
Gail Tverberg
Many readers have asked me to explain debt. They also wonder, “Why can’t we just cancel debt and start over?” if we are reaching oil limits, and these limits threaten to destabilize the system. To answer these questions, I need to talk about the subject of promises in general, not just what we would call debt.

Fooling peak oil one more time: can we find new sources of liquid hydrocarbons?
Ugo Bardi
The world peak of conventional oil production took place in 2005-2006, but the supply of combustible liquids did not decline, mainly because of the contribution of the newly developed “shale oil” (or “tight” oil) fields. With the impending worldwide peak of “all liquids” it is likely that the industry will try a new, all out effort to squeeze out the last drops of liquid oil from whatever sources are available, no matter how dirty and expensive.

Is An Infinite Amount of Oil Enough?
Rhett Allain, Wired.com
The burning of oil based products produces carbon dioxide and other stuff that’s not so nice. Also, there is only so much oil in the ground. Sure, the Earth keeps making more through a very slow process. But we are using it up way faster than it is being created by natural means. So, the question is: how much oil can we find? How long will it last? Let’s get started.

To Make Hope Possible Rather Than Despair Convincing
David Bollier
Discourse is law.  And it’s something that progressive advocates have never really learned.  They have never developed a discourse that can express their own putative values.  Wittingly or not, most have instead embraced the utopian narrative of American neoliberalism – that human progress will continue through economic growth, better technology, and a system of government that caters to the demands of capital while making grudging concessions to social or environmental concerns. 

Report: Biofuels are bad for the environment and adds to world hunger

Oilprice.com & World Resources Institute 

Despite their promise over the past decade or so, biofuels have been found to be a very inefficient way to generate energy, are bad for the environment and even contribute to world hunger, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

In fact none of these conclusions is new. Research into biofuels for years has focused on making them more potent. And no one has ever thought cutting down trees, for example, is good for the environment, even if more trees can be grown. And as for nutrition, who benefits more from corn: a hungry child or an automobile?

Certainly, natural waste products can contribute to bioenergy, but dedicating broad acreage to raising crops not for food but for energy creates unfair competition with a more important enterprise of growing crops and providing grazing land for livestock, according to the WRI, a global research organization based in Washington. The paper is the ninth installment in a series of reports by WRI, titled Creating a Sustainable Food Future. Read more…

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