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News from September 2008

It’s pond scum, but algae could be green fuel

It’s pond scum, but algae could be green fuel thumbnail

Cost-efficient process expected that would also curb warming emissions BORCULO, Netherlands – Set amid cornfields and cow pastures in eastern Holland is a shallow pool that is rapidly turning green with algae, harvested for animal feed, skin treatments, biodegradable plastics Experts say it will be years, maybe a decade, before this simplest of all plants […]


Brazil’s Biofuel Leadership

Brazil’s Biofuel Leadership thumbnail

Brazil is making splashes across the world as the emerging leader of the biofuel industry. The significance of this nascent industry is rapidly growing as oil prices rise and awareness of environmental concerns increase. But the Brazilian dominance of the biofuel market may have significance beyond the environmental ramifications of ethanol. Brazil’s leadership in this […]


Europe warms fast: Med drier, north ever wetter

Europe warms fast: Med drier, north ever wetter thumbnail

OSLO (Reuters) – Europe is warming faster than the world average and governments need to invest to adapt to a changing climate set to turn the Mediterranean region arid and the north ever wetter, a study showed on Monday. Europe’s mountains, coasts, the Mediterranean and the Arctic were most at risk from global warming, according […]


Sour economy tied to psychology that fed gas panic

Sour economy tied to psychology that fed gas panic thumbnail

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As anxiety on Wall Street led banks and other investors to hoard cash last week, a different kind of market fear gripped cities across the Southeast. A hurricane-related disruption in gasoline supplies prompted jittery drivers from Atlanta to Nashville to top off their fuel tanks more than usual, causing sporadic shortages and […]


The tank isn’t empty

The tank isn’t empty thumbnail

It is taken as an article of faith, thanks largely to a decades old prediction made by M. King Hubbert on American oil production, that the world is in imminent danger of running out of oil. Peak production, the day when oil production begins its irreversible slide, may be less than a decade away, say […]


Iran’s central bank to inject $15bn from oil fund into banks

Iran’s central bank to inject $15bn from oil fund into banks thumbnail

Iran’s new central bank governor said he would inject $15 billion (Dh55.1bn) into the banking system to help them boost industrial production, a move economists have warned will stoke surging inflation. Governor Mahmoud Bahmani said the funds would come from an oil reserve fund and by helping to boost production would ease price rises, echoing […]


Are we running on empty

Are we running on empty thumbnail

It’s critical for Hawaii to identify another source of energy beyond the usual suspects Oil prices are spiraling upward with no end in sight. Consumers are pinching pennies to fill their cars with gasoline, and airlines are going bankrupt amid skyrocketing fuel costs. Clearly, OPEC and the ever-rapacious oil companies are to blame for high […]


Lights out: Lebanon faces looming power crisis

Lights out: Lebanon faces looming power crisis thumbnail

Oil prices have tripled since 2004. Electricity outages have doubled in Lebanon since 2005. Lebanon’s electricity utility has been vulnerable to crude oil price shocks than ever. Consumers and businesses are spending two times their electricity purchase in this staggering situation. Josephine Nassralla conducted the following interview for The Daily Star with energy expert Roudi […]


Zimbabwe: The 2008/09 Agricultural Season Fertiliser Shortage

Zimbabwe: The 2008/09 Agricultural Season Fertiliser Shortage thumbnail

…About 70 percent of Zimbabwe is covered with sandy soils, mostly derived from coarse granite, which are generally acidic. This presents a challenge for any agriculturalist wishing to replenish the NPK (nitrogen, phosphate and potash) macronutrients required for plant growth to overcome soil fertility depletion. These soils need periodical rest, rotation with legumes and agricultural […]


Richard Heinberg: Bailout blues

Richard Heinberg: Bailout blues thumbnail

Ever since Hank Paulson made his pitch for a $700 billion slush fund to prop up teetering Wall Street financial institutions, the wails from thousands of American advocacy groups have reached an ear-splitting fortissimo. Most of these groups have spent decades working patiently to influence one or another line item in the Federal budget amounting […]


A crash course

A crash course thumbnail

…Our country has squandered its post-World War II prosperity, much of it on investments unsuited to the 21st century. The United States overextended itself, building a system of interstate highways and smaller roads and bridges that neither the states nor the federal government can seem to find the money to maintain. When we’re lucky, locally […]


The village at the tip of the iceberg

The village at the tip of the iceberg thumbnail

For more than 2,000 years the Yup’ik Eskimos have carved out a subsistence living on the frozen wastes of southwest Alaska. But now the ice is melting the village is having to move to a new site, and the world’s first climate-change refugees face an uncertain future …About 6ft below the surface level of the […]


Russia Hit The Rocks Hardest

Russia Hit The Rocks Hardest thumbnail

By rights, this year’s Sochi Economic Forum should have been a victory lap for Vladimir Putin. Russia’s president turned prime minister had just, in his own words, “punched the face” of upstart Georgia, and a year of record oil prices had boosted Russia’s currency reserves to $700 billion. But instead of triumph, Russia’s premier business-schmooze […]


Oil prices and the GCC: Could the region be stoking oil prices?

Oil prices and the GCC: Could the region be stoking oil prices? thumbnail

With constrained supply and growing demand, the exportable surplus from the GCC has fallen for the first time and this appears to be unavoidable, rather than intentional. Record oil prices are no longer driving GCC growth, but GCC growth may be driving up oil prices. Record oil prices have captured public attention for the past […]


The Rise of Natural Gas Populism

The Rise of Natural Gas Populism thumbnail

Watching Sunday Night Football last weekend, I was intrigued to see an ad featuring Aubrey K. McClendon, the head of Chesapeake Energy, the largest independent gas producer in the country, intoning on the virtues of natural gas-fired cars. Since the beginning of the month, readers may have also seen Mr. McClendon If it seems like […]


UK: Coal power plants ‘must be clean’

UK:  Coal power plants ‘must be clean’ thumbnail

Coal-fired power stations must not be built unless they can capture and store CO2, the Environment Agency has warned. Plants like that proposed at Kingsnorth in Kent could “lock” the UK into high carbon technology, says the agency, whose remit covers England and Wales. Even if stations can be fitted with clean coal technology at […]


Congress’ failure leaves energy policy up in air

Congress’ failure leaves energy policy up in air thumbnail

WASHINGTON “Throughout much of 2008, energy issues have been surrounded by more partisanship, as energy emerged as a key concern for voters and as an issue on the campaign trail,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. But he said he hoped for “a re-emergence of bipartisanship on energy after the elections are over and we reconvene […]


Pumping the biofuels, from Rio to the Humber

Pumping the biofuels, from Rio to the Humber thumbnail

The energy giants want sustainable solutions, but is growing crops for fuel the right answer, asks Alan Copps Finding oil is one thing but when it comes to getting it to the market, the big challenges stem from the demand for cleaner and greener fuel. Refiners and distributors worldwide are facing new regulations to reduce […]


Oil flowing from offshore spigot still years away

Oil flowing from offshore spigot still years away thumbnail

WASHINGTON (AP) It will take a couple of years, at least, before any oil or natural gas leases are issued, years more before any oil is found and perhaps a decade before any of it begins to flow to refineries. And what if Congress, after completing a bill Saturday that removes the freeze, changes its […]


Cities get too much blame for global warming: study

Cities get too much blame for global warming: study thumbnail

LONDON (Reuters) – Cities often blamed for producing most of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions actually generate just two-fifths or less, according to a study published on Friday. U.N. agencies, former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s climate change initiative and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have all said that 75 to 80 percent of total emissions […]


Dems fail to extend oil shale moratorium

Dems fail to extend oil shale moratorium thumbnail

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado The vote comes as the clock ticks closer to the expiration of the oil shale ban


Financial turmoil no bar to climate deal: U.N.

Financial turmoil no bar to climate deal: U.N. thumbnail

WARSAW (Reuters) – Global financial turmoil should not hamper a new world climate deal because high energy prices remain an incentive to improve energy efficiency, the U.N.’s top climate official said on Friday. Some analysts have said the current crisis sweeping financial markets may leave no money for investments in limiting greenhouse gas emissions amid […]


Oil project cost rises may hurt world output-Iran

Oil project cost rises may hurt world output-Iran thumbnail

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Rising costs for oil projects may threaten new investment in producing countries, Iran’s oil minister said in remarks published on Saturday. Gholamhossein Nozari also said volatility in oil prices, which have swung above and below $100 a barrel this month, was partly due to the instability of the U.S. dollar. “The oil […]


Pickin’ on the plan

Pickin’ on the plan thumbnail

Pickens’ natural gas plan makes no sense and will never happen …So Pickens proposes to divert 6,869,624 million ft3 of NG (about 20 percent of NG usage in the U.S.) from generating electricity, and use it for transportation. In place of those NG power plants, Pickens proposes that we build wind turbines sufficient to generate […]


Mark Lynas: the green heretic persecuted for his nuclear conversion

Mark Lynas: the green heretic persecuted for his nuclear conversion thumbnail

The climate change expert Mark Lynas has been scorned by eco-colleagues for daring to speak up for atomic power …Just a month ago I had a Damascene conversion: the Green case against nuclear power is based largely on myth and dogma. My tipping point came when I discovered just how much nuclear power has changed […]


As America Implodes, The Bike Industry Booms

As America Implodes, The Bike Industry Booms thumbnail

LAS VEGAS “The gas prices are the best thing that ever happened to cycling,” says Kevin Menard, whose year-old custom bike business, Traitor Cycles, is thriving. “I hope they go up even more.” Wired


Lester R. Brown – Mobilizing to Save Civilization: What You and I Can Do

Lester R. Brown – Mobilizing to Save Civilization: What You and I Can Do thumbnail

One of the questions I am frequently asked when I am speaking in various countries is, given the environmental problems that the world is facing, can we make it? That is, can we avoid economic decline and the collapse of civilization? My answer is always the same: it depends on you and me, on what […]


Kicking oil habit harder than they say

Kicking oil habit harder than they say thumbnail

ORLANDO A host of energy policy experts agree that true “energy independence”


Bond measure offers rebates for greener vehicles

Bond measure offers rebates for greener vehicles thumbnail

T. Boone Pickens, the Texas billionaire oilman who says he wants to break America’s addiction to foreign oil, is betting that Californians are willing to help pay for cars and trucks that don’t run on petroleum. Pickens’ natural gas fueling company, Clean Energy Fuels Corp., is the chief sponsor of a Nov. 4 ballot initiative […]


We can’t have cheap oil and alternative fuels

We can’t have cheap oil and alternative fuels thumbnail

On the campaign trail, some candidates are taking an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. They want us to “drill, baby, drill” and promote other renewable energy sources, too. At first, this seems appealing. Energy is a big problem, and who doesn’t want to look at all the solutions? Yet, as anyone who […]


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@paulcurrion @RodZeidan @giancarlotorpi @BrankoMilan Willingly or by force we are going to make the transition because there is no alternative. The problem is what level of economic output we'll have after it. I doubt for example that we are going to see electrical planes. Will we have energy rationing like in the 40s ? #PeakOil

@paulcurrion @RodZeidan @giancarlotorpi @BrankoMilan If renewables were easy to implement and they had good EROIs then I wouldn't worry. But since most renewables have very low EROIs then I think we are heading towards catastrophe. Many industries depend on fossile fuels. And we need a hard rudder turn... #PeakOil

@RodZeidan @paulcurrion @giancarlotorpi @BrankoMilan And Growthers should give us a realistic way to increase fossile fuels production. But they ignore the problem and then wishfully hope that something like fusion power is going to come to the rescue. That's foolishness at its best ! #PeakOil