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News from May 2009

On CH4, Poverty and CO2

On CH4, Poverty and CO2 thumbnail

At a meeting on population and resources early this year at the University of California in Berkeley, one session focused on global energy trends. Richard Nehring, a consultant tracking fossil fuels, noted that Africa (below and above the Sahara) has vast deposits of natural gas (CH4), many of which are suitable for extracting butane and […]


'Earth 2100': the Final Century of Civilization?

'Earth 2100': the Final Century of Civilization? thumbnail

Planet at Risk: Experts Warn Population Growth, Resource Depletion, Climate Change Could Bring Catastrophe in Next Century It’s an idea that most of us would rather not face — that within the next century, life as we know it could come to an end. Our civilization could crumble, leaving only traces of modern human existence […]


How Obama Made Energy Platform 'Pop'

How Obama Made Energy Platform 'Pop' thumbnail

President Has Gained Support by Framing Issues in Terms of Jobs, Security After a long day of campaigning on July 8, candidate Barack Obama arrived at his Chicago headquarters for a three-hour brainstorming session about a suddenly hot issue: energy and climate change. He had summoned a cross section of experts, including top executives from […]


Deffeyes Update: May 29th, 2009

Deffeyes Update: May 29th, 2009 thumbnail

…I’m reading and enjoying Paul Ormerod’s book Butterfly Economics. The “butterfly” is a reference to atmospheric general-circulation computer models that are very sensitive to the initial conditions. Ormerod gives a clear explanation of positive feedback. When I finish reading it, I’m going to put it on my bookshelf next to Bert Malkiel’s A Random Walk […]


How To Send Energy Across a Continent

How To Send Energy Across a Continent thumbnail

But nowadays, using less energy is a key strategy in the fight against climate change Newsweek


New presentation by Matt Simmons

New presentation by Matt Simmons thumbnail

Two Energy Oxymorons: 1. Energy Independence 2. Energy Security (Given at the Oklahoma State University Energy Symposium, May 19, 2009)Simmons & Co. International (PDF)


Boeing exec: Plant-derived fuels could be certified for flights within a year

Boeing exec: Plant-derived fuels could be certified for flights within a year thumbnail

Jet fuels derived from algae, camelina and jatropha — plants that pack an energy punch, are not eaten as food and do not displace food crops — could be approved and replacing petroleum fuels in commercial flights as early as next year, a Boeing executive said yesterday. Bill Glover, managing director of environmental strategy for […]


High prices at pump to climb further

High prices at pump to climb further thumbnail

Gallon of gas may top $3 mid-summer, experts say San Diego – After rising slowly for much of the year, San Diego gas prices have jumped 36 cents in the last month and yesterday hit $2.71 a gallon for regular, the Auto Club reported The increases come just as oil prices have seen their largest […]


OPEC oil price push may threaten world recovery

OPEC oil price push may threaten world recovery thumbnail

WASHINGTON, May 28 (UPI) — Oil prices are rising — and OPEC is pleased. But it’s not clear whether the rebound comes from a recovering global economy or worries about the future — or even both. With the global economy expected to ease and bring an increase in demand for fuel, the Organization of the […]


The Ethanol Lobby: Profits vs. Food

The Ethanol Lobby: Profits vs. Food thumbnail

If the ethanol lobby really believes in the biofuel, why are there so few E85 pumps in corn-growing states? If you had two customers for the same product and one paid more than the other, which customer would you choose? That’s the situation in which ethanol producers in the U.S. find themselves. They could grow […]


Tidal Power Keeps on Truckin

Tidal Power Keeps on Truckin thumbnail

Ocean power has suffered some setbacks recently, such as Pelamis Alstom jumped into the tidal game this week when it teamed up with Clean Current Power Systems, and Verdant Power said earlier this month that it has moved closer to expanding its New York project. And developers of the Bay of Fundy site in Canada, […]


'Smart Turbine Blades' To Improve Wind Power

'Smart Turbine Blades' To Improve Wind Power thumbnail

Researchers have developed a technique that uses sensors and computational software to constantly monitor forces exerted on wind turbine blades, a step toward improving efficiency by adjusting for rapidly changing wind conditions. The research by engineers at Purdue University and Sandia National Laboratories is part of an effort to develop a smarter wind turbine structure. […]


Is the Nuclear Renaissance Fizzling?

Is the Nuclear Renaissance Fizzling? thumbnail

Nuclear power may be making a comeback, but long-standing problems with the technology still could lead to canceled orders and renewed public opposition. One problem is what to do with the highly dangerous waste produced by reactors. Currently waste is stored above ground in pools of water or in vast dry casks, but neither of […]


OPEC Sec Gen says oil price rally may persist

OPEC Sec Gen says oil price rally may persist thumbnail

VIENNA (Reuters) – OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said on Friday he saw oil prices at $70 to $75 a barrel by the end of the year, making him the latest official from the group to predict the current rally will persist. Badri, speaking to reporters the day after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries […]


NASA: Sun cycle 'lowest since 1928'

NASA: Sun cycle 'lowest since 1928' thumbnail

Right now, the solar cycle is in a valley–the deepest of the past century. In 2008 and 2009, the sun set Space Age records for low sunspot counts, weak solar wind, and low solar irradiance. The sun has gone more than two years without a significant solar flare.“In our professional careers, we’ve never seen anything […]


Venezuela's economy

Venezuela's economy thumbnail

Despite a rise in the oil price, Venezuela’s government is short of cash The price of Venezuelan crude oil rose above US$50/b in mid-May for the first time in eight months. Yet this level is still too low to alleviate financing pressures on the government. Officials outlined a modest fiscal adjustment in March, along with […]


The browning of America

The browning of America thumbnail

In politics, the urgent but not necessarily terribly important always trumps the important but not palpably urgent. In the US today, getting out of the economic downturn is urgent, but not a matter of life and death. Moving towards sustainable energy use and cutting back on man-made contributions to global warming is a matter of […]


Pipelineistan goes Iran-Pak

Pipelineistan goes Iran-Pak thumbnail

The earth has been shaking for a few days now all across Pipelineistan – with massive repercussions for all the big players in the New Great Game in Eurasia. United States President Barack Obama’s AfPak strategists didn’t even see it coming. A silent, reptilian war had been going on for years between the US-favored Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India […]


Enron's other secret

Enron's other secret thumbnail

We all know that the financial stakes are enormous in the global warming debate These extractions do not happen by accident. Every penny that leaves the hands of consumers does so by design, the final step in elaborate and often brilliant orchestrations of public policy, all the more brilliant because the public, for the most […]


Why our 'amazing' science fiction future fizzled

Why our 'amazing' science fiction future fizzled thumbnail

… For example, the typical 19th-century American city was crowded and smelly. The problem was horses. They created traffic jams, filled the streets with their droppings and, when they died, their carcasses. But around the turn of the 20th century, Americans were predicting that another miraculous invention would deliver them from the burden of the […]


India to mull ending fuel subsidies, approval likely

India to mull ending fuel subsidies, approval likely thumbnail

NEW DELHI, May 29 (Reuters) – India’s government said it may eliminate diesel and gasoline subsidies as soon as July, quicker than expected, ending a policy that had crushed state refiners’ profits, strained government finances and inflated oil demand. Emboldened by an unexpectedly strong election victory this month, the Congress-led cabinet will consider a proposal […]


Web Video of the Week: Understanding Peak Oil

Web Video of the Week: Understanding Peak Oil thumbnail

The whole discussion of oil supply and demand can be slippery and complicated. How long will it last, and when can we expect to see serious impacts on our everyday lives? If you’re looking for an entertaining and captivating overview of this issue, we’ve found it. Watch this feature length documentary online now to learn […]


Obama tackles the liquid fuels problem

Obama tackles the liquid fuels problem thumbnail

Today I In light of ongoing oil depletion and supply-side destruction following from the global economic downturn, it appears that the Democrats are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. (I am quite sure the Republicans would do worse, given the chance.) However, we are not in a position to evaluate President Obama


U.S. Says

U.S. Says thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Drillers discovered The agency didn


Alternative Energies and Other Fairy Tales

Alternative Energies and Other Fairy Tales thumbnail

The quest for alternative, non-fossil fuel, energy sources is driven by two misconceptions: (1) The mistaken belief in “peak oil” (that we are nearing the complete depletion and exhaustion of economically extractable oil reserves) and (2) That market mechanisms cannot be trusted to provide adequate and timely responses to energy needs (in other words that […]


22nd Century Darwinians Challenge the Church in "Julian Comstock"

22nd Century Darwinians Challenge the Church in "Julian Comstock" thumbnail

Peak oil has left the world a churchy, early-industrial shambles in Robert Charles Wilson’s new novel Julian Comstock. An engaging cross between post-apocalyptic series Jericho and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, it may be the best science fiction novel of the year so far. …Wilson takes his time showing us what has happened […]


Clouds gather over energy prices as storm season starts

Clouds gather over energy prices as storm season starts thumbnail

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Fewer hurricanes are likely to gather over the Atlantic during the tropical storm season that starts Monday, but it would only take one or two aimed at key facilities to fan already rising oil and gas prices, analysts say. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expecting 14 storms compared to […]


Top six tips for surviving post-peak oil gas-archy

Top six tips for surviving post-peak oil gas-archy thumbnail

The debate continues to rage as to the exact date when When we have to get all Thunderdome-y to get gas, what are V-8 loving horsepower junkies like ourselves supposed to do? Doing anything with batteries other than using one to start the car is like putting a steak in the microwave, and even thinking […]


Liftoff for the New Apollo Energy Project

Liftoff for the New Apollo Energy Project thumbnail

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved legislation that could help build a cleaner-energy economy for the United States, writes U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island. The New Apollo Energy Project, if enacted, will spur technological innovation that will reduce dependency on foreign oil and help meet the climate change challenge. AS the space-shuttle […]


New industrial revolution on way, says HSBC

New industrial revolution on way, says HSBC thumbnail

BRITAIN is set for a second industrial revolution as the traditional industries of manufacturing and farming are replaced by robotics, gaming and wind farms, a major new report predicted today. HSBC’s Future of Business report is forecasting a new regional geography, with the birth of five new `supercities’ and regions deriving their status, income and […]


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