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News from December 2009

The 2000s: Selling the Apocalypse, Now

The 2000s: Selling the Apocalypse, Now thumbnail

Interestingly, the language of apocalypse has been embraced across the political spectrum. While conservative politicians grumble about immigration, national security, and bankruptcy, their leftist colleagues have been quick to turn the conversation to Inconvenient Truths, peak oil, and the end of American hegemony. In all cases, voters are hit with desperate warnings and worst-case scenarios. […]


Andrew McKillop: COP15 in Copenhagen … a failure for globalization!

Andrew McKillop: COP15 in Copenhagen … a failure for globalization! thumbnail

…Fending off the near-term impacts of Peak Oil by slowing energy demand growth, while profiting from the coming global bulge in cheap gas supplies, was yet another, of course never admitted, but appealing strand to forcing the pace on global energy transition. Deep in the Herd Memory of today’s oil importing OECD country leaders, lies […]


Toyota's hybrid Prius faces US probe over brakes

Toyota's hybrid Prius faces US probe over brakes thumbnail

DETROIT, Michigan The Japanese automaker said it has launched its own investigation. Robert Becker, 39, is one of those filing among at least 20 who have already submitted their concerns to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation. He says he was heading to work on the west side of Manhattan, coming […]


No Need to Worry

No Need to Worry thumbnail

Peak Oil Refuses to Rise to the Occasion …You don’t have to be a global-warming alarmist to wonder just when the world’s oil reserves are finally going to dry up and drive the price of oil through the roof, thereby ushering in a glorious age of energy created by hamsters on exercise wheels or some […]


Stimulus, Schmimulus – We Need Jobs to Build a Sustainable Economy

Stimulus, Schmimulus – We Need Jobs to Build a Sustainable Economy thumbnail

…In reality, the U. S. economy will falter for many years unless a government-led reform recognizes new economic and environmental realities and confronts the challenges before us. We can return to full employment by creating jobs that lay the foundation for shared prosperity, or we can wait for the captains of capitalism to rescue us […]


Five economic reasons why 2010 will be greener

Five economic reasons why 2010 will be greener thumbnail

In 2009, the global recession had a greater impact than all the diplomatic efforts that ended in the Copenhagen flop: energy production hadn’t declined on such a scale since 1981, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Here are five economic reasons for the world to become slightly greener in the coming year (just a […]


The Peak Oil Lie, Petroleum is Plentiful

The Peak Oil Lie, Petroleum is Plentiful thumbnail

…I have written about peak oil before in LRC. The most recent piece can be found here. The basic thesis is quite simple: we are not running out of oil. Hubbert is as wrong as wrong can be. The facts backing up this assertion are simple: every year in the past 60 years has had […]


Lithium-Air Batteries Could Displace Gasoline in Future Cars

Lithium-Air Batteries Could Displace Gasoline in Future Cars thumbnail

In excess of seven million barrels of gasoline are consumed by vehicles in the United States every day. As scientists race to find environmentally sound solutions to fuel the world’s ever-growing transportation needs, battery researchers are exploring the promise of lithium-air battery technology. Li-air batteries use a catalytic air cathode that supplies oxygen, an electrolyte […]


John Michael Greer: Immodest Proposals

John Michael Greer: Immodest Proposals thumbnail

…While at the public library here in Cumberland the other day, I found a book titled The End of Prosperity. This There


EPA questions New York state plan to drill for shale gas

EPA questions New York state plan to drill for shale gas thumbnail

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has “serious reservations” about allowing shale gas drilling in New York City’s watershed, warning of a threat to the drinking water for 9 million people. An EPA report on the divisive issue is the latest potential roadblock for energy companies seeking to exploit the Marcellus Shale formation, […]


Canadian Natural Gas Pipeline Gets Federal Backing

Canadian Natural Gas Pipeline Gets Federal Backing thumbnail

Natural gas exploration and production has been on a tear in recent years, thanks to the explosion of drilling in shale gas fields across the United States and the first glimmers of a boom in Europe. At the same time, natural gas production in neighboring Canada has been declining due to aging conventional gas fields […]


OPEC Output Rose in December, Bloomberg Survey Shows

OPEC Output Rose in December, Bloomberg Survey Shows thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries increased crude-oil production in December to the highest level in a year as members took advantage of rising prices, a Bloomberg News survey showed. Output averaged 28.965 million barrels a day this month, up 65,000 barrels from November, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and […]


A Pro-Bicycle City Faces Trouble Promoting Electric Cars

A Pro-Bicycle City Faces Trouble Promoting Electric Cars thumbnail

AMSTERDAM — Cars in the pinched, medieval streets at the center of this city can quickly clog traffic. The policy has been to find myriad ways to discourage them, clearing the way for more and more bicyclists. The Dutch have tried stiff fees, a maze of prohibited lanes and other ways of outright discrimination to […]


Oil rises to $80 for first time since November

Oil rises to $80 for first time since November thumbnail

NEW YORK Trading volume has been especially light this week, however, as many investors already closed the books on 2009. Crude rose as the dollar dropped earlier in the morning. Oil barrels are priced in dollars, and when the dollar drops, oil tends to rise as it becomes easier for investors with foreign currency to […]


Global Warming: Where Governments Have Failed, Branson Wants to Step In

Global Warming: Where Governments Have Failed, Branson Wants to Step In thumbnail

Perhaps it’s a case of big business aiming to bail out government, for a change. The response by government to the threat of global warming has been underwhelming so far, a fact that remains little changed despite the political agreement negotiated at the U.N. summit in Copenhagen in December. But at least one business leader, […]


IMF Lets Ukraine Use Reserves to Cover Gas Payments

IMF Lets Ukraine Use Reserves to Cover Gas Payments thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Ukraine won approval from the International Monetary Fund to tap into reserves and cover gas payments, though the Fund will continue to freeze loan disbursement until parliament can commit to budget cuts. Ukraine was due to receive a $3.4 billion tranche of its $16.4 billion bailout in November, though that installment was delayed […]


China's navy mulls push into Arabian Sea

China's navy mulls push into Arabian Sea thumbnail

BEIRUT, Lebanon (UPI) — A Chinese admiral’s proposal to build a naval base in the Gulf of Aden, ostensibly to supports Beijing’s anti-piracy flotilla off Somalia, has alarm bells ringing in the region. China’s growing naval encroachment in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to protect its Middle Eastern oil supplies threatens eventual conflict with […]


Toyota Tsusho to Produce Jatropha as Alternative Fuel

Toyota Tsusho to Produce Jatropha as Alternative Fuel thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Toyota Tsusho Corp., the trading affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp., plans to start growing jatropha next year as it bets that higher crop yields and oil prices will make the plant a profitable alternative fuel. The Nagoya-based company is in negotiations with a Philippine banana plantation to produce the leafy green shrub, Makoto […]


NBC News Investigation: Toxic water in Iraq

NBC News Investigation: Toxic water in Iraq thumbnail

When specialist Larry Roberta of the Oregon Army National Guard went to Iraq in 2003, he expected sandstorms, physical hardship, perhaps even combat. What he didn’t expect was the orange dust he encountered, all over the place, at the Qarmat Ali Water Treatment Plant, near Basra in southern Iraq. “You could taste stuff in the […]


George Bush key to green future

George Bush key to green future thumbnail

The grand irony of Copenhagen is that the best hope for a genuine agreement on climate change between the developed and the developing world now lies in George W. Bush’s Major Economies Forum, not in the UN process. The forum, which was convened by Bush on September 27, 2007 and which has been continued by […]


Fight global warming, get $1,100 a year

Fight global warming, get $1,100 a year thumbnail

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — A new proposal to curb global warming could jump start stalled Senate greenhouse gas discussions and put an average of $1,100 a year back into the pockets of American consumers. Known as cap-and-dividend, the recently introduced bill would require oil, coal, and natural gas companies to buy permits each month to […]


Growing Demand for Soybeans Threatens Amazon Rainforest

Growing Demand for Soybeans Threatens Amazon Rainforest thumbnail

Some 3,000 years ago, farmers in eastern China domesticated the soybean. In 1765, the first soybeans were planted in North America. Today the soybean occupies more U.S. cropland than wheat. And in Brazil, where it spread even more rapidly, the soybean is invading the Amazon rainforest. For close to two centuries after its introduction into […]


Pressure rises to stop antibiotics in agriculture

Pressure rises to stop antibiotics in agriculture thumbnail

The boar gored Kremer in the knee with a razor-sharp tusk. The burly pig farmer shrugged it off, figuring: “You pour the blood out of your boot and go on.” But Kremer’s red-hot leg ballooned to double its size. A strep infection spread, threatening his life and baffling doctors. Two months of multiple antibiotics did […]


Eye on Earth: 2009 Year in Review

Eye on Earth: 2009 Year in Review thumbnail

Worldwatch looks back at this year in environmental news, picking the most notable stories posted to Eye on Earth over the past 12 months.Worldwatch


Deep Sea Anchors for Offshore Installations

Deep Sea Anchors for Offshore Installations thumbnail

It might look like a giant arrow or a rocket, but this 13 metre-long, 80-tonne anchor is currently being tested as a new mooring concept for offshore installations. Entrepreneur Jon Tore Lieng is the man behind the new “Deep Penetrating Anchor.” His story shows how an idea conceived at SINTEF, combined with drive and persistence, […]


Saudis quit Caribbean oil storage; China steps in

Saudis quit Caribbean oil storage; China steps in thumbnail

NEW YORK/HOUSTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will quit a long-held lease for 5 million barrels of Caribbean oil storage near the key U.S. market on Thursday and state giant PetroChina is poised to move in, industry sources said, a potential major shift in global oil trade dynamics. Coming just weeks after Saudi Oil Minister Ali […]


Wanted: green engineers

Wanted: green engineers thumbnail

Regardless of the outcome of the Copenhagen conference in December 2009, one of the most pressing anti-climate-change needs will be the ability to get things done in 2010 and beyond. The commitments already made by some large economies require an extremely large capacity to get new energy systems in place quickly. That includes making sure […]


Oil-thirsty China to raise Kuwaiti imports by 50 pct

Oil-thirsty China to raise Kuwaiti imports by 50 pct thumbnail

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has agreed to raise 2010 crude imports from Kuwait by 50 percent to about 240,000 barrels per day, trade sources told Reuters, with Chinese refiners set to to process at record rates as demand rebounds strongly. The jump, which follows a one-third increase this year, comes after Iraq said it would […]


Companies begin moving production back to UK

Companies begin moving production back to UK thumbnail

Manufacturers increasingly are moving production back to Britain as shoddy quality and higher freight prices are undermining the cost advantage of producing goods overseas. A report into the state of the manufacturing sector by the EEF and BDO, the accountants, finds that one in seven companies surveyed had moved production back to the UK from […]


Panel Rejects French Carbon Tax

Panel Rejects French Carbon Tax thumbnail

BRUSSELS The ruling is a blow to Mr. Sarkozy, who has sought to burnish his green credentials by holding international talks next year to seek agreement on emission cuts following the Copenhagen climate conference. Environmental groups have said they expect the talks to be held in Paris. The Copenhagen conference, which ended without a timetable […]


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@g_kallis Dr. @BrankoMilan seems to believe that spreading ideas against the established ones and against the interests of the establishment is a fast way to mass a big fortune. By this standard Karl Marx preached to get rich. But being selfish or not #Peakoil is here. #Degrowth

@paulcurrion @RodZeidan @giancarlotorpi @BrankoMilan Touché ! This is one of the problems with some economists: they have invested so much time preaching the goodness of growth that they cannot stop without risking their intellectual prestige. #Peakoil