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News from February 2010

In Japan, the Hummer Is Now Officially Green

In Japan, the Hummer Is Now Officially Green thumbnail

TOKYO By cutting slack for imported vehicles, Tokyo is responding to criticism, particularly from Detroit automakers, that recent tax breaks and subsidies designed to spur sales of fuel-efficient cars in Japan have unfairly excluded foreign brands. No U.S. cars were eligible under Japan


Saudi launches solar energy program

Saudi launches solar energy program thumbnail

Saudi Arabia said it has begun building the first solar-powered water desalination plant, the first step in a three-part program to introduce solar energy into the Kingdom. The program, launched by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), aims to help stabilize future power and water supplies inside Saudi Arabia through the creation […]


Family values

Family values thumbnail

Every debate has its blind spots and the one about community in peak oil circles is no exception. It is fascinating to see how little discussion there is about what is, after all, the most basic community in all human society : family. There are, of course, good reasons for that. Few among us have […]


Our other addiction: the tricky geopolitics of nitrogen fertilizer

Our other addiction: the tricky geopolitics of nitrogen fertilizer thumbnail

We burn through more of it per capita than any other country; and our appetite for it can only be sated with massive imports. No, not oil In a sense, the answer to the question of where our food comes from is not some vast Iowa cornfield or teeming North Carolina hog factory. It


Medvedev backs tighter oil controls, no action yet

Medvedev backs tighter oil controls, no action yet thumbnail

OMSK, Russia (Reuters) – President Dmitry Medvedev lent support to the idea of tightening state control over oil and refined products exports but stopped short on Friday of adopting proposals that would have effectively restored the Soviet-era monopoly. “I support (Deputy Prime Minister) Igor Ivanovich Sechin on issues of supply control,” Medvedev said at a […]


The Magic of Technology and the President's Biofuels Working Group

The Magic of Technology and the President's Biofuels Working Group thumbnail

A report was recently issued by The President’s Biofuels Interagency Working Group regarding the status of advanced biofuels. As I read through this report, I couldn Bear in mind that the advanced biofuel mandate for 2010 was 100 million gallons. The report admits that the shortfall will almost certain exceed 90% (as I have been […]


National Review: National Security Goes Green

National Review: National Security Goes Green thumbnail

The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review report gives unprecedented attention to the issue of climate change. Previous QDR reports did not identify climate change, global warming, or other environmental issues as major concerns for U.S. security. The 2010 QDR, by contrast, dedicates three of its 105 pages (plus executive summary) to the issue, highlighting it (along […]


US EPA Seeks RFPs for 2010 Methane Projects

US EPA Seeks RFPs for 2010 Methane Projects thumbnail

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The total estimated amount for this competitive funding opportunity is up to $5 million. EPA expects to award up to thirty-five cooperative agreements through this announcement, at $100,000 to $750,000 per award. The project period for awards resulting from this solicitation will begin in October 2010. Proposed project periods […]


National Energy Emergency as Dam Runs Dry in Venezuela

National Energy Emergency as Dam Runs Dry in Venezuela thumbnail

CARACAS, Venezuela “The president mentioned several energy plants that will be ready by June this year. And also said that with them, we would have 600 megawatts (MW) of [additional] electricity with plants in Falcon, Apure, Portuguesa, Barinas, without telling the country that the actual deficit of 1600 MW,


EnCana, Shell to sponsor energy camps for local students

EnCana, Shell to sponsor energy camps for local students thumbnail

Local educators announced more than $100,000 in grants to start “energy camps” for local students this summer. “It doesn’t matter how many resources we have in the ground if we don’t realize the human capital needed to extract those resources,” said Jim Henderson, chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College. The EnCana oil and gas company […]


Falklands oil prospects raise Argentina-Britain tensions

Falklands oil prospects raise Argentina-Britain tensions thumbnail

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) Authorities boarded the foreign flagged “Thor Leader” in the southern Argentine port of Campana after learning it was about to take on a cargo of pipes destined for the Falklands. “Evidence exists that indicates that the freighter was to be used to supply material linked to oil industry activities that the United […]


Exxon, Chevron

Exxon, Chevron thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp. and explorers including Chevron Corp. are securing land in Europe to exploit shale gas, a hard-to-extract deposit that could reduce global demand for liquefied natural gas, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said. Exxon has shale areas in Germany, Hungary and had applied for permits in Poland while ConocoPhillips and Chevron are […]


Arizona Quits Western Cap-and-Trade Program

Arizona Quits Western Cap-and-Trade Program thumbnail

Citing financial worries, the State of Arizona has backed out of a broad regional effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the West through a cap-and-trade system. In an executive order issued last week, Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, said a cap-and-trade system Instead, the state will support initiatives to expand the use of solar […]


Questions About Biofuels

Questions About Biofuels thumbnail

BRUSSELS The industry has already been dogged by contentions that the main justification for policies supporting biofuels


Jeremy Leggett – The Next Crisis: Peak Oil

Jeremy Leggett – The Next Crisis: Peak Oil thumbnail

LONDON – In the report, we produce data that suggests a peak of global oil production at less than 95 million barrels a day, up from some 85 million now, and we summarize fears that could result in a peak of less than 92 million, plus a steep fall beyond the peak, all at a […]


Dramatic changes in agriculture needed as world warms and grows, researchers say

Dramatic changes in agriculture needed as world warms and grows, researchers say thumbnail

The looming threats of global climate change and population growth call for sweeping changes in how the world produces its food and fiber, warns a group of prestigious scientists, including an expert in plant genetics at the University of California, Davis. The research team, led by Nina Federoff, science and technology adviser to Secretary of […]


Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse Possibly Triggered by Ocean Waves

Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse Possibly Triggered by Ocean Waves thumbnail

Depicting a cause-and-effect scenario that spans thousands of miles, a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and his collaborators discovered that ocean waves originating along the Pacific coasts of North and South America impact Antarctic ice shelves and could play a role in their catastrophic collapse. Peter Bromirski of Scripps Oceanography […]


Radical new directions needed in food production to deal with climate change

Radical new directions needed in food production to deal with climate change thumbnail

Yields from some of the most important crops begin to decline sharply when average temperatures exceed about 30 degrees Celsius, or 86 Fahrenheit. Projections are that by the end of this century much of the tropics and subtropics will regularly see growing season temperatures above that level, hotter than the hottest summers now on record. […]


New investments in agriculture likely to fail without sharp focus on small-scale

New investments in agriculture likely to fail without sharp focus on small-scale thumbnail

NAIROBI The authors, who include scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the World Bank, urge wealthy countries, which pledged US$20 billion for developing-country agriculture at the G8 summit in […]


Sustainable fisheries needed for global food security

Sustainable fisheries needed for global food security thumbnail

DURHAM, N.C. — Increased aid from developed countries, earmarked specifically for sustainable seafood infrastructure in developing countries, could improve global food security, according to a policy paper by an international working group of 20 economists, marine scientists and seafood experts in the Feb. 12 issue of Science. Seafood is a significant source of protein for […]


Canada Will Use Robot Subs to Map Arctic Sea Floor, Boost Territorial Claims

Canada Will Use Robot Subs to Map Arctic Sea Floor, Boost Territorial Claims thumbnail

Two robot submarines will plunge into the Arctic next month in an effort to help Canada stake a claim to a large swath of potentially mineral-rich seafloor in the polar region. Data gathered by the yellow torpedo-shaped probes will become part of Canada’s bid to prove its continental slope stretches far beyond the 200-nautical-mile territorial […]


Hands-On: From Classroom to Employment

Hands-On: From Classroom to Employment thumbnail

How to energize and enrich the next generation of sustainable agriculturalists MADISON, WI – Academic programs and courses have increased in recent years for sustainable agriculture, organic farming, and agroecology. In a recent study published in the 2010 volume of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, researchers from Cornell University and North […]


Garrett under fire as solar row heats up

Garrett under fire as solar row heats up thumbnail

FINANCE Minister Lindsay Tanner has blamed the former Howard government for an $850 million blow-out in the cost of a household solar power program, arguing the problem began when his predecessors decided to offer generous $8000 rebates for rooftop panels. Mr Tanner made the claim as Environment Minister Peter Garrett came under intense pressure over […]


Climate Change May Spur Unstable Oil Prices, Regions, U.S. Says

Climate Change May Spur Unstable Oil Prices, Regions, U.S. Says thumbnail

Climate change and U.S. reliance on fossil fuels could have Dependence on petroleum-based fuels makes the economy vulnerable to costly swings in oil prices, and could carry


Iran Urges Russia to Keep

Iran Urges Russia to Keep thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Iran, facing tougher sanctions over its nuclear program, urged Russia to remain its Iran asked oil-producing states including Russia and Venezuela to jointly set a minimum oil price of $80 to $100 a barrel to counter the


Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods Could Unlock U.S. Oil Reserves

Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods Could Unlock U.S. Oil Reserves thumbnail

There’s some incredible new oil extraction technology being investigated over at Nuclearhydrocarbons.com. Essentially, the U.S. has a lot of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) rods from nuclear reactors, which need to be disposed off in deep, protected underground sites. Yet these rods give off massive amounts of heat as they slowly cool. Jumping to oil extraction […]


ANALYSIS – China silence signals softening on Iran sanctions

ANALYSIS – China silence signals softening on Iran sanctions thumbnail

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s silence sometimes speaks volumes, and with growing international momentum for new sanctions on Iran, Beijing’s recent reticence suggests it may give ground if it can insulate its oil and business ties. China has repeatedly said in recent months that expanded U.N. sanctions on Iran are not the way to draw Tehran […]


Earth Policy Release — Plan B 4.0

Earth Policy Release — Plan B 4.0 thumbnail

World agriculture today faces pressure from many sources. On the production side, the amount of unused arable land worldwide has dwindled. Overworked soils are becoming eroded and degraded, and overpumped aquifers are being depleted. Meanwhile, as the global population grows and increasing biofuel production converts grain into fuel for cars, demand for food continues to […]


Global oil demand growth revised up for 2010 – IEA

Global oil demand growth revised up for 2010 – IEA thumbnail

LONDON (Reuters) – Global oil demand will grow by 120,000 barrels per day more than previously expected in 2010 to average 86.5 million barrels per day, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday, but all growth will come from emerging markets. The Paris-based adviser to 28 industrialised economies added that demand would grow by […]


Queen's researchers propose rethinking renewable energy strategy

Queen's researchers propose rethinking renewable energy strategy thumbnail

Researchers at Queen’s University suggest that policy makers examine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions implications for energy infrastructure as fossil fuel sources must be rapidly replaced by windmills, solar panels and other sources of renewable energy. Their recommendations could be used to help policy makers restructure renewable energy production in a way that will optimize greenhouse […]


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