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News from November 2013

Critical worldwide shortages could lead to water wars

Critical worldwide shortages could lead to water wars thumbnail

Get ready for the water wars. Most of the world’s population takes water for granted, just like air — two life-sustaining substances. After all, the human body is nearly two-thirds water. But a Hindustan Times blogger said that in India right now, as in many other places around the globe, drinkable water has become such […]


Separation, By Charles Eisenstein

Separation, By Charles Eisenstein thumbnail

The following is excerpted from The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible [1], published by North Atlantic Books. Sometimes I feel nostalgic for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Super Bowl was important, in which America was bringing democracy to the world, […]


China Winter Gas Shortages to Last through 2020

China Winter Gas Shortages to Last through 2020 thumbnail

China is likely to see natural gas shortages every winter until the end of the decade as domestic production fails to keep up with demand, a factor likely to drive global liquefied natural gas prices higher, energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said in a report released on Friday. Increased gas demand from China for heating has […]


Oil’s biggest problem? A new ‘peak’ worry

Oil’s biggest problem? A new ‘peak’ worry thumbnail

A fashionable, if annoying, business term is “peak.” Name the commodity or resource, slap “peak” in front of it, and all of a sudden you have a crisis that can generate a few thousand disaster headlines. In recent years, we have been treated to peak oil, coal, gold, water, wheat – even peak soil. The […]


Costa Rica to build 3 geothermal electricity plants with Japanese funding

Costa Rica to build 3 geothermal electricity plants with Japanese funding thumbnail

The Tico Times has a report on plans to expand geothermal power in Costa Rica – Costa Rica to build 3 geothermal electricity plants with Japanese funding. Costa Rica hopes that the additional electricity generated by steam from the volcanic area will help the country reach its goal of generating 95 percent of its electricity […]


Regulators Watch Porn and Literally Sleep with Industry They’re Supposed to Rein In

Regulators Watch Porn and Literally Sleep with Industry They’re Supposed to Rein In thumbnail

They’re Pimps … Selling Out the American People For a Price The Washington Times reported yesterday that Nuclear Regulatory Commission workers watch porn instead of cracking down on unsafe conditions at nuclear plants. That’s not an isolated problem … We noted last year: Investigators from the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General found that some […]


Powerdown: Let’s talk about it

Powerdown: Let’s talk about it thumbnail

We’re caught in the squeeze right now. Climate change is advancing at an incredible speed. We know we should do something, but we lack the political will to do what it takes to hold it to 2°C. UN committees are now being counseled to prepare for 4°C of warming. To keep it survivable, there’s got […]


A new society can’t be run by ‘controllers’

A new society can’t be run by ‘controllers’ thumbnail

Last spring, I sent an e-mail to the author Philip Slater telling him how much his work had meant to me over the years. His early work, “The Pursuit of Loneliness: American Culture at the Breaking Point,” helped me see how destructive our extreme individualism is. As The New York Times put it: “The book, […]


Anima Mundi: Permaculture, Peak Oil, Climate Change and the Soul of the World

Anima Mundi: Permaculture, Peak Oil, Climate Change and the Soul of the World thumbnail

Many people do not realize that permaculture is much more than about growing fruit and vegetables, it is a whole view incorporating the environment, energy, resources, housing, technology, education, healthcare, the arts, spirituality, psychology, philosophy and agriculture. It provides a realistic alternative for our future sustainability, a gentler way that treads lightly on our Mother […]


China Announces That It Is Going To Stop Stockpiling U.S. Dollars

China Announces That It Is Going To Stop Stockpiling U.S. Dollars thumbnail

China just dropped an absolute bombshell, but it was almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media in the United States.  The central bank of China has decided that it is “no longer in China’s favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves”.  During the third quarter of 2013, China’s foreign-exchange reserves were valued at approximately $3.66 trillion. And of […]


Sheeple: Why You Should Feel Sorry For Them

Sheeple: Why You Should Feel Sorry For Them thumbnail

It is often said there only two kinds of people in this world: those who know, and those who don’t. I would expand on this and say that there are actually three kinds of people: those who know, those who don’t know, and those who don’t care to know. Members of the last group are […]


Put Less Corn in Our Gasoline, Please

Put Less Corn in Our Gasoline, Please thumbnail

Big Oil has squared off against Big Agriculture in the dispute over the federal mandate to mix corn-based ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. Both sides are powerful and self-interested, but Big Oil has the edge in this case for being right. The ethanol mandate should be cut because it is a misguided policy. It […]


Tough times for European utilities may have a lesson for the US

Tough times for European utilities may have a lesson for the US thumbnail

Europe has taken renewable energy generation further and faster than any other region of the world in terms of system penetration, and now appears to be heading into a maelstrom. Where Europe falls, others will follow. Perversely, the impacts of the successful build out of low carbon generation could put at risk the consensus behind […]


Canada woos EU with oil study

Canada woos EU with oil study thumbnail

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said from London energy standards in the European Union discriminate against Canadian crude oil grades. “Canada supports the EU Commission’s objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions for transportation fuels but believes it must be based on science and facts,” Oliver said Tuesday from London. “Unfortunately, the Fuel Quality Directive, […]


Can California Charge Ahead To One Million EVs Within Ten Years?

Can California Charge Ahead To One Million EVs Within Ten Years? thumbnail

Just how much can putting one million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in California save lives, cut consumer bills, and boost the green economy? That’s the question being answered by the Charge Ahead California campaign, a new initiative launched by a coalition of environmental and public health groups led by the Natural Resources Defense […]


Blackstone’s Version of Peak Oil

Blackstone’s Version of Peak Oil thumbnail

A $6 billion oil deal signals yet another apex for the Blackstone Group. The sale of private equity-backed GeoSouthern Energy to Devon Energy comes at a high price by one important measure. Blackstone, one of GeoSouthern’s owners, also has an uncanny knack for timing. The glut of undeveloped land owned by oil companies suggests finding […]


DOE Expands Methane Hydrates Research

DOE Expands Methane Hydrates Research thumbnail

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $5 million to research projects at seven universities that will seek to expand existing knowledge of methane hydrates and its potential impact on the environment, U.S. economic competitiveness and energy security. Two Texas universities are among the recipients of the DOE award, which was announced Wednesday. […]


China Fires Shot Across Petrodollar Bow: Shanghai Futures Exchange May Price Crude Oil Futures In Yuan

China Fires Shot Across Petrodollar Bow: Shanghai Futures Exchange May Price Crude Oil Futures In Yuan thumbnail

With the US shale revolution set to make America the largest exporter of crude, however briefly, the influence of Saudi oil is rapidly declining. This has been felt most recently in the cold shoulder the US gave Saudi Arabia and Qatar first over the Syrian debacle, and subsequently in its overtures to break the ice […]


Toward a Green Future, Part Three: The Barbarism of Reflection

Toward a Green Future, Part Three: The Barbarism of Reflection thumbnail

One of the least helpful habits of modern thinking is the common but really rather weird insistence that if something doesn’t belong all the way to one side of a distinction, it must go all the way to the other side. Think about the way that the popular imagination flattens out the futures open to […]


Libya’s Fragile Peace Cracks

Libya’s Fragile Peace Cracks thumbnail

accident in Omar Mokhtar Avenue in downtown Tripoli. Nobody was injured but there’s a bumper hanging off the back of a car. In just a few seconds, a group gathers around. “Forget about insurance companies in Libya,” says Mansur, a 30-year-old satellite dish installer. “The main problem is that you can easily run into somebody […]


Pirates Looting Cargoes With AK-47s Threaten African Oil

Pirates Looting Cargoes With AK-47s Threaten African Oil thumbnail

Ankur Varma, third officer on the oil tanker M/V Cotton, opened his cabin door at five minutes to midnight on July 14 to find two men pointing AK-47s at him. “They just pushed me into the cabin with the guns in my chest and they told me to stay silent,” Varma said in a phone […]


India, Oil, And Electric Vehicles

India, Oil, And Electric Vehicles thumbnail

As India reels from a perfect storm of increasing fossil fuel import bills, capital outflows, and a stagnating economic environment attention to its current account deficit (CAD) has grown exponentially. I’ve written on the threat coal imports pose to energy security and CAD in the past but the biggest threat from fossil fuel imports is […]


Peak Oil: Using Energy To Get Energy # 3

Peak Oil: Using Energy To Get Energy # 3 thumbnail

‘Tight oil is an important contributor to the U.S. energy supply, but its long-term sustainability is questionable. It should be not be viewed as a panacea for business as usual in future U.S. energy security planning.’ [1] Today, it takes about one barrel of conventional U.S. oil to produce the equivalent of nine barrels, or […]


World’s most expensive oil project starts production

World’s most expensive oil project starts production thumbnail

Kazakhstan’s Kashagan super-giant oil field has started production at a rate of around 40,000 bpd. It is predicted to average 75,000 bpd in 4Q13, the stated target for the initial development stage being 180,000 bpd. The project, which has been bedevilled by numerous and lengthy delays and an ever-revolving door of partners, has cost more […]


Daniel Yergin: Oil Prices Have Been Falling But Fracking Will Limit the Decline

Daniel Yergin: Oil Prices Have Been Falling But Fracking Will Limit the Decline thumbnail

When Americans take to the road this Thanksgiving holiday they will be paying about 6% less for gasoline than they paid a year ago. That’s because the price of crude oil has fallen. Increased oil production due to fracking–the technology that breaks up shale rock buried deep inside the earth to release oil and natural […]


To tackle pollution, China to drop pursuit of growth at all costs

To tackle pollution, China to drop pursuit of growth at all costs thumbnail

Govt officials no longer to be judged solely on economic growth * “Unified regulation” pledge could augur stronger ministry in new year By David Stanway BEIJING, Nov 18 (Reuters) – China will steer local governments away from the pursuit of economic growth at all costs and beef up their powers to punish polluters as part […]


Peak Oil Hasn’t Been Averted, World Economy Still At Risk

Peak Oil Hasn’t Been Averted, World Economy Still At Risk thumbnail

Peak oil is still on the way and it’s not going to be pretty. At least, this is what a recent study examining oil production across the globe has found. The report comes from a multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed study which seems to shoot down recent claims made by oil industry insiders and other sources. In fact, […]


Will Open Source Beehives Solve Colony Collapse?

Will Open Source Beehives Solve Colony Collapse? thumbnail

Last year, a third of honeybee colonies in the United States quite literally vanished. Commercial honey operations, previously abuzz with many thousands of bees, fell suddenly silent, leaving scientists and beekeepers alike scratching their heads. The reasons remain mostly a mystery, but the trend has a name: Colony Collapse Disorder; a disturbing development drying up […]


How Much Do Our Bad Energy Habits Cost Us?

How Much Do Our Bad Energy Habits Cost Us? thumbnail

We all have bad energy habits, from hanging out in front of the open freezer door letting all the cold out, to falling asleep in front of the TV, to the classic leaving the lights on all day when nobody’s in the house…but since appliances and gadgets all use different amounts of electricity, it’s tough […]


Oil’s Future Draws Blood and Gore in Investment Portfolios

Oil’s Future Draws Blood and Gore in Investment Portfolios thumbnail

Al Gore has come a long way from the Inconvenient Truth raconteur who in 2006 extolled the “leaves rustling with the wind” and talked about boiling frogs as a metaphor for humanity in need of a “rescue.” Gore has been fighting climate change since he co-sponsored the first congressional hearings on the subject in 1976. […]


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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