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The Road To 10 Billion: Where Is Global Population Actually Headed?

It was a girl. On Sunday, October 30, 2011, just before midnight, Danica May Camacho entered the world in a crowded Manila hospital, bringing the human population of our planet to seven billion. Actually, the scales could have tipped a few hours later, in a village in Uttar Pradesh, India, with the arrival of Nargis Kumar. Or it might have been a boy, Pyotr Nikolayeva, born in Kaliningrad, Russia. Of course, it was none of them. The birth that took us to seven billion people was attended by no cameras and ceremonial speeches because we can never know where or when the event occurred. We can only know that, according to the United Nations’ best estimates, we reached sevenbillion sometime around October 31 of that year. Different countries designated certain births to symbolize this landmark in history, and Danica, Nargis, and Pyotr ...

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Get ready for pushback in the war on plastic thumbnail

Get ready for pushback in the war on plastic

© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Petrochemicals are becoming increasingly important to the oil industry as cars go electric. The fossil fuel industry's lobbying has been effective in Washington, slowing efficiency improvements for cars, rolling back light bulb regulations, and so much more. But the rise of the electric car is expected to put a big dent into demand. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this will put more emphasis on petrochemicals, which now use 15 percent of fossil fuels as their feedstocks, but is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2040. According to Tim Young in the Financial Times, It is the only major source of oil demand where growth is expected to accelerate. These forecasts assume a steady, strong demand for plastic will translate into increasing consumption of feedstock. They provide a rare ray of optimism for the oil industry against ...

Public Policy

Fueling a Green New Deal with Liquefied Natural Gas

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gotten much attention by proposing a Green New Deal, a far-ranging proposal to shift the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels over the next decade while somehow creating millions of good-paying jobs. Her plan amounts to turning success into failure by ignoring the vast economic and environmental benefits natural gas has provided to America in the past decade — and the opportunity to multiply these benefits in the decade ahead. Simply put, the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas are proven. The Green New Deal is hypothetical at best, and most likely reckless. The benefits from expanded use of natural gas include the following. —Good paying, secure middle-class jobs. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 4.6 million jobs have been created from the shale boom. More will be generated as production rises and steps are taken ...


The Biggest Problem Behind The US Shale Boom

U.S. shale production is expected to continue to soar well into the 2020s. And that is a major problem. Over the past decade, U.S. oil production has more than doubled, surging from 5 million barrels per day (mb/d) to close to 12 mb/d today. Natural gas also rose significantly, rising from 21 trillion cubic feet per year (Tcf/y) in 2008 to 29 Tcf/y in 2017. Natural gas has been likened to a “bridge fuel,” allowing the U.S. to lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while it transitions to cleaner energy. Cheap shale gas has killed off a lot of coal plants, and with a GHG-profile half that of coal, the switch has been a boon for the fight against climate change. That narrative, to be sure, remains up for debate. Shale gas operations emit methane, and at some point high volumes of fugitive methane ...


New Oil Discovery Could Spur China’s Shale Boom

A PetroChina test oil well at a shale field in western China could finally mean a strong commercial potential for shale oil for the first time in the world’s top crude importer, according to Morgan Stanley. PetroChina achieved a daily production rate of 100 tons of oil, or 733 barrels, from the Jimsar oil field in the western Xinjiang province, which suggests that shale drilling could finally have a true commercial potential in China, Bloomberg quoted a Morgan Stanley note as saying. “We believe the Jimsar shale oil discovery is likely to trigger China’s shale oil revolution,” Morgan Stanley analyst Andy Meng wrote in the report. The potential for more drilling would likely increase capex for shale this year and benefit onshore oilfield service companies, the investment bank said. The shale boom in China, however, would be just a fraction of ...


As More Electric Cars Arrive, What’s The Future For Gas-Powered Engines?

Most American automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines: Gas or diesel goes in, tiny explosions power pistons and turn a crankshaft, the car moves forward, and carbon dioxide goes out. But a growing chorus environmental activists, business analysts and auto executives are predicting a sea change as battery-powered electric vehicles grow in popularity. Going electric is not just an eco-friendly goal, an ambition that would help fight climate change. It's a business reality, according to industry analysts. But if the general path ahead is widely agreed on, the speed of the change — and the role that combustion vehicles will play during the transition — is far from clear. 'You cannot stop it any more — it's coming' "Electrification, you cannot stop it anymore — it's coming," says Elmer Kades, a managing director with the consulting firm AlixPartners. "We have fantastic growth rates, ...

Public Policy

Iranian Says Israel ‘Looking for War’

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the EU needs to be willing to 'get wet' [Andreas Gebert/ Reuters] more on Iran Iran summons Pakistan envoy to protest deadly suicide attacktoday Iranian FM Zarif says Israel 'looking for war'today Rouhani unveils Iran's cruise missile-equipped Fateh submarinetoday Javier Solana on possible arms race in Europe: 'I'm very worried'today Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused Israel of "looking for war" and warned that its behaviour and that of the United States were increasing the chances of a clash in the Middle East. "The risk [of war] is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law," Zarif said in an address at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday. Zarif appeared to be referring to Israeli air attacks against Iranian targets in Syria. "Certainly, some people ...


Which species are we sure we can survive without?

Two years ago I asked the question in the title of this piece. Now comes a wide-ranging study that suggests we are about to test that question in a major way. The study predicts that at the current rate of loss of insect species, 40 percent could be gone "in the next few decades." What is particularly alarming is that this "could trigger wide-ranging cascading effects within several of the world's ecosystems." That means that many other life-forms including other animals and plants could find themselves without what they need to survive in this dangerous game of musical chairs orchestrated by humans. Might we be one of those species? Insects do much of the crop pollination necessary for food production. A list of crops pollinated by bees is quite long. Humans could survive without these foods, but the nutrition and variety in ...


Oil Will Continue to Play Significant Role

Although the precise outlook is uncertain, the world looks set to consume significant amounts of oil for several decades. That’s according to BP’s latest Energy Outlook, launched in London on Thursday, which considers a range of scenarios. All the scenarios in BP’s 2019 outlook suggest that oil will continue to play a significant role in the global energy system in 2040, with the level of oil demand in 2040 ranging from around 80 million barrels per day (MMbpd) to 130 MMbpd. “Significant levels of investment are required for there to be sufficient supplies of oil to meet demand in 2040,” BP’s Energy Outlook report states. “If future investment was limited to developing existing fields and there was no investment in new production areas, global production would decline at an average rate of around 4.5 percent per annum (based on IEA’s estimates), implying global oil ...

Alternative Energy

Big Oil’s Big Issue With Embracing ‘Big Energy

Oil majors increasingly are trying their hand at being alternative-energy minors. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which traces its roots back to the late 19th century, just bought Greenlots, a California software company serving the electric-vehicle charging sector. This follows other deals by Shell — along with the likes of BP Plc, Chevron Corp. and Total SA — to invest in renewable energy, retail power, batteries and other non-fossil fuel businesses. For now, though, this is still pinky-toe dipping. Shell’s plan to invest $1-2 billion a year on “new energy” opportunities is a hefty check, but less than 10 percent of its capital expenditure budget. Besides anything else, there’s a straightforward reason for taking it slow: returns. Oil majors have a testy relationship with investors these days. Shell’s stock is one of the better performers, but mainly because it has embraced a strategy centered on payouts: Its dividend ...

Production It’s All Going Wrong Again for OPEC
Even as oil producing states in OPEC and beyond begin implementing the output cuts ...
Nature doesn’t need people thumbnail Nature doesn’t need people
Harrison Ford is a man who has the knack of being in the right ...
Mexican president announces bailout for cash-strapped Pemex thumbnail Mexican president announces bailout for cash-strapped Pemex
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced a $3.9 billion bailout for the country's ...
1st contact made with melted nuclear fuel at Fukushima thumbnail 1st contact made with melted nuclear fuel at Fukushima
A probe touched melted nuclear fuel debris in a destroyed reactor at the Fukushima ...

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PO Real Time

@Pauladrien I wouldn't bet. We have been expecting #PeakOil since the 1970s. Anyway, let's stay tuned.

Trump wants to go to WAR with #Venezuela. Not because he gives a shit about Venezuelans but, because it is an oil nation. Trump's about control of oil - stealing it even. He has said it over and over. He is mad the US didn't take all of Iraq's. #peakoil #Saudi #Putin #Alaska

@jeremyscahill love the coverage of Venezuela you’re doing but will you do a podcast w/ @richardheinberg to discuss in more depth the critical value of oil - #peakoil in our lives? Thanks.