Archive for the tag “oil prices”

News update

Lester Brown: Vast dust bowls threaten tens of millions with hunger
The Guardian, UK
Vast tracts of Africa and of China are turning into dust bowls on a scale that dwarfs the one that devastated the US in the 1930s, one of the world’s pre-eminent environmental thinkers has warned. Over 50 years, the writer Lester Brown has gained a reputation for anticipating global trends. Now as Brown, 80, enters retirement, he fears the world may be on the verge of a greater hunger than he has ever seen in his professional lifetime

As Antarctica Melts Away, Seas Could Rise Ten Feet Within 100 Years
Common Dreams
Rapid melting of Antarctic ice could push sea levels up 10 feet worldwide within two centuries, recurving heavily populated coastlines and essentially reshaping the world, the Associated Press has reported. The Antarctic Peninsula, including the vulnerable West Antarctic ice sheet, is the region of the continent warming fastest because the land juts out in the warmer ocean. According to NASA, it is losing 49 billion tons of ice each year.

Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change
The New York Times
Drawing one of the strongest links yet between global warming and human conflict, researchers have said that an extreme drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 was most likely due to climate change, and that the drought was a factor in the violent uprising that began there in 2011. The drought was the worst in the country in modern times, and the scientists laid the blame for it on a century-long trend toward warmer and drier conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean, rather than on natural climate variability.

Seeing is believing as scientists trace greenhouse effect
Climate News Network
Government scientists in the US say they have directly observed for the first time the greenhouse effect in action. Their measurements, taken over a period of 11 years in Alaska and Oklahoma, confirm predictions made more than 100 years ago, and repeatedly examined: there is a greenhouse effect, and the greenhouse gas that most helps the world warm is carbon dioxide.

The Paradox of Oil: The Cheaper it is, the More it Costs
Samuel Alexander, Simplicity Institute
The only reason oil can be considered ‘cheap’ is because the environmental costs of oil consumption are ‘externalised’. If the costs of climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and resource depletion were built into the price of oil, there is no way it would be ‘cheap’. And what of the social and economic costs that will be borne by future generations? This is the paradox of oil: the cheaper it is, the more it costs.

Peak fossil fuel won’t stop climate change – but it could help
Gary Ellem, The Conversation
Fossil fuels are ultimately a finite resource – the definition of non-renewable energy. Burning of these fuels – coal, oil and gas – is the main driver of climate change. So could the peak of fossil fuels help mitigate warming? The short answer is maybe … but perhaps not how you might think. In a paper published this month in the journal Fuel, my colleagues and I suggest that limits to fossil fuel availability might take climate Armageddon off the table, although we will still need to keep some fossil fuels in the ground for the best chance of keeping warming below 2C.

Big Oil Drop Project
BBC news
The BBC has launched its Big Oil Drop project, a series of interconnected online articles and data packages, alongside broadcast pieces. The idea is a pretty simple one. Every now and again amid all the swirling reports and breaking news it is worth taking a pause and bringing together what we know about the most important resource in the world. Read sample article: Oil: Shocking how vital it still is

Who controls our food?
Nick Dearden, New Internationalist blog
‘It’s a nice idea, when you can afford it’ sums up the approach of many people to organic farming. But extending these principles of production to the whole food system? It just doesn’t seem practical. But a new report from Global Justice Now, From The Roots Up, shows that not only can small-scale organically produced food feed the world, but it can do so better than intensive, corporate-controlled agriculture.

News update

The Fracking Bust Hits Home
Wolf Richter, Wolf Street
In the latest reporting week, drillers idled another 84 rigs, the second biggest weekly cut ever, after idling 83 and 94 rigs in the two prior weeks. Only 1056 rigs are still drilling for oil, down 443 for the seven reporting weeks so far this year and down 553 – or 34%! – from the peak in October. Never before has the rig count plunged this fast this far.

Part Of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Starting Slow, Unstoppable Collapse
The Huffington Post
The huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse in an unstoppable way, two new studies show. Alarmed scientists say that means even more sea level rise than they figured. The worrisome outcomes wont be seen soon. Scientists are talking hundreds of years, but over that time the melt that has started could eventually add 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels.

Cold Fusion Takes Another Step Towards Credibility
Oilprice.com
Professor Alexander Parkhomov of Lomonosov Moscow State University has published a paper describing his successful replication of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat LENR or cold fusion device. It seems Parkhomov managed to acquire enough working data from Swedish and Italian academics to execute an experimental replication that offers data showing 2.74 more energy out than put in.

Why Cheap Oil Does Not Mean that Peak Oil is a Myth
Chris Rhodes, Energy Balance
Peak oil is a fundamental tenet of the Transition Towns concept, but the current return of “cheap oil” has muddied the waters about how to discuss it. Heres a response to the debate following the prevailing low oil price, set within the context of whether or not we can now dismiss peak oil, e.g. as is currently being contested.

Charts showing the long-term GDP-energy tie (Part 2 – A New Theory of Energy and the Economy)
Gail Tverberg, Our Finite World
In Part 1 of this series, I talked about why cheap fuels act to create economic growth. In this post, we will look at some supporting data showing how this connection works. The data is over a very long time period–some of it going back to the Year 1 C. E.

Who gets left with the unburnable carbon?
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
Christophe McGlade is a research associate in energy materials modelling at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. He recently co-authored, with Paul Ekins, a paper called “The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2°C”, a paper whose stark call to leave the substantial majority of fossil fuels in the ground generated a lot of media coverage

Fossil Fuel Use is Limited by Climate, if Not by Resources
Chris Rhodes, Energy Balance
A study by researchers at University College London conclude that it will be necessary to leave some two thirds of the fossil fuels available to us unburned, to achieve just a 50% chance of keeping global warming within the 2 degree C limit. From their analysis, they deduce more specifically that it is necessary to leave one third of the oil, half of the gas and more than 80% of the worlds coal in the ground, up to 2050.

Why People Dont Believe in Climate Science
Global Warming Is Real
It’s a hoax, it’s the sun, it’s scientists after grant money, it’s a play for world domination. Then there’s Al Gore, the favorite straw man for many climate change deniers. One thing is clear, facts don’t matter. A climate change narrative based solely on facts hasn’t worked and won’t work. Why is this?

How One Neighborhood in Seoul Sparked a Movement of Urban Villages
Cat Johnson, Shareable
In 1994, when city officials threatened to remove trees from the top of Mt. Sungmi, in Mapo-gu, Seoul for the creation of a water facility, a group of neighbors joined forces to oppose the plan. By banding together, a community was created. After defeating the plan for the facility, the community continued to organize, eventually becoming the Sungmisan Village which encompasses a one-kilometer radius at the base of the mountain and now connects over 700 families.

News update

2014 Warmest Year on Record
The New York Times
Last year was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880, scientists reported, underscoring warnings about the risks of runaway greenhouse gas emissions and undermining claims by climate change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped.

Groundbreaking Study Confirms: We Must Leave Fossil Fuels In the Ground
Common Dreams
A groundbreaking new study is confirming what green campaigners have long argued: in order to stave off climate disaster, the majority of fossil fuel deposits around the world—including 92 percent of U.S. coal, all Arctic oil and gas, and a majority of Canadian tar sands—must stay in the ground. This new research is first of its kind to identify specific national reserves that must remain untapped.

IEA Provides First Sign That Tide May Be Turning For Oil Prices
Oilprice.com
Last week, energy investors got the first of several reports that should confirm for Wall Street analysts that the physical markets for crude oil are responding to the sharp drop in oil prices. I believe supply/demand will work back to a balance during the second half of this year.

Oil, Saudi Arabia, and the End of OPEC
Elias Hinckley, The Energy Collective
Saudi Arabia’s decision not to cut oil production, despite crashing prices, marks the beginning of an incredibly important change. There are near-term and obvious implications for oil markets and global economies. More important is the acknowledgement, demonstrated by the action of world’s most important oil producer, of the beginning of the end of the most prosperous period in human history – the age of oil.

Carbon Counterattack: How Big Oil Is Responding to the Anti-Carbon Moment 
Michael T. Klare, Tom Dispatch
Around the world, carbon-based fuels are under attack. Increasingly grim economic pressures, growing popular resistance, and the efforts of government regulators have all shocked the energy industry. But instead of retreating, the major oil companies have gone on the offensive, extolling their contributions to human progress and minimizing the potential for renewables to replace fossil fuels in just about any imaginable future.

At least one major oil company will turn its back on fossil fuels, says scientist
The Guardian, UK
The oil price crash coupled with growing concerns about global warming will encourage at least one of the major oil companies to turn its back on fossil fuels in the near future, predicts award-winning scientist and former industry adviser Jeremy Leggett. Now a solar energy entrepreneur and climate campaigner, Leggett points to Total of France as the kind of group that could abandon carbon fuels.

Obama visit: India-US to sign energy deal
Hindustan Times
India and the US are likely to sign an energy deal under which India could commit to generating 15-20% of its energy need from zero emission sources by 2030. The deal that would be signed during President Barack Obama’s visit this month will also have the US agreeing to support India’s efforts through the government’s flagship Make in India programme by investing in urban energy infrastructure and making energy-saving appliances as well as in research. The US has already committed to $1 billion for financing renewable projects in India.

China Buying Up Latin American Oil
Colin Chilcoat, Oilprice.com
China is pledging $250 billion in investment in Latin America over the next decade. The country’s oil-based financing is still an unproven gamble – and lower prices increase the default risk – but it’s shrewd move for what will soon be the world’s largest consumer of oil.

News update

The First Shale Casualty: WBH Energy Files For Bankruptcy; Many More Coming
Zero Hedge
While the mainstream media continues to chant the happy-clappy side of lower oil prices, now, we have the first casualty of the shale oil leverage debacle as WSJ reports, on Sunday, a private company that drills in Texas, WBH Energy LP, and its partners, filed for bankruptcy protection, saying a lender refused to advance more money.

Water stress may curtail fracking, says World Resources Institute
BBC News
Water shortages could hinder fracking for shale oil and gas in many parts of the world, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has said. In the first report of its kind, the WRI found that 38% of the worlds shale resources were in arid areas or in those with severe water stress. Accessing fresh water was likely to present serious challenges, it said.

Natural gas: The fracking fallacy
Nature
The United States is banking on decades of abundant natural gas to power its economic resurgence. This paper in leading science journal Nature cites new research and concludes that it may be wishful thinking. The paper has prompted the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the University of Texas to join issue with Nature. A letter sent by EIA to the journal chides it for inaccurate and distorted reporting. You can follow the ongoing debate at Inside Energy.

This Oil Thing Is The Real Deal
The Automatic Earth
It’s no longer about which factors bring down oil prices, that’s old news; it’s about what oil prices bring down. The oil price drop is a much bigger event than the US subprime housing crisis, it’s bigger than everything put together that happened in 2008. And this time, central banks are lame sitting ducks.

The Real Cause Of Low Oil Prices: Interview With Arthur Berman
Oilprice.com
In a third exclusive interview with James Stafford of Oilprice.com, energy expert Arthur Berman explores:
• How the oil price situation came about and what was really behind OPEC’s decision
• What the future really holds in store for U.S. shale
• Why technology doesn’t have much influence on oil prices
• How the global energy mix is likely to change but not in the way many might have hoped

Peak Oil From The Demand Side: A Prophetic New Model
Peak Oil Barrel
The most attention-grabbing attempts to predict oil futures have come from geologists and environmental activists, who tend to look solely at production. An overlooked doctoral thesis by Christophe McGlade, Uncertainties in The Outlook for Oil and Gas, in contrast, focuses on how both supply and demand might be constrained in the coming decades. Peak oil researchers should take note of McGlade’s thesis because he predicted, in November 2013, that oil prices would sink, and that they will stay low throughout the second half of this decade.

News update

The Oil Price Crash of 2014
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Oil prices have fallen by half since late June. This is a significant development for the oil industry and for the global economy, though no one knows exactly how either the industry or the economy will respond in the long run. Since it’s almost the end of the year, perhaps this is a good time to stop and ask: (1) Why is this happening? (2) Who wins and who loses over the short term?, and (3) What will be the impacts on oil production in 2015?

Déjà Vu All Over Again
John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
The blogosphere is full of claims that the Saudis crashed the price of oil to break the US fracking industry, or that Obama got the Saudis to crash the price of oil to punish the Russians, or what have you. I suspect that what’s going on is considerably more important. To start with, oil isn’t the only thing that’s in steep decline.

Who Will Get Caught When The Oil Debt Bubble Pops?
Christopher Helman, Forbes Magazine
America’s oil and gas boom was enabled by a huge pile of cheap financing. The mountain of debt advanced to drillers in recent years is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $500 billion. But now, with oil prices half what they were six months ago, there’s tremors in that debt mountain, and concerns that an avalanche could quickly take out the weakest oil companies, which simply won’t be able to generate sufficient revenues to service their debt.

North Sea oilfields ‘near collapse’ after price nosedive
The Telegraph, UK
The North Sea oil industry is “close to collapse”, an expert has warned, as a slump in prices piles pressure on drillers to cut back investing in the region. Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that it is “almost impossible to make money” with the oil price below $60 per barrel.

Carbon-dioxide emissions at all-time high in 2013
The Hindu
Global carbon-dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels and production of cement reached a high of 35.3 billion tonnes in 2013, mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies such as India, a new report says. Brazil (6.2 per cent), India (4.4 per cent), China (4.2 per cent) and Indonesia (2.3 per cent) reported a sharp rise in emissions of the greenhouse gas that year. (View report: Trends in Global CO2 Emissions)

Loss of rainforests is double whammy threat to climate
Climate News Network
New research spells out the devastating impacts that complete destruction of tropical forests would have on global temperatures, weather patterns and agriculture. In what is claimed as the most comprehensive analysis to date, US researchers report in Nature Climate Change that they used climate models to test the consequences of the complete devastation of the tropical rainforests.

An Open Letter on Climate Change to The Minister for Environment
Shankar Sharma, Frontier Weekly
Many expert observers of the Climate Change initiatives in India are of the unambiguous opinion that we, as a nation, lack the urgency and commitment needed to objectively address the related issues. NAPCC is seen as neither adequate nor focused enough to bring about the essential changes in our approach to the developmental thinking and processes.

US Families Prepare For Modern Day Apocalypse
Sky News
From the outside America may seem to be a land of endless optimism and confidence. But could it be in danger of falling apart? An increasing number of Americans seem to think so, and theyre preparing for the end. They call themselves preppers. Mainstream suburban Americans hoarding supplies and weapons while leading otherwise perfectly normal lives. (Also read: The Doomsday Preppers of New York)

News update

Editors note: The ongoing oil price war that pits a shale-boom riding U.S. and their allies OPEC against arch rivals Russia, Iran and Venezuela could have far-reaching consequences. It has begun to seriously impact a Russian economy already isolated by U.S. and EU sanctions. At a time when Ukraine is a flashpoint between the West and Russia, such high stakes economic warfare could have serious consequences. Russias leading newspaper Pravda had suggested this as early as April this year, in a report titled Obama wants Saudi Arabia to destroy Russian economy, recalling that it was a similar event that helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Writing about this in The New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman quotes Yegor Gaidar, who between 1991 and 1994 was Russia’s acting prime minister: “The timeline of the collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to Sept. 13, 1985. On this date, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the minister of oil of Saudi Arabia, declared that the monarchy had decided to alter its oil policy radically. The Saudis stopped protecting oil prices. During the next six months, oil production in Saudi Arabia increased fourfold, while oil prices collapsed. The Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive.” Its unlikely that the Russians will let that happen again without a fight.

Why oil prices keep falling — and throwing the world into turmoil
Brad Plumer, Vox.com
The plummeting price of oil is the biggest energy story in the world right now. Its bringing back cheap gasoline to the United States while wreaking havoc on oil-producing countries like Russia and Venezuela. But why does the price of oil keep falling? (Also read the Stratfor report: Lower Oil Prices Carry Geopolitical Consequences)

The high cost of low-priced oil
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Is the price of oil falling because we can no longer afford it? This is not an idle question. Record high average daily prices for oil in the last three years have been an unrecognized cause of sluggish overall worldwide economic growth. That subpar growth appears to be exhausting itself now, particularly in Asia and Europe. In dampening growth, high oil prices sewed the seeds of their own demise by ultimately dampening demand.

The Shocking Data Proving Shale Oil Is Massively Over-hyped
Peak Prosperity
Hooray, oil is suddenly much cheaper than it used to be. Thats great news, right? Not so fast. For certain its not good news for those counting on a continued rise in US oil production from the shale miracle. Many drillers were challenged to operate profitably when oil was above $70 per barrel. Very few will remain solvent with oil in the $50s (as it is as of this writing).

Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC
BBC News
The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a UN-backed expert panel says. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the worlds electricity can and must be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050. If not, the world faces severe, pervasive and irreversible damage.

Cities could be the secret to fighting climate change
The Conversation
Currently cities consume 78% of the world’s energy and produce more than 60% of all carbon. Recent research by the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the University of Leeds and London School of Economics and Political Science found that cities could help cut global energy-related emissions by 34% at absolutely no net cost.

What did the Romans ever do for us? They left a water warning
Jonathan Bridge, The Conversation
In the next 30 years we are facing a critical combination of inter-related stresses on the core resources that keep our civilisation running. As it happens, the Romans gave us a word for that too – the “food-water-energy nexus” (from the Latin nectere, to bind together). So are we doomed to the same fate as the Romans?

Nature at My Doorstep Reviving Traditional Building Practices
GOI Monitor
From climate-friendly homes of yore to monotonous concrete and glass structures of today, we are losing out on aesthetics and warmth. Thankfully, there are people who are reviving the time-tested practices.

News update

Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This
Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse blog
There has only been one other time in history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 40 dollars in less than 6 months. The last time this happened was during the second half of 2008, and the beginning of that oil price crash preceded the great financial collapse that happened later that year by several months. Well, now it is happening again, but this time the stakes are even higher. (Snyders latest post: Anyone That Believes That Collapsing Oil Prices Are Good For The Economy Is Crazy)

Ten Reasons Why a Severe Drop in Oil Prices is a Problem
Gail Tverberg, Our Finite World
If high oil prices can be a problem, how can low oil prices also be a problem? In particular, how can the steep drop in oil prices we have recently been experiencing also be a problem? Here is an explanation. (Also see: Energy Matters blog post: Oil price wars – who blinks first? which says OPEC is bound to trump the U.S. shale oil producers in the ongoing price war)

Signs Of Peak Oil Starting To Emerge
Euan Mearns, Oilprice.com
What caused the recent crash in the oil price from $110 (Brent) in July to $70 today and what is going to happen next? With the world producing 94 Mbpd (IEA total liquids) $1.4 trillion has just been wiped off annualized global GDP and the incomes of producing and exporting nations. Energy will get cheaper again, for a while at least. The immediate impact is a reduction in global GDP and deflationary pressure.

India Says Pollution Levels Need to Rise Further to Boost Growth
Bloomberg Businessweek
India said its pollution levels will need to increase in the years ahead to support its economic development and it won’t discuss limiting greenhouse-gas emissions at United Nations climate talks that began this week. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also said the government is preparing to make a pledge on how India will develop cleaner forms of energy, though he stopped short of indicating when the country might take on the sorts of caps for emissions that the U.S., China and Europe are adopting. (Editors note: Heres another report based on Javadekars statement, which puts a completely different spin on it: India plans 5-fold increase in renewable energy. Also see: The Next Big Climate Question: Will India Follow China?)

A Dam Revival, Despite Risks
Erica Gies, The New York Times
While some dams in the United States and Europe are being decommissioned, a dam-building boom is underway in developing countries. World hydropower production will grow from 4,000 terawatt hours now — about the annual power output of the United States — to 4,670 terawatt hours in 2020, according to Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency, in Paris. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that hydropower generation will double in China between 2008 and 2035, and triple in India and Africa.

Solar as Industrial Revolution
The New York Times
The Hanergy Holding Group, created in 1994 and based in Beijing, is a major renewable-energy company, notably in thin-film solar technology. Its founder and chairman, Li Hejun, has written a book, China’s New Energy Revolution, recently translated into English, in which he argues that solar energy will lead a third industrial revolution.

Energy Efficiency May Be the Key to Saving Trillions
Beth Gardiner, The New York Times
Compared with eye-catching renewable power technologies like wind turbines and solar panels, energy efficiency is nearly invisible. But advocates say doing more with less power may be an even more critical weapon in the fight against climate change and offers big economic benefits, too.

Permaculture, a Vision of the Post-Oil World
Yves Cochet, originally published by Holmgren Design
More than an agricultural technology, permaculture is a vision of the societies of tomorrow, ours, which will be confronted with the evolution of energy and climate systems. Permaculture is not only another way to garden: it is another way of thinking about and acting on the world, a global philosophical and concrete change, at the same time as a drawing together of strategies of resilience in the face of radical transformations, if not collapses, which are presenting themselves.

News update

Coal Rush in India Could Tip Balance on Climate Change
The New York Times
India’s coal mining plans may represent the biggest obstacle to a global climate pact to be negotiated at a conference in Paris next year. “If India goes deeper and deeper into coal, we’re all doomed,” said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and one of the world’s top climate scientists. “And no place will suffer more than India.”

UN report: Climate change has permanently ruined farmland the size of France
The Independent, UK
There may be those who feel the apocalyptic plot of the new Hollywood film Interstellar seems a bit far-fetched, with humans forced to look for an alternative planet because this world can no longer feed them. But it has been given credence by a new United Nations report that has found that the destruction of the environment has left an area of farmland the size of France useless for growing crops.

NASA Shows Stark Year in the Life of CO2
Climate Central
This animated video shows what your atmosphere looks like in carbon dioxide (CO2). And it’s not a pretty sight. Nasa provides a stark and stunning view of a year in the life of our planet as humans continue to emit greenhouse gases that warm the planet. The animation comes courtesy of one of the highest-resolution computer models in existence.

Oil Prices Are Dropping. So What?
Politico Magazine
The global oil supply has increased and demand has weakened, prices are down to about $80 a barrel, a more than 25 percent drop since June, and recently fell to a three-year low. What should we make of this shakeup? Will it scramble the economy or upend global politics? The United States  leading energy thinkers on how dropping oil prices matter the most—or don’t—for Washington.

The Future of Oil Supply: An Interview with Dr. Richard G. Miller
Steve Andrews, ASPO-USA
Dr. Richard G. Miller, trained as a geologist, joined BP as a geochemist in 1985. He studied peak oil matters since 1991, when BP asked him the following year to devise a wholly new way to estimate global oil resources. In 2000, he was tasked with creating an in-house projection of global future oil demand and supply to 2030. The model he created was updated annually through 2008; then the effort was disbanded and he moved on to his present work consulting on peak oil.

Eight Pitfalls in Evaluating Green Energy Solutions
Gail Tverberg
Does the recent climate accord between US and China mean that many countries will now forge ahead with renewables and other green solutions? I think that there are more pitfalls than many realize.

Don’t Ask How to Feed the 9 Billion
Mark Bittman, The New York Times
The difference between you and the hungry is not production levels; it’s money. There are no hungry people with money; there isn’t a shortage of food, nor is there a distribution problem. There is an I-don’t-have-the-land-and-resources-to-produce-my-own-food, nor-can-I-afford-to-buy-food problem.

Questions We Should Have Asked about Technology
Jerry Mander, originally published by Between the Lines
The transcript of Jerry Manders talk at the recent International Forum on Globalization teach-in, Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth, which took place October 25th-26th in New York City

News update

Oil Price Slide No Good Way Out
Gail Tverberg
The world is in a dangerous place now. A large share of oil sellers need the revenue from oil sales. They have to continue producing, regardless of how low oil prices go unless they are stopped by bankruptcy, revolution, or something else that gives them a very clear signal to stop.

Oil Price Fall Threatens US Oil Production
Steve Austin, Oil-price.net
A falling oil price is good for the US consumer and good for the US economy. Transport costs feed into the price of every physical product, so if oil gets cheaper, everything gets cheaper. If the oil price falls too far, however, the USAs recent fracking boom will come to an end. Forces are at play to end the USAs projected energy independence and return the country to dependence on the Middle East for its fuel supplies. The USAs long-term key supplier, Saudi Arabia, doesnt want to lose grip on its best customer.

Peak oil vs mean reversion: why trees don’t grow to the skies  
Rajeev Thakkar, Livemint
There are differing views on the significance of peak oil theory, when peak oil will be reached and the production quantity then. Also, the impact on the global economy is not certain. I am no geologist or scientist. But I am a firm believer in the application of mean reversion and the effect of balancing factors in any economic system. Hence, when oil or commodity prices shoot up relentlessly in one direction, a balancing decline becomes a possibility.

29 Bullets That Tell All about Climate Challenge
Mark Fischetti, Scientific American
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released it final report crystallizing 13 months of work by more than 800 scientists. The “synthesis report” gives a no-nonsense assessment of how the climate is changing, what is causing the change, the impacts the changes will have on us and the planet, and the “mitigation” steps we should take to prevent the impacts from getting worse.

The End of the Market Economy
John Michael Greer
One of the factors that makes it difficult to think through the economic consequences of the end of the industrial age is that we’ve all grown up in a world where every form of economic activity has been channeled through certain familiar forms for so long that very few people remember that things could be any other way. Another of the factors that make the same effort of thinking difficult is that the conventional economic thought of our time has invested immense effort and oceans of verbiage into obscuring the fact that things could be any other way.

Stop Growing or Meet the Four Horsemen?
Mary Odum
Americans are now receiving unsubtle messages from the universe that perhaps we have reached our limits, and it is time to stop trying to grow the economy. The four horsemen of pestilence, famine, war, and death are emerging on a global basis, as energy inputs wane and the global economic system begins to turn down. Yet feedback from the system is still telling our system to grow expand, when perhaps it would be wiser to expend more energy on resilient contraction.

Climate depression is for real. Just ask a scientist
Madeleine Thomas, Grist.org
From depression to substance abuse to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, growing bodies of research in the relatively new field of psychology of global warming suggest that climate change will take a pretty heavy toll on the human psyche as storms become more destructive and droughts more prolonged. For your everyday environmentalist, the emotional stress suffered by a rapidly changing Earth can result in some pretty substantial anxieties.

News update

Why the Fracking Phenomenon Will Leave Us High and Dry
Asher Miller, Post Carbon Institute
A new, landmark report shows that hopes of a long-term golden era in American oil & gas production are unfounded.

Eight Pieces of Our Oil Price Predicament
Gail Tverberg
A person might think that oil prices would be fairly stable. Prices would set themselves at a level that would be high enough for the majority of producers, so that in total producers would provide enough–but not too much–oil for the world economy. The prices would be fairly affordable for consumers. And economies around the world would grow robustly with these oil supplies, plus other energy supplies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work that way recently.

Is there really an oil glut?
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Yes, the price drop has only just occurred, and, of course, we cant expect that it will have an immediate affect on consumption. But, increased consumption would likely take the oil markets back above $100 per barrel since small changes in supply and demand tend to move the oil price sharply. At the $100 level no one would be calling the situation a glut.

How can oil as dirty and destructive as the tar sands be profitable? Massive subsidies.
Priceofoil.org
A new report by Oil Change International, Cashing in on All of the Above: U.S. Fossil Fuel Production Subsidies under Obama, demonstrates the huge and growing amount of subsidies going to the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. every year. In 2013, the U.S. federal and state governments gave away $21.6 billion in subsidies for oil, gas, and coal exploration and production.

IPCC Report Says Climate Change Is ‘Severe, Widespread and Irreversible’
Bill McKibben, Ecowatch
Breaking the power of the fossil fuel industry won’t be easy, especially since it has to happen fast. It has to happen, in fact, before the carbon we’ve unleashed into the atmosphere breaks the planet. I’m not certain we’ll win this fight—but, thanks to the IPCC, no one will ever be able to say they weren’t warned.

Why We Can’t Ditch the 2 C Warming Goal
Jonathan Coomey, EcoWatch
The warming limit approach is the most powerful analytical way of thinking about the climate problem that the climate science and policy community has yet devised. So the answer is not to “ditch the 2 C limit,” but to use it to show (in Victor and Kennel’s words) that “politicians … pretend that they are organizing for action when, in fact, most have done little.

Hydropower May Be Huge Source of Methane Emissions
Bobby Magill, Climate Central
Reservoirs and hydropower are often thought of as climate friendly because they don’t burn fossil fuels to produce electricity. But what if reservoirs that store water and produce electricity were among some of the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions?

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world
New Scientist
As protests against financial power sweep the world, science may have confirmed the protesters worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

Terrifying US cluelessness on interest rates suggests politics is powerless
Andrew Critchlow, The Telegraph UK
Clues to the current market turmoil can be found in the Scottish referendum, the Ebola outbreak, and a set of seventeen dots. The last of these are the “dots diagrams” that the US Federal Reserve uses to illustrate where its officials think interest rates will be in the future. They provide a glimpse inside the decision-making process of the main monetary control room in the world. And the picture that emerges is, frankly, terrifying.

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