Archive for the tag “Richard Heinberg”

News update

Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia
Larry Elliott, The Guardian UK
With the help of its Saudi ally, Washington is trying to drive down the oil price by flooding an already weak market with crude. As the Russians and the Iranians are heavily dependent on oil exports, the assumption is that they will become easier to deal with. Washington is trying to drive down prices by flooding the market with crude but risks collateral damage to its own shale industry.

The Collapse of Oil Prices and Energy Security in Europe
Ugo Bardi
Written version of the brief talk given by Bardi at the hearing of the EU parliament on energy security in Brussels on Nov 5, 2014.

India set to defy warnings on coal’s climate impact
Climate News Network
While even China, the world’s leading coal producer, begins to recognise the fuel’s serious polluting effects (as with its recent emissions pact with the U.S.), India has announced it aims to double production to meet soaring energy demand. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable energy, says India needs to dig twice as much coal as it does today if it is to meet its soaring energy demand.

We Have Just Witnessed The Last Gasp Of The Global Economy
Brandon Smith, Alt-market.com
I believe that the admissions of financial danger by internationalists, the sharp drop in stocks at the beginning of fall, the reversal of the political theater, and the fact that mainstream investors now recognize the illegitimacy of the markets yet continue with the scam anyway, signals the last gasp of the global economy. I expect increasing market instability from this point on, as well as numerous geopolitical distractions which will be blamed for the fiscal chaos.  

How to Shrink the Economy without Crashing It: A Ten-Point Plan
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Is it possible, at least in principle, to manage the process of economic contraction so as to avert chaotic collapse? Such a course of action would face daunting obstacles. There is no significant constituency within society advocating a deliberate, policy-led process of degrowth, while there are powerful interests seeking to maintain growth. Nevertheless, managed contraction would almost certainly yield better outcomes than chaotic collapse—for everyone, elites included. The following modest ten-point plan is an attempt to do so.

Why warnings on climate spark aggressive denials
Climate News Network
If you don’t like the message on climate change, it seems that the answer is to shoot the messenger. A new book argues that death threats and abuse illustrate how climate change messengers are being demonised in a way that is without parallel in the history of science.

How Green Are Those Solar Panels, Really?
National Geographic
As the world seeks cleaner power, solar energy capacity has increased sixfold in the past five years. Yet manufacturing all those solar panels, a Tuesday report shows, can have environmental downsides.
Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solars ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.

News update

Could Fighting Global Warming Be Cheap and Free?
Paul Krugman, The New York Times
In his latest column, well-known NYT columnist Krugman attacks, among others, the Post Carbon Institute, a leading think tank on Peak Oil and Climate Change, as wrong-headed and inducing climate despair.  In a piece titled Paul Krugman’s Errors and Omissions the Post Carbon Institutes Richard Heinberg responds to Krugman. Below is prominent Peak Oil writer John Michael Greers rather interesting take on the exchange which, he interprets as a sign that we are approaching a financial crash.

Dark Age America: The Senility of the Elites 
John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
When a significant media figure uses one of the world’s major newspapers of record to lash out at a particular band of economic heretics by name, on the other hand, we’ve reached the kind of behavior that only happens, historically speaking, when crunch time is very, very close. Given that we’ve also got a wildly overvalued stock market, falling commodity prices, and a great many other symptoms of drastic economic trouble bearing down on us right now, not to mention the inevitable unraveling of the fracking bubble, there’s a definite chance that the next month or two could see the start of a really spectacular financial crash.

A Hundred Days Closer to Ecological and Social Suicide
Ashish Kothari, The Economic & Political Weekly
The first 100 days of the Narendra Modi government which have been celebrated by the mainstream media saw what can only be called a widespread and large-scale assault on rules, laws and institutions meant to protect the environment, and more is on the cards. Side by side, the central as also state governments of various hues have moved against non-governmental organisations raising social and environmental issues. But resistance to corporate-driven growth continues and alternatives continue to be explored. (Article can be accessed for a limited period only)

Global Warming and the Shifts in Species’ Range in India
Nagaraj Adve (POI member), The Economic & Political Weekly
Global warming and changing rainfall patterns have resulted in shifts or extensions in species range in every terrain, region and ecosystem in India. If it is indicative of a wider unfolding process related to climate change, it would suggest that a staggering number of species in India are moving home. This would adversely affect human habitat as well. (Article can be accessed for a limited period only)

New Study Demonstrates Dramatic, Immediate Energy Shift Needed
Popularresistance.org
Here’s the frightening implication of a landmark study on carbon emissions: By 2018, no new cars, homes, schools, factories, or electrical power plants should be built anywhere in the world, ever again, unless they’re either replacements for old ones or carbon neutral. Otherwise greenhouse gas emissions will push global warming past 2˚C of temperature rise worldwide, threatening the survival of many people currently living on the planet.

Cities Will Solve Climate Change, Not Nations
The Scientific American
Cities now deliver fully three-quarters of global economic activity, totaling more than $50 trillion. And it is citizens of cities who are responsible for at least half of all greenhouse gas pollution—through demand for heating and cooling, food, lighting, entertainment and transportation. As a result, city action (or inaction) on climate change may determine the ultimate outcome of global warming.

Who will feed China?
Earth Policy Institute
China is a leading importer of grain and it imports a staggering 60 percent of all soybeans entering world trade—and it looks like it will continue. The problem is not so much population growth, but China’s rising affluence, which is allowing its population to move up the food chain, consuming more grain-intensive livestock, poultry, and farmed fish. (Also see: collection of links to informative articles at the bottom of the page)

Could This Environmental Risk Derail Americas Oil and Gas Boom?
Fool.com
Americas oil and gas boom has done wonders for energy independence and the economy. However, fracking, which is largely responsible for Americas energy renaissance, has proven to be a highly controversial issue, with environmentalists claiming that it pollutes ground water with large numbers of little-studied chemicals and even causes earthquakes. This article examines this last claim with the aim of detailing how this risk, whether true or perceived, might affect the future of Americas oil and gas boom.

Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity of Fossil Fuels
The New York Times
John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels. The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses.

News update

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows were nearing collapse
From The Guardian
The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

India blackouts casts shadow over Modis economic recovery
From Moneycontrol.com
More than half of Indias thermal power stations have less than a weeks supply of fuel the lowest levels since mid-2012 when hundreds of millions of people were cut off in one of the worlds worst blackouts. Coal stocks at thermal stations have hit critical levels as payment disputes escalate, unleashing power cuts that could choke off an economic recovery before it takes hold and hurt Modis prospects at forthcoming state elections.

When Will The Peak Oil Crisis Begin?
By Tom Whipple, Post Carbon Institute
For those following the world oil production situation, it has been clear for some time that the only factor keeping global crude output from moving lower is the continuing increase in U.S. shale oil production, mostly from Texas and North Dakota. Needless to say, once the fabled “peak” comes oil and gasoline prices are certain to move higher, triggering a series of economic events – most of which will not be good for the global economy.

Why Peak Oil Refuses to Die
By Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Perhaps you’ve seen one of the recent barrage of articles claiming that fears of an imminent peak and decline in world oil production have either been dispelled (because we actually have plenty of oil) or are misplaced (because climate change is the only environmental problem we should be concerned with). I’m not buying either argument.

EU energy-saving rules cut power of vacuum cleaners
From The Telegraph, UK
Britain’s domestic vacuum cleaners will become less powerful under European Union rules designed to cut energy use that come into force next year. New machines will be banned from having motors that exceed 1,600W from September 2014, and they will be limited to 900W from 2017.

Geothermal Power Approaches 12,000 Megawatts Worldwide
J. Matthew Roney , www.earth-policy.org
In 2013, world geothermal electricity-generating capacity grew 3 percent to top 11,700 megawatts across 24 countries. Although some other renewable energy technologies are seeing much faster growth—wind power has expanded 21 percent per year since 2008, for example, while solar power has grown at a blistering 53 percent annual rate—this was geothermal’s best year since the 2007-08 financial crisis.

At War With Reality: The Absolute Insanity of Humanitys Rulers.
By Michael Byron, OpEd News
Imagine that somewhere out in the vastness of the Cosmos, there exists a species that knows, or reasonably should know, that its economy is organized in such a manner as to inevitably trigger its own total extinction, likely within the lifetimes of all but the oldest members of that species. Suppose that this species collective reaction was to simply ignore this unpleasant reality and continue with business as usual!

Alternative Energy Fetishes and Temples to Technology
From Collapse of Industrial Civilization blog
Surely if we had some sort of techno-fix to halt the cascade of biospheric tipping points we have breached, we would have deployed them by now. Nevertheless, the carrot of a civilization-saving technological breakthrough is forever dangled before our eyes. By all accounts, we appear hellbent on doing everything humanly possible to maintain and perpetuate industrial civilization by deploying “earth-friendly” renewable energy technologies which, in the end, turn out to be nothing more than “reconstituted fossil fuels”.

Peak Everything: 1970
By Peter Goodchild, Survive Peak Oil
Perhaps the most common response to the peak-oil problem is: The oil isnt going to disappear overnight. We have a century to prepare. Unfortunately, the fact that the decline in oil is a curve, not a vertical line, makes it difficult to comprehend. What matters is that the serious damage will have been done long before we get to those tiny remaining drops. That damage started around 1970, and it was not confined to oil.

News update

If We Release a Small Fraction of Arctic Carbon, Were Fucked: Climatologist
From Vice.com
Recently, scientists have made a disturbing discovery in the Arctic Ocean: They saw vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor, as the Stockholm University put it in a release disclosing the observations. The plume of methane—a potent greenhouse gas that traps heat more powerfully than carbon dioxide, the chief driver of climate change—was unsettling to the scientists.

Heading Toward The Sidewalk
By John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
The author, a well-known writer on peak Oil and related topics, argues that another economic crash is imminent in the U.S., this time because the fracking/shale gas bubble is about to burst.

Blame the Environmentalists
By Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
CEOs of companies engaged in shale gas and tight oil drilling are undoubtedly aware of what’s going on in their own balance sheets, hype is an essential part of their business model.

Why doesnt the long emergency feel like an emergency?
By Kurt Cobb, Resourceinsights.blogspot.in
In 2006 when James Howard Kunstler published his breakthrough book The Long Emergency, the next two years seemed to vindicate his warning that the oil age was coming to an end with perilous consequences. By autumn the stock market had collapsed and with it the world economy. Oil, too, then collapsed, trading in the mid-$30 range by December as demand for oil fell off a cliff with the economy. It seemed for months that the world was headed for an economic depression.

Transformative Common Sense in Vermont
By Eric Zencey, Steadystate.org
Because GDP-based economic development is so wrong-headed, the state of Vermonts commitment to use Genuine Progress Indicator as a yardstick is a matter of common sense; and yet, because GDP-based economic development is so deeply woven into the substance and texture of our political economy, using basic common sense here is a powerfully transformative act.

GDP: The Infinite Planet Indicator
By Eric Zencey, Steadystate.org
If economists know GDP is not a measurement of economic well-being, why have they continued using it as a proxy for this?

Some Thoughts On Resilience and Transition
By Saral Sarkar, www.eco-socialist.blogspot.in

Just How Legal Are Seed Libraries?
From the Post Carbon Institute
After the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture cracked down on a community seed library, hundreds of seed libraries in the U.S. are suddenly wondering if they are breaking the law.

Id be happier if I didnt write this stuff!
By Kurt Cobb, Resourceinsights.blogspot.in
For years my fatherwho is a really great guyhas been telling me that Id be a happier person if I didnt write about all the converging threats bearing down on the human race. Turns out hes right! Heres what a new study said on the matter: Recent evidence suggests that a state of good mental health is associated with biased processing of information that supports a positively skewed view of the future. Depression, on the other hand, is associated with unbiased processing of such information.

 

News update

Iraq crisis: India braces for Rs 20,000 cr hole in budget as oil could rise to $120 per barrel
From Firtsbiz.com
Indias government sees oil prices going as high as $120 per barrel for three to four months because of fighting in Iraq, potentially driving a hole of at least Rs 20,000 crore ($3.4 billion) in the budget, two government sources told Reuters. If the oil prices remain high even for 3-4 months around $120 a barrel, it could have a significant impact on the fiscal deficit and economic growth, a senior Finance Ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

International Energy Agency Says the Party’s Over
By Richard Heinberg, Postcarbon.org
The International Energy Agency has just released a new special report called “World Energy Investment Outlook” that should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits—if they are willing to read between the lines and view the report in the context of current financial and geopolitical trends. (Editors Note: Other reports, especially in the mainstream business press, have claimed the same IEA report as hailing a new era of oil abundance (see link below for an example). Such extremely contradictory views are typical when it comes to the future of oil, and reflect the high stakes involved).

IEA sees shale oil boom spread beyond N.America
By G. Chandrashekhar, The Hindu BusinessLine
Over the next five years, global oil demand growth will slow, OPEC capacity growth will face headwinds and regional imbalances in gasoline and diesel markets will widen, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said in its annual five-year oil market outlook report released today in Paris. Forecasting that the unconventional supply revolution in the form of shale oil boom currently sweeping North America will expand to other region before the end of the decade, IEA said that in five years, North America will have the capacity to become a net exporter of oil liquids.

A Closer Look at Saudi Arabia
By Ron Patterson, Peakoilbarrel.com
Approximately 60–65% of all Saudi oil produced between 1948 and 2000 came from the Ghawar oil field. Cumulative production until April 2010 has exceeded 65 billion barrels. It was estimated that Ghawar produced about 5 million barrels of oil a day (6.25% of global production) in 2009. Ghawar also produces approximately 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. After 60 years of production, the field is depleted, and so are other leading Saudi oil fields.

The inevitable demise of the fossil fuel empire
By Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian
Since 2000, the oil industrys investments have risen by 180% a threefold increase but this has translated into a global oil supply increase of just 14%. Two-thirds of this increase has been made-up by unconventional oil and gas. In other words, the primary driver of the cost explosion is the shift to expensive and difficult-to-extract unconventionals due to the peak and plateau in conventional oil production since 2005.

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
By Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian
A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD Minerva Research Initiative is a multi-million dollar programme designed to develop immediate and long-term warfighter-relevant insights for senior officials and decision makers in the defense policy community, and to inform policy implemented by combatant commands.

China Leads World to Solar Power Record in 2013
By J. Matthew Roney,  Earth Policy Institute
China—the leading manufacturer of PV—had until recently installed very little solar power at home. Those days are over. Between 2010 and 2012, China’s PV capacity grew nearly ninefold to 7,000 megawatts. Then in 2013, China added at least 11,300 megawatts, the largest PV addition by any country in a single year. With 18,300 megawatts, China now trails only Germany (at 36,000 megawatts) in overall capacity.

Want to Change the World? Read This First
by Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org
History is often made by strong personalities wielding bold new political, economic, or religious doctrines. Yet any serious effort to understand how and why societies change requires examination not just of leaders and ideas, but also of environmental circumstances (climate, weather, and the presence or absence of water, good soil, and other resources). If you want to change society—or are interested in aiding or evaluating the efforts of others to do so—some understanding of exactly how environmental circumstances affect such efforts could be extremely helpful.

News update

If Peak Oil Is Dead, Why Havent Prices Dropped?
Steve Andrews of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, USA interviews Dr. Richard G. Miller who recently co-authored and co-edited The Future of Oil Supply (see item below), a thematic issue of Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society entirely devoted to future world oil supply. Dr. 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.
From www.evworld.com 

Royal Society joins the Peak Oil debate
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society has the prestige of being the world’s first scientific journal and also published the work of Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, William Herschel and many more celebrated names in science. Recently, this journal published a theme issue, edited by Richard G. Miller and Steve R. Sorell, on peak oil. This volume presents the best scientific evidence on why a decline in oil supply may, or may not, be in sight. It considers the production and resources of conventional oil and the potential for developing alternative liquid fuels from tar sands, shales, biomass, coal and gas. It describes how economies might react and adapt to rising oil prices and how the transport sector could be transformed. It provides comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective on the ‘peak oil’ debate and reflects a range of views. Ultimately, it reminds us that the wolf did eventually appear and that it would be wise to prepare.
From www.royalsocietypublishing.org via www.peakoil.net

Climate Change is a ‘National Security’ Issue Say Military Experts
Climate change should be treated as an issue of national security, say military analysts familiar with links between environmental degradation and conflict. Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, a former Royal Navy aircraft carrier commander and chief UK climate envoy in 2013, told RTCC no one country could afford to ignore the risks linked to rising temperatures.
From www.chimalaya.org

The battle for water
Adequate availability of water, food and energy is critical to global security. The sharpening, international, geopolitical competition over natural resources has turned some strategic resources into engines of power struggle and triggered price volatility. The geopolitics of natural resources promises to get murkier. Water — the sustainer of life and livelihoods — is already the world’s most exploited natural resource. With nature’s freshwater-renewable capacity lagging behind humanity’s current rate of utilisation, tomorrow’s water is being used to meet today’s need. Adapted from Brahma Chellaneys new book, Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis.
From www.thehindu.com 

The Karnataka biofuel model may be replicated elsewhere
The Karnataka policy on biofuel production — with its attempt to move away from the “food vs. fuel” conundrum — is likely to be taken up as a model for other developing countries in Asia and Africa based on a study commissioned by the World Agroforestry Centre.
From www.thehindu.com 

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Winter Update
As the years go by, those studying peak oil are beginning to develop a better understanding of what has been happening since the concept of limits to oil production came to widespread attention. First of all, it is important to understand that in one sense, production of what had been thought of as “conventional oil” really did peak back in 2005. While there has been growth in certain sectors of the “oil” industry in the last nine years it has come in what are known as “unconventional liquids” and as we shall see the maintenance of existing conventional oil production has come at a very high price.
From Falls-Church News Press

The Purposely Confusing World of Energy Politics
Life often presents us with paradoxes, but seldom so blatant or consequential as the following. Read this sentence slowly: Today it is especially difficult for most people to understand our perilous global energy situation, precisely because it has never been more important to do so. Got that? No? Okay, let me explain.
Richard Heinberg, well-known energy expert and writer on Peak Oil and related issues writes about manufactured confusions surrounding Peak Oil.
From www.postcarbon.org

Can the World Feed China?
Overnight, China has become a leading world grain importer, set to buy a staggering 22 million tons in the 2013–14 trade year, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture projections. As recently as 2006—just eight years ago—China had a grain surplus and was exporting 10 million tons. What caused this dramatic shift? Lester Brown, well-known expert on food security and environment, weighs in on the question. Naturally, the question applies as much or more to India as well, for more or less the same reasons.
From www.treehugger.com

The Rising of the Waters: A Call for Submission
British environmental activist and writer Paul Kingsnorth of The Dark Mountain Project writes on their website about the floods that have become an annual phenomenon in his country. This personal note revisits the places he has lived in, is both elegy and warning, and ends with a call for submissions for the latest edition in Dark Mountains book series. He writes: What is interesting to me personally is to see this hitting the south of England so hard. For a long time, environmentalists have been telling us that it is the poor who will be hit hardest by climate change. Of course, they are right in many ways. The flooding of Bangladesh is going to be much worse for its people than the flooding of England. Nevertheless, what we can see here is people in one of the richest countries in the world taking the full force of the climate shift that is now beginning.  It has been happening elsewhere for a long time; it will keep happening, everywhere. Heres a link to his essay Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist, which created a flutter in green activist circles when it was first published.
From www.dark-mountain.net

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