Archive for the tag “Tom Whipple”

News update

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Sees Fastest Rise
From The Scientific American
Despite some recent regional reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and other industrial nations, the total concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues its upward march at an unprecedented rate, the World Meteorological Organization has announced.

Stand by for the ‘megadroughts’, scientists warn
From The Independent, UK
Climate change is set to unleash a series of decades-long “megadroughts” this century, according to new research. Experts warn the droughts could be even more severe than the prolonged water shortage currently afflicting California, where residents have resorted to stealing from fire hydrants amid mass crop failures and regular wildfires.

Low Oil Prices: Sign of a Debt Bubble Collapse, Leading to the End of Oil Supply?
By Gail Tverberg, Our Finite World
Oil and other commodity prices have recently been dropping. Is this good news, or bad? I would argue that falling commodity prices are bad news. It likely means that the debt bubble which has been holding up the world economy for a very long–since World War II, at least–is failing to expand sufficiently. If the debt bubble collapses, we will be in huge difficulty.

Saudi Arabia Aims For Nuclear Power Within 20 Years
From Oilprice.com
To help address its energy needs, last week Saudi Arabia announced plans to incentivize both private and public investments in energy sources other than oil. Within 20 years, the Saudi Royal Family aims to invest $80 billion and $240 billion so that nuclear and solar, respectively, will each provide 15 percent of the Kingdom’s power needs. The transition is intended to happen quickly, with the first nuclear reactor expected to come online in only eight years.

Fossil Fuel Development in the Arctic is a Bad Investment
By Emily E. Adams, Earth Policy Institute
The world has become blinded by oil and gas as the familiar ways to run the economy and so is proceeding to look for them in hard-to-reach places like the Arctic, even as the costs mount and the returns diminish. An example of the world being set in its ways was the announcement on August 28th that Royal Dutch Shell, despite many setbacks in recent years, submitted plans to the U.S. government to again drill for oil offshore of Alaska as early as summer 2015.

The Peak Oil Crisis: It‘s All Around Us
By Tom Whipple, Falls Church News-Press
If we step back and acknowledge that the shale oil phenomenon will be over in a couple of years and that oil production is dropping in the rest of the world, then we have to expect that the remainder of the peak oil story will play out shortly. The impact of shrinking global oil production, which is been on hold for nearly a decade, will appear.

Is Narendra Modi a climate sceptic?
From The Guardian
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, reportedly will be a no-show at the United Nations climate summit this month. Could it be because he does not accept the science behind climate change? Modi used to be a supporter for climate action. But in public remarks on two occasions in the last week, the leader of one of the fastest growing – and biggest emitting – economies appeared to express doubt about whether climate change was even occurring.

World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise
From The Guardian
The world’s population is now odds-on to swell ever-higher for the rest of the century, posing grave challenges for food supplies, healthcare and social cohesion. A ground-breaking analysis released on Thursday shows there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously from 7bn today to 11bn in 2100.

Earth Overshoot Day
By Lyla Bavadam, The Frontline
August 19 was Earth Overshoot Day: an estimate of the moment in a 12-month period when humans have consumed more natural resources than the biosphere can replace and created more waste than it can absorb. To put it simply, in less than eight months of 2014, the annual supply of land, water and trees and the planet’s ability to deal with waste products, including carbon dioxide, have been used up. This means that humanity is already living off next year’s supplies, which in turn means that next year’s supplies will end even sooner than this year’s. No wonder Earth Overshoot Day is also called Ecological Debt Day.

Theres a lot more to Transition than community gardens
By Rob Hopkins, Resilience.org
Community gardens can give people a sense of “can do” that no amount of reading articles advocating “radical politics, confronting capitalism, fundamental structural change and “revolution”” can.   We need a new language to communicate this stuff.  That’s what Transition does.  We need to speak to peoples’ values, of community, of family, of the things they love, of place, of possibility, of things their children love and value.

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

How Climate Change is Going To Affect India
By Nidhi Jamwal, Yahoo India
A new set of reports by UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change point to the rising incidence of freak weather occurrences, and the very real impact of these on our lives. Of course we’ve all heard of global warming, but here’s how it affects us directly in India, and here’s why you should care.

IPCC reports diluted under political pressure to protect fossil fuel interests
By Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian
Increasing evidence is emerging that the policy summaries on climate impacts and mitigation by the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were significantly diluted under political pressure from some of the worlds biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil and the United States.

Is Climate Change a Crime Against Humanity?
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com
Thanks to a grim report in 2013 from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we know that there is now a 95%-100% likelihood that “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming [of the planet] since the mid-20th century.” We know as well that the warming of the planet thanks to the fossil fuel system we live by and the greenhouse gases it deposits in the atmosphere is already doing real damage to our world.

US Gov’t Slashes California Oil Estimate by Over 95%
By Post Carbon Institute
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has drastically reduced its estimate of recoverable oil in California’s Monterey shale formation from 13.7 billion barrels to just 0.6 billion barrels—a reduction of over 95%. The downgrade puts a question mark over hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and other forms of well stimulation-enabled oil development, which has been touted as the harbingers of a new oil boom.

Addicted to oil
By Dawn Stover, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Instead of looking to scientists, politicians, and economists for ideas about how to address the climate crisis, maybe it’s time to turn to mental health professionals. They’re the experts on why people engage in self-destructive behaviors, and on what can help addicts break these bad habits.

Historic Sino-Russia Deal Bypasses US Dollar
By Farooque Chowdhury, Countercurrents.org
In a symbolic, but historic blow to the hegemony of US dollar, China and Russia have concluded an agreement with far-reaching significance. The deal bypasses US dollar in part of the two emerging powers’ trade. According to the agreement, two financial institutions of the two countries will pay each other in domestic currencies. However, major western news agencies and media outlets have ignored the news.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Parsing 2014
By Tom Whipple, Falls Church News-Press
Within the next few years, we are likely to see drops in conventional production as the pace for exploring and developing new oil fields contracts. On top of the geologic problems, the political situation in several oil producing countries seem likely to get worse before the year is out. We have already lost substantial oil production from Syria, Egypt, Yemen, South Sudan, and Iran.

Nuclear energy not economically viable
From Forbes.com
Nuclear power is no longer an economically viable source of new energy in the United States, the freshly-retired CEO of Exelon, America’s largest producer of nuclear power, has said. And it won’t become economically viable, he said, for the foreseeable future.

News update

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for irreversible collapse?
A new study sponsored by Nasas Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of collapse are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history. Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to precipitous collapse often lasting centuries have been quite common.

Download a copy (pdf file) of the study: A Minimal Model for Human and Nature Interaction, authored by Safa Motesharrei, Jorge Rivas and Eugenia Kalnay.
From The Guardian

 Global riot epidemic due to demise of cheap fossil fuels
If anyone had hoped that the Arab Spring and Occupy protests a few years back were one-off episodes that would soon give way to more stability, they have another thing coming. The hope was that ongoing economic recovery would return to pre-crash levels of growth, alleviating the grievances fueling the fires of civil unrest, stoked by years of recession. But this hasnt happened. And it wont. Instead the post-2008 crash era, including 2013 and early 2014, has seen a persistence and proliferation of civil unrest on a scale that has never been seen before in human history.
From The Guardian

Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, has released a stark report on global warming. The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing.
From the New York Times

Warm, too warm, and warmer still: The climate movement must face up to its colossal failure
There is no disputing the climate movement’s breadth, depth, diligence, passion or commitment. Crucially, it’s also right, fighting for nothing less than the future of our civilisation. But playing out in slow motion in front of our eyes, we are witnessing its complete collapse. Sustainability conferences hijacked by oil officials and sponsored by Big Oil are but symptoms of a deeper malaise.
From www.eco-business.com

Where Does the Flatness of Oil Production Come From?
For CONVENTIONAL oil, the peak annual global production was about 30 billion barrels (in 2010), but it is now down by about 10%. The TOTAL of global oil production, however, has been more or less flat since about 2002. The discrepancy is due to the fact that the grand total includes UNCONVENTIONAL oil (shale oil, tar-sands oil, natural-gas-liquids, etc.). Mysteriously, the decrease in conventional oil and the increase in unconventional oil balance each other out almost perfectly. But this doesnt make sense. How is it possible that the rise in unconventional oil and the decline in conventional oil and almost exactly cancel each other out, keeping the grand total of annual oil production continuing flat year after year?
By Peter Goodchild

The Crocodiles of Reality
Ive suggested in several previous posts that the peak oil debate may be approaching a turning point—one of those shifts in the collective conversation in which topics that have been shut out for years or decades finally succeed in crashing the party, and other topics that have gotten more than their quota of attention during that time get put out to pasture or sent to the glue factory. I’d like to talk for a moment about some of the reasons I think that’s about to happen, and in the process, give a name to one of the common but generally unmentionable features of contemporary economic life.
By John Michael Greer

Video: Agriculture in a Changing World
Agriculture is the oldest environmental problem, the Land Institutes Wes Jackson tells us early in this 27-minute video. Through interviews with 11 scientists, researchers and environmental experts, this short documentary considers that fate of agriculture and the environment in the age of agri-business and climate change. Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, Tad Patzek , Wendell Berry, Mark Shepard and the rest of the cast explain that big agricultures insatiable need for revenue not only afflicts the environment with toxic fertilizers, pesticides and carbon emissions, it degrades the state of agriculture itself by destroying the soil and subverting the natural evolution of animals, plants and insects. It is as unsustainable as it is unstoppable.
From www.postcarbon.org

Peak Oil Review Mar 17
by Tom Whipple, originally published by ASPO-USA
From www.resilience.org

 

 

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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