Saturday, March 4, 2017

Chevron is first oil major to warn investors of risks from climate change lawsuits


Big Oil’s lies about the existential risk posed by its product are now catching up with the industry and threatening profits.

For the first time, one of the major publicly owned fossil fuel companies admitted publicly to investors that climate change lawsuits poses a risk to risk to its profits.
You’re probably thinking that seems like an obvious admission. After all, 190 nations unanimously agreed in the December 2015 Paris climate deal to leave most fossil fuels in the ground because of the existential threat they pose to human civilization.

But this is Big Oil — the industry that has been denying or pretending to deny the existence of climate change for over half a century.
In the “risk factors” section of Chevron’s 2016 10-K financial performance report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — amid a discussion of how those pesky climate rules governments are enacting might hurt demand for its product — is this sentence: “In addition, increasing attention to climate change risks has resulted in an increased possibility of governmental investigations and, potentially, private litigation against the company.” http://bit.ly/2mndUir

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The price of oil: Saudi Arabia, the “Shi’a Crescent and Daesh (IS)

The price of oil: Saudi Arabia, the “Shi’a Crescent and Daesh (IS)
As Security Analyst Professor Paul Rogers points out, the the Middle Eastern insurgency, or as he terms it, 'Revolts from the Margins' is morphing is ways that may have an exacerbating and self-perpetrating influence throughout the region, further destabilizing oil supplies from Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia has major concerns over the increasing influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Middle East, seeing a “Shi’a Crescent” in process of development from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. This stretches from Hezbollah with its substantial influence in Lebanon, to the Alawi-dominated regime in Syria, through to the Shi’a-majority government in Baghdad and its suppression of the Sunni minority, and on to Iran itself. There is a further fear of Shi’a influence in the Saudi Kingdom itself where the Shi’a minority – about 15% of the population of 21 million (excluding nearly 10 million expatriates) – is located mainly in the oil-rich Eastern Province. That minority has suffered considerable suppression and control, especially since the beginning of the Arab Awakening five years ago and remains bitter in its exclusion. Furthermore, Saudi security forces have done much to support the Sunni royal family in Bahrain where the Shi’a majority (some 70% of the island’s citizens) has been suppressed.   Saudi fears of Iran stem partly from the Sunni/Shi’a divide but more significantly from its view of Iran, with a population of 80 million compared with 21 million Saudis, as a state that sees itself as the regional leader. By contrast, successive Saudi kings have regarded their role as the Keeper of the Two Holy Places as giving them the true leadership of the Islamic world. More    

Saturday, April 2, 2016

SE4All Highlights Plans for Implementing SDG 7

25 March 2016: The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), Rachel Kyte, highlighted challenges to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).

Briefing UN Member States and civil society, she also provided an update on the SE4All initiative's plans for supporting implementation of the Goal.

Kyte emphasized that Goal 7 has three “pillars,” addressing energy poverty, technological advancement, and investment in energy efficiency. Stressing the interlinked nature of the Goal, she said the first pillar, addressing energy poverty, is essential to leaving no one behind, noting that the electricity access gap undermines education, productivity and economic growth, while the gap in access to clean cooking fuels is detrimental to health and gender inequality. On technological advancement, Kyte noted the past decade's reductions in the cost and complexity of renewable energy, which makes on-shore wind, solar photo voltaic, and other technologies more competitive with fossil-based energy sources. On energy efficiency, she said greater investment has made it possible to provide basic electricity services using much less power.

Despite this positive progress, Kyte warned that global economic trends have slowed the momentum for electrification, renewables, efficiency and clean cooking. She said the global energy transition is not taking place at a sufficient pace to meet the temperature goal set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change, or the broader development goals expressed in the 2030 Agenda.

Kyte also stressed that the financial needs to achieve SDG 7, which are estimated at over US$1 trillion annually, will need to come from both private and public sectors. She highlighted the importance of small-scale, private investments to develop renewable energy in many African countries.

On the role of the SE4All initiative in supporting the achievement of SDG 7, Kyte said the Forum's 2017 meeting will assess progress and provide substance for the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) and the UN system as a whole in its review of progress towards the SDGs. In the meantime, SE4All is developing a framework for addressing challenges faced by Member States in achieving SDG 7. Member States will have opportunities to provide input on this framework throughout May 2016, Kyte said, and the SE4All Advisory Board will consider the framework at its meeting, on 15-16 June 2016. [Event Webcast] [SE4All Website]

 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Caribbean Green Economy Project

Within the Caribbean, there is a growing awareness of the need for a new economic paradigm for inclusive and sustainable development, in order to deliver solutions for the most pressing challenges which are made worse by international economic and environmental crises.

In the backdrop of the limited diversification of the countries’ economies and their dependence on natural resources, green economy offers a viable option to increase competitiveness and resilience of the region’s economies and merge prosperity and growth for all with sustainability.

"I commit my Government to working assiduously with the Social Partnership to ensure that the measures indentified in Barbados’ Green Economy Scoping Study, which can contribute to a more prosperous and environmentally sensitive Barbados, will be implemented expeditiously" said Freundel J. Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados.

“We see a green economy not only as the area of renewable energy, but we see the green economy as a means of providing new opportunities for our people in St. Kitts,” said Earl Asim Martin, Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.

"We are also showing that it is possible to create a better, environmentally sustainable national economy without compromising our citizens’ legitimate aspirations for increased prosperity," said Bharrat Jagdeo, Former Prime Minister of Guyana

Effective green economy strategies and programmes must address barriers to change that affect the whole Caribbean region. In searching for alternatives to “business-as-usual”, emphasis should be placed on redirecting investments and creating economic incentives that lead to sustainable development and poverty eradication.

UNEP, in cooperation with the CARICOM Secretariat and with financial support of the European Union, is supporting the region through a Caribbean Green Economy Initiative.

The outcomes of project, as well as the experiences and lessons learned during its implementation should offer ideas and opportunities for scaling up green economy transition in other countries and regions especially in island states in the Pacific, Africa and elsewhere.

Please download the project flyer on green economy in the Caribbean here.

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CARICOM's Commercialization of energy efficiency programs and projects in the Caribbean.

As part of its mandate to promote resilient energy matrices region-wide, CARICOM has identified the promotion of investment into energy efficiency programs and projects as a priority action item.

On April 5th at 10.00am EST, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and New Energy Events will co-host a webinar focused on new approaches to the commercialization of energy efficiency programs and projects in the Caribbean.

Confirmed panelists:

Jacob Corvidae, Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute

Kelly Tomblin, President & CEO, Jamaica Public Service Co.

Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager, Energy, CARICOM

Joseph Williams, Sustainable Energy Advisor, Caribbean Development Bank

Despite the obvious potential for investment in energy efficiency across the Caribbean, the markets are yet to take off in any meaningful way. The unavailability of sustainable and affordable financing is widely recognized as the most significant hurdle to commercialization. The webinar will explore an emerging alignment of stakeholders around energy efficiency investments, and examine a number of innovative approaches to financing.

Topics will include:

• How do we introduce investment in energy efficiency into the mainstream?

• How do regional utilities look at investment in EE initiatives from a long-term ROI perspective? How can we align economic incentives to motivate utilities to invest in EE?

• What can we learn from the experience of other markets and other utilities? Hawaii, for example?

• What is the Integrated Utility Service (IUS) model? What can we learn from the initial experience in Fort Collins?

• How might utility-centric EE programs align with public sector and multilateral objectives and with what implication for the financing of EE programs?

• How do we de-risk EE investment?

• What are the opportunity costs associated with the inability of the current "market will deliver" philosophy to tap the regional EE potential?

• What are the key stakeholders - utilities, utility regulators, governments, multilaterals and private investors - prepared to do in order to deliver clean, efficient, reliable and cost-effective energy services to end-users? More

Register Now!

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Take-No-Prisoners World of Oil

It’s evident that we’re still on a planet where oil rules. The question increasingly is: What exactly does it rule over? After all, every barrel of oil that’s burned contributes to a fast-approaching future in which the weather grows hotter and more extreme, droughts and wildfires spread, sea levels rise precipitously, ice continues to melt away in the globe's coldest reaches, and... well, you know that story well enough by now. In the meantime, Planet Earth has a glut of oil on hand and that, it turns out, doesn’t mean -- not for the major oil companies nor even for the major oil states -- that the good times are getting ready to roll.

Of all the powers struggling with that oil glut and the plunging energy prices that have gone with it, none may be more worth watching than Saudi Arabia. While exporting its own extremists and its extreme brand of Islam from Afghanistan to Syria, and lending a decades-long hand to the destabilization of the Greater Middle East, that kingdom has itself been a paragon of stability. Nothing, however, lasts forever, and so keeping an eye on the Saudis is a must. That’s especially so since the latest version of the royal family has also made what might be called the American mistake (with the backing of the Obama administration, no less) and for the first time plunged the Saudi military directly into a typically unwinnable if brutal war in neighboring Yemen.

Combine the destabilizing and blowback effects of wars that won’t end, including the Syrian one, and of oil prices that refuse to rise significantly and, despite the kingdom’s copious money reserves, you have a formula for potential domestic unrest. Already the royals are cutting their domestic subsidies to their own population, pulling billions of dollars in aid out of Lebanon, and exploring a possible $10 billion bank loan.

As TomDispatch’s invaluable energy expert Michael Klare suggests today, when oil prices began plummeting in 2015, the Saudis launched an “oil war of attrition,” imagining that others would be devastated by it (as OPEC partners Nigeria and Venezuela already have been) but that the royals themselves would emerge triumphant.

Should the unimaginable happen, however, and should the kingdom itself begin to come unglued in a Greater Middle East that is increasingly the definition of chaos -- watch out. Tom


Energy Wars of Attrition
The Irony of Oil Abundance
By Michael T. Klare

Three and a half years ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) triggered headlines around the world by predicting that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s leading oil producer by 2020 and, together with Canada, would become a net exporter of oil around 2030. Overnight, a new strain of American energy triumphalism appeared and experts began speaking of “Saudi America,” a reinvigorated U.S.A. animated by copious streams of oil and natural gas, much of it obtained through the then-pioneering technique of hydro-fracking. “This is a real energy revolution,” the Wall Street Journal crowed in an editorial heralding the IEA pronouncement.

The most immediate effect of this “revolution,” its boosters proclaimed, would be to banish any likelihood of a “peak” in world oil production and subsequent petroleum scarcity. The peak oil theorists, who flourished in the early years of the twenty-first century, warned that global output was likely to reach its maximum attainable level in the near future, possibly as early as 2012, and then commence an irreversible decline as the major reserves of energy were tapped dry. The proponents of this outlook did not, however, foresee the coming of hydro-fracking and the exploitation of previously inaccessible reserves of oil and natural gas in underground shale formations. More