Monday, November 30, 2009
Buildings last for decades, so increasing their green credentials can have a long-term impact on our energy consumption
30 November 2009 - Killer typhoons in Taiwan and China ... a failed monsoon in India ... the United Nations secretary-general pleading for action on climate change, while politicians argue over who will bear the costs.
But, instead of bickering while the planet heats up, policymakers should embrace one of the cheapest ways of cutting the air pollution: by making buildings more efficient.
Surprisingly, buildings account for about one-third of global energy use. Transportation, mostly cars, accounts for roughly another one-third. Factories and mines make up the rest. A lot of attention has gone into making cars and factories more efficient since the first global energy shocks of the 1970s. Yet most buildings are bigger energy hogs than a fleet of SUVs. Given advances in technology in everything from window glass to air conditioners, change can come for no net cost.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which produced a landmark study on the topic, contends that buildings should put back into the system at least as much energy as they take out. The consultancy McKinsey & Company notes that a number of key energy efficiency technologies for buildings offer payback periods of less than a year and could have a dramatic impact on greenhouse-gas emissions.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Predicting Supply in a Complex World Fears about "running out" of oil are recurrent. At their strongest, they coincide with periods of high prices and tight supply-demand balance. The latest such period of "peak oil" concerns became very evident from 2004, when strong oil demand ran up against capacity constraints.
In contrast, IHS CERA’s reference case for global liquid productive capacity shows growth through 2030 to around 115 million barrels per day (mbd) and finds no evidence of a peak in supply appearing before that time.
Hydrocarbon liquids—crude oil, condensate, extra heavy oil, and natural gas liquids—are a finite resource; but based on recent trends in exploration and appraisal activity, there should be more than an adequate inventory of physical resources available to increase supply to meet anticipated levels of demand in this time frame.
Post-2030 supply may well struggle to meet demand, but an undulating plateau rather than a dramatic peak will likely unfold. Moreover, if the "peak demand" now evident in the OECD countries is a precursor of later developments in the emerging markets, world demand itself could eventually move on to a different course. More >>>
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Watchdog's estimates of reserves inflated says top official
The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.
The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation's latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies. More >>>
Sunday, November 1, 2009
TOKYO — Sunday 1st November, - The government launched Sunday a new program that enables power companies to purchase at higher rates surplus electricity produced by solar power generation systems installed in homes, schools and hospitals.
The move is Japan’s latest attempt to make photovoltaic generation, which is cleaner in terms of carbon emissions than fossil fuels, more popular at the public level and to step up efforts to fight global warming. On Saturday, the government said it may further accelerate such efforts, with Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressing his hope to launch another program during the year through March 2011, under which utility companies would buy all the solar electricity generated at homes and elsewhere. Kan said that would help give incentives to people to install solar panels on their roofs with ‘‘the state not required to spend even 1 yen.’’ Under the program begun Sunday, effective through the next 10 years, many of the utility firms will almost double payments to 48 yen for each kilowatt generated per hour by households and 24 yen by schools, hospitals and other facilities.
To cover the rise in costs, the electricity companies will collect a monthly surcharge of around 30 yen from every household and organization using electricity in the country, starting in April. The surcharge is expected to rise to 50 to 100 yen in the next five to 10 years and critics say the additional burden will only weaken consumer sentiment, delaying Japan’s emergence from the economic downturn. More >>>