Friday, June 27, 2008

Getting it right on global warming

Friday, June 27, 2008 - Now comes the hard part. After California enacted landmark climate-change goals two years ago, it faced the reality of adopting rules to get the job done.

There were worries over who would pay the bill for controlling emissions, whether green energy could replace fossil fuels, and if the changeover would wreck the state's economy. The results are far from clear, but the first serious look at these challenges was presented this week by state policy makers. The answers are encouraging.
In taking action, California - and the rest of the world - really don't have much choice. There's next to no doubt about global warming and its changes to weather, farming, health and habitation. The right mix of controls and incentives must be crafted to repair this worldwide problem. California can't do it alone, but it can show the way. More >>>

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Debunking the Energy Myths

BUSINESS OPINION By Tony Hayward When I became BP chief executive just over a year ago, I warned that the supply and demand balance for energy was very tight. But, like most people, I never expected to see the oil price go quite as high quite as rapidly as it has in the past few months.

Unsurprisingly, with consumers and businesses everywhere facing much higher fuel costs, emotions are running high. I understand those feelings. Governments and the energy industry are urgently looking for solutions. But if we are to act sensibly, we must start with the facts. We must accept the world as it is, not as we hope for it to be. More >>>

Thursday, June 12, 2008

After the oil crunch?

12 June 2008 - The end of cheap oil helps renewables, but makes far dirtier alternatives viable. A low-carbon future will demand brave leadership

There are two competing explanations for today's high oil prices. One sees the price rise as the result of a temporary imbalance between supply and demand, exacerbated by a weak dollar and a bubble of speculative commodities trading. Fix these problems, adherents suggest, and the price can return to previous low levels, allowing business to continue as usual. The other sees the current price spike as symptomatic of a much deeper crisis, one that could end life as we know it in the rich, consuming west as global supplies of cheap oil begin to run short, not temporarily, but for ever. As Chris Skrebowski, editor of the UK Petroleum Review, puts it: "This is what I would describe as the foothills of peak oil." An imminent oil peak is no longer just a fringe theory: increasing numbers of experts view the topping out point as very close, if not actually upon us. "Easy, cheap oil is over, peak oil is looming," warns Shokri Ghanem, head of Libya's National Oil Corporation. If they are right, we are about to move into a very different world. More >>>

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Oil reaches new heights

Crude oil prices went on a record-setting surge today as fears of a new Middle East conflict were fanned by comments from a top Israeli official about Iran.

New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, leapt $US10.75 a barrel - its biggest one-day jump ever - to close at a record $US138.54.

In intraday trade and in record time, the benchmark contract crossed 137, 138 and 139 dollars for the first time and soared to an all-time high of $US139.12.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for July similarly smashed barriers on its way to a new intraday high of $US138.12 a barrel. It eased back to settle at a record $US137.69, up $US10.15. More >>>

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Algae: the big idea for future energy

Huge investment is needed in innovative technologies to give us energy in the future

Sorry, Africa, but I need your next meal to run my pick-up down to the mall. Just shove your corn in my tank, will you? This thing only does 20 miles to the gallon. Don't blame me, blame all those middle-class Indians and Chinese who want to live like us. They're the reason food prices are rising. What, you're hungry? Can't you call the UN?

The moral dimensions to food and energy prices, and the links between them, are becoming inescapable. There is huge resentment about biofuels at this week's World Food Summit, even though prosperity is the main reason for higher food prices. There was outrage in India recently, when Condoleezza Rice appeared to blame its middle-class for costlier food.

Why shouldn't we eat the same as you, asked Indian MPs. We're still thinner. And why should the West suck up prime agricultural land to grow subsidised biofuels just to keep driving cheaply? It's bad enough that a high oil price makes fertiliser and tractor fuel more expensive. It's utterly irresponsible to burn food to make fuel. More >>>