Category Archives: Fossil Fuels

The World Bank’s Shocking, Cautionary Tale on Climate Change

Like the Ghost of Christmas Future, the World Bank has just provided us with a frightening glimpse into our world-to-be if, unlike Scrooge, we fail to change our ways.” (Source: Huffington Post)

The new World Bank report "Turn down the heat: why a 4°C warmer world must be avoided" stands in stark contrast to all fossil-fuel friendly policies of this and other international and national governance bodies. And the silence in the media about the coming Doha summit on climate change is deafening.

IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy

One week after IMF economist Michael Kumhof attracted attention with his remarkable ideas on debt redemption and money creation in the working paper "The Chicago Plan Revisited", here he is again with another remarkable study, on peak oil this time. One scenario in his modelling predicts an 800 percent increase in oil prices in two decades. Anyone for more doom-and-gloom?

Is the IMF becoming revolutionary? And will the media and policymakers read and understand the implications of these excellent papers? I guess at least the Queen will not have to ask questions why nobody warned of this clear and present danger.

Read The Washington Post’s “IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy” and the full working paper “Oil and the World Economy: some possible futures”.

Neoliberalism, Degrowth and the Fate of Health Systems

"Degrowth recognizes that humanity’s access to the earth’s resources and services of the biosphere are constraints upon socioeconomic activity. It also holds that politics and economics cannot trump thermodynamic and ecological realities. It places the limits to growth and ecological overshoot at the center of the predicaments Homo sapiens confront. It connects to culture and political/economy through this root public policy question: How to equitably distribute a shrinking economic pie?" (Source: Health After Oil blog).

Must-read analysis by Dan Bednarz and Allana Beavis on what "the end of cheap energy and growth" means for Western health systems.

Romney’s energy plan follows the money

Energy analyst Chris Nelder reviews Mitt Romney’s energy plan and finds nothing but an oil and gas industry wish list.” (Source: Getreallist.com)

How the fossil fuel industry won the energy narrative war and is now buying the next US President.. Get ready for more resource wars and climate collapse.

“… Romney received nearly $10 million from the oil and gas industry just this week. Romney’s chief energy adviser is shale oil baron Harold Hamm, one of his top super PAC donors, who stands to benefit handsomely if Romney takes the reins. Oil and gas employees and their families are the sixth-largest source of donations to the Republican National Committee, as Jim Snyder and Kasia Klimasinska reported for Bloomberg today, and the industry as a whole is the tenth-largest contributor to the Romney campaign. The fossil-fuel tycoon Koch brothers alone have personally contributed over $60 million to Romney’s campaign.”

The ‘Shale Gas Revolution’: Developments and Changes

The ‘shale gas revolution’ in the United States created an oversupply of liquefied natural gas and downward pressure on gas prices across the globe. Disappointing outcomes have reduced the hype about the prospects for shale gas in Europe”.

Excellent new report from Paul Stevens of Chatham House. One of the most important conclusions: shale gas does not substitute for coal but is a big danger to renewables.

Main conclusions of this must-read report:

  • The ‘shale gas revolution’ in the United States created an oversupply of liquefied natural gas and downward pressure on gas prices across the globe.
  • Disappointing outcomes have reduced the hype about the prospects for shale gas in Europe, and led to the realization that, at least in western Europe, there are serious obstacles to its development.
  • There has been considerable debate over the level of technically recoverable shale gas resources together with significant revisions to some estimates of those resources.
  • Growing opposition to shale gas is driven by concerns over the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing and the impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In the United States, energy self-sufficiency has increased in importance, making the continuation of the ‘shale gas revolution’ there more likely.
  • There is a growing fear that shale gas may substitute not for coal as many originally hoped, but for renewables.
  • Overall, levels of investor uncertainty remain as high as ever, particularly with regard to developments outside the United States.

The Frozen Frontier: Is Shell Ready For The Risks Of Arctic Drilling?

A new report by Ceres shows that oil and gas companies are not doing enough to manage offshore drilling risks and disclose their efforts to investors.” (Source: Forbes)

Forbes is one of the few media paying attention to this interesting new report on offshore and Arctic drilling for oil and gas.

Extract from this must-read article:

A new report by Ceres shows that oil and gas companies—Shell included—are not doing enough to manage offshore drilling risks and disclose their efforts to investors. The report, Sustainable Extraction?, examines risk disclosure in SEC filings submitted in the first quarter of 2011 by 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. It finds that out of 50 deepwater risk disclosure scores on key metrics including spill response procedures and drilling risk management, only four scores were good, and 29 (nearly 60 percent) were poor or no disclosure.

This striking lack of disclosure makes it nearly impossible for investors to understand how companies are managing the range of potential drilling risks.  And investors are already wary.

Lloyd’s, the world’s largest insurance market, cautions that “the Arctic is a frontier unlike any other” that will “remain a complex risk environment.” In its Arctic Opening report, Lloyd’s highlights geographic remoteness, ongoing changes to the environment as a result of climate change and extreme weather as key risk factors of offshore drilling in the Arctic.”

Does the future of the planet rest on business after failed Rio+20?

“With a disappointing political outcome at Rio+20, the president of the WBCSD says the only option is for business to spring into action and implement change at scale…” (Source: Guardian Sustainable Business blog)

Yes, business could be not only part of the solution but the key to the solution if it can positively answer the following questions:

Can big business embrace limits to growth, admit that sustainability is not only about more opportunities but also about putting in place constraints and sufficiency, develop a business model beyond short-term profit, work for society instead of shareholders, empower leaders who advocate social and wage equality, adopt a no-lobby code, convince the fossil-fuel sector that the age of oil and gas has to end asap, order the financial sector to downsize and serve the real economy, help SMEs to go sustainable?

How realistic is it that we will see business have the courage to re-invent itself?

Leading Companies Contradict Own Actions on Climate Science

Many of the country’s leading companies have taken contradictory actions when it comes to climate change science while pumping a tremendous amount of resources into influencing the discussion, according to an analysis released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).” (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists)

Most climate talk from big business is just that: just talk, little walk.

The study found that ExxonMobil, General Electric, Caterpillar and Boeing are among companies that play both sides of the fence, supporting groups that promote climate change science as well as those that seek to undercut it.” (from NY Times blog: On Climate Change, It’s Money vs. Mouth )

Clean energy as culture war

Conservatives say the American way is to use more and pay less, Walmart-style. No wonder they’re scared about the shift to clean energy and sustainability.”

Good article by David Roberts on the Grist about how clean energy is quickly replacing climate change as enemy number one of the American way of life.

Governments failing to avert catastrophic climate change, IEA urges

Ministers attending clean energy summit in London to be gravely warned about continuing global addiction to fossil fuels.”.. (Source: The Guardian)

The IEA under the leadership of Fatih Birol and now also new executive director Maria van der Hoeven, is one of the only international institutions with the guts to tell things as they are.

Our addiction to fossil fuels grows stronger each year. Many clean energy technologies are available but they are not being deployed quickly enough to avert potentially disastrous consequences

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