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Updated: 8 years 2 days ago

The psychology of climate change

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm

...Harvard University's Daniel Gilbert has provided a sharply amusing account of how global warming challenges our evolutionary psychology - if it doesn't make us duck or twitch or even feel repulsed, can it really be so bad?

Behavioural scientists also told him that "Simply laying out the facts won't work … The barrage of negative, even terrifying, information can trigger denial or paralysis or, at the very least, procrastination." Sounds like a bad rap for his Academy Award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, which helped raise global awareness of the issue.

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Now you can hear electric cars coming

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm

Is this what a spaceship sounds like? I'd imagined something a bit more whooshy, a bit more Millennium Falcon. These stately tones are more "we come in peace" than "brace yourself for the jump into hyperspace". Still, at 25mph up Camden Road, maybe that's no bad thing.

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No Peak in Oil Before 2030, Study Says

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm
Few topics can inflame oil watchers more than the debate over “peak oil” – that difficult-to-predict moment when the world’s oil production reaches its highest level before beginning a long and irreversible path of decline.

In recent years, ominous warnings about peaking production have gained some prominence among traders and some analysts. They helped explain why oil prices soared last year on fears that oil supplies would fail to catch up with the projected growth in consumption.

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Shale-Gas Skeptic’s Supply Doubts Draw Wrath of Devon Energy

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm
(Bloomberg) -- Arthur Berman runs a one-man energy consulting firm out of his home near Houston, producing research that says forecasts for natural-gas production in the U.S. are flawed. He’s won the industry’s attention and its anger.

Since last month, Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Devon Energy Corp., two of the five largest gas producers in the U.S., attacked Berman’s claims. Berman, 59, had his monthly column pulled from the November issue of World Oil after gas companies complained, prompting him to quit the trade journal.

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GCC oil revenue will hit $1tr in 2030

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm
Global crude output likely to peak in 30 years with daily consumption touching 120m barrels

Abu Dhabi: The combined oil income of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is expected to reach $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) by 2030 at current oil prices, an energy expert said at an industry conference here on Monday.

"The Gulf contains 40 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves and 23 per cent of its gas reserves," Dr Hesham Al Khateeb, Honorary Vice-Chairman of the World Energy Council, told delegates.

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Why peak oil doesn’t matter

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm
There’s only one reason why you’d invest in the oil and gas sector; because you’re confident that, over the long term, the price of oil is going to rise.

In this piece, and the two that will follow, I’ll take you through the key points of that argument, starting with the fashionable “peak oil” theory.

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Of oil reserves, fudged data and World Energy Outlook '09

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm
(Arab News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The energy industry is peculiar -- in more than one ways. The issue of reliable data, or rather the lack of it, plagues the industry. National priorities, global geopolitics and corporate interests make the matter still worse.

The World Energy Outlook (WEO) compiled each year by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) is an eagerly sought after annual affair. The precious database compiled by the OECD energy watchdog is regarded -- and indeed correctly too -- as a guide post to industry trends.

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Has Oil Production Peaked?

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm
OXFORD – Throughout the history of the oil industry, fear and concern about the imminent exhaustion of oil reserves has been a recurring theme. Such sentiments often spread and capture the public imagination at times of rapidly rising oil demand, sharp spikes in energy prices, and geo-political uncertainty. So today’s talk of oil scarcity, which began at the turn of the last century, should come as no surprise.
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The one thing depleting faster than oil is the credibility of those measuring it

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm
The challenge of feeding billions of people as fuel supplies fall is staggering. And yet leaders' heads remain stuck in the sand

I don't know when global oil supplies will start to decline. I do know that another resource has already peaked and gone into free fall: the credibility of the body that's meant to assess them. Last week two whistleblowers from the International Energy Agency alleged that it has deliberately upgraded its estimate of the world's oil supplies in order not to frighten the markets. Three days later, a paper published by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden showed that the IEA's forecasts must be wrong, because it assumes a rate of extraction that appears to be impossible. The agency's assessment of the state of global oil supplies is beginning to look as reliable as Alan Greenspan's blandishments about the health of the financial markets.

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Kunstler: The Fate of the Yeast People

17 November 2009 - 6:16pm
...A very close friend of mine calls them "the yeast people." They were the democratic masses who thrived in the great fermentation vat of the post World War Two economy. They are now meeting the fate that any yeast population faces when the fermentation process is complete. For the moment, they are only ceasing to thrive. They are suffering and worrying horribly from the threat that there might be no further fermentation. The brewers running the vat try to assure them that there's more sugar left in the mix, and more beer can be made from it, and more yeasts can be brought into this world to enjoy the life of the sweet, moist mash. In fact, one of the brewers did happen to dump about a trillion-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar into the vat during 2009, and that has produced an illusion of further fermentation. But we know all too well that this artificial stimulus has limits.
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Indonesia's Texas? Rural Java braces for oil boom

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
Few things seem to happen at speed in this sleepy Java town where rickshaws ply the streets. But this rural area of rice fields and teak forests is set to be transformed by Indonesia's biggest oil find in years.

Oil production could start to flow from the huge Cepu field straddling East and Central Java later this month and eventually add millions of dollars to the coffers of local governments, as well as an influx of workers and a wave of new expectations.

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China to unveil plan for 'new energy' by year-end

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
Coal-dependent China will unveil a plan to foster the development of "new energy" sources, including wind, solar and nuclear, by the end of this year, state media on Monday quoted a senior energy policy official as saying.

Sun Qin, vice head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), told a forum in southern Guangzhou city that a guide for developing energy technologies would also be released, but gave no further details.

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China starts building first 10-GW mega wind farm

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
China started construction of the country's first 10-gigawa wind power base in Jiuquan of northwest Gansu province on Saturday as Beijing seeks more clean power to fuel its fast economic growth.

China, the world's second-largest energy user, has said it would bring its total wind power capacity to 100 GW by 2020 from the current 12 GW, part of a broad energy target to generate 3 percent of total electricity from non-hydro renewable energy.

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Solar industry : "We are within 5-15 years of full competitiveness"

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
Last week, solar-industry experts at a symposium of the National Academies in Washington DC on the topic of scaling up the solar industry complained that the emphasis on finding new technologies was misplaced. Prof. Ken Zweibel, director of Solar Institute at the George Washington University, answers Scitizen's questions.
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Portable solar power systems: Growing supply chain props up industry

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
China’s portable solar power systems segment is benefiting heavily from substantial investment in PV cells and related products. The latter is driven by the rapid growth of the worldwide solar power industry, which has registered more than 40 percent CAGR in the past 10 years.

More importantly, it has resulted in a bustling support chain that supplies a range of modules, main controllers, batteries and inverters, enabling most manufacturers to purchase the key components domestically. The country’s output of PV cells in 2008 surpassed 2000MW, accounting for 37 percent of global production.

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Horn River Basin has natural gas producers envisioning another Barnett Shale

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
A spot in the Canadian wilderness is drawing comparisons to North Texas — because of what lies beneath the surface

The Dallas-Fort Worth area and Canada’s remote Horn River Basin are more than 2,300 miles apart, but there’s nevertheless a significant new link between the two highly diverse regions.

Horn River, in a heavily forested area of northeast British Columbia where subzero temperatures are commonplace, is now drawing comparisons to North Texas’ Barnett Shale, a hotbed of drilling activity recently cited as the biggest natural gas-producing field in the United States.

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Crisis and climate force supply chain shift

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
Manufacturers are abandoning global supply chains for regional ones in a big shift brought about by the financial crisis and climate change concerns, according to executives and analysts.

Companies are increasingly looking closer to home for their components, meaning that for their US or European operations they are more likely to use Mexico and eastern Europe than China, as previously.

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Kurdish faultline threatens to spark new war

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
The only thing keeping Arabs and Kurds from fighting is the glue of US occupation

It is called the "trigger line", a 300-mile long swathe of disputed territory in northern Iraq where Arab and Kurdish soldiers confront each other, and which risks turning into a battlefield. As the world has focused on the US troop withdrawal from Iraq, and the intensifying war in Afghanistan, Arabs and Kurds in Iraq have been getting closer to an all out war over control of the oil-rich lands stretching from the borders of Syria in the west to Iran in the east.

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Why commodity inflation won't go away in a hurry

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
... We are staring at Hubberts Peak (declining oil prices) here onwards. The Society of Petroleum Engineers (www.spe.org) endorses that view. So does the Association for study of peak oil (www.peakoil.net) and these are men and women who brave the elements to hunt for oil. Many myths have been floated by investment analysts -- primary one being technology making it cheaper to drill for black gold. Schlumberger (global leader in drilling equipment manufacturer) doesn't seem to endorse that view. Drilling equipment and other costs continue to zoom.

New discoveries are elusive and well pressures are falling. Lukoil, the erstwhile Soviet Union's heavyweight producer (Russia has one of the highest proven reserves in the world), has officially confirmed a 15% decline in oil well pressure. Mexican wells have reported even steeper fall in pressure --- up to 40%. Alternate sources of oil like oil sands of Alberta and Sasol have been touted as alternatives.

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Blurring the urban-rural line in Damascus (Oregon)

10 August 2009 - 9:27am
...The region's growth regulators seeded the new city of Damascus on Thompson's 77-acre farm. In Thompson's vision, the city can be a place where urban development and agriculture entwine like his graceful marionberry canes.

Part of the farm could be developed for housing, he suggests, while he continues to farm the better soil. The farm's crops could supply an "eco-restaurant" at the top slope of the property. Along the road below could be a fruit and produce stand. Next to it could be a community kitchen and education center where customers could preserve the berries they just bought or learn how to improve their home gardens.

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