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Energy Headlines - May 8, 2005

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Peak Oil

Global Oil Depletion Concerns to be Aired
at International Workshop in Lisbon

ODAC press release
Thirty-six experts from 17 countries will take part in a two-day international workshop on oil and gas depletion at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon on 19-20 May 2005.

Amid mounting concerns about rising oil prices and the ability to expand production capacity to meet rampant demand, the speakers will assess the prospects for future oil and gas supplies. They will also address the economic, political and social impacts of global depletion.

Two Board members of The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) will be among the speakers: Colin Campbell on The End of the First Half of the Oil Age, and Chris Skrebowski on The Emerging Reality of Oil and Gas Depletion – Where Reality Meets Theory.

More than 300 people representing a wide range of interests are expected to attend the workshop. They include oil and energy industry leaders, investment analysts, consultants and government officials.

The full programme is available at: www.cge.uevora.pt/aspo2005/

This will be the fourth annual workshop organised by The Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO), a network of European scientists from 14 countries. Previous workshops have been held in Berlin, Paris and Uppsala, Sweden.
(7 May 2005)


James Howard Kunstler interviewed by Art Bell Sunday May 8

Coast to Coast
One of America’s shrewdest social commentators, James Howard Kunstler, will tell us what to expect once we pass the turning point of global peak oil production and enter the long arc of depletion.
Sunday, May 8
Hosted by Art Bell
(May 2005)


Energy-related News

Secret papers reveal new nuclear building plan

Observer (UK)
The government's strategy to kick-start a huge nuclear power station building programme is revealed today in confidential Whitehall documents seen by The Observer.

In a 46-paragraph briefing note for incoming ministers, Joan MacNaughton, the director-general of energy policy at the new Department of Productivity, Energy and Industry, warns that key policy targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and boost green energy are likely to fail, and that decisions on new nuclear power stations must be taken urgently. It advises that 'it is generally easier to push ahead on controversial issues early in a new parliament'.

The document points to the key role new nuclear power stations, which do not emit carbon dioxide, would play in tackling carbon emissions. It states: 'We now have 12 nuclear stations providing 20 per cent of our electricity carbon-free. By 2020 this will fall to three stations and 7 per cent as stations are retired.'
(8 May 2005)


Beckett puts block on the building of new nuclear power stations

Telegraph (UK)
Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the Environment, is blocking attempts by other government departments to pursue plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations, The Telegraph can reveal.

In a confidential briefing to Alan Johnson, the new minister for energy, leaked to this newspaper, a leading civil servant has warned that Mrs Beckett will oppose any attempt to bring the nuclear option back onto the agenda.

Joan MacNaughton, the director-general of the new Department of Productivity, Energy and Industry - formerly the Department of Trade and Industry - has written to Mr Johnson and stated that Mrs Beckett has prevented the option of new nuclear power stations being examined.
(8 May 2005)


Labour's nuclear option

The Observer (UK)
What's in a name? Quite a lot if it is the title of a government department. Labour may not have scrapped the Department of Trade and Industry as the Lib Dems promised. But its new name, Productivity, Energy and Industry, is as clear a sign that one of the ugliest items in the government's not-to-be-opened-before-6 May in-tray is now at the top of the pile: the Nuclear Question.

Or rather questions. The first that new DPEI secretary Alan Johnson will have to consider is: 'Do we need to build more nuclear power stations?' The arguments are well-rehearsed: if we are to fulfil our Kyoto commitments, can renewable energy fill the void left by 'carbon-free' nuclear stations as the 20 per cent of UK power they produce dwindles to zero by 2020? Or do we need new nukes?

Less well aired is the second question: who will pay for them? It will not be the government, not directly at least. They must be built 'privately'. Technically, there is no change: companies have not been prevented from building stations; they have not done so because the government gave them no encouragement.
(8 May 2005)


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