Energy Headlines - May 28, 2005
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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Sparks fly: Kunstler vs Lovins
In his recent interview with Salon, "After the oil is gone," author James Howard Kunster, doomsayer of the oil age, disses alternative energy guru Amory Lovins, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute, for promoting the Institute's ultralight Hypercar as a panacea for the coming oil crunch. After reading the interview, Lovins emailed Salon his response. We then gave both energy experts another chance to zap one another. The following exchange begins with Kunstler's comments from the interview
(26 May 2005)
Ed: To view the article, you must be a Salon subscriber or sit through an advertisement.
Comments on the article from the blogosphere:
Apocaphilia in Peak Energy (blog)
Amory Lovins vs. James Kunstler at WorldChanging
One Long Emergency at WorldChanging
Slideshow on the looming oil shortage (1:39 audio and slideshow)
Patrick Brethour, Globe and Mail
The signs of the new energy crunch are everywhere....The age of cheap oil may be gone for years, perhaps forever...don't expect today's energy crunch to lose power anytime soon.
(28 May 2005)
Ed: The latest in a weeklong series on the oil crunch. There's also an article by Peak Oil skeptic Michael Lynch. Unfortunately, the Globe and Mail seems to have designated other new articles as only viewable by paid subscribers. List of articles in their series.
Saudi geologists' papers spell lower output - book
Timothy Gardner, Reuters
Research by Saudi Arabian geologists indicate oil production in the kingdom is at or near its peak and likely near-term declines could lead prices to $100 a barrel in the next three years, a U.S. author claims.
Matthew Simmons, an investment banker specializing in energy for 30 years, tapped more than 230 technical papers published by international research group the Society of Petroleum Engineers, many of them written by current Saudi Arabian nationals, for his book, "Twilight in the Desert," to be published in June.
(27 May 2005)
Price dollars in oil, not oil in dollars
Chris Cook, Asia Times (guest columnist)
A very strong case has been made by William Engdahl (the author of A Century of War - Anglo-American Politics and the New World Order) that the three principal goals of US foreign policy in the last 100 years have been energy security, energy security and energy security.
But it is becoming clear that the Iraq war - while aimed at reducing US reliance upon Saudi oil - may have unintended consequences in terms of changing the dynamics of the oil market generally and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in particular. When it is considered that the US, with 5% of the global population consumes 25% of global energy supplies, we see the sheer impossibility for China or India to begin to approach US levels of consumption within the existing global political and financial market settlement that has been maintained since Bretton Woods in 1944. But what is the alternative?
(27 May 2005)
US told to face up to climate change
Michael White and Patrick Wintour, The Guardian
The environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, says Washington is not doing enough to help the fight against global warming
Margaret Beckett today urges the Bush administration to accept that the "incontrovertible" weight of scientific evidence on the dangers of global warming is stimulating an urgent worldwide dialogue that the US must seriously engage with - or risk being left out.
But she also admits that Britain itself has much to do to meet the "self-inflicted wounds of our more ambitious domestic target", a 20% cut in greenhouse gases by 2020. Renewable energy, notably wind power, and greater energy efficiency - "we have not done enough with households" - are her priority, not a new generation of nuclear power stations.
(28 May 2005)
Leaked G8 draft angers green groups
Paul Brown, Patrick Wintour and Michael White, The Guardian
A leak of the draft communique on climate change for the G8 summit has dismayed green lobbyists by failing to include a single target or timetable to achieve greater action.
The draft, which Downing Street said was only work in progress and was being improved, spells out the danger of inaction to combat global warming. It says: "If we miss this opportunity and fail to give a clear sense of direction, then we will be locked into an unsustainable future that will threaten our long-term security and prosperity.
But the 2,000-word text for the July 6 summit at Gleneagles was denounced yesterday by environmental groups for lacking substance.
It was described by Greenpeace as "a mush of warm words carefully crafted by civil servants to make sure no one is committed to anything".
(28 May 2005)
Ed: There's a similar article in The Independent.
Zimbabwe suffers from fuel crisis
Zimbabwe Standard via Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections
Zimbabwe's social and economic sectors are on the brink of collapse as crippling fuel shortages have resurfaced while a combination of power blackouts and water shortages have gripped cities around the country threatening to grind industry and commerce to a halt. Apart from that, Zimbabwe has run out of food with reports that the country has only 60,000 tons of maize left, enough to feed the nation for only two weeks.
Industrialists and commentators said that Zimbabwe's industry and commerce would soon collapse if the current problems bedevilling the country are not urgently addressed. Already, the transport industry is reeling from the fuel crisis. Earlier, most commuter buses were grounded, leaving workers stranded especially in the country's major towns of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.
(24 April 2005)
Solutions and Sustainability
The Project for a New European Century
Mark Leonard, The Globalist
Amidst bouts of European gloom and doom, Mark Leonard, author of "Perpetual Power: Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century," has a different vision. Counterintuitive though it may seem, he argues that a “New European Century” will emerge. Why? Surely not because Europe will run the world as an empire — but because the European way of doing things will become the world’s.
(27 May 2005)
Ed: The article is an excerpt from Leonard's book, "Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century." Says Jamais Cascio at WorldChanging:
Although Leonard focuses primarily in the article on diplomatic and political interactions, the notion that the European model will do better in the 21st century parallels some of what we've explored here. In short, getting a jump now on a transition to high-efficiency, sustainable design could better position Europe to handle climate disruptions and "end of oil" scenarios. Add that to Leonard's argument that cooperation, international organizations and a focus on carrots over sticks is a winning strategy, and it makes for a scenario undoubtedly giving folks in DC stomach pains.
Via Big Gav at Peak Energy