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Airline association predicts $3bn loss for global industry

Ben Webster, UK Times
THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday increased its forecast for global airline losses this year to $3 billion (£1.6 billion) from $2.2 billion, as one of the industry’s leading investors predicted that 2006 would be “as good as it gets”.

David Bonderman, founding partner of private equity firm Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and chairman of Ryanair, told the IATA’s annual conference in Paris that losses would deepen next year because of continuing high fuel costs and a market flooded with millions of extra airline seats.

Mr Bonderman, a billionaire based in Texas, predicted that airlines would be cancelling orders for more than 1,000 aircraft because the industry was about to enter a downturn in its economic cycle.

He said: “Today is as good as it gets in the airline industry. It’s going to get worse. In two years’ time we will see everyone cancelling those 1,000 airplanes.”
(6 June 2006)

Debate Over Wind Power Creates Environmental Rift

Felicity Barringer, NY Times via Common Dreams
OAKLAND, Md. — Dan Boone has no doubt that his crusade against wind energy is the right way to protect the Allegheny highlands he loves. Let other environmentalists call him deluded at best, traitorous at worst. He remains undeterred.

For four years or more, Mr. Boone has traveled across the mid-Atlantic to make every argument he can muster against local wind-power projects: they kill birds and bats; they are too noisy; they are inefficient, making no more than a symbolic contribution to energy needs.

Wind farms on the empty prairies of North Dakota? Fine. But not, Mr. Boone insists, in the mountainous terrain of southwestern Pennsylvania, western Maryland or West Virginia, areas where 15 new projects have been proposed. If all were built, 750 to 1,000 giant turbines would line the hilltops, most producing, on average, enough electricity to power 600 homes.

Wind projects are in the midst of a huge growth spurt in many parts of the country, driven by government incentives to promote alternatives to fossil fuels. But Mr. Boone, who wields a botanist’s trowel and a debater’s knife with equal ease, wants to slow them down with community activism, regulatory action and legal challenges.

His crusade harks back to the campaigns against nuclear power plants, toxic-waste dumps and dams on scenic rivers that were building blocks of the modern environmental movement. But the times, and the climate, are changing. With fears of global warming growing more acute, Mr. Boone and many other local activists are finding themselves increasingly out of step with the priorities of the broader movement.
(6 June 2006)

Survey: Americans Leery Of New Refineries, Nuclear Plants

Dow Jones via Morningstar
Even in this time of tight energy supplies and record-high energy prices, many Americans wouldn’t support a new oil refinery or nuclear power plant in their hometown, according to a nationwide energy survey released Monday by RBC Capital Markets (RY).

Many of the 1,001 online respondents said they would support development of clean coal plants (31.4%), wind farms (60.2%) and solar plants (63.9%) in their communities. But few gave the thumbs up to nuclear plants (18.7%) – even though the Bush administration touts them as an environmentally friendly way to meet growing demand for electricity.

Only 17.3% of respondents said they would back plans to build a new refinery, even while President George W. Bush calls for more of the gasoline-producing facilities to help meet the country’s demand for motor fuel. The president points out that no new refineries have been built in the U.S. in roughly 30 years.

Just 27.5% of those polled said they would back plans to build a nearby liquefied-natural-gas facility, while about a quarter said they wouldn’t want any facility – whether it would produce renewable energy or petroleum products – in their hometown.

Although the public remains leery of nuclear and oil refinery projects, congressional leaders are pursuing ways to give the projects a boost. This week, the House is poised to vote on a bill aimed at streamlining refinery projects.
(5 June 2006)

For freedom from Big Oil, California looks to Denmark
Nation has road map for independence from foreign energy supply

Douglas Fischer, Tri-Valley Herald (SF Bay Area)
STANFORD — Tired of $3.60 gasoline? Danish Crown Prince Joachim has some advice:

Sacrifice, save, and sweat the small stuff.

After the 1973 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries oil embargo, the Danes — 99 percent dependent on imported energy at the time — set out to free themselves from foreign oil.

Today the country is the only exporter of energy in Europe, producing 55 percent more power than it needs. Renewable fuels — wind, solar, waste — generates 15 percent of that, and the country is almost completely energy independent.

Thursday Prince Joachim and his delegation toured Stanford University, meeting with scientists working on ways to solve the worlds daunting energy needs in the next century.

Those scientists, affiliated with the universitys Global Climate and Energy Project, spent the morning tutoring the Prince, 36, on ways society might someday warm the home, power the TV and ward off global warming.

It was a dazzling display of American ingenuity: Nanoprobe arrays that pluck off the extra electron or two cells generate during photosynthesis, advance membrane reactions to produce carbon-free hydrogen, genetically engineered cellulose to increase biomass yield.

There are some hitches, however. None of that works on a commercial scale. And Denmark didnt use any of it en route to energy independence.

Rather, said Danish officials accompanying the prince, such freedom came from small things: toilets with two buttons — one for a big flush, one for a little; highly insulated houses; a switch years ago to compact fluorescent bulbs; high energy taxes; wind.

America has always been a leader, the Prince said. Now were reaching a point where comfort has allowed America to not develop.
(4 June 2006)
Related: Danish know-how eases Chinese energy crisis

Center for American Progress’ Cohen explains campaign to ‘Kick the Oil Habit’
(video & transcript)
OnPoint, E&E TV
As both houses of Congress continue to debate the future energy policy of the United States, special interest groups are reaching out to consumers to affect change. During today’s OnPoint, Ana Unruh Cohen, director of Environmental Policy at the Center for American Progress, talks about making “Kick the Oil Habit” a collective effort among policymakers, consumers and oil companies. Cohen also talks about the importance of infusing climate change issues into popular culture.
(6 June 2006)
The “Kick the Oil Habit” campaign seems to favor practical politics: they push bio-fuels, and in this interview Ana Unruh Cohen is unenthusiastic about increasing gasoline taxes. -BA