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ODAC Newsletter - August 8

Welcome to the ODAC Newsletter, a weekly roundup from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, the UK registered charity dedicated to raising awareness of peak oil.

The oil price this week continued to fall back overall as investors balanced the likelihood of demand destruction due to recessionary forces on world economies, with the possibility of supply interruptions - the key risks being the hurricane season and the nuclear stand-off with Iran.

Given that the supply of oil, at least to the wealthy economies, has been uninterrupted, it is perhaps surprising to hear Barack Obama calling for the release of part of the US strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) to alleviate prices. The lengths that politicians will go (especially those who are standing for election) to find stop-gap measures to sate current demand at any cost rather than to propose strategies for meaningful reduction of energy use, is not a cause for optimism. As Obama also moved to change his position with regard to off-shore drilling, news of delay of the Chevron off-shore Frade project in Brazil, due to delivery of equipment being behind schedule, should underline that there is no quick fix to be found there.

In the UK too this week the energy debate has been looming large. The government’s nuclear plans were thrown into turmoil at the end of last week as the anticipated deal with EDF collapsed. The government is determined to pursue its policy still preferring a deal with EDF. The decommissioning deal struck for Sellafield demonstrates however what an expensive proposition nuclear power is.

Government support for a new coal power station at Kingsnorth without a requirement for carbon capture and storage was also under attack this week as the third annual Climate Camp gathered in Kent to protest. With UK oil and gas in decline, coal looks like a politically attractive option for energy independence - if only it weren't for the CO2 emissions and the fact that Britain imports 70% of its coal.

This week Bob Watson, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs chief scientific advisor, warned that the UK should prepare for the effects of a possible 4°C degree rise in global temperatures. The debate is becoming divided between those who feel that we need to take the most drastic and urgent action possible to save the planet and have a chance of a future and those who believe that a much slower rate of change is possible which protects current lifestyles. The conflict is likely to become increasingly acute as, if the scientist’s worst case predictions are correct, this is a battle about survival.

Oil rises towards $121, supply concerns re-emerge
Obama in U-turn on energy policy
Chevron likely to delay $2.8b Brazilian project

Showdown looms for 'climate camp'
The stakes could not be higher. Everything hinges on stopping coal
Old King Coal may be our saviour yet
Energy: Drax profits halve as UK's largest source of CO2 pays price for soaring cost of carbon credits

China's Hubei Province Starts Electricity Rationing
70% expect to suffer summer blackouts

EDF bid for British Energy in tatters
Government pours cold water on Centrica-BE merger plan
Sellafield has public 'blank cheque'

Climate change: Prepare for global temperature rise of 4C, warns top scientist
Boost for emissions trading scheme

China and India in Imperial Energy race
The Niger Delta: The curse of the black gold
Researchers chart fuel-rich areas in Arctic for first time
Kuwait plans to stockpile oil overseas

Airlines to cut 60m seats for Christmas
Slowdown in air passenger growth

Editorial Notes: Text and commentary at original.

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