Half extreme events made worse by climate change.

September 5, 2013 Climate 

Guardian: “Half of last year’s extreme weather – including the triple-digit temperatures of America’s July heatwave – were due in part to climate change, new research said on Thursday. The study, edited by scientists from Noaa and the UK Met Office, detected the fingerprints of climate change on about half of the 12 most extreme weather events of 2012.” Read more

India crisis threatens to hit banks hard as bad debt soars.

September 4, 2013 Finance 

FT: The new central bank governorspeaks almost entirely about his plans for liberalising the banking sector, which he regards as essential for poverty alleviation and long-term growth in one of the world’s most underbanked economies.” Read more

Deadly new radiation high detected at Fukushima storage tanks.

September 4, 2013 Nuclear 

Guardian: “The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has radiation leaks strong enough to deliver a fatal dose within hours, Japanese authorities have revealed, as the government prepares to step in to help contain leaks of highly toxic water at the site.” Read more

US could release strategic oil reserves after air strike on Syria, analysts say.

September 4, 2013 Oil 

FT: “Expectations are growing in the oil market that a release of crude from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve would be likely if prices rose significantly above $120 after a US-led attack on Syria. A US strike against the regime of Bashar al-Assad is not expected to have any direct effect on oil supplies, but a release from oil reserves would be used to counter any disruption that hits oil-producing countries or trade routes.”

Problems of oil and gas industry do not bode well for the shale story.

September 3, 2013 Clean Energy, Commentaries, Gas, Oil 
JL column in Recharge: “The renewables industry has seemed awash with bad news since 2007. But don’t think that the oil and gas industry is escaping dire developments of its own. The oil price has remained enduringly high ($110 a barrel as I write) and surprising amounts of unexpected unconventional oil have been fracked from American shale. But as a Financial Times headline about Big Oil notes: “Analysts say investor interest has rarely been lower”.” Read more

Solar-based desalination is the answer to the MENA water crisis.

September 2, 2013 Clean Energy, Climate 

Nasser Saidi on REW.com: “Water scarcity is now this century’s imminent greatest problem, a clear and present danger. ….The answer is to wed renewable energy and desalination. Saudi Arabia has taken the lead with its announcement to develop and use solar-powered desalination plants. This is a wise strategic choice.” Read more

Libyan output falls, squeezing supplies of crude oil to refineries.

September 2, 2013 Oil 

FT: “While Syria may have stolen the headlines in the oil market last week, oil traders and refiners are paying closer attention to Libya. The north African country has seen oil output slashed from around 1.4m barrels a day to around 250,000, as ports and oilfields have been closed by striking workers and militias.” Read more

Fukushima radiation levels 18 times higher than previously thought.

September 1, 2013 Nuclear 

Guardian: “The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said radiation near the bottom of the tank measured 1,800 millisieverts an hour – high enough to kill an exposed person in four hours. Tepco said water levels inside the tank had not changed, indicating there had not been a leak. But the company said it had yet to discover the cause of the radiation spike.”

Chinese seek greater say in running UK nuclear power plants.

September 1, 2013 Nuclear 

FT: “The state-owned Chinese nuclear group that is in talks to invest in Britain’s new nuclear programme wants greater operational control of any new plants it finances, potentially creating a national security headache for the government. China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), is in talks with EDF of France on sharing the cost of building a new plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset, which has an estimated price tag of £14bn.”

BP in a slanging match with state of Louisiana over Macondo costs.

August 30, 2013 Oil 

Guardian: “BP has become embroiled in an acrimonious slanging match with one of the US Gulf states most affected by pollution from the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010 with the two sides trading blows over the oil company’s cleanup record.” Read more

Storebrand to examine portfolio for stranded assets.

August 30, 2013 Climate, Coal, Finance, Gas, Oil 

Environmental Finance: “Asset manager Storebrand will analyse the sustainability of its utility holdings next month, Environmental Finance can reveal, following an analysis of the energy sector earlier this year which led to 19 exclusions.” Read more

Why Norway’s oil fund has lower returns than rivals: too much oil?

August 29, 2013 Finance, Oil 

FT: Three-quarters of a trillion dollars is enough to burn a hole in anybody’s pocket. And so it is proving in Norway, where ahead of parliamentary elections on September 9, proposals are stacking up to reform the country’s $750bn oil fund, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.” Read more

US Army now has a $7bn renewables procurement programme.

August 29, 2013 Clean Energy 

SolarIndustryMagazine.com: “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering Support Center in Huntsville, Ala., has selected 22 solar technology contractors to receive Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOCs) under the solar portion of its $7 billion program to create renewable energy generation capabilities at Department of Defense (DOD) installations. The awards do not cover specific projects but grant the named contractors the right to bid on solar projects as they arise.”

Why “The Oil Drum” peak-oil website shut down: Not the death of peak oil.

August 29, 2013 Oil 

FT Alphaville: “A flurry of commentary when this was first announced concluded that it’s shutting down because of the demise of peak oil. Noah Smith, Forbes and Reuters’ John Kemp, among others, have concluded that extraction from new sources, particularly shale gas and oil in the US, have killed the idea of peak oil and, in turn, The Oil Drum. As an explanation for TOD’s impending closure, it sounds neat — but it’s not correct.”

Renewables to equal coal in China by 2030, Bloomberg NEF predicts.

August 28, 2013 Clean Energy, Coal 

REW.com:  “A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, titled The Future of China’s Power Sector: From centralised and coal powered to distributed and renewable?, predicts that by 2030 the nation’s current reliance on coal will be challenged by competitive renewables, growing awareness of environmental pollution and a potential carbon emissions price, while the size of the power market will almost double.” Read more

Decadal cooling effect in the Pacific slows overall global temperature rise.

August 28, 2013 Climate 

Guardian: “Cooling waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean appear to be a major factor in dampening global warming in recent years, scientists said on Wednesday. Their work is a big step forward in helping to solve the greatest puzzle of current climate change research – why global average surface temperatures, while still on an upward trend, have risen more slowly in the past 10 to fifteen years than previously.” Read more

Berliners’ co-op aims to take over and run electricity grid of city.

August 28, 2013 Change for Good, Clean Energy, Coal, Gas, Nuclear 

Guardian: “Successful bid by Citizen Energy Berlin for Vattenfall network will boost renewables and plough back profits, says activists’ group.” “Arwen ….Colell and her friend, who are in their mid-20s, have built a movement aimed at putting the city grid under citizens’ control when the system goes on sale next year. The grid is owned by the Swedish firm Vattenfall.” Read more

“None of the experts saw India’s debt bubble coming. Sound familiar?”

August 26, 2013 Finance 

Jayathi Ghosh in the Guardian: “So now India is the latest casualty among emerging economies. Over the past 10 days, the rupee has slid to its lowest-ever rate, and the Indian economy may well be on the verge of a full-blown currency crisis. In this febrile situation, it is open season for rumours and pessimistic predictions, which then become self-fulfilling.” Read more

UK gas storage remains worryingly constrained.

August 26, 2013 Gas 

FT: “Britain came within hours of running out of natural gas during a prolonged cold snap this year when there was disruption to an import pipeline and prices spiked. But natural gas storage projects that could insure against this risk are being held back by a lack of clarity over government policy and market conditions that make many uneconomic.” Read more

Rising CO2 threatens ocean acidification catastrophe, scientists warn.

August 25, 2013 Climate 

Guardian: “Hans Poertner, professor of marine biology at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, and co-author of a new study of the phenomenon, told the Guardian: “The current rate of change is likely to be more than 10 times faster than it has been in any of the evolutionary crises in the earth’s history.” Read more