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Posts tagged “global warming”

By Robert Rapier on Oct 23, 2007 with no responses

Renewable Energy: “Expensive and Impractical”

At least that’s the conclusion of the present government in the UK: Labour’s plan to abandon renewable energy targets Ministers are planning a U-turn on Britain’s pledges to combat climate change that “effectively abolishes” its targets to rapidly expand the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Gordon Brown will be advised today that the target Tony Blair signed up to this year for 20% of all European energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 is expensive and faces “severe practical difficulties”. According to the papers, John Hutton, the secretary of state for business, will tell Mr. Brown that Britain should work with Poland and other governments… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 23, 2007 with no responses

Recent Damning Biofuel Studies

There were a couple of recently-released studies on biofuels that readers have e-mailed to me or commented on. I will highlight them here. The first involves a study published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. One of the authors is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist recognized for his work on atmospheric chemistry. The (UK) Times reports: Rapeseed biofuel ‘produces more greenhouse gas than oil or petrol’ Measurements of emissions from the burning of biofuels derived from rapeseed and maize have been found to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than they save. Other biofuels, especially those likely to see greater use over the next decade, performed better than fossil fuels but the study raises serious questions about some of the most… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 2, 2007 with 2 responses

My Composting Experiment

“We stand, in most places on earth, only six inches from desolation, for that is the thickness of the topsoil layer upon which the entire life of the planet depends.” R. Neil Sampson in Farmland or Wasteland: A Time to Choose One of my interests, dating back 25 years to when I was a member of my local FFA land judging team, is soil conservation. I have long been interested in things like terra preta and composting because of their ability to build topsoil. But I never thought much about how difficult it can be to build up topsoil until I read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy – Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars(great books, by the way). The… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 11, 2007 with no responses

How to Kill the SUV and Save the World

The UK, which already only uses half the per capita energy of the U.S. (See Note 1), is taking aim at the SUV. As British taxes target gas guzzlers, sales of greener cars double London mayor Ken Livingstone intends next year to triple the daily toll on driving in the city for gas guzzlers – or “Chelsea tractors” as they are sniffily known – to $50 a day. He also plans to scrap a residents’ exemption, meaning that instead of paying about $350 annually, locals who drive cars over a certain engine size could be hit for $10,000. “This new charge will try to affect the choices people make in terms of the cars they are buying,” says a spokesman… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 9, 2007 with no responses

When Governments Dictate Gas Prices

This is what can happen: Queues resurface as Zimbabwe runs out of fuel APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Long fuel queues have resurfaced in Zimbabwe as filling stations ran out of petrol following a government directive to reduce prices by up to 60 percent, APA observed here. Only few filling stations in the capital, Harare, had fuel Sunday, resulting in long queues by desperate motorists. The government Thursday ordered oil companies to slash prices of petrol and diesel to 55 000 Zimdollars (or 46 US cents) and 60 000 Zimdollars (or 50 US cents), respectively, as part of a campaign to contain inflation. Before Friday, a litre of petrol cost 150 000 dollars while diesel went for 160 000 dollars. The shortages are… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

What It Takes to Be Carbon Neutral

A popular newspaper in Scotland, The Scotsman, has detailed what it will take for Britain to be carbon neutral within 20 years. I have said before that despite Al Gore’s pleas, despite the awareness and scientific consensus on Global Warming, I do not see the world becoming carbon neutral as long as there are fossil fuels left to burn. Some highlights from the article drive that point home: Green Future Demands a Radical Shift in Lifestyles for British Meat-free menus, battery-operated cars and an end to affordable flights. These are among the radical visions outlined in a report which says Britain could be carbon neutral within 20 years – but only if major steps are taken to change our lifestyles…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 15, 2007 with no responses

Politicians Do the Darndest Things

Suspending the Laws of Economics Politicians in Texas have come up with an ingenious method of controlling rising gas prices. They intend to suspend the laws of supply and demand: House OKs suspending gas tax AUSTIN – Relief from soaring gas prices may soon be on the way. The Texas House tentatively adopted a measure Tuesday that would suspend the state’s 20-cent gas tax through the summer. That would mean an immediate 20-cent drop in the price per gallon. “The more cars you have, the more relief you get,” said Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat who added the proposal to an omnibus tax collection bill. “We’re sitting here on record savings. We used to say around here,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 20, 2007 with no responses

Energy and the Environment with the API

On April 18th, I participated in a conference call with the American Petroleum Institute. The topic of the call was Energy and the Environment. You can download a transcript here or the audio of the call here. Here was a list of participants, pulled from the call transcript: Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is from Treehugger and we just went through, briefly, a blog roll. We have on the call Robert Rapier from The Oil Drum and R-Squared; Hank Green of EcoGeek; Tom Fowler of NewsWatch: Energy which is Houston Chronicle; Marc Gunther, Fortune; Mark Gongloff of The Wall Street Journal Energy Roundup; and Carter Wood of ShopFloor.org. I think they missed mentioning John Gartner from Wired. Having participated in one of these… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 11, 2007 with no responses

A Good Week for ConocoPhillips

It is no secret that I work for an oil company. However, I never acknowledge which oil company, because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that they sanction any of the positions I have taken here in this blog. They would agree with some, and disagree with some. So, I have told my management – all the way to my CEO – that I would not talk about my employer. The last thing I want is for them to be attributed as taking a position that they don’t agree with. But of all of the oil companies, if I did happen to work for ConocoPhillips, it would certainly have been a rewarding week. Actually, going back to last… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 19, 2006 with no responses

A Conversation on Energy Issues

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my friend and first real Peak Oil influence, Dr. Jerry Unruh. Jerry and I did a bit of mountain climbing, some snowshoeing, watched An Inconvenient Truth (I also read the book while I was there) and spent a lot of time talking about Peak Oil, Global Warming, sustainability, and many other topics. I took a lot of notes as we talked, because we hit on many topics that are often discussed here and at The Oil Drum. First of all, let me introduce Jerry. He is a Ph.D. chemist that I met 11 years ago when we both worked on butanol research and technical support for Celanese Chemicals. While I was certainly… Continue»