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April 17th, 2012 Archives
By JOHN M. BRODER April 16, 2012, 2:55 pm
After dropping for two years during the recession, emissions of the gases blamed for global warming rose in 2010 as the economy heated up, the Environmental Protection Agency reports.
Output of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gasses were up 3.2 percent from 2009 as the nation climbed slowly out of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, the E.P.A. said.
“The increase from 2009 to 2010 was primarily due to an increase in economic output resulting in an increase in energy consumption across all sectors, and much warmer summer conditions resulting in an increase in electricity demand for air conditioning that was generated primarily by combusting coal and natural gas,” the agency reported in its annual inventory of greenhouse gases.
To read the entire article go to: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/u-s-greenhouse-gas-emissions-headed-up-again/?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
Posted: 04/16/2012 1:25 pm
Executive Director, Columbia University's Earth Institute
In this overheated political season, everyone is focused on the short run and even our reasonably thoughtful president continues to succumb to the mantra of the moment. The president is trying very hard to focus on jobs and the economy, and the more immediate the benefit the better. On Friday the 13th President Obama used his executive authority to form an interagency working group to encourage hydrofracking. According to the president's order:
"In 2011, natural gas provided 25 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. Its production creates jobs and provides economic benefits to the entire domestic production supply chain ... with appropriate safeguards, natural gas can provide a cleaner source of energy than other fossil fuels... To formalize and promote ongoing interagency coordination, this order establishes a high-level, interagency working group that will facilitate coordinated Administration policy efforts to support safe and responsible unconventional domestic natural gas development."
It is obvious that we will be using more natural gas in the United States than ever before, and it would be nice if this gas was extracted without destroying vital ecosystems and groundwater sources. It is true that natural gas burns cleaner than coal and oil, but it still pollutes and emits greenhouse gasses. All of this emphasis on extracting fossil fuels from the earth needs to be seen as a short to medium term solution to our energy needs.
Just as we are in the midst of a transformation from land line phones to cell phones, we will someday find ourselves in a transformation from a fossil fuel based economy to a post fossil fuel economy. Naysayers beware -- the fossil fuel free energy future will come. The only thing we don't know is when it will come and what technologies will fuel it.Share This Post
There's not a free and fair market for energy anywhere on earth. The reason Germany's solar industry is failing and America's natural gas 'fracking' business is thriving is because the markets are rigged that way.
Chris Turner Thu, Apr 12 2012 at 10:15 AM EST
There were two blockbuster pieces of energy news last week that I’m going to discuss as the renewable and nonrenewable poles in our global debate about the future of energy — and in particular what we mean by cheap/affordable/economical energy sources — and I’m afraid this may take a little time. As the Twitterverse puts it, it’ll be a #longread. If the idea of 2,800 words in one go freaks you out, I’ve helpfully inserted an entirely unrelated animated gif of the Toronto Raptors mascot wiping out on Rollerblades at about the midway point, which will not only give you a pause and a laugh but signal to you that it might be time to click away from this page and look at random Tumblr feeds or whatever till you’re ready to digest another couple of blog-sized hunks of commentary.
Okay. Let’s get on to the energy news.
The first piece of news is a study to be released at the Seismology Society of America's conference later in April, finding that the central United States is experiencing earthquake activity at a level without precedent, and that human activity has “almost certainly” caused the increase. (The most likely cause is the extensive use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to unearth marginal deposits of natural gas and oil embedded in shale.)Share This Post
Jim Morris | Center for Public Integrity
last updated: April 15, 2012 12:15:57 PM Posted on Sun, Apr. 15, 2012
WASHINGTON — Wading into a decade-old controversy, former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman has urged current EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to close loopholes in a 2006 chemical security law "before a tragedy of historic proportions occurs."
Whitman, who led the EPA under George W. Bush, suggests the agency use its authority to seal gaps in "extremely limited" Department of Homeland Security rules designed to prevent releases of toxic chemicals, according to an April 3 letter she wrote to Jackson that was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.
Those 2007 rules, Whitman wrote, bar DHS from requiring industry to take specific measures to prevent accidental or terrorism-related toxic releases. The rules exempt "thousands of chemical facilities, including all water treatment plants and hundreds of other potentially high-risk facilities, such as refineries located on navigable waters," she wrote.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/04/15/145260/former-bush-epa-chief-christine.htmlShare This Post
Renee Schoof | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: April 16, 2012 06:10:57 PM
WASHINGTON -- ]
The rush to capture natural gas from hydraulic fracturing has led to giant compressor stations alongside backyard swing sets, drilling rigs in sight of front porches, and huge flares at gas wells alongside country roads.
Air pollution from fracking includes the fumes breathed in by people nearby, as well as smog spread over a wide region and emissions of the greenhouse gas methane.
On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce the first national rules to reduce air pollution at hydraulically fractured — fracked — wells and some other oil and gas industry operations. The agency estimated that the plan it proposed in July would reduce smog-forming, cancer-causing and climate-altering pollutants from the natural gas industry by about one-fourth.
The White House in recent weeks has been reviewing the EPA plan to consider possible changes, the normal procedure for regulations. Industry groups have lobbied for exemptions that would reduce the impact of the rule, saying the original requirements are too costly. Environmental and health advocates have been talking to White House officials as well, opposing the industry’s proposed changes.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/04/16/145383/as-air-pollution-from-fracking.htmlShare This Post
By TOM FOWLER April 16, 2012, 8:49 p.m. ET
HOUSTON—A Texas court ruling classifying drilling for oil and gas as a manufacturing process would cost the state up to $4.4 billion in revenue, its comptroller has warned.
In a hearing in Austin last week, Travis County District Judge John Dietz said he would side with Southwest Royalties Inc. in its dispute with the comptroller over whether metal pipes and other equipment used in creating oil and gas wells should be exempt from state sales tax. The judge hasn't yet issued a written decision.
Southwest, which filed the suit in 2009, argued that bringing oil and gas out of the ground fundamentally changes it and so should be considered a manufacturing process, according to court filings, and thus subject to an existing sales-tax exemption for manufacturing equipment.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304818404577348150869389714.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
Cheniere Energy Inc. received federal approval Monday to construct what would be the first major natural gas export facility in the lower 48 U.S. states, putting the company a step closer to shipping some of America's newly abundant natural gas abroad.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave its approval for the construction of a liquefied natural gas export facility in Cameron Parish, La., clearing the final regulatory hurdle for Cheniere. Pending financing for the project, estimated to cost $10 billion, Cheniere would become the only large-scale LNG exporter in the U.S.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304818404577348452838159174.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
Posted: 04/16/2012 5:28 pm Updated: 04/16/2012 5:32 pm
Let me admit upfront that I don’t commute to work by bike. I walk. Upstairs. Telecommuting is one of the great ways we’re reducing traffic congestion, but this isn’t a story about working at home. I’m fascinated by the idea of the “park and pedal,” which is one way of getting more people on bikes. You don’t have to do the whole trip on two wheels, but every little bit helps.
As the author of a book, "Breaking Gridlock," on public transit, I learned the concept of “inter-modality.” You need a seamless transition from car to bike, car to train, bus to light rail. Some cities are just plain dumb about this — refusing to co-locate their facilities, or to even vaguely synchronize schedules to make transfers practical.
The average round-trip commute in America is 25 miles, the Department of Transportation says. It takes 50 total minutes daily, or eight days over the course of a year, and that’s a little far for most sedentary citizens to go with pedal power. The average Chinese person of 30 years ago would have thought nothing of it, but even they have rapidly motorized their cities. And they’ve motorized their bicycles, too: according to electric bike guru Ed Benjamin, something like 30 million ebikes were sold in China in 2011. The market for them is expected to grow to 130 million annually by 2025, but so far Americans have resisted the clarion call of ebikes — just 100,000 were sold here last year.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/16/bike-to-work-park-to-pedal_n_1429294.html?view=print&comm_ref=falseShare This Post
The car-free event, closing 10 miles of streets in downtown Los Angeles and beyond, brings people outdoors to explore different neighborhoods and enjoy the spirit of a citywide block party.
By Ari Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times
April 16, 2012
As cars whizzed by and trucks honked, two dozen members of the East Side Riders from Watts slowly pedaled their cruisers up Central Avenue early Sunday.
Their destination was seven miles away: CicLAvia, a rare opportunity to enjoy 10 miles of car-free streets in downtown Los Angeles and beyond and to soak up the spirit of what turned out to be a citywide block party.
"Watts in the house!" boomed a disc jockey as the group pulled into the African American Firefighter Museum and joined an estimated 100,000 people who biked, walked or skated block after block without having to dodge a car or bus.
"Right now they're going to get a chance to ride the streets without cars interfering with their leisurely bike ride," John Jones said of his fellow Riders members.
Los Angeles held its first CicLAvia in October 2010, when 7.5 miles of streets were blocked off to motor vehicles from East Hollywood to Boyle Heights. Sunday, which marked the fourth version of the event, tested the city's flexibility as cyclists invaded downtown, Dodgers fans attended a home game up the hill and the Lakers faithful poured into L.A. Live — all at roughly the same time. And somehow the city still seemed to function.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0416-ciclavia-20120416,0,375790.storyShare This Post
Gas prices and politics are a combustible mixture, especially whenever a surge in fuel coincides with the hyperbole of an election campaign cycle.
April 15, 2012 | By Tom Walsh
Newt Gingrich, in a gambit to revive his flagging presidential candidacy in February, promised the nation $2.50-a-gallon gas, declaring that "no future president will ever bow to a Saudi king again."
Voters didn't buy it.
Now Mitt Romney is trying out some new gas warfare lines of attack against President Barack Obama.
Romney blames Obama for the rise in gas prices -- from $2 a gallon January 2009 to around $3.80 now -- while conveniently ignoring that gasoline peaked at more than $4 a gallon under President George W. Bush in 2008 before the world economy tanked. Romney says Obama should fire the "gas hike trio" of cabinet members who deal with energy policy.
Obama, slamming Romney's support of Big Oil tax breaks, points to a rise in oil production since he took office, while GOP detractors rail at him for blocking the Keystone pipeline.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.freep.com/article/20120415/COL06/204150459/Tom-Walsh-Ford-turns-gas-price-angst-to-its-favor-can-pols-turn-the-same-trick-Share This Post
BUENOS AIRES—President Cristina Kirchner, in a move that marks a watershed in expanding the state's grip on the economy, said she will send a bill to Congress to nationalize Argentina's largest oil-and-gas company, YPF SA.
The move fired up a battle with the company's Spanish controlling shareholder and the Madrid government.
Under the proposal, which declares the petroleum industry of "national public interest," Argentina's federal and provincial governments would take 51% of the company, now majority owned by Repsol YPF SA of Spain. The move is sure to be approved in Argentina's Congress, where the leftist Mrs. Kirchner's governing Peronist party holds a majority.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432704577347801235907294.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
MADRID—Repsol YPF SA Tuesday vowed to fight the move by Argentina's government to take over its local unit, while at the same time seeking to reassure investors that Spain's flagship oil company remains on solid footing.
The move to nationalize Argentina's largest oil and gas company on Monday marked the culmination of a months-long battle between Repsol and the government of President Cristina Kirchner.
The Argentine government blames Repsol's unit YPF SA for low production that has forced the country to spend heavily for imported energy, at a time when it is enduring a scarcity of dollars due to capital flight.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304299304577349480301243796.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
By JAMES HERRON Updated April 17, 2012, 7:44 a.m. ET
LONDON—The U.K. government on Tuesday said that shale gas exploration can resume in the north of England if new procedures are followed, despite evidence that Cuadrilla Resources Ltd.'s operations in the area caused two earth tremors last year.
Closer seismic monitoring will be needed of the hydraulic fracturing process, which extracts natural gas from shale rock using a pressurized mixture of water and chemicals, but any risk to the public or water supplies from operations like Cuadrilla's can be acceptably mitigated, a government report said.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304299304577349303776438494.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
By RAKESH SHARMA April 17, 2012, 7:57 a.m. ET
NEW DELHI -- French power company GDF Suez SA, GAIL (India) Ltd. and the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh Tuesday agreed to set up the South Asian nation's first floating terminal to import liquefied natural gas.
The terminal, on India's east coast, will have an annual capacity of 3.5 million tons and will likely be commissioned by the end of 2013.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432704577349471662160152.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post
By MELODIE WARNER April 17, 2012, 9:00 a.m. ET
First Solar Inc. FSLR -0.05% plans to close its Frankfurt manufacturing operations and idle four production lines at its plant in Malaysia, as it looks to reduce costs amid a deteriorating solar market in Europe.
Combined with other personnel reductions in Europe and the U.S., these actions will reduce the U.S. solar-panel maker's global work force by 30%, or about 2,000 positions.
The company's earnings have taken a hit over the past year from reduced government subsidies and heated competition among solar-panel producers.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432704577349560013849248.html?mod=WSJ_Energy_leftHeadlinesShare This Post