Monthly Archives: April 2009

Petrol prices will need to rise to “around £5/litre [at 2007 prices]” in 2050 if the UK is to meet its carbon targets, suggests the author of an independent report on the UK’s future energy system.

The report, produced by the UK Energy Research Centre, concludes that for the UK to emit 80 per cent less CO2 in 2050, oil use must be virtually eliminated and the electricity sector fully decarbonised. To achieve this will require a high and stable carbon price of around £200/tCO2 at 2007 prices by the middle of the century. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

As many commentators have noted, oil has been staying close to the $50 mark for several weeks now. Inventory concerns, the US dollar and of course the big question of demand are all moving the price, but even swine flu fears haven’t caused it to deviate for long.

These charts from Capital Economics show how much oil price volatility has come down, after spending much of the past seven months at very high levels. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

And once again crude prices are the key culprit:

The largest impact on profits came from falling crude oil prices, which dropped from about $90 in the first quarter of last year to about $40 in the equivalent period of 2009. That cost Exxon $4.4bn of profit, with a further $500m reduction coming from lower natural gas prices. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

How would the world adapt to the scenario outlined in Nature‘s two studies published today? Both say the world has a total ‘carbon emission budget’ of 1,000bn tonnes of carbon.

As Fiona Harvey reported in today’s FT:

To remain on track with this “carbon budget” Canada would have to leave its oil sands untapped and Saudi Arabia would need to leave most of its oil reserves in the ground to avert disaster.

So, what now?

 Read more

Fiona Harvey

So now we know how much carbon we have left. Researchers at Oxford University in the UK and the Potsdam Institute in Germany, with contributions from other renowned academic institutions, have calculated the global “carbon budget” - that is, the amount of greenhouse gas that we can spew out before causing catastrophic and irreversible changes to the climate.

They report on their work in the prestigious peer reviewed journal NatureRead more

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

Will US natural gas recover soon? The bears are out in force Read more

Kate Mackenzie

We wrote last week that research from BarCap suggested there may be some cause for optimism at least on the global LNG glut, because prices in Europe are steady and there is available regasification capacity storage there.

But sentiment in the US natural gas market remains grim.

 Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Environmentalists have piled into the rating of Barack Obama’s first 100 days. Grist.org, the US news site, is largely positive, noting appointments such as Carol Browner (special adviser on climate and energy), Lisa Jackson (head of the Environmental ProtectionAgency) and energy secretary Stephen Chu.

The $62.2bn of direct spending and $20bn in green tax incentives in the green stimulus package are highlights for the green movement, along with pledges in the budget such as reducing emissions by 83 per cent by 2050, and plans for a cap-and-trade system. Read more

- Climate-change scientists warn of looming disaster
Studies say little chance planned emission cuts can curb global warming (FT)

- Shell follows BP with 58% first-quarter fall
Chief executive says he will cut jobs this year (FT) Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Why, in these recession-bound times, are companies reluctant to invest in making their buildings more energy efficient? It is after all one way of reducing carbon emissions that is often described as having a ‘negative cost’ – in otherwords, it saves money.

The Peterson Institute has outlined a new report on building efficiency, how much it could cost and why it does not receive the investment it appears to deserve. Read more