Daily Archives: December 4, 2009

Fiona Harvey

While a brass band played Christmas carols on the platform at St Pancras, the “green train” set off for Copenhagen, via Brussels on Friday evening.

This is only one of the hundreds of train journeys being made to Copenhagen for the UN climate summit, which begins on Monday. One much longer journey is almost finishing for a group of Asian attendees who set off some weeks ago through China and on the famous Trans Siberian Express across Russia, then down through Northern Europe to Copenhagen. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Ghana’s newfound oil riches have created concerns that the mostly peaceful and democratic West African nation will go the way of its near-neighbours such as Nigeria, where oil revenues have been monopolised by leaders, leaving the majority of the population in poverty.

What, then, does the future hold for Papua New Guinea?

The small equatorial nation, which lies just north of Australia, is about to see a boom in big natural gas production. InterOil this week announced world record gas flow rate in PNG, and ExxonMobil is set to lead a big LNG project there.

And unlike Ghana, PNG has never been known for its stability. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

- How utilities are just like banks

- Climategate, and why we disagree

- IPCC investigation into Climategate emails

- India’s voluntary intensity targets and Mongolian coal in Spot news

- Cycling energy slaves and energy return on investment

Further reading:

- Oil execs see a glum 2010 (Environmental Capital/WSJ)

- Cheap oil is here to stay (CNN)

- Nigerian farmers to sue Shell over oil spill (BBC)

- Canadia is not a corrupt petro-state, says environment minister (Guardian)

- Americans prefer carbon tax over cap-and-trade (Houston Chronicle)

- California gives green light for space-based solar (CNet)

- The elusive goal of balancing US energy (NY Times) Read more

As we’ve reported before, UK natural gas prices are destined to stay low for the foreseeable future as a slew of  liquefied natural gas cargoes, unwanted elsewhere, is redirected to British shores.

Most cargoes will have originally been intended for the US market, but a boom in alternative natural gas production in the country has now muted demand for imports — releasing a record number of cargoes  into the spot market. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Controversy about how to react to climate change looks set to continue long beyond this month’s Copenhagen meeting. For the world’s policymakers, the question is largely about what action should be taken, and how to reach agreement on it. But for some critics (recently emboldened by the Climategate emails) the debate is about the science. Carbon trading systems, despite being popular with policymakers, are probably the most controversial solution (look at the heated – to put it mildly – exchanges between Joe Romm and the Breakthrough Institute as an example).

Mike Hulme, a climate scientist at East Anglia University and founding director of the Tyndall Centre, had some of his own emails stolen from CRU servers. He is also the author of a new book that looks at some of the issues raised by the scandal: specifically, how our current views of climate change arise from our different political views, and in turn is based on the ‘stories’ that way tell ourselves, as individuals and societies. There is, for example, the ‘fragile mother earth’ story, in which humans destroy nature with their profligate consumption. Or the technological triumph story, in which humanity develops a way out of peril.

It might all sound more literary theory than climate science or economics. What does it mean for the Climategate, or for how to move forward on climate change?  Read more

Kate Mackenzie

From the BBC:

The organisation’s chairman Dr Rajendra Pachauri told BBC Radio 4′s The Report programme the claims were serious and he wants them investigated. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

India opts for voluntary emissions intensity cuts
20 – 25% cut by 2020 won’t be legally binding (FT)

Rich nations under pressure on climate aid
UN admits specific financial assistance agreement unlikely (FT)

‘Climate saboteurs’ attacked
UK energy secretary Miliband criticises opposition (FT)

BHP, Vale, Xstrata interested in Mongolian coal, says Minister
Chinese, Russian and US companies also interested (Bloomberg)

Panel probes wholesale energy market
US House committee considers whether wholesalers should be covered by federal commodity laws (WSJ) Read more