On FT Energy Source:
- China frets about imported oil
- The real problems with climate science
- Fracking defended… by frackers
- US cap and trade bill looks even further off
- French carbon tax and RBS Sempra sale in Energy headlines
- Speed bumps ahead for electric vehicle charging
- Coal-fired power-plant time lapse video (with scary music)
- How long will the Chesapeake magic last?
- Venezuela bids to become a dysfunctional petrostate
- Cap and trade: Time for plan B?
- Nuclear-powered ships
- Solar stocks plunge on fears of further German subsidy cuts
- Two combined-heat-and-power projects in 2005 generated more power than the US’ entire solar output
- The wealth of sovereign wealth funds comes mostly from… oil
For those whose curiosity has been piqued by the Himalayan glacier error in the IPCC’s report, Nature magazine has a great article on the real holes in climate science. Far from undermining climate science, though, it underlines the importance of continuing research.
The story notes that the IPCC highlights 54 ‘key uncertainties’ in its 2007 report, but it picks out four key areas of concern:
Regional climate prediction: “To plan for the future, people need to know how their local conditions will change, not how the average global temperature will climb. Yet researchers are still struggling to develop tools to accurately forecast climate changes for the twenty-first century at the local and regional level.” This makes it difficult for countries to make specific adaptation plans – and simply extrapolating from global forecasts risks enhancing weaknesses in the broader model.
From China Daily
One of our favourite counter-intuitive ideas on this blog is that China’s massive and growing appetite for fossil fuels might end up being a good thing for the environment, as it could drive big efforts on renewables, electric vehicles, and even energy efficiency.
The rationale is that China takes forward planning much more seriously than many large economies; so unlike other countries that are simply ambling towards some kind of climate/security/supply (choose your favourite) crisis, China will put significant effort into energy alternatives. Of course, the buying up of long-term fossil fuel supply deals with various countries around the world doesn’t necessarily support that.
And if the local press is anything to go on, anxiety over energy security is indeed pretty high in China at the moment.
Executives from ExxonMobil and XTO Energy appeared before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee yesterday to defend hydraulic fracturing, the process used to extract shale gas.
Fracking*, as it’s known, is currently only regulated at the state level, and Exxon has the right to terminate the $41bn acquisition of XTO if federal regulations make the practice commercially unviable. Reports from yesterday’s hearings suggest little appetite among representatives to do so, however.
An article from the Houston Chronicle quotes Exxon chief executive Rex Tillerson making the fairly unsurprising observations that regulation costs companies money, and that a ban on fracking would make it impossible to exploit shale gas reserves.