Tag Archives | Fossil Fuels

Can Fire Ice Save The World?

A burning methane hydrate chunk - inlay is a lattice of the clathrate. USGS.

A burning methane hydrate chunk – inlay is a lattice of the clathrate. USGS.

Methane hydrate, colloquially known as Fire Ice, is being discussed as the energy of the future that will render peak oil and all the other expiring fossil fuel sources irrelevant. BBC News investigates the pros and cons of what is, after all, another hydrocarbon:

The world is addicted to hydrocarbons, and it’s easy to see why – cheap, plentiful and easy to mine, they represent an abundant energy source to fuel industrial development the world over.

The side-effects, however, are potentially devastating; burning fossil fuels emits the CO2 linked to global warming.

And as reserves of oil, coal and gas are becoming tougher to access, governments are looking ever harder for alternatives, not just to produce energy, but to help achieve the holy grail of all sovereign states – energy independence.

Some have discovered a potential saviour, locked away under deep ocean beds and vast swathes of permafrost.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Why We Must Divest From Fossil Fuels: A Student’s Open Letter to Harvard President Drew Faust

PIC: Harvard (CC)

PIC: Harvard (CC)

Wen Stephenson and Benjamin Franta, via the Nation:

The movement for fossil-fuel divestment has swelled to what an Oxford University study calls the fastest-growing divestment movement in history, one with the potential to shift the political ground beneath the fossil-fuel lobby’s feet. There are more than 500 campaigns globally—including on some 400 college and university campuses in the United States, along with city and state governments and major religious institutions. Ten colleges and more than twenty cities—including Seattle, San Francisco and, as it happens, Cambridge, Massachusetts—have committed to divest.

Back in October, Harvard University President and distinguished American historian Drew Gilpin Faust, having faced more than a year of increasing calls by students, faculty and almuni to divest from fossil fuels, released a statement in which she explained why Harvard would do no such thing, at least not on her watch. Reactions to her position—by critics ranging from climate activist Tim DeChristopher (now at Harvard Divinity School) and Columbia’s Todd Gitlin (an alum) to former Oberlin president and National Science Board member James Lawrence Powell, among others—pointed to its logical inconsistency, not to mention blindness to moral, political and economic facts.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The 14,000 Oil Spills Nobody is Talking About | Brainwash Update

Abby Martin goes over updates to the chemical spill in West Virginia and the coal-ash spill in North Carolina, exposing the human and environmental impact as well as the lack of accountability that accompanies tens of thousands of similar ecological catastrophes that occur in the US every year due to the US’ addiction to fossil fuel.

LIKE Breaking the Set @ http://fb.me/BreakingTheSet
FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Futureconomics of Food

Vandana Shiva writes on the intersections of capitalism, the state, agribusiness, and a burgeoning organic movement in South Asia. Via Al Jazeera:

The economic crisis, the ecological crisis and the food crisis are a reflection of an outmoded and fossilised economic paradigm — a paradigm that grew out of mobilising resources for the war by creating the category of economic “growth” and is rooted in the age of oil and fossil fuels. It is fossilised both because it is obsolete, and because it is a product of the age of fossil fuels. We need to move beyond this fossilised paradigm if we are to address the economic and ecological crisis.

Economy and ecology have the same roots “oikos” — meaning home — both our planetary home, the Earth, and our home where we live our everyday lives in family and community.

But economy strayed from ecology, forgot the home and focused on the market.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

“Too Much Magic” With James Howard Kunstler

“Too Much Magic” With James Howard Kunstler | The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 07

toomuchmagiciTunes | Download (mp3) | RSS | iPhone App

Social critic and peak oil provocateur James Howard Kunstler is on The DisinfoCast to discuss his upcoming book Too Much Magic: Technology, Wishful Thinking and the Fate of the Nation. Kunstler believes that the end of cheap, readily available oil is very near, and with it the collapse of the industrial society as we know it. According to Kunstler, alternative energy sources and other technological solutions are just wishful thinking, and the future that awaits us may very well resemble our past.

Continue Reading

The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Conspiracy Exposed

The inside story of climate scientists under siege, at Wired:

It is almost possible to dismiss Michael Mann’s account of a vast conspiracy by the fossil fuel industry to harrass scientists and befuddle the public. His story of that campaign, and his own journey from naive computer geek to battle-hardened climate ninja, seems overwrought, maybe even paranoid.

But now comes the unauthorized release of documents showing how a libertarian thinktank, the Heartland Institute, which has in the past been supported by Exxon, spent millions on lavish conferences attacking scientists and concocting projects to counter science teaching for kindergarteners…

Continue Reading

Global Carbon Emissions Reach Record 10 Billion Tons

SmokestacksVia ScienceDaily:

Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased by 49 per cent in the last two decades, according to the latest figures by an international team, including researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia.Published December 4 in the journal Nature Climate Change, the new analysis by the Global Carbon Project shows fossil fuel emissions increased by 5.9 per cent in 2010 and by 49 per cent since 1990 — the reference year for the Kyoto protocol.

On average, fossil fuel emissions have risen by 3.1 per cent each year between 2000 and 2010 — three times the rate of increase during the 1990s. They are projected to continue to increase by 3.1 per cent in 2011.

Total emissions — which combine fossil fuel combustion, cement production, deforestation and other land use emissions — reached 10 billion tonnes of carbon* in 2010 for the first time.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Less than 50 Years of Oil Left, HSBC Warns

Mad MaxRecently John Collins Rudolf reported in the New York Times:

The world may have no more than half a century of oil left at current rates of consumption, while surging demand from the developing world threatens to create “very significant price rises” before substitutes like biofuels can serve as viable alternatives, the British bank HSBC warns in a new report.

“We’re confident that there are around 50 years of oil left,” Karen Ward, the bank’s senior global economist, said in an interview on CNBC.

The bank, the world’s second largest in assets, further cautioned that growth trends in developing countries like China could put as many as one billion more cars on the road by midcentury. “That’s tremendous pressure on oil to power all those resources,” Ms. Ward said.

Substitutes, such as biofuels and synthetic oil from coal, could fill the gap if conventional supplies fall short, but only if average oil prices exceed $150 per barrel, the report notes.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Geneva Auto Show: Ferrari HY-KERS Hybrid Concept

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. Photo: Sovxx (CC)

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. Photo: Sovxx (CC)

By Jerry Garrett for the New York Times:

What is it? A hybrid based on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. How serious is Ferrari about hybrid power? Ferrari calls the HY-KERS Hybrid a “ventura laboratorio,” or research vehicle, so don’t expect to see this particular car make it to production. It is more of a test bed for future technology that will be applied across the Ferrari product line. “This sort of technological challenge has been in the Ferrari blood since forever,” Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari’s chairman, said in introducing the first “green” Ferrari. “We want to build a hybrid with huge power and huge performance. Within three to four years, every Ferrari in our lineup will offer some version of hybrid operation.”

How’s it look? Almost identical on the outside to a 599. Inside, the HY-KERS Hybrid features a 599’s V-12 engine and two electric motors – one to push, the other to pull energy in from braking – that boost city mileage almost 50 percent.

Read the rest

Continue Reading