There was an error in this gadget

12.24.2010

Pain at the pumps: Companies brace for $100-a-barrel oil

Source: Globe & Mail, December 24, 2010

Crude oil markets are going out of 2010 like a lion – hitting two-year highs and raising predictions that prices will soon top $100 (U.S.) a barrel.

For motorists and businesses such as airlines and trucking firms, the surge in crude prices has meant a pre-Christmas crunch in fuel costs, with average Canadian pump prices now at their highest levels since October, 2008. And there is no sign they are about to ease.

“I’m not too surprised by the lift above $90 and I think we have some further gains here going forward,” Jim Ritterbusch, a veteran independent analyst based near Chicago, said in an interview Thursday.

“I’m afraid we’re going to see $100 oil in the first quarter – unfortunately.”

He said the fragile American recovery is being constrained by higher oil prices, which are driven more by higher demand in emerging markets but also buoyed by recent signs of economic growth in the U.S.

More

12.22.2010

Oil hits highest level in more than two years

Source: Globe & Mail, Dec 22, 2010

Oil (CL-FT90.620.800.89%) jumped above $90 (U.S.) a barrel Wednesday to settle at that level for the first time in 26 months, as a third straight weekly drop in U.S. crude inventories and cold weather spurred pre-holiday buying.

U.S. crude stockpiles fell 5.3 million barrels last week, bringing the past three weeks’ declines to 19 million barrels, roughly equivalent to one day of U.S. fuel consumption. It marked the biggest three-week drop since 1998.

Companies have drawn down inventories for year-end accounting purposes, analysts said.

U.S. data showed the economy picked up in the third quarter, signaling a more solid pace of recovery and improving oil demand prospects.

A Reuters poll released Wednesday showed a surge in fuel demand in the fourth quarter sent 2010 demand growth to near record levels, adding support to prices in recent weeks, with further increases expected in 2011 as the economy improves.

More

12.21.2010

The Geopolitics of Hoarding: Biofuels and Resource Scarcity


Source: www.biomassintel.com

In an era of increasing food, energy, land, and water insecurity, nations are increasingly turning to hoarding. Sitting at the nexus of all four, biofuels are playing a complex role in geopolitics.

Biofuels — whether grown domestically or abroad — sit at the nexus of not only food and energy, but also land and water. As all four become more scarce, developed and developing nations alike are hoarding more and more.

Combined with hoarding, biofuels can hasten land, water, and food scarcity, but the situation is far more complex than the current debate over issues like indirect land use change suggest.

Writing for the UK’s Financial Times in February 2010, Gedeon Rachman described the UK’s increasing reliance on securing food as well as energy security as, “No mere national eccentricity.”

On the contrary, he writes:

[T]he fact that even the free-trading British are worrying about food and energy supplies is indicative of a much broader global trend. Across the world, the major powers are moving to secure access to energy, food and, in some cases, water. Faith in a trade-based system of globalisation – in which nations can always buy what they need on the open, world markets – is giving ground to an effort by individual nations to secure supplies. Like survivalists, hoarding tinned food in the basement, individual nations are preparing for the worst.

The evidence is in the pudding. Increasing oil prices and fears over peak oil are driving a global push for renewable energy. Take China as an example, which is sending state-owned oil companies abroad where they are engaging in ferocious bidding wars with western energy companies as they go after access to the same oil and gas fields, particularly in Africa. Middle Eastern investors, in particular the Saudis and the Gulf Arabs, have been leasing huge tracts of land in East Africa, in an effort to grow food that is reserved for their own nations. In the US, domestic ethanol production has led to disruptions in the global food markets. In Europe, supporters of the protectionist Common Agricultural Policy are freshly emboldened.

More

12.15.2010

What will 2011 bring? Triple-digit oil

Source: Globe & Mail (Dec 10, 2010)
Author: Jeff Rubin

The strongest manufacturing numbers coming out of the Chinese economy in a seven-month period, coupled with plunging oil inventories in the world’s largest energy consuming economy, have sent oil (CL-FT88.700.420.48%) prices to a 25-month high. With no let-up in China’s fuel demand, the world should be looking at triple-digit oil prices again within a quarter.

That may come as a shock to those who thought the bloated oil inventories that came in the wake of the last recession would provide a buffer against future oil price spikes. Suddenly, that buffer has literally gone up in smoke.

Refined oil stocks held by China’s two largest oil companies have fallen for eight consecutive months, while diesel stocks in the country fell 14 per cent in October. And the tightening oil market won’t just be felt in China. The 140 million barrels of international oil inventories sloshing around in floating storage on the high seas is also all but gone.

With oil prices within striking distance of triple-digit levels, don’t look for any price relief at the upcoming OPEC meeting in Ecuador. Venezuelan energy and oil minister Rafael Ramirez was recently quoted as saying that $100 (U.S.) per barrel was a fair price for both consumers and producers. (But not for cab drivers in Caracas, who will continue to be able to purchase their fuel at 20 cents per gallon, the equivalent of a little over $8 per barrel). Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has already served notice that, without triple-digit prices, there is little incentive for new oil exploration in his kingdom.

More

12.11.2010

Beyond Fossil Fuels - Swedish City Cuts Its Fossil Fuel Use


Source: NY Times, Dec 10, 2010
By: ELISABETH ROSENTHAL

When this city vowed a decade ago to wean itself from fossil fuels, it was a lofty aspiration, like zero deaths from traffic accidents or the elimination of childhood obesity.

But Kristianstad has already crossed a crucial threshold: the city and surrounding county, with a population of 80,000, essentially use no oil, natural gas or coal to heat homes and businesses, even during the long frigid winters. It is a complete reversal from 20 years ago, when all of their heat came from fossil fuels.

But this area in southern Sweden, best known as the home of Absolut vodka, has not generally substituted solar panels or wind turbines for the traditional fuels it has forsaken. Instead, as befits a region that is an epicenter of farming and food processing, it generates energy from a motley assortment of ingredients like potato peels, manure, used cooking oil, stale cookies and pig intestines.

A hulking 10-year-old plant on the outskirts of Kristianstad uses a biological process to transform the detritus into biogas, a form of methane. That gas is burned to create heat and electricity, or is refined as a fuel for cars.

Full article

12.07.2010

Branson Says Oil Might Hit $200 a Barrel Without New Policies

Source: Bloomberg - Dec 7, 2010

Oil prices may soar to $200 a barrel if the world doesn’t move more rapidly to a clean-energy economy, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., said in an interview.

“It’s certainly conceivable unless we can start to conserve energy quickly and come up with alternative fuels,” Branson said yesterday in Cancun, Mexico, where countries are meeting to negotiate a new accord to combat climate change.

Branson predicts an “unbelievably painful” economic slump if governments don’t do more to encourage renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels such as oil. In the U.S., where efforts to cap carbon-dioxide emissions failed in the Senate earlier this year, unemployment could reach record highs, the British billionaire said.

Read more

L'éthanol a perdu de son lustre aux États-Unis


Source: La Presse, 7 décembre 2010

L'éthanol, jadis considéré comme la panacée en matière énergétique, a perdu de son lustre aux États-Unis, au moment où le Congrès doit décider s'il maintient ou non les subventions qui soutiennent la production de ce biocarburant.

Les parlementaires ont jusqu'au 31 décembre pour décider de prolonger ou non une subvention qui coûte bon an mal an 6 milliards de dollars au contribuable.

Mais l'éthanol, produit à partir du maïs, est attaqué sur sa droite par les milieux ultra-conservateurs, qui lui reprochent de coûter trop cher à l'État, et sur sa gauche par des écologistes qui l'accusent de faire flamber les prix agricoles et de ne guère atténuer les émissions de gaz à effet de serre.

Au moment où la communauté internationale est réunie à Cancun, au Mexique, pour tenter de parvenir à un accord de réduction des gaz à effet de serre, une coalition inattendue de ces différents détracteurs, allant de l'Union conservatrice américaine aux Amis de la Terre, a appelé à mettre fin aux subventions.

Article complet

12.05.2010

Mounting State Debts Stoke Fears of a Looming Crisis

Source: NY Times, December 4, 2010
By Michael Cooper and Mary Williams Walsh

(Post Carbon GM editorial note: Read this article carefully and consider how triple-digit oil prices might trigger a cascading financial disaster in the US. How might this affect Canada, New Brunswick and Greater Moncton?

Note éditoriale GM Post Carbone: Lisez cet article attentivement et considérez l'effet dévastateur possible d'une hausse marquée des prix du pétrole sur les finances des gouvernements étatiques et municipaux aux É-U. Quelles seront les conséquences pour le Canada, le Nouveau-Brunswick et le Grand Moncton?)

The State of Illinois is still paying off billions in bills that it got from schools and social service providers last year. Arizona recently stopped paying for certain organ transplants for people in its Medicaid program. States are releasing prisoners early, more to cut expenses than to reward good behavior. And in Newark, the city laid off 13 percent of its police officers last week.

While next year could be even worse, there are bigger, longer-term risks, financial analysts say. Their fear is that even when the economy recovers, the shortfalls will not disappear, because many state and local governments have so much debt — several trillion dollars’ worth, with much of it off the books and largely hidden from view — that it could overwhelm them in the next few years.

“It seems to me that crying wolf is probably a good thing to do at this point,” said Felix Rohatyn, the financier who helped save New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s.

Some of the same people who warned of the looming subprime crisis two years ago are ringing alarm bells again. Their message: Not just small towns or dying Rust Belt cities, but also large states like Illinois and California are increasingly at risk.

More

12.03.2010

Oil rally continues despite discouraging jobs data

Source: The Associated Press, Dec 3, 2010

A surprising increase in the number of unemployed Americans wasn't enough to stall oil's momentum Friday as it cruised to a 26-month high.

Benchmark oil (CL-FT89.441.441.64%) settled up $1.19 at $89.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It's the second time in less than a month that oil has reached the level where it was in the fall of 2008. There are widespread expectations that the price will hit $90 a barrel by year's end and head toward $100 a barrel by next spring when traders begin looking ahead to the summer driving season.

Oil's increase already has appeared at the pump, where prices are approaching the high for the year. The national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was $2.90 on Friday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's 3.7 cents higher than a week ago and nearly 27 cents more than a year ago.

More

Canada's Two New Solitudes

By Jeff Rubin
www.theglobeandmail.ca

Fortunately for Canada, our first encounter with peak oil did not exact the same toll as it did in the U.S. or elsewhere. We can thank our oil resources, not our chartered banks, for that. Even so, unemployment jumped to over 9 per cent and in the process dramatically changed the fiscal landscape in the country.

But that oil blessing may soon become a double-edged sword. The very oil reserves that will soon make Canada an energy superpower are making the loonie a petro-currency. Already around parity with the greenback, the Canadian dollar will soar to unprecedented heights against the U.S. dollar as triple-digit oil prices pull more and more daily oil production from the tar sands. And a strong dollar means one thing to hockey fans: NHL franchises leaving Dixie and the desert, and moving to Canada.

Sounds great, until you start to do the math and realize that the more oil Canada produces, and the higher the loonie goes, the less steel, machinery and even cars the rest of the economy will produce. We’ll see how Canadians come to like their economy being at the other end of Americans’ gas nozzle.

More

12.02.2010

Peak oil and the end of growth: we need to start planning now

Published in Times and Transcript, December 2, 2010
By Michel Desjardins, Post Carbon Greater Moncton

A few weeks ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its World Energy Outlook 2010. The IEA is an organization established by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974.

For the first time in its history, the IEA admitted that crude oil production (conventional oil) peaked in 2006 and will never ever grow again.

It also projected that the bulk of any new crude production needed just to compensate for the depletion of existing fields will come from fields "not yet discovered." That's the good news!

The bad news is that the IEA is notorious for overstating its energy resource projections, often bowing to pressure from some of its members who fear market panic.

What cannot be overstated, however, are the massive implications of this peak in oil extraction.

First, you can expect sky-high oil prices in the not too distant future. Of course, that will be painful at the pump. But it's just the tip of the iceberg. Think about it. Most food we eat today traveled from far away on fuel-propelled machines.
Petroleum products are used in the production of everything we wear, from our sunglasses to our shoelaces.

More expensive energy will make it harder to run our hospitals and our schools, heat our homes, let alone enjoy our yearly winter vacation in sunny Varadero.

More

11.26.2010

Peak Oil Blues

Source: PeakOil.com

Way of the locavore: Four ways to escape global food

Source: Globe & Mail, Nov 26, 2010

They grow their own vegetables. They raise backyard chickens. They bypass the supermarkets to buy groceries from farmers they know.

They are global food dropouts, and they don't trust the conventional food system's impact on the environment, their health, animal welfare and flavour.

But even those dedicated to eating locally and organically admit that escaping the global food system can be tricky.

Lesson 1: Be aware of your choices

Even if you can't afford to buy local, free-range and organic, and don't have the resources to grow your own, the first step is to simply be mindful of the consequences of your food choices, says Jes Goulet of Cobble Hill, B.C.

Ms. Goulet grows much of her own fruits and vegetables, raises hens for eggs and buys her other groceries from an organic delivery service. She recognizes not everyone has the time, yard space, inclination and ability to do the same.

Read more

11.25.2010

The IEA's new peak


Source: Energy Bulletin (by Tom Whipple)

For two weeks now the peak oil portion of cyberspace has been abuzz with commentary on the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) newly released World Energy Outlook 2010. Without missing a beat and without much explanation, the world’s leading compiler of everything about energy has gone from denying that conventional oil production will peak in our lifetime to saying it happened four years ago. Will wonders never cease! The Agency, of course, did not predict an immediate cataclysm, as it managed to conjure up enough undiscovered, undeveloped, lousy quality, and very-expensive-to produce oil to keep the world sort of growing for another 25 years. Needless to say the conjuring was met with much derision from those who believe they can discern the possible from the impossible.

Before getting into the implications of all this, it is well to remind ourselves that, in the case of this particular publication and set of forecasts, the IEA has a nearly impossible mission. Although in theory independent of the 28 national governments that support the Agency, in reality it has many political masters none of which are as yet ready to grapple with the myriad of problems that will occur when their peoples recognize that significant economic contraction is the only possible course ahead.

Read more

11.18.2010

Peak Oil - pourquoi le Pentagone est pessimiste

Source: lemonde.fr

Crépuscule dans le désert, le livre réquisitoire d’un banquier du pétrole texan qui suggère que l’Arabie Saoudite surestime ses capacités futures de production de pétrole, est l’une la source décisive de deux rapports récents du Pentagone envisageant des pénuries de pétrole « sévères » à partir de 2012 et jusqu’en 2015 au moins, ai-je appris auprès du département de la défense américain.

Selon l’analyse développée dans Crépuscule dans le désert, les chiffres officiels publiés par la Saudi Aramco, la compagnie pétrolière nationale saoudienne, surestiment fortement le montant réel des réserves que la première puissance mondiale du pétrole est encore capable d’extraire de son sol. Conséquence, d’après Matthew Simmons : les extractions saoudiennes n’augmenteront plus, et pourraient même être sur le point de décliner brutalement.

L’état-major de l’armée américaine semble indiquer qu’il juge les craintes de M. Simmons fondées sinon crédibles, lorsqu’il reconnaît faire reposer sur elles le pronostic d’une « crise énergétique sévère » potentiellement « inévitable ».

Parus en 2008 et en 2010, les deux dernières livraisons du rapport bisannuel sur « l’environnement » des forces inter-armées américaines (les rapports JOE, pour Joint Operating Environment) occupent une place importante, à mon sens, parmi les analyses récentes reconnaissant l’éventualité (ou brandissant la menace) d’une chute des extractions mondiales de pétrole d’ici au milieu de cette décennie.

Suite

11.11.2010

Has the World Already Passed “Peak Oil”?



New analysis pegs 2006 as highpoint of conventional crude production

Source: National Geographic Nov 2010

The year 2006 may be remembered for civil strife in Iraq, the nuclear weapon testing threat by North Korea, and the genocide in Darfur, but now it appears that another world event was occurring at the same time—without headlines, but with far-reaching consequence for all nations.

That’s the year that the world’s conventional oil production likely reached its peak, the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Vienna, Austria, said Tuesday.

According to the 25-year forecast in the IEA's latest annual World Energy Outlook, the most likely scenario is for crude oil production to stay on a plateau at about 68 to 69 million barrels per day.

In this scenario, crude oil production "never regains its all-time peak of 70 million barrels per day reached in 2006," said IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010.

In previous years, the IEA had predicted that crude oil production would continue to rise for at least another couple of decades.

Now, because of rising oil prices, declines in investment by the oil industry, and new commitments by some nations to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the new forecast says oil production is likely to be lower than the IEA had expected.

More

11.08.2010

Une ferme sur le toit, sans pesticides ni OGM


Source : Le Devoir, 8 novembre 2010

Les entrepreneurs Kurt D. Lynn et Mohamed Hage proposent une petite révolution dans l'industrie montréalaise des légumes. Avec l'aide de Google Earth, ils ont répertorié les plus grands toits plats des bâtiments industriels de Montréal et proposent d'y faire pousser des produits potagers à longueur d'année. À commencer par le toit de cette bâtisse sans nom en périphérie du Marché central qui nourrira 2000 personnes.

Ils sont de ces êtres qu'on appelle des entrepreneurs en série. Mohamed Hage et Kurt D. Lynn se sont d'ailleurs rencontrés il y a quatre ans, alors que le plus âgé aidait le plus jeune à mettre une entreprise sur pied. Ce sont des férus de technologies.

Ils transposent aujourd'hui leur passion des gadgets au potager avec leur nouveau projet: les Fermes Lufa. L'inspiration? «En fait, on tripe tous les deux sur la nourriture», dit simplement le Montréalais à temps partiel, M. Lynn, qui vit l'autre moitié du temps à Toronto. À force d'en discuter ensemble, ils ont voulu changer leur façon de se nourrir en créant leur propre ferme sans pesticides ni OGM. Mais pas question de faire ça en dehors de la ville. «Plus la nourriture s'éloigne d'où elle a été cultivée, plus elle perd sa saveur et sa valeur nutritive. Et plus elle pollue en raison du transport.» Ça, on l'a dit souvent, d'où la tendance au locavorisme, une alimentation qui s'en tient aux produits locaux.

Suite

10.27.2010

One Step Closer - Un pas de plus

(Moncton, Oct 27, 2010) Post Carbon Greater Moncton had an excellent meeting with the local SPCA last night. We are one step closer to a pro-chicken by-law in Moncton. We will now be finalizing our Urban Farm Pilot Project Report, which will be filed with the City of Moncton in December.

Keep chicken our blog. It is updated on a regular basis with leading-edge articles on the post carbon world.

+++

(Moncton, 21 octobre 2010) Grand Moncton Post Carbone a eu une très bonne réunion avec la SPCA hier soir. Nous avons fait un pas de plus vers un arrêté municipal permettant l’élevage de poules en ville. Nous allons maintenant finir de préparer le rapport du projet pilote qui sera déposé à la ville de Moncton en décembre.

Pour les derniers articles de pointe sur le monde post carbone, veuillez consulter notre blog régulièrement.

10.26.2010

Engine trouble

Source: The Economist, October 21, 2010

MANY factors were responsible for the industrial revolution. But the use of fossil fuels was clearly vital in driving a step change in rates of economic and population growth. So the current rise in the cost of extracting such fuels should be the subject of considerable concern.

Until the 18th century mankind’s output had been restricted by the amount of physical force that humans (and domesticated animals) could exert and by the amount of wood that people could chop down. Fossil fuels delivered a massive productivity boost.

In a recent article for the Cato Institute, Matt Ridley, a former journalist at The Economist, argues for the importance of coal in allowing the industrial revolution to be sustained. “Fossil fuels were the only power source that did not show diminishing returns,” he writes. “In sharp contrast to wood, water and wind, the more you mined them the cheaper they became.” A further advantage was that coal supplies were so large. By 1830, Mr Ridley estimates, Britain was consuming coal with an annual energy output equivalent to 15m acres of forest, about three times the size of Wales.

In the 20th century oil replaced coal as the cheap fuel of choice. It has had an enormous impact, most noticeably in transport. Think about how much of your daily activity depends on energy—the commute to work, the heating and lighting for home and office, the steel and bricks needed to construct both properties, the transport costs involved in delivering your food to supermarkets (and the energy used to cook it), and so on.

More

10.17.2010

"Pas de carburant à des kilomètres à la ronde"

Source : Le Monde, 17 octobre 2010

Alors que le gouvernement affirme qu'il n'y a pas de pénuries de carburant en raison des grèves dans les raffineries et des blocages de dépôts pétroliers, plusieurs centaines d'internautes du Monde.fr ont témoigné des difficultés d'approvisionnement qu'ils ont rencontrées dans leur région, dimanche 17 octobre.

Nombre d'entre eux ont ainsi dû parcourir plusieurs dizaines de kilomètres avant de trouver une station-service ouverte. Les approvisionnements en gazole semblent plus touchés que ceux en essence. Les principales régions touchées sont l'Ile-de-France, le Centre et la Normandie.

"Au Havre, depuis vendredi, les stations Auchan sont fermées ainsi que celles du centre ville et celles de la route d'Etretat. J'ai trouvé ce matin en bord de mer une station qui avait un peu de gazole, mais pas de super", témoigne Francis Wirth. Plusieurs stations-service ont choisi de mettre en place des restrictions, comme à Troarn, près de Caen. "Samedi matin j'ai dû faire la queue pendant 35 minutes pour pouvoir mettre 20 euros d'essence", témoigne Jérôme Lion.

Suite

Pénurie d'essence : il n'y a «pas de quoi paniquer»



Source : Le Figaro, 16 octobre 2010

La ministre de l'Économie Christine Lagarde assure qu'«il n'y a pas de pénurie d'essence, il y a des stocks pour plusieurs semaines». Mais des Français, inquiets, se ruent vers les pompes.

Les tensions montent en France. Et les grévistes du secteur pétrolier sont remontés. Ce samedi, alors que les douze raffineries françaises sont en grève et que les routiers entrent dans la danse en aidant aux blocages des dépôts pétroliers, environ 350 stations-essence en France sont «à sec».

Le spectre d'une pénurie d'essence s'étend. Certaines personnes remplissent des bidons, en prévoyance. Dans certaines villes, on parle de ruée vers les pompes ce samedi. Sur la N7 à Ris-Orangis (Essonne), deux véhicules de police surveillent la file d'une vingtaine de voitures après que deux automobilistes ont manqué à en venir aux mains.

Il faut dire que le ton est particulièrement tendu du côté des syndicats dans le secteur pétrolier. «On est parti et on ne s'arrêtera pas. On n'a pas arrêté 12 raffineries pour faire un baroud d'honneur jusqu'à la journée du 19. On va continuer jusqu'à ce que le gouvernement retire son projet de loi», a lancé Charles Foulard, coordonnateur CGT du groupe Total. «Les routiers vont nous rejoindre.Les aéroports disposent de 48 heures de stocks. On ira jusqu'au bout», a-t-il ajouté.

suite

10.14.2010

Wal-Mart to Buy More Local Produce

Source: NY Times, Oct 14, 2010

Wal-Mart Stores announced a program on Thursday that would focus on sustainable agriculture among its suppliers, as it tries to expand its efforts to improve environmental efficiency among its suppliers.

The program is intended to put more locally grown food in Wal-Mart stores in the United States, invest in training and infrastructure for small and medium-size farmers, particularly in emerging markets, and begin to measure the efficiency of large suppliers in growing and getting their produce to market.

Given that Wal-Mart is the world’s largest grocer, with one of the biggest supply chains, any changes that it makes would have wide implications. Wal-Mart’s decision five years ago to set sustainability goals that, among other things, increased its reliance on renewable energy and reduced packaging waste among its supplies, sent broad ripples through product manufacturers. Large companies like Procter & Gamble redesigned packages that are now carried by other retailers, while Wal-Mart’s measurements of environmental efficiency among its suppliers helped define how they needed to change.

More

10.07.2010

Food shock: Market volatility a bigger threat than the shortage of grain

Source: Globe & Mail, Oct 7, 2010

The global food crisis that has been looming for years has arrived: Only it’s not the one we’ve been expecting.

Fears about the food supply have been high since prices spiked with oil in 2008. When a third of the Russian wheat crop fell to drought this summer and the country slammed its borders to exports, a new panic was triggered: Wheat prices soared 50 per cent, pushing up other cereals. Food riots broke out in Mozambique. The United Nations convened an emergency meeting of experts. Just this week, drought-stricken Ukraine announced export quotas on wheat pegged to last through December.

But for all of this, there is no real shortage of food in the world. Instead of a supply crisis, what has dawned is a new era of increased volatility. Unpredictable spikes and tumbles in some of the world’s most vital food commodities, most of them grains, are becoming more frequent.

The shocks are provoking anxiety from the farm gate to government offices and the trading floors that lie in between. More critically, they are prompting governments to take steps to tame jittery markets, steps that experts say are fuelling the volatility rather than dampening it.

More

10.06.2010

Oil sands should be left in the ground: NASA scientist

Source: Globe & Mail, Oct 5, 2010

One of NASA's top scientists has told a panel reviewing a proposed oil sands mine in northern Alberta that the resource should simply be left in the ground.

James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies says allowing new developments such as Total E&P Canada's $9-billion plan to build the Joslyn North mine would make it too hard to manage the impact of climate change.

“The simple message is the oil sands may appear to be gold. We do need energy and there's a lot of potential energy in the oil sands,” Mr. Hansen said Tuesday during a break from public hearings in Sherwood Park, Alta.

“But it is fool's gold because it's going to be clear and understood within a reasonably brief period of time that we cannot exploit unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands and tar shale. If we do, we're going to have to suck the CO2 back out of the atmosphere and the estimated cost of doing that is $200 to $500 a tonne of carbon.”

Hollywood director James Cameron came to a similar conclusion when he toured the oil sands last week. He said the resource could be a gift to Alberta and Canada in an energy-starved world, but could become a curse if not handled properly.

But Mr. Hansen, sometimes dubbed the godfather of climate-change science, goes even further. He said that burning the Earth's conventional oil has already contributed to a dangerous level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Adding oil sands crude and new coal supplies to the mix would be too much for the atmosphere to bear.

More

10.02.2010

Things Will Unravel Faster Than You Think

Source: huffingtonpost.com (Chris Martensen Ph.D.)

By my analysis, we are not yet on the final path to recovery, and there are one or more financial 'breaks' coming in the future. Underlying structural weaknesses have not been resolved, and the kick-the-can-down-the-road plan is going to encounter a hard wall in the not-too-distant future. When the next moment of discontinuity finally arrives, events will unfold much more rapidly than most people expect.

My work centers on figuring out which macro trends are in play and then helping people to adjust accordingly. Based on trends in fiscal and monetary policy, I began advising accumulation of gold and silver in 2003 and 2004. I shorted homebuilder stocks beginning in 2006 and ending in 2008. These were not 'great' calls; they were simply spotting trends in play, one beginning and one certain to end, and then taking appropriate actions based on those trends.

We happen to live in a non-linear world; a core concept of the Crash Course. But far too many people expect events to unfold in a more or less orderly manner, with plenty of time to adjust along the way. In other words, linearly. The world does not always cooperate, and my concern rests on the observation that we still face the convergence of multiple trends, each of which alone has the power to permanently transform our economic landscape and standards of living.

Three such trends (out of the many I track) that will shape our immediate future are:

* Peak Oil
* Sovereign insolvency
* Currency debasement

Individually, these worry me quite a bit; collectively, they have my full attention.

More

9.28.2010

In Portland, Ore., urban chickens rule the roost

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Associated press

PORTLAND, Ore. — North Williams Avenue is a street with a soundtrack like most any other in the neighborhoods of Portland. There's the swishing of bikes, the rustling of leaves, the whirring of motors.

But then there's something else under those familiar notes: A tiny warble of clucks coming from a chicken coop set in a front yard.

Newspapers across the country have been splashing urban and suburban chicken-keeping across their front pages. It's the latest thing, they say. But in Portland, it's old hat. For the past few years, chicken-keeping has found its place here.

It seems odd at first; a background beat added to the wrong song. But if you listen as you walk along the streets, it's a chorus that starts to sound familiar.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams has two hens. Spots in chicken-raising classes fill up nearly as fast as the nurseries in North Portland can plan them. Hatcheries have trouble keeping up with demand. Residents dedicate blogs to their chickens.

And late last month, hundreds of people turned out for the Sixth Annual Tour de Coop, a self-guided tour of 26 chicken coops.

"It's inspiring," said Naomi Coplin, one of the chicken-watchers as she looked around at the setup just off North Williams Avenue.

More

9.27.2010

Localism vs globalism: two world views collide

Source: The Independant (UK), Sept 27, 2010

Stop economic growth in its tracks, start living locally, at a slower pace, and share more – that was the remarkable demand yesterday at the beginning of the Sustainable Planet Forum, a three-day international conference on environmental issues in the French city of Lyon, which The Independent is co-sponsoring.

In the radical corner was Paul Ariès, one of France's more colourful political figures, an anti-globalisation campaigner who edits a magazine entitled Le Sarkophage, which is a French pun on the word for coffin and the name of the President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy. (You can guess the content.)

In the Conservative corner was Peter Ainsworth, the former shadow Environment Secretary who left Parliament at the last election after 18 years as the MP for East Surrey. He is active on numerous environmental issues and has long been seen by environmentalists in Britain as the epitome of a Green Tory.

More

9.23.2010

Die-In Montréal (fier commanditaire Mercedez-Benz)

9.22.2010

Obama’s fiscal stimulus no substitute for cheap oil


By Jeff Rubin, Globe & Mail, Sept 22, 2010

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with President Obama’s earmarking $50-billion (U.S.) for new transport infrastructure, or extending the Bush tax cuts to low- and middle-income American households—provided the country can afford them. But already burdened with a record budget deficit of over $1-trillion, most Americans probably think Washington’s already done far too much for the economy as it is.

After all, there seems precious little to show for all the fiscal stimulus. The U.S. jobless rate seems stuck at around 9.5 per cent, and the GDP remains miles below its pre-recession peak. And although the economy is indeed growing, its pace is a shadow of past recoveries, and a fraction of last cycle’s growth rates.

It’s those very economic failings that compel the White House to try to bring even further stimulus to bear on the U.S. economy. But implicit in this strategy is the belief that today’s economy can be force-fed more government spending and tax cuts to achieve yesterday’s rate of growth.

More

9.20.2010

Update (Urban chickens) - Mise à jour (Poules urbaines)

Sept 20, 2010 - Post Carbon Greater Moncton has just completed its one-year Urban Farm Project. The project was successful. We are now in the process of preparing a report which will be addressed to the city of Moncton before December 2010. In the report, we will recommend a new regulatory framework for urban farming, including the raising of a small number of hens. We are also currently consulting with key groups such as the SPCA.

+++

Le 20 sept 2010 - Grand Moncton Post Carbone vient de compléter un projet pilote d’un an avec le consentement de la Commission d’aménagement régionale. Tout s’est très bien passé. Nous sommes maintenant en train de préparer notre rapport qui sera adressé à la ville de Moncton avant la fin décembre. Dans ce rapport, nous recommanderons un nouveau cadre réglementaire pour permettre l’élevage de poules en ville. Nous profitons de l’automne pour consulter certains groupes clés comme le SPCA.

New publication / Nouvelle publication



James Schlesinger, President Carter’s Energy Secretary, wrote the foreword to a book written by Dr Robert Hirsch, a former US official who predicts a fall of the oil production within 5 years.

Never before has a high-ranking political figure like Schlesinger given his support to such a prognosis.

The book will be published in the US on October the 1st. Here is an exclusive interview with its author.

Dr. Robert Hirsch has a unique place in the ‘peak oil’ issue. Back in 2005, he was the main author of the first pessimistic report ever published by a public administration (presentation on Wikipedia).

Not any public administration : the Department of Energy of President George Bush.

Robert Hirsch has been a manager of petroleum exploratory research at Exxon, a senior staff member at the RAND Corporation, and director of the US research program on nuclear fusion energy.

His 2005 conclusions did not get any attention from any the mainstream or financial media.

Le Monde Interview with Robert Hirsch

7.30.2010

NBers eating less local food

Source Times & Transcript, July 29, 2010

The proportion of local food on New Brunswick dinner tables continues to shrink as the distance food travels to get here expands.

New Brunswick farmers say they share the same plight as farmers across the border in Nova Scotia where a report was released this month that says fewer local products are being consumed, and imported food is coming from farther abroad.

The president of the New Brunswick Agricultural Alliance, Patrice Finnigan, said yesterday that the daily and statistical reality faced by farmers here echoes the findings of a report on local food consumption released by the Nova Scotia Agricultural Federation.

The report, entitled Is Nova Scotia Eating Locally , found consumers are spending only 13 per cent of their food budgets on locally-farmed products, and that the average meal is travelling more than 8,000 kilometres to land on plates in the province.

More

7.29.2010

Rosemont pourrait dire oui aux poules


La Presse, 28 juillet 2010

Les poules pondeuses pourraient revenir en ville dès l'année prochaine. L'arrondissement de Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie se penche sérieusement sur cette possibilité depuis deux mois. Il pourrait ainsi devenir le premier arrondissement montréalais à permettre à ses résidants de garder quelques poules dans le jardin.

«Nous sommes très favorables à cette idée» a indiqué mercredi le maire de l'arrondissement, François Croteau, de Vision Montréal.

Les élus étudient actuellement les implications sur le règlement d'urbanisme. «Si d'autres grandes villes américaines le permettent, je ne vois pas pourquoi nous n'irions pas de l'avant», a indiqué le maire.

Si tout se déroule comme prévu, les premières poules urbaines déclarées pourraient arriver au printemps prochain, dans le cadre d'un projet pilote. «Nous voulons faciliter les choses, mais nous voulons les faire bien, a indiqué le maire. Dans le respect des animaux et du voisinage.»

Vision Montréal (le parti de Louise Harel) devrait dévoiler sa position face à l'agriculture urbaine dans quelques jours. Il y sera question des poules.

D'autres quartiers pourraient aussi se pencher dans un proche avenir sur l'élevage de poules en ville, bien qu'Outremont, Montréal-Nord, Villeray, Pierrefonds et Ville-Marie confirment de leur côté qu'il n'est pas question de le permettre. Pour l'instant, il reste des zones agricoles à L'Île-Bizard, où il est possible de garder des poules pour récolter ses oeufs frais le matin.

C'est à peu près tout.

Suite

6.13.2010

This Time Is Different

NYTimes
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: June 11, 2010

My friend, Mark Mykleby, who works in the Pentagon, shared with me this personal letter to the editor he got published last week in his hometown paper, The Beaufort Gazette in South Carolina. It is the best reaction I’ve seen to the BP oil spill — and also the best advice to President Obama on exactly whom to kick you know where.

“I’d like to join in on the blame game that has come to define our national approach to the ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. This isn’t BP’s or Transocean’s fault. It’s not the government’s fault. It’s my fault. I’m the one to blame and I’m sorry. It’s my fault because I haven’t digested the world’s in-your-face hints that maybe I ought to think about the future and change the unsustainable way I live my life. If the geopolitical, economic, and technological shifts of the 1990s didn’t do it; if the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 didn’t do it; if the current economic crisis didn’t do it; perhaps this oil spill will be the catalyst for me, as a citizen, to wean myself off of my petroleum-based lifestyle. ‘Citizen’ is the key word. It’s what we do as individuals that count. For those on the left, government regulation will not solve this problem. Government’s role should be to create an environment of opportunity that taps into the innovation and entrepreneurialism that define us as Americans. For those on the right, if you want less government and taxes, then decide what you’ll give up and what you’ll contribute. Here’s the bottom line: If we want to end our oil addiction, we, as citizens, need to pony up: bike to work, plant a garden, do something. So again, the oil spill is my fault. I’m sorry. I haven’t done my part. Now I have to convince my wife to give up her S.U.V. Mark Mykleby.”

Read more

6.06.2010

Imagining Life Without Oil, And Being Ready


NYTimes - June 6, 2010

As oil continued to pour into the Gulf of Mexico on a recent Saturday, Jennifer Wilkerson spent three hours on the phone talking about life after petroleum.

For Mrs. Wilkerson, 33, a moderate Democrat from Oakton, Va., who designs computer interfaces, the spill reinforced what she had been obsessing over for more than a year — that oil use was outstripping the world’s supply. She worried about what would come after: maybe food shortages, a collapse of the economy, a breakdown of civil order. Her call was part of a telephone course about how to live through it all.

In bleak times, there is a boom in doom.

Americans have long been fascinated by disaster scenarios, from the population explosion to the cold war to global warming. These days the doomers, as Mrs. Wilkerson jokingly calls herself and likeminded others, have a new focus: peak oil. They argue that oil supplies peaked as early as 2008 and will decline rapidly, taking the economy with them.

Read more

5.20.2010

Why urban beekeeping is all the buzz



Globe & Mail, May 20, 2010

The Paris Opera House has one on its roof. So does London’s famed food emporium, Fortnum and Mason. And the Obama White House recently added one to the historic South Lawn.

This week, the Canadian Opera Company joined the rapidly growing urban bee phenomenon – installing two new honey bee hives on the roof of its home at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

“The planet is losing honey bees at an alarming rate,” explains the COC’s general director Alexander Neef, “and we are happy to provide a place for them.”

At their summer peak, the new COC hives are expected to attract some 120,000 bees and to generate about 50 pounds of honey annually. It can’t be sold, because it won’t be pasteurized. But, quipped Mr. Neef, “we might consider giving it away as a bonus to those who subscribe to the opera early.”

More

5.19.2010

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm

Brooklyn Grange will be a 1 acre rooftop farm situated in New York City. Such a commercially-viable rooftop farm has yet to be realized in this country. We will use simple greenroof infrastructure to install over 1 million pounds of soil on the roof of an industrial building on which we will grow vegetables nine months of the year. Being in the country's largest city, the farm will create a new system of providing local communities with access to fresh, seasonal produce. We plan to expand quickly in the first few years, covering multiple acres of New York City's unused rooftops with vegetables. The business has many environmental and community benefits, and allows our city dwelling customers to know their farmer, learn where their food comes from, and become involved.

The farm will be run by Ben Flanner, who started and ran a proof of concept rooftop farm in the summer of '09. The beyond-organic produce will be sold directly to the community at an onsite stand, affording shoppers a direct relationship with the farm and farmers. Additional produce will be sold to a small group of market-driven local restaurants.

Our model capitalizes on an unused resource - rooftop space - and has the potential to change the way densely populated cities produce, distribute and consume food.

Your contribution will go towards ordering our lightweight rooftop soil, renting a crane to install that soil, and seeds and irrigation for our summer crops.

*All of our produce prizes are for local pick-up. It's a great chance to see firsthand how your food is grown. For those who can't pick up their produce prize in person, shoot an email with your address to brooklyngrangefarm@gmail.com and we'll send you a starter set of our favorite heirloom seeds so you can grow your own!

See video here

5.04.2010

Citadins, à vos bêches!


Source: Le Soleil (Québec)

L'agriculture urbaine, c'est plus que des jardins communautaires et des poules dans une cour de banlieue. Voici quelques idées, certaines réalisables, d'autres plus flyées, pour faire pousser du vert et du croquant au milieu du béton.

Les plates-bandes

Vous n'avez pas suffisamment d'espace pour aménager un potager dans votre cour ou craignez de manquer de temps pour entretenir tous vos espaces verts? Plantez des fruits et des légumes dans vos plates-bandes! Un plant de zucchinis peut facilement rivaliser avec un hosta géant, un plant de bleuet remplacer un weigela. Les queues des carottes, tout comme celles des oignons, restent d'un beau vert tout l'été. Les pois mange-tout et les haricots grimpants sont heureux le long d'une clôture ou d'un mur de brique. Ma soeur a même tenté l'expérience, éminemment concluante, des fraises le long du patio. N'oubliez pas les arbres : un pommier, un prunier ou un cerisier mettra de la couleur dans la cour et dans votre assiette. Attention toutefois aux arrosages non sollicités des toutous et des fêtards. Et rangez vos produits chimiques. Pour voir ce qui se fait ailleurs, taper front yard garden dans Google.

Suite

4.20.2010

Teachings of a volcano

The eruption of an impossible-to-pronounce icelandic volcano last week is yet another reminder of how increadibly intertwined our global economy has become. One act of God in a tiny northern country and millions become standed all over the world. Industry loses billions. Maritime lobsters, Kenyan flowers and Israeli avocados can't make it to market and rot in airport warehouses. It's chaos.

The lesson could not be clearer. We have built a proverbial house of cards folks. Sooner or later some unexpected event will throw a wrench in the global economy's wheel and it will come crashing down.

We need to reduce our dependency on outside stuff now. We need to reLOCALIZE our economy. The future is all about local resilience.

From your friends at Post Carbon Greater Moncton.

Making It Easier to Eat Local Food


NY Times, April 19, 2010
A recent Times article highlighted a growing problem for small farmers across the nation: too few slaughterhouses. Many farmers who have answered the demand for locally raised meat have been forced to scale back expansion plans because local processors can’t handle any more animals and the cost of driving their livestock hundreds of miles for slaughter is too expensive.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the number of slaughterhouses nationwide declined to 809 in 2008 from 1,211 in 1992, while the number of small farmers has increased by 108,000 in the past five years. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has acknowledged the imbalance. “It’s pretty clear there needs to be attention paid to this,” he said.

The lack of slaughterhouses is one example of how the rapidly growing local-food movement has taxed the existing food production and distribution networks. Some advocates of the small farmers have called for help from Washington. What role, if any, should the federal government play in creating better food processing and delivery systems?

Read more

4.11.2010

Easter Island : A Case Study in the Response to Resource Depletion


Source: Energy Bulletin (Ralph Faggotter)

This is a case study in which you are invited to answer the question, “What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say while he was doing it?”

For a several years, I have been intrigued by this question which Jared Diamond asks us to consider in his book ‘Collapse’.

In fact, the question can be asked more broadly: “What were the thought processes and discussions amongst the inhabitants of Easter Island leading up to the removal of the last remnants of forest?” This could be seen, perhaps, as a hypothetical exploration, rooted in a real historical event, of “the psychology of resource depletion denial.”

I can’t help feeling that this is highly relevant to us today where the world seems shrunk to the size of a small island in the vast ocean of space. How could the islanders so knowingly have destroyed the life-blood of their island and their own future? How do you imagine the Easter Islanders behaved in those last few years before the last tree was felled?

Continue here

3.28.2010

Washington envisage un déclin de la production de pétrole mondiale à partir de 2011

Source : Le monde, 23 mars 2010

Le département de l’énergie américain reconnaît qu’“il existe une chance pour que nous fassions l’expérience d’un déclin” de la production mondiale de carburants liquides entre 2011 et 2015 “si les investissements font défaut”, selon un entretien exclusif avec Glen Sweetnam, principal expert officiel du marché pétrolier au sein de l’administration Obama.

Cette alerte sur les capacités mondiales de production pétrolière lancée depuis Washington intervient au moment où la demande mondiale de pétrole repart à la hausse, et tandis que de nombreux projets d’extraction ont été gelés à cause la chute des cours du brut et de la crise financière.

Glen Sweetnam, qui dirige la division internationale, économique et des gaz à effet de serre au sein de l’administration de l’information sur l’énergie du DoE, ne dit pas que les investissements nécessaires feront “défaut”. Toutefois, la réponse au problème de savoir où, quand et dans quelles quantités des sources supplémentaires de pétrole pourront être mises en exploitation demeure largement “non identifiée” aux yeux du plus proéminent analyste officiel en matière d’énergie au sein de l’administration Obama.

Continuez ici

3.27.2010

Push to Eat Local Hampered


Source: NY Times March 26, 2010

EAST MONTPELIER, Vt. — Erica Zimmerman and her husband spent months pasture-raising pigs on their farm here, but when the time came to take them to slaughter, an overbooked facility canceled their appointment.

With the herd in prime condition, and the couple lacking food and space to keep them, they frantically called slaughterhouses throughout the state. After several days they found an opening, but their experience highlights a growing problem for small farmers here and across the nation: too few slaughterhouses to meet the growing demand for locally raised meat.

In what could be a major setback for America’s local-food movement, championed by so-called locavores, independent farmers around the country say they are forced to make slaughter appointments before animals are born and to drive hundreds of miles to facilities, adding to their costs and causing stress to livestock.

Continue here

3.19.2010

Couple trades corporate life for bakery


Source: Globe & Mail, March 17, 2010

Bruce Stewart earned his spurs in the food industry in the sales department of monolithic Kraft Foods – some might say the original purveyor of fast food.

Today, he is a champion of the slow food movement, running an organic bakery in a seaside village where he can cite the provenance of each type of grain running through his mill.

His own journey has helped transform Cowichan Bay, B.C., into a foodie destination, with the True Grain Bakery at the hub. With his help, the village was accredited last year as North America's first Cittaslow town – joining a cultural movement that started in Italy to push back against the fast-lane life.

Read on

3.15.2010

Bees in the City? New York May Let the Hives Come Out of Hiding


Source: NY Times, March 14, 2010

Kathleen Boyer suspects the mailman.

She said she could not think of anyone else in her neighborhood who would have complained about the two beehives she kept under a pine tree in her front yard in Flatbush, Brooklyn, leading the city’s health department to fine her $2,000 last fall.

“I was kind of surprised,” said Mrs. Boyer, an art director with a media company. “People see us in our bee suit and they’d bring their kids to watch us and ask us questions.”

New York City is among the few jurisdictions in the country that deem beekeeping illegal, lumping the honeybee together with hyenas, tarantulas, cobras, dingoes and other animals considered too dangerous or venomous for city life. But the honeybee’s bad rap — and the days of urban beekeepers being outlaws — may soon be over.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s board will take up the issue of amending the health code to allow residents to keep hives of Apis mellifera, the common, nonaggressive honeybee. Health department officials said the change was being considered after research showed that the reports of bee stings in the city were minimal and that honeybees did not pose a public health threat.

Continue here

3.11.2010

Backyard chicken advocates rally in Calgary


Source : CBC News

Chickens strutted on a Calgary sidewalk Wednesday night as about 100 people rallied for a bylaw change that would make raising the birds in backyards legal.

The rally, organized by the Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK), was held outside a movie theatre in the neighbourhood of Kensington.

During the rally, some chickens pecked at the sidewalk, while others were in pens.

"I think that urban chickens have a place in the city. I think that there are so many positives that outweigh the negatives, I'm all for it," said Andrea Anon, who was in the crowd.

"Especially since this works in huge cities like Vancouver and Seattle, why can't we have it work in Calgary where we're even more agricultural friendly?" added Jennifer Cavanagh.

Some Calgarians raise chickens in their backyards, even though a city bylaw forbids raising livestock in most urban areas. There is an exemption for pigeons.
Bylaw officer suggests review

The head of the city's bylaw services, Bill Bruce, wants to take a second look at the issue.

"A lot of things have changed in the last couple of years with how people think about food and how they think about how food is raised. So I think it's probably an appropriate time for us to have a look. Is this bylaw current and appropriate or does there need to be some changes made?"

Two Calgarians have been charged with raising backyard chickens and have court dates set for next month.

Paul Hughes, a member of the CLUCK group who raises chickens in a shed, said he hopes that those cases will be adjourned until after the bylaw review, which he supports.

"We're 100 per cent co-operative with that [review] and we fully endorse that. We think that's a great idea. Let's get all the facts on the table, let's look at what other jurisdictions are doing."

3.09.2010

Local Food Forum - Forum sur l'alimentation locale

le 21 mars à 12 h 30.
L'Osmose Université de Moncton

Parrainé par :
Grand Moncton Post Carbone
Réserve de biosphère de Fundy
ACORN
Le réseau d’action de la sécurité alimentaire du N.-B.
L’Université de Moncton

Aucun frais d'admission

+++

March 21 at 12:30 pm.
L'Osmose Université de Moncton

Co-sponsored by:

Post Carbon Greater Moncton
Fundy Biosphere Reserve
ACORN
NB Food Security Network
L’Université de Moncton

No admission fee

3.07.2010

'Peak Oil Demand,' Yes... But Not the Nice Kind

Why There Will Be No Recovery

By Chris Nelder
Friday, March 5th, 2010 (source: www.energyandcapital.com)


When oil crossed $120 a barrel for the first time in May 2008, oil cornucopians knew they were in trouble...

Prices had quadrupled in just five years, yet had failed to bring new production online. Regular crude had flatlined around 74 million barrels per day (mbpd). The case for peak oil was looking stronger with every new uptick in crude futures.

The following month, prominent peak oil critic and cornucopian Daniel Yergin of IHS-CERA changed his stance: The peak oil threat would be neutralized by peak demand. Gasoline consumption had peaked in the U.S. and Europe, he argued, due to the combined effects of increasing efficiency, biofuels, and the recession.

In 2009 the peak demand story seemed confirmed, as prices stabilized around $70 in June, and U.S. consumption remained well off its previous high. Most people thought the nearly 2 mbpd decline in U.S. petroleum demand from 2007 through 2009 owed to efficiency and people driving less.

In reality, only about 15% owed to reduced gasoline demand. The other 85% was lost in the commercial and industrial sector: jet fuel, distillates (including diesel), kerosene, petrochemical feedstocks, lubricants, waxes, petroleum coke, asphalt and road oil, and other miscellaneous products.

Very simply, when oil got to $120 a barrel it cut into real productivity, and forced the world's most developed economies to shrink. At $147, it wreaked serious damage.

Full article here

2.10.2010

La fin du pétrole : catastrophe ou bienfait? avec Tim Moerman.

Lieu : Bibliothèque publique de Moncton
Date : le jeudi 18 février 2010
Heure : 12 h à 13 h


Coming soon: English presentation with Tim Moerman “The End of Oil: Catastrophe or Blessing?”

1.31.2010

In Portland, Going Green and Growing Vertical in a Bid for Energy Savings


NY Times, Jan 31, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. — Urban gardening used to seem subversive. People planted tomatoes in public parks, strung their hops to rooftops to make homebrew and reclaimed empty lots as community farms, never mind the property owner.

Yet here in one of the more thoroughly tilled cities in America, subversive has come full circle: the federal government plans to plant its own bold garden directly above a downtown plaza. As part of a $133 million renovation, the General Services Administration is planning to cultivate “vegetated fins” that will grow more than 200 feet high on the western facade of the main federal building here, a vertical garden that changes with the seasons and nurtures plants that yield energy savings.

Read more here

1.10.2010

The end of consumerism: Our way of life is 'not viable'

New report says we must embrace a basic future to survive

From The Independant, Sunday Jan 10, 2010

Ditch the dog; throw away (sorry, recycle) those takeaway menus; bin bottled water; get rid of that gas-guzzling car and forget flying to far-flung places. These are just some of the sacrifices we in the West will need to make if we are to survive climate change.

The stark warning comes from the renowned Worldwatch Institute, a Washington-based organisation regarded as the world's pre-eminent environmental think tank.

Its State of the World 2010 report published this week outlines a blueprint for changing our entire way of life. "Preventing the collapse of human civilisation requires nothing less than a wholesale transformation of dominant cultural patterns. This transformation would reject consumerism... and establish in its place a new cultural framework centred on sustainability," states the report.

"Habits that are firmly set – from where people live to what they eat – will all need to be altered and in many cases simplified or minimised... From Earth's perspective, the American or even the European way of life is simply not viable."

Nobel prize winner and microfinance expert Muhammad Yunus, writing in the foreword, describes the report as calling for "one of the greatest cultural shifts imaginable: from cultures of consumerism to cultures of sustainability".

Read more

1.03.2010

A year without getting into a car


Source: San Fransisco Chronicle, Jan 2, 2010

Maybe it was the eve of a new year. Maybe it was the Champagne. Maybe it was simply the right time.

Whatever it was, Adam Greenfield of San Francisco made a resolution at a party on Dec. 31, 2008: He would not drive, or ride, in an automobile for all of 2009.

This futuristic experiment fit in with Greenfield's lifestyle. A 29-year-old single guy who makes community films for City Hall, he was already commuting from the Inner Sunset mainly by bicycle. And he already believed that we're approaching a time in which oil will be so scarce, or expensive, that few of us will be able to power our cars or have access to foods grown from afar.

"I wanted to step out of the car world and downscale my life," he said. "I think this is going to be the theme of the 21st century - we are going to be forced to make do with less."

And that's exactly what he did. No annual Christmas camping trip to Lake County with friends. No Burning Man. And his brother's wedding in the English countryside would be a bit of a trick.

People either applaud him or tell him he's crazy.

Read more