Obama Sets Goal of One-Third Cut in Oil Imports

Source: NY Times, March 30, 2011

WASHINGTON — President Obama called on Wednesday for a one-third reduction in oil imports over the next decade, and said the effort had to begin immediately. In a speech at Georgetown University, the president said that the United States could not go on consuming one-quarter of the world’s oil production while possessing only 2 percent of global reserves. He said that the country had to begin a long-term plan to reduce its reliance on imported oil, and that the political bickering that had stalled progress toward that goal for decades had to end.

With oil supplies from the Middle East now pinched by political upheaval, and with calls growing in Congress for expanded domestic oil and gas production, the president referred in his speech to a similar run-up in energy prices in 2008.

“Now here’s the thing — we’ve been down this road before,” Mr. Obama said. “Remember, it was just three years ago that gas prices topped $4 a gallon. I remember because I was in the middle of a presidential campaign.”

He continued: “Because it was also the height of political season, so you had a lot of slogans and gimmicks and outraged politicians, they were waving their three-point-plans for two-dollar-a-gallon gas. You remember that: ‘Drill, baby, drill’ and all of that. And none of it would really do anything to solve the problem.”



Restrictions on world oil production

By: Robert Hirsch
Source: Energybulletin.net

Restrictions on world oil production can be divided into four categories:
1. Geology
2. Legitimate National Interests
3. Mismanagement
4. Political Upheaval

Consider each in reverse order:

Political upheaval is currently rampant across the Middle East, resulting in a major spike in world oil prices. No one knows how far the impacts will go or how long it will take to reach some kind of stability and what that stability will mean to oil production in the Middle Eastern countries that produce oil. We are thus relegated to best guesses, which span weeks, months, or years before there are clear resolutions. One pre-Middle East chaos country limited by political upheaval is Iraq, which is believed to have the oil reserves to produce at a much higher level, but Iraqi government chaos has severely limited oil production expansion. In another long-standing case, Nigeria has been plagued by internal political strife, which has negatively impacted its oil production.

Mismanagement of oil production within a country can be due to a variety of factors, all of which mean lower oil production than would otherwise be the case. Venezuela is the poster child of national mismanagement. The country has huge resources of heavy oil that could be produced at much higher rates. Underproduction is due to the government syphoning off so much cash flow that oil production operations are starved for needed funds. In addition, Venezuela has made it extremely difficult, if not impossible for foreign oil companies to operate in the country. Another example of mismanagement is Mexico, where government confiscation of oil revenues, substandard technology, and restrictions on foreign investment has led to significant Mexican oil production decline.

Legitimate national interests include decisions by governments to husband their oil reserves for the long-term benefit of their people. This occurs in various ways, some of them subtle. Not so subtle is the Saudi King's decree that any new oil fields discovered in the near future will not be developed in order that new discoveries can benefit Saudis in future years.

Then there is geology, which is the ultimate restriction. Oil is a finite resource. We will never produce more oil than nature provided over millions of years. All that's there is called the oil resource, but we can only produce what is called the "reserves," which is a fraction of the resource. Why? Because the geology associated with each oil deposit sets a practical limit on ultimate production. In a few cases, reserves can total up to half of a local resource. In others, reserves can amount to no more than a few percent of the resource. Typically, reserves are around 30% of the resource. If you think we should be able to do better than 30% on average, take some time to look at some oil reservoirs rock cores.

The complexity is often mind boggling.

What's this all boil down to? Based on geology, many analysts have forecast the onset of the decline of world oil production in the next 2-5 years. Legitimate national interests, mismanagement, and political upheaval can only hasten that onset. To explain these and other energy issues we wrote the book entitled "The Impending World Energy Mess." Oil production is a very complicated activity. What happens in oil will impact all of us, so it's worth some study.


Leadership in action

Maine Town Declares Food Sovereignty

Source: www.foodrenegade.com

Sedgwick, Maine has done what no other town in the United States has done. The town unanimously passed an ordinance giving its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.” This includes raw milk, locally slaughtered meats, and just about anything else you can imagine. It’s also a decided bucking of state and federal laws.


Copy of Local Food Ordinance


Report: Agroecology and the right to food

[8 March 2011] GENEVA- Today, the Special Rapporteur presented his new report “Agro-ecology and the right to food” before the UN Human Rights Council. Based on an extensive review of recent scientific literature, the report demonstrates that agroecology, if sufficiently supported, can double food production in entire regions within 10 years while mitigating climate change and alleviating rural poverty.

The report therefore calls States for a fundamental shift towards agro-ecology as a way for countries to feed themselves while addressing climate- and poverty challenges.


Rapport: agroécologie et droit à l'alimentation

[8 mars 2011] GENEVE - Ce mardi 8 mars, le Rapporteur spécial a présenté son rapport "Agroecologie et droit à l'alimentation" devant le Conseil des droits de l'homme de l'ONU. Fondé sur l'examen approfondi des plus récentes recherches scientifiques, ce rapport démontre que l'agroécologie peut doubler la production alimentaire de régions entières en 10 ans tout en réduisant la pauvreté rurale et en apportant des solutions au changement climatique.

Le rapport appelle donc les Etats à entamer un virage fondamental en faveur de l'agroécologie comme moyen de répondre aux défis alimentaires, climatiques et de pauvreté dans le monde.



UK Energy Minister "It is crazy not to prepare for a low carbon future".....HELLO!

Climate and energy secretary says an oil price of $100 a barrel transforms the economics of climate change

Source: The Guardian March 3, 2011

Britain is facing a 1970s-style oil price shock that could cost the UK economy £45bn over two years, the climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, is expected to warn in his first intervention on the issue since the start of Middle East political crisis.

In Thursday's keynote speech on the impact of the oil crisis, Huhne will argue that an $100 (£61) a barrel price for oil transforms the economics of climate change in Britain.

He will disclose the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (Decc) economists have warned that if the oil price rise turns into a 1970s-style shock the cumulative loss to the UK economy would be worth £45bn over two years. Decc's economists made the calculation on the basis of oil prices rising from $80 a barrel last year to $160, according to Huhne.

At $102 a barrel, oil is at a two-and-a-half year high and there have been predictions that if the political turmoil spreads across the Gulf, the price will rise considerably more.

Huhne will say: "If the oil price doubled, as from $80 last year to $160 this year, it could lead to a cumulative loss of GDP of around £45bn over two years. This is not just far-off speculation: it is a threat here and now."

The speech is an attempt to galvanise public support for tough measures to create a green economy, after recent setbacks including attacks on the science of climate change and stalled international negotiations.

Drawing on research conducted for the previous government by Lord Stern, Huhne will argue that a $100 a barrel price is the exact point at which the economics of climate change pivot so that it becomes cheaper for British consumers and businesses to invest in green technology than remain with the status quo.

He will say that if oil only reaches $108 a barrel by 2020 as predicted by the US Department of Energy, which would also lead to higher gas prices, then "the UK consumer will win hands down". He will say the UK consumer would be "paying less through low-carbon policies than they would pay for fossil fuel policies".

This is the moment to invest in green infrastructure, homes and transport, according to Huhne. Fossil fuels are now the costly, high-risk option for energy: it is "crazy" not to prepare for a low-carbon future.