The Bullroarer - Thursday 15 November 2007

The Australian - Coal comfort for oil users

The IEA says if China and India are to reach the oil use per capita similar to that of the US today, their oil demand would increase by a combined 160 million barrels per day - twice the current level of world oil demand.

This assumption was made without allowing for future increases in population. Without major changes elsewhere, the agency says, the total world demand of almost 240 million barrels a day would deplete remaining proven reserves fully in just 15 year. Further, the thirst for energy at the current pace will ultimately exhaust recoverable oil and natural gas liquid resources within 26 years.

Crikey - We have a decade, tops, to save the planet

According to Pearman's estimate, the world only has 5-10 years to take drastic action. So what has to happen in that incredibly short amount of time to mitigate major disasters?

John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, told Crikey, "all new energy must come from clean energy from now." "We must drive a new sustainability revolution that dramatically cuts energy wastage, now and brings forward new clean technology," says Connor.

"The window of opportunity for a smooth transition is narrowing rapidly. People can't just be climate consumers but climate citizens, this just requires political will, the technology is there siting on the shelf it just has to be employed," says Connor. "Pressure must be placed on political and business leaders to act now."

Assuming those leaders can take time out from arguing over tax cuts, laptops, communism, union thugs, budget surpluses, nuclear reactors, when to retire, who's the bigger economic conservative and ear wax, that is.

SMH - $500m set aside for renewable energy projects

"We need to harness our enormous potential in solar, wind, geothermal and wave power. This fund will support projects that take renewable energy technology from the lab to the grid. I am determined to make Australia part of the global climate change solution, not just part of the global climate change problem," Mr Rudd said.

The research fund would get the same amount of money as a similar fund for so-called clean coal technologies announced earlier this year.

Although clean coal technologies, such as the burying of greenhouse gas emissions underground, are at least 15 years away from being widely available, much renewable energy research is closer to commercialisation.

NZ Herald- Oil: Price surge sours demand forecasts

The Australian - Woodside shares fall after downgrade

SHARES in oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum fell as much as 5.2 per cent today after it downgraded its production forecast for 2008 on the back of project delays and asset divestments. Woodside as forecast production of between 80 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe) to 86 mmboe in 2008, down from the previous forecast a year ago of about 100 mmboe.

The Australian - CNOOC offered Shell oil interests

NZ Herald - Gull extends biofuel roll-out

SMH - Babcock & Brown to bail out its struggling biofuel fund

At the heart of the problems are soaring palm oil prices, the feedstock for the biofuel the Darwin plant produces, which have increased from about $US425 a tonne to $US900 a tonne in the past 18 months. Similarly, the fund's ethanol production investments have been hit by a rise in the price of corn from $2 a bushel to above $4 a bushel over the same period.

In an unrelated biofuel car crash, the listed biofuel producer Australian Renewable Fuels has shut two plants, blaming a surging price for tallow feedstock and a lack of Government support. The problems arise from drought, prices being driven up by competition between fuel and food producers, and increased demand for food from China. "Those factors made the economics completely different to the businesses we invested in," the fund's managing director, Gary Levin, said yesterday. "I guess where we made a mistake was not recognising the potential volatility of those commodities," Mr Levin said.

SMH - Rudd commits $15 million for sugar cane ethanol

SMH - Business urges emissions trading clarity

SMH - Selling the green message at all costs

SMH - Climate change to take just years

SMH - Greenhouse gases: proof we are up with the worst polluters

SMH - Activists seize coal plant

SMH - Howard harrassed by three bears

SMH - Combination of cost cuts and high fertiliser prices delivers Incitec record profit

SMH - Brad and Angelina buy Dubai island. I didn't exactly have the impression that creating these islands was a particularly green activity.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have bought a man-made island in the shape of Ethiopia that is part of an ambitious luxury development off the coast of Dubai, a newspaper reported today. The Hollywood power couple intend to use the reclaimed piece of land to showcase environmental issues and encourage people to live a greener life, the Emirates Today newspaper said.

SMH - Bikes and Sydney. Go and vote for more bike transport.

SMH - Moore peddles cheap city bike service

YOU are stuck at Broadway and you need to be at a meeting at Circular Quay in 10 minutes. You hire a bike, hop on and drop it off at your destination.

The Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, Clover Moore, has flagged plans for a rental system under which low-cost bicycles can be hired from a "bike station" and returned to a station in another part of the city.

A recent survey commissioned by the City of Sydney showed that more than 80 per cent of inner city people supported such a scheme, and 71 per cent said an hourly fee of $3 or more was reasonable.

Cr Moore said the scheme was popular in Paris, where it was introduced this year. "It's a most inspirational program," she said. "I hope that as soon as possible it will be operational in Sydney. I believe bike traffic jumped to 75 per cent in Lyon after the system was introduced there."

Peak Energy - Use Your Vote Wisely

I'm off for the next week - if you have any interesting links, please email them to Phil who will be taking over blowing into the Bullroarer, or post them in the comments - particularly you NZ readers.

(Hat Tip Dave B)

I want to make a couple of observations on last night's ABC Catalyst program on offsets.

Tree planting; note it will take decades to absorb the CO2 from a one-off action such as travel ie a long slow catch-up. The baby trees have to get enough rain then perhaps a century later laid to rest without burning. Can you rely on this?

Cogen by Bluescope Steel; they said the boiler heated by flue gas from metallurgical processes counts as an offset. Bollocks, there is no likelihood that fuel burn elsewhere is cut back, so there is no overall decrease in CO2. Under a strict carbon cap however Bluescope could get good returns from either electricity export or internal efficiency gains.

Let's hope the new federal government takes a hard headed line on offsets. Otherwise we're back to climate dithering.

Hey Boof - I'm not much of an offsets fan either - too easy to exploit as a loophole.

I'd prefer a carbon tax, but a hard line on cap and trade would be a nice substitute...

The thing about tough cap and trade is that it is target driven whereas carbon tax may miss badly, particularly with the rebound from the revenue giveback. If we stay under the cap we are rewarded with no penalties so in a recession it becomes redundant.

However I fear that the generation, coal export, smelting and farming lobby groups have already 'got to' Rudd so that continued giveaways are a done deal.

I don't know how any tree planting can be considered as a offset considering we cut down all those trees in the first place and are continuing to do so.
It seems that at the moment at lot of it seems to be about appearing to do something without actually committing anything.
What we need is a fundamental change for which I don't see any real leadership.