Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Mammoth Enigma

Why were there bogs in East Siberia during the depths of the last glaciation? And why has the permafrost not thawed during 10,000 years of Holocene interglacial?

That is the Mammoth Enigma. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , , | 37 Comments

What if the world can’t cut its carbon emissions?

Obviously the world is going to have to reverse course in a hurry if it is to have any chance of keeping warming below the 2C danger threshold. What are the chances that it can? Let’s look at which countries the emissions are coming from and see what the prospects are. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , | 219 Comments

Blowout week 52

We complete our first Blowout Year with attention refocused on the harsh realities of the marketplace.

More related stories below the fold, plus the NATO threat to Russia, growth in coal, NIMBY in Germany, the UK capacity auction, increased public support for nuclear, how global warming caused by squirrels may turn Siberia into a time bomb and US indifference to farting cows. Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

UK Electricity Supply, Christmas 2014

On Christmas Day, children began opening their presents at around 05:00 am in the UK. As the excitement gathered pace, the country’s coal power stations were fired up providing 38% of all the electricity consumed. Nuclear hummed along all day providing a steady 8 GW and 26% of the total. Clean burning natural gas was demoted to third place providing just 14% of the total whilst providing a significant share of the load balancing service. Coal, nuclear and natural gas combined provided 78% of UK electricity on Christmas Day. Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments

The Slow Crash – by John Kinhart

“Soon oil will spike again. Further weakening an already crippled economy.” John Kinhart, October 2009. Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Broken Energy Markets and the Downside of Hubbert’s Peak

The current “low oil price crisis” is providing a clear and new perspective on the nature of the peak oil problem. If low price does indeed destroy high cost production capacity then this will raise the question if the high cost sources can ever be brought back? IF low price kills the shale industry can it come back from the dead? Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Blowout week 51

We lead off this Blowout week with the ongoing oil price collapse (graph credit NASDAQ).

More related stories below the fold, plus the UK “capacity auction”, US tariffs on Chinese PV panels, India’s advanced heavy water reactor, New York bans fracking, the world’s largest ship, CO2 emissions from the Southern Hemisphere, the Lima climate talks and how hot weekdays are going to cost Americans $20 each.
Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

The Nature of the “Scientific Consensus” on Climate Change

268 of 272 climate scientists agree that humans have caused at least some of the warming since 1850, representing a 98.5% consensus at this level. But if we use the IPCC’s claim that “most” of the warming (i.e more than 50%) was human-caused as the criterion the number drops to 81.2%, and if we want all of the warming to be human-caused, which is essentially what the IPCC’s climate models show, it drops to 6.3%. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments

Oil Price Scenarios for 2015 and 2016

In this post I use the empirical supply and demand dynamic described in an earlier post (The 2014 oil price crash explained) to try and constrain the oil price a year from now and in 2016. The outcome is heavily dependent upon assumptions made about supply and demand and the behaviour of OPEC and the banking sector. Three different scenarios are presented with December 2015 prices ranging from $45 to $100 / bbl. Those hoping for a silver bullet forecast will be disappointed. Individuals must judge the scenarios on merit and decide for themselves which outcome, if any, is most likely. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , | 36 Comments

Poor countries don’t care about climate change

The Lima climate talks have just concluded. Predictably, no substantive agreement was reached. The nations of the world agreed for the umpteenth time that climate change needs to be fixed but remained completely unable to agree as to who should pay for fixing it. For the umpteenth time the rich developed nations said it’s a global problem and everyone should pitch in. For the umpteenth time the poor developing nations said no, you rich guys caused it and should therefore pay to fix it, and besides there’s a clause in the original 1992 UNFCCC agreement that lets us off the hook (which there is). Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political commentary | Tagged , , , | 73 Comments

Blowout week 50

This week we give OPEC and oil prices a break and lead off with the portentous pronouncements of UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey on the future, if any, of fossil fuels (photo credit: Telegraph). Greenwise Business:  Fossil … Continue reading

Posted in Blowout | 12 Comments

The Vostok Ice Core: Temperature, CO2 and CH4

In their seminal paper on the Vostok Ice Core, Petit et al (1999) [1] note that CO2 lags temperature during the onset of glaciations by several thousand years but offer no explanation. They also observe that CH4 and CO2 are not perfectly aligned with each other but offer no explanation. The significance of these observations are therefore ignored. At the onset of glaciations temperature drops to glacial values before CO2 begins to fall suggesting that CO2 has little influence on temperature modulation at these times. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , , , , | 52 Comments

Oil price wars – who blinks first?

In the green corner we have the US shale producers. In the red corner we have the oil exporting countries of OPEC. Assuming the fight is fought to a conclusion, who wins? OPEC wins. The US shale producers will shut down first. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , | 52 Comments

The OPEC Conundrum

In this post I take a look at the oil production and consumption history of OPEC and find that historically OPEC has been as much controlled by markets as to be in control of them. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged | 17 Comments

Blowout week 49

This week we feature the impacts of the collapse in crude oil prices, which are already being felt around the world. Plus Russia scraps South Stream, Germany to cut coal use, the risk of a “carbon bubble”, EU regulations threaten cross-channel ferries, a nuclear plant catches fire and nobody notices, how to save the planet by not eating meat and the BBC brings unbiased news coverage to Australia. Continue reading

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Perception trumps reality – the IPCC report on the impacts of climate change

Roger Andrews explores the observed impacts of climate change on humans and natural ecosystems cited by the IPCC in the recent Working Group 2 report and finds that none of them can be directly linked to human activities. In fact Roger finds that the report no longer even distinguishes between natural and anthropogenic climate impacts:

“Attribution of observed impacts in the WGII AR5 generally links responses of natural and human systems to observed climate change, regardless of its cause.” Continue reading

Posted in Climate change | Tagged , , | 66 Comments

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme

Note how peaks and troughs in drilling lag the oil price. The oil price has now broken down and I believe it is inevitable that drilling follows. Never before has US oil production been so heavily linked to drilling activity. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Peak Oil in the Rest of the World

What caused the recent crash in the oil price from $110 (Brent) in July to $70 today and what is going to happen next? With the world producing 94 Mbpd (IEA total liquids) $1.4 trillion has just been wiped off annualised global GDP and the incomes of producing and exporting nations. Energy will get cheaper again, for a while at least. The immediate impact is a reduction in global GDP and deflationary pressure. Continue reading

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments