Fracking in PA; Paul Nurse and Brian Cox dislike scepticism; BP on the rocks; “FREEDOM” for Scotland; Blackouts around the corner; China & India cool on climate talks; North Sea Fracking mad; 15 nukes in Ukraine give NATO headache; Wind records – really?; Floating solar in Japan. 33 stories in total this week from Roger and I.
Current European Union sanctions ban the sale of certain oil industry technologies to Russia, and European leaders are considering a further round of sanctions. But the situation is complicated by the union’s reliance on imported Russian oil, which has not yet been restricted.
HT Joe Public
Clean Technica: Huge Reversal on Fracking In Pennsylvania
Let’s go out on a limb and say this is not a coincidence: just days after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection disclosed 243 cases of contamination from oil and gas drilling operations, a major drilling company has voluntarily dropped an attempt to force its operations upon unwilling property owners in the Utica shale formation.
Scientists are doing the public a disservice in their attempts to communicate certainty in climate change science, often giving a “false sense of debate” by being overly precise, says broadcaster and physicist Professor Brian Cox.
Climate scientists are 95% certain that humans are the main cause of the current global warming the world is experiencing. But Cox said this level of accuracy had been manipulated by “nonsensical”, politically-motivated climate sceptics.
BP Plc faces billions more in potential penalties after a judge found it acted with gross negligence in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, putting the bulk of the blame on the company for the explosion that caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Back in 2002, self-styled environmental expert Bjorn Lomborg consigned it to the “dustbin of history”.
It doesn’t belong there. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.
The people of Scotland are to be offered a historic opportunity to devise a federal future for their country before next year’s general election, it emerged on Saturday night, as a shock new poll gave the campaign for independence a narrow lead for the first time.
One of the new niche areas for investment in the energy sector is – no, not solar arrays, wind farms or anaerobic digestion plants, but diesel generation parks. It is one of the ironies of the current “energy crisis” that it has allowed the return of one of the most carbon-polluting technologies at a time when we are trying to tackle global warming.
Big power stations in Europe could be redundant within 10-20 years as electric cars, cheaper batteries and new solar technologies transform the way electricity is generated, stored and distributed, say analysts at the world’s largest private bank.
RenewableUK says new data shows that August was an exceptional month for wind energy, with new records set and generation levels exceeding both nuclear and coal, according to official National Grid statistics.
UK Parliament: Committee take evidence on electricity demand-side measures
The Energy and Climate Change Committee will take evidence on Electricity demand-side measures on Tuesday 2 September 2014 in the Grimond Room, Portcullis House.
Emergency measures to fire up mothballed power stations could be used to keep the lights on this winter, after a series of power plant fires and closures left Britain more vulnerable to blackouts.
Cutting through the increasingly fractious debate on North Sea oil and gas reserves, production and finance.
Britain’s most senior scientist has launched a fierce attack on influential figures who distort scientific evidence to support their own political, religious or ideological agendas.
The president of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse, said scientists must challenge serial offenders from all spheres of life who continually misused science to support their preconceived beliefs.
National Grid has brought forward plans to tap additional power capacity over the winter after unexpected plant outages raised the risk of shortages.
It is being described as a precautionary move, supported by Government, to safeguard supply rather than any bid to prevent possible blackouts.
Reports indicate that neither Chinese President Xi Jinping nor Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plan to attend a U.N. summit of world leaders on climate change. The Climate Summit 2014, to be held on September 23 in New York, was organized by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “to galvanize and catalyze climate action.” U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as other leaders from developed nations, are expected to attend, but the absence of leaders from the world’s two largest developing nations has some worried that the summit will fall flat.
Free Beacon: Feds: California Fracking is Safe
Federal regulators say hydraulic fracturing in California poses little environmental or health risk, clearing the way for oil companies to employ the practice in the Golden State.
The EU’s ban on high-powered appliances has attracted predictably vociferous criticism from Eurosceptics, who have bemoaned “yet another assault on the British way of life” from the bureaucrats in Brussels.
The EU’s Ecodesign for Energy-Using Products and Energy Labelling directives aims to set limits on the wattage of household appliances. Small appliances use a vast amount of electricity worldwide. The rules intend to reduce EU electricity consumption by 19 terrawatt hours by 2020 and to inspire designers to build more energy efficient, yet still effective, devices.
There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, new research shows.
As the United Nations prepares for its 2014 Climate Summit in New York this month with an agenda to advance a new carbon-emissions regulatory agreement to supersede the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the Russian scientist who correctly predicted the lack of global warming over the past 19 years has gained new scientific support for his belief that Earth is in the beginning of a prolonged ice age.
In the four years since the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has spent more than $28 billion on damage claims and cleanup costs, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and emerged a shrunken giant.
British energy giant BP PLC (NYSE:BP) won’t curb its plans to drill for offshore oil, even after a U.S. judge found it was “grossly negligent” in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, the company’s technology chief says. The ruling on Thursday could put BP on the line for up to $18 billion in new civil penalties for its role in the biggest offshore oil spill in American history.
Support for Scottish independence has risen eight points in a month, according to a new poll.
The No camp are now six points ahead of the Yes campaign, down from 14 points in mid-August and 22 points early last month, excluding undecided voters.
The latest YouGov poll found that, excluding ”don’t knows”, 53% of those questioned planned to vote No, while 47% would back Yes.
Fuel Fix: Shell announces Utica gas discovery
Shell Oil announced two successful new discovery wells in the northern, central part of Pennsylvania Wednesday, a find that may suggest the sweet spot of the Utica formation extends farther east than previously thought.
Global oil and gas firms are turning their attention to Africa’s east coast, a region long overshadowed by production on the continent’s northern and western fields. New discoveries in emerging zones are expected to drive billions of dollars in annual investments in coming years as the world seeks to tap more fossil fuels, a new report says.
Herald Scotland: Experts propose North Sea fracking
Underwater fracking could almost double the amount of recoverable oil and gas in the North Sea, according to oil experts.
The technique could “propel Scotland towards the top of the global league table in terms of oil and gas production”, Scottish business body N56 said.
As Scotland prepares to decide whether to vote ‘yes’ for independence, the North Sea oil and gas industry’s economic prospects have become something of a political football.
Today, a new report backed by the ‘Yes’ campaign claims the industry’s taxes could be worth over £600 billion. But other experts have been quick to cast doubt on the findings.
Two nuclear stations that play a vital role helping to keep Britain’s already fragile electricity system intact could be out of action till the end of the year, EDF Energy said on Thursday.
The ongoing problems at Heysham 1 and Hartlepool reactors, taken offline last month, forced Centrica, a 20% owner of the atomic fleet with EDF, to issue a profit warning.
Washington Post: A worrying factor in Ukraine’s chaos: 15 nuclear reactors
As Ukraine looks like a country teetering on the edge of war, there’s an important factor to keep an eye on: The country’s 15 nuclear reactors.
“There haven’t been many conflicts in states with nuclear power facilities in the past, so we’re really entering unknown territory here,” said Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Russia and Eurasia Program. NATO has already shown its concern, sending a small team of civilian experts to Ukraine in April to advise the government on the safety of its infrastructure.
The Environmental Protection Agency for the first time on Tuesday issued permits to allow a coal-fired power plant to capture its carbon dioxide emissions and inject them deep underground, a process that many hope could help control climate change if it is ultimately successful.
Mining Global: Rio Tinto to Slash Jobs at Australian Coal Mine
UK mining giant Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO) (NYSE:RIO) has revealed plans to cut 100 jobs from its Kestrel coal mine in Queensland, Australia.
According to Rio, the job cuts are part of the company’s continuous strategy to restructure its coal portfolio to remain competitive in Australia’s declining coal industry.
Wind power provided a record 41.2% of Denmark’s electricity consumption in the first half of 2014, power grid operator Energinet.dk said in its half-year report published Tuesday.
“This is a record,” said Energinet.dk. “The high share is partly due to more wind than usual, and partly due to a 650-megawatt growth in wind power capacity in 2013.”
Wind energy accounted for 33.2% of the country’s energy…
Moscow Times: Russia’s Largest Solar Power Plant Opens in Siberia
A solar power station opened Thursday in Siberia’s Altai republic has become the biggest facility of its kind in Russia.
The Kosh-Agachskaya plant, which has a capacity of 5 megawatts (MW), will be the first of five solar power facilities to open in the region by 2019, the Kremlin said in an online statement.
Science Alert: Japan is planning to build huge floating solar power plants
Japan may be short on free land space, but that’s not stopping them from investing in renewable energy. Solar panel company Kyocera Corp, Century Tokyo Leasing Corp and Ciel Terre have announced (release in Japanese) that they’re teaming up to create two huge floating solar power plants which will be up and running by April next year.
These are just the first two of a planned network of around 30 floating 2 megawatt (MW) power plants, capable of generating a combined 60 MW of power, a spokesperson from Kyocera told Chisaki Watanabe from Bloomberg.
Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time has his usual round up of stories from Russia-Ukraine and MENA plus lots more this week, especially news of pending blackouts from around the World.