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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Food vs. Fuel and the Midwest Drought

Posted: 20 Jul 2012 11:32 PM PDT
It was bound to happen. As long as US corn output continued to climb year after year, the federal mandate to blend steadily increasing quantities of ethanol into gasoline could be accommodated without creating a shortage of this staple grain.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A European Perspective on the US Shale Energy Revolution

Posted: 20 Jul 2012 05:13 AM PDT
The Economist has an interesting set of articles in a recent special report on U.S. energy and in particular, energy from shale. Though the primary audience is European, the report makes a number of important points about shale energy and the hydraulic fracturing methods used to collect it.Natural gas, much of it unconventional, is changing the global energy picture

Father of Fracking: More Regulation Is Needed

Father of Fracking: More Regulation Is Needed

Chris Helman, Forbes
Going to see George Phydias Mitchell feels kind of like a pilgrimage; It was Mitchell who in the 1990s, as the wildcatting boss of Mitchell Energy; Development, pioneered the oil and gas drilling techniques now known as fracking.

Can Arctic Oil Drilling Be Done Safely?

Can Arctic Oil Drilling Be Done Safely?

Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney
The Arctic's ice cap is melting, and oil companies and other industries are moving into the region to take advantage of its abundant, newly accessible resources.But as they do, many are asking if the Arctic can be developed without putting its sensitive environment, and the people that rely on it, at risk.

Behind Climate Collapse

Behind Climate Collapse

Glen Barry’s passionate recent article on climate collapse was great, but I believe he’s overlooking a major factor. Unchecked development, pollution, greenhouse gasses, etc. — all contribute to wacky weather and climate collapse but intentional weather modification (aka modern weather warfare) is the primary driver of the major uptick in extreme weather we’ve seen in the last few years.
Humans have been intentionally modifying the weather for over a century and in recent decades weather modification technologies have progressed on par with advances in communication technology to the point where they boggle the skeptical mind.
Geoengineering programs involving atmospheric spraying from planes and atmospheric heating using microwaves from radar installations have been increasingly common globally for over a decade. The MSM totally overlooks this topic and the climate change discussion has been reduced to the oversimplification that blames all extreme weather events merely on “greenhouse gasses”. The independent media would better serve their readers by researching these topics thoroughly and incorporating findings before perpetuating the big lie that unintentional climate change is the primary driver of wacky weather when intentional weather modification is clearly taking place. Watch the 2009 documentary What in the World Are They Spraying? and the forthcoming sequel Why In the World Are They Spraying? for a good synopsis of the situation. Google “chemtrails” and “weather warfare” and do a little research of your own.

The Food Ordeal and Climate Change

The Food Ordeal and Climate Change

The Age of Disruptive Climate Change, and its impact on the supply of food, is a major source of modern-day uprisings, toppling governments around the world.
The United States, “the breadbasket of the world,” and the largest exporter of corn, soybeans, and wheat, accounts for one in every three tonnes of staple grains that feed the world. Over the past month, futures prices for corn and wheat are up approximately 50%. The culprit behind this abnormal pricing behaviour is a major drought that is scorching one-half the breadbasket of America. The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared on July 11 that more than 1,000 counties in 26 states are natural-disaster areas, the biggest such declaration ever!
According to The Economist,1 by the end of 2007, when high grain prices sparked riots in 48 countries, the magazine’s food-price index reached its highest point since originating in 1845. Alarmingly, as of today, corn is back to those same 2007 peak prices, wheat is rapidly approaching the same high levels, and soybeans are at multi-year highs, but the U.S. drought has only begun… maybe. Thankfully, rice, which feeds one-half of the world, is still moderating at its midpoint of the past 5-years… so far, and here’s hoping commodity speculators, with their penchant for riding the contrails of rising grain prices, do not drive the price of rice up as well. Without a doubt, Goldman Sachs is eyeballing this wager.
Food shortages and high food prices pose a huge potential strain for worldwide governments and tottering capitalist socio-economic systems. According to Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist with the UN Food & Agriculture Organization (Rome), “The world looks to the U.S. as the safest source of supply… Everyone watches the U.S. because they can rely on it. Without it, the world would starve.”

Scientists Develop New Carbon Accounting Method to Reduce Farmers' Use of Nitrogen Fertilizer

Scientists Develop New Carbon Accounting Method to Reduce Farmers' Use of Nitrogen Fertilizer

Washington DC (SPX) Jul 20, 2012
It's summer. For many of us, summer is a time synonymous with fresh corn, one of the major field crops produced in the United States. In 2011, corn was planted on more than 92 million acres in the U.S., helping the nation continue its trend as the world's largest exporter of the crop. Corn is a nitrogen-loving plant. To achieve desired production levels, most U.S. farmers apply synthetic nitroge

Dumping iron at sea does sink carbon Nature

Dumping iron at sea does sink carbon Nature

World braced for new food crisis Financial Times

World braced for new food crisis Financial Times

Governing Energy - Stop Work!

Governing Energy - Stop Work!
This phrase is generally defined as the authority of anyone regardless of position or seniority on a job site to authorize work stoppage when an unsafe or environment hazard is identified. There is another situation where a stop work may be required.
Full Article

Human Capital - Health, Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas

Human Capital - Health, Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On Geoengineering

On Geoengineering

Is the alphabet soup of EPA rules creating confusion and uncertainty for your power plant?

Is the alphabet soup of EPA rules creating confusion and uncertainty for your power plant?

 
Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012
Time: 3:00 US EDT
Schedule this FREE webinar with your team – no travel required. All registered attendees will receive a certificate of completion for one professional development hour!

Environmental rules pose some of the most vexing challenges to today’s power generation industry. The alphabet soup of rules (CSAPR, MACT, NSR and so on) impact everything from daily operations to long-term capital planning and outage management. Unclear language and frequent court challenges lead to confusion and uncertainty over compliance timelines and optimum ways to integrate multiple technologies into the power plant. Failure to comply can be onerous as multiple special interest groups and federal agencies are prepared to pounce on non-compliers. Plan to spend an hour listening to and participating in this informative and practical webcast featuring three industry experts as they discuss current Environmental Protection Agency regulations and their impact on the electric power industry.
This webinar will be recorded and made available to all registrants after the live event.
If you know others who might be interested in this topic, please forward this email to a colleague.
Discussion topics include:
Strategies for Compliance
Documentation Requirements and Current Court Challenges
Engineering and Operational Challenges
What you will learn about:
How a major utility approaches compliance
What documentation you must maintain
How court challenges will impact compliance timelines
Best Practice approaches to compliance
Who Should Attend:
Engineering Managers
Operations Managers
Maintenance Managers
Compliance Personnel
Regulatory Affairs Personnel
Hear from these experts:

Frank Prager
Vice President, Environmental Policy and Services
Xcel Energy

Jay Holloway
Partner
Winston & Strawn, LLP

Block Andrews
Director of Strategic Environmental Solutions
Burns & McDonnell - Energy Division

Webinar Moderator: David Wagman
Executive Editor
POWER magazine
Questions?
For questions regarding this webinar, please contact Jennifer Brady at 713-343-1906 or jenniferb@tradefairgroup.com

Could a U.S. carbon tax be on the rebound?


By Jim Pierobon - It might only apply to industry emissions and nary a Republican would dare admit to seriously considering it, but talk of a possible carbon tax is making the rounds in political Washington and elsewhere. Think about it. A carbon tax does not lack for support among mainstream energy and fiscal policy experts.  » Continue...

Heating Up: New Concerns about the Amazon

By Tom Schueneman - At one time, experts believed that the Amazon couldn’t catch fire because it was just too damp. However, as the ocean near the forest gets warmer, this is no longer the case. Are we about to lose one of the Earth's richest and most biodiverse areas to the side effects of climate change?  » Continue...

Refining the tool kit for sustainable fisheries


Refining the tool kit for sustainable fisheries

Santa Barbara CA (SPX) Jul 19, 2012
As spatial planning is used increasingly to manage fisheries and other ocean resources, researchers are working to determine the best ways to use and refine the various spatial management tools. Among them are marine protected areas (MPAs), one of the most common methods, which limit or entirely curtail fishing in a given area. A new paper published in the early edition of the Proceedings

Australia aims to become Asia's food bowl

Australia aims to become Asia's food bowl

Canberra, Australia (UPI) Jul 18, 2012
The Australian government has released the draft of its first food security plan aimed at positioning the country to become the "food bowl for Asia." The plan focuses on increasing Australia's exports and capitalizing on the worldwide growing demand for food, which is expected to increase 77 percent by 2050. Aside from providing food for Australians, the country's food sector als

Worst drought in five decades ravages US

Worst drought in five decades ravages US

Washington (AFP) July 18, 2012
Weather forecasters see no end in sight to the worst US drought in five decades, a blistering heatwave that has wilted crops across America's crucial breadbasket and sent grain prices soaring. Farmers are mulling cutting down crops and thinning livestock herds as meteorologists said the country's central breadbasket, the world's largest source of both soybeans and corn, faces another month o

Worst drought in five decades ravages US

Washington (AFP) July 18, 2012
Weather forecasters see no end in sight to the worst US drought in five decades, a blistering heatwave that has wilted crops across America's crucial breadbasket and sent grain prices soaring. Farmers are mulling cutting down crops and thinning livestock herds as meteorologists said the country's central breadbasket, the world's largest source of both soybeans and corn, faces another month o

The Paradox of Energy Efficiency

The Paradox of Energy Efficiency

Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine
Automobile manufacturers have been hard at work, figuring out new technologies to improve fuel efficiency. So why aren't the cars we drive today getting dramatically improved gas mileage?. .

Are Pollution Controls Worth Their Costs?

Are Pollution Controls Worth Their Costs?

Ted Gayer & Kip Viscusi, RCM
A recent wave of government regulations mandates the energy efficiency levels of a wide range of consumer and business products, including passenger cars and commercial vehicles, clothes dryers, air conditioners, and light bulbs. . .

Climate Change: The Anti-Industrial Agenda

Climate Change: The Anti-Industrial Agenda

MasterResource
. . .If you believe global warming is cyclical and mostly natural; human contribution is minor and not dangerous; and attempting to prevent human influence by cuts in carbon-dioxide emissions. . .

The Gritty Side of North Dakota's Oil Boom

The Gritty Side of North Dakota's Oil Boom

Steve Mufson, Wash Post
Donny Nelson is the epitome of old-time North Dakota. A lean, sharp-featured man sporting a thick goatee, jeans and dirty boots, Nelson is the grandson of homesteaders. Over the past century his family has collected 8,000 acres of prime cattle grazing acreage and cropland. . .

U.S. Missing Out on Arctic Land Grab

U.S. Missing Out on Arctic Land Grab

Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney
There's an international race to divvy up the Arctic Ocean's oil and mineral bounty, but the United States could lose out on a big chunk of it because it hasn't signed a United Nations treaty governing the area. . .

Expanding Offshore Energy the Right Way

Expanding Offshore Energy the Right Way

Ken Salazar, White House
In recent weeks, the Department of the Interior announced a key component of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy: a five-year program for offshore oil and gas leasing that will allow our nation to expand safe and responsible oil and gas development to help power our economy. . .

As emissions rise, China loses moral high ground

As emissions rise, China loses moral high ground

For years China has dismissed concerns about its rising carbon emissions by pointing out that, on a per-capita basis, Chinese citizens still emit far less than their counterparts in the industrialized world. But now that China’s per-capita emissions are on par with those of the European Union, that argument will be much harder to make.
This dynamic is beautifully illustrated in the graph at top-right, included in an analysis of 2011 emissions released Wednesday by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. The data comes from the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) and covers carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels as well as cement production.
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Corn Used to Create US Biofuel is Enough to Feed 412 Million People for a Year

Corn Used to Create US Biofuel is Enough to Feed 412 Million People for a Year

The US corn crop, in the in the height of its vulnerable pollination phase, is already under siege from intense heat and devastating drought.  Experts are continuously revising predicted crop yield lower and lower. In fact, as of July 11th, this year’s corn crop is no longer projected to be history’s largest. At the same time, almost 1 billion people world wide are going hungry. However, plans remain in place to use about 40% of America’s corn crop, the world’s largest, for biofuel purposes.The nearly 5 billion bushels…Read more...
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Coal Consumption Increases in the EU: Is the Carbon Trading Scheme a Failure?

Coal Consumption Increases in the EU: Is the Carbon Trading Scheme a Failure?

The EIA has reported that natural gas in the US now accounts for an equal portion of power production as coal, both contributing 32% of total generation. This led the US to reduce their carbon emissions by 92 million tonnes in 2011, a 1.7% decrease from the year before.Unfortunately, despite having the most ambitious carbon reduction regulations in the world, Europe is now heading in the opposite direction as they saw coal consumption increase by 3.3% compared to 2010.Germany’s coal consumption increased by 1.2% compared to 2010, despite…Read more...

Natural Gas Explosion in Louisiana Heard 12 Miles Away

Natural Gas Explosion in Louisiana Heard 12 Miles Away

This morning in southern Louisiana, a 14 inch natural gas pipeline ruptured, causing a large explosion which could be heard up to 12 miles away.A local paper, the Eunice News, along with local television stations reported that the explosion occurred near to Intracoastal City. The incident took place in a sparsely populated rural area and no injuries have been reported.Local police have confirmed that the gas in the line was shut off and the fire extinguished. Maintenance checks will no need to be made in order to ascertain the cause of the rupture.Ownership…Read more...

The NRDC Guide to Reducing Pollution from Fracking

The NRDC Guide to Reducing Pollution from Fracking

As controversy over the use of hydraulic fracturing mounts across the U.S., the Natural Resources Defense Council has produced a handy fact sheet on best practices that can reduce risks of pollution from the technique.The four-page publication details the various risks to both surface and underground water from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is used in oil and gas drilling operations and has become more widespread with the development of large new reserves found in shale rock formations.Fracking is used to stimulate oil and gas production…Read more...
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US Coast Guard Needs Billions of Dollars to Cover Oil Companies in the Arctic

US Coast Guard Needs Billions of Dollars to Cover Oil Companies in the Arctic

Shell is one of six energy companies hoping to begin drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic next month. Global warming has led to large amounts of ice melting, which in turn has opened up new areas off Alaska’s north coast, ready for oil and gas exploration.Since 2005 Shell has spent $4.5 billion preparing for its upcoming Arctic adventure, but it now turns out that US citizens may be required to fork out nearly as much in order to control and regulate oil company operations in the Arctic.The Coast Guard will need to follow the companies…Read more...

API says fine particulate proposal not grounded in science

API says fine particulate proposal not grounded in sound science
API Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs told an EPA hearing that the agency’s scientific analysis for its proposal on fine particulate air standards was inadequate.
Full Article

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mind the Gaps Between Climate Change and Science

With temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit this month in Chicago, thoughts turn to global warming. Whether any particular extreme weather event could be a symptom of climate change is difficult to say. Even higher-than-normal regional temperature patterns may not be direct evidence of the planet's warming overall. Climate models cannot forecast changes in temperature or rainfall at local levels.

Law of the Sea Treaty Sinks in Senate



Law Of The Sea Treaty Sinks In Senate -- Politico

It appears the Law of the Sea treaty is dead in the water – at least in this Congress.

Two Republican senators declared their opposition on Monday to the international agreement, bringing the total number of Senate opponents to 34 – enough to sink the measure. A two-thirds majority of 67 votes was required for ratification.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) pushed the opposition movement over the top, citing concerns about U.S. sovereignty.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.), the two Armed Services Committee members declared: “No international organization owns the seas.”

Read more ....

Update: Portman, Ayotte kill the Law of the Sea Treaty -- Washington post

14 Twitters You Have to Follow To Stay On Top of The Drought

14 Twitterers You Have To Follow To Stay On Top Of The Drought (CORN, SOYB)

china corn
The drought and heatwave in the Midwest have lowered yields of corn, soybeans and wheat and sent crop prices soaring.
For those who want updates live and directly from the ground (from the farm and from the trading pits) we've assembled some of the best follows on Twitter:
Byrne Investments: Handle @Byrne_Invest | Description: The twitter account of Byrne Investment Services, a commodity brokerage with 16 years experience managing agricultural and speculative accounts.
Tony Rohrs: Handle @TonyRohrs | Description: Rohrs owns and operates Rohrs Brothers, a family owned and operated farm in Northwest Ohio. He also owns Agri Management Group LLC a company and is a commodity trader.
Knutson Farms: Handle @KnutsonFarms | Description: Commodities, farming, and economics
Cornbroker21: Handle @Cornbroker21 | Description: Farm hedger
Ken Morrison: Handle @morrisonmkts | Description: Morrison is a commodities trader and pens the commodity newsletter Morrison on The Markets
Doug Bartlett: Handle @Grainmonster | Description: Offers farm risk management through Midwest Farm Services
Thomas Grisafi: Handle @IndianaGrainCo | Description: Farmer, trader, speculator. Not a Broker Not an Analyst
Julianna Johnston: Handle @JuliJohnston | Description: "Farm girl" who also acts as an advocate, analyst and journalist for Pro Farmer

Rob Levy: Handle @robbylevy | Description: Agricultural commodity options / futures trader at CBOT
Cory Ritter: Handle @CoryRitter | Description: Ritter is a farmer and has a corn and soybean farm in central Illinois
Tregg Cronin: Handle @tmcronin31 | Description: Market analyst for Country Hedging Inc., a subsidiary of CHS Inc.
Katie Micik: Handle @KatieMDTN | Decription: DTN Markets editor, tweets about all things ag.

Chris Barron: Handle @chrisbarron24 | Description: Corn and soybean producer, blogger for AgWeb, and agricultural business consultant
Eric Wilkinson: Handle @Wolfmansblog | Description: An independent floor trader, CNBC on air Consultant, and Venture Capitalist.
Note: Thanks to Knutson Farms and Thomas Grisafi for recommending other twitter handles.

Don't Miss: Photos Of The Drought That's Devastating America's Farmland >

Worst drought in 5 decades ravages US

Worst drought in 5 decades ravages US
http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Worst_drought_in_5_decades_ravages_US_999.html by Staff Writers Washington (AFP) July 18, 2012


Weather forecasters see no end in sight to the worst US drought in five decades, a blistering heatwave that has wilted crops across America's crucial breadbasket and sent grain prices soaring.
Farmers are mulling cutting down crops and thinning livestock herds as meteorologists said the country's central breadbasket, the world's largest source of both soybeans and corn, faces another month of stifling, rainless heat.

Tweet ICE WORLD The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic


ICE WORLD
The challenges facing the vulnerable Antarctic
 http://www.terradaily.com/reports/The_challenges_facing_the_vulnerable_Antarctic_999.html
Melbourne, Australia (SPX) Jul 18, 2012

A century ago, the South Pole was one of Earth's last frontiers, but now the Antarctic is under threat from human activity. Led by Monash University's Professor Steven Chown, a multidisciplinary team of experts from around the globe has set out the current and future conservation challenges facing the Antarctic in a Policy Forum article published in Science.

Caution needed with new greenhouse gas emission standards

 http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Caution_needed_with_new_greenhouse_gas_emission_standards_999.html
Calgary, Canada (SPX) Jul 18, 2012

Policy makers need to be cautious in setting new 'low-carbon' standards for greenhouse gas emissions for oil sands-derived fuels as well as fuels from conventional crude oils University of Calgary and University of Toronto researchers say in a paper published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Greenland glacier loses ice

Greenland glacier loses ice

Newark DE (SPX) Jul 18, 2012
An ice island twice the size of Manhattan has broken off from Greenland's Petermann Glacier, according to researchers at the University of Delaware and the Canadian Ice Service. The Petermann Glacier is one of the two largest glaciers left in Greenland connecting the great Greenland ice sheet with the ocean via a floating ice shelf.

Fukushima Nuclear Accident: The Earthquake Question

 
Government report questions TEPCO's assertions that tsunami caused all damage

U.S. Weather Extremes and Climate Change


 
"We're going outside the realm of conditions previously experienced"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A shortcut to sustainable fisheries

A shortcut to sustainable fisheries

Kiel, Germany (SPX) Jul 17, 2012
Up to now, methods to estimate the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) of fish stocks are very complex and, as a consequence, expensive. However, Dr Rainer Froese, biologist with GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany) and Dr Steven Martell, biologist with the University of British Columbia (Can