Peak Oil – Merry Christmas

Good read and analysis on oil consumption, energy, and global warming.
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Peak oil? Consider it solved

It won’t be easy but we can fix our oil and climate problems at the same time.

For more than a decade, a fierce debate about peak oil has been raging between those who think a peak in global oil production is at hand and those who think the world is not close to running out of oil. The debate is moot for two reasons. First, the growing threat of global warming requires deep reductions in national and global oil consumption starting now, peak or no peak. Second, relying on unconventional oil like tar sands and liquid coal to make up a supply shortage, as the oilmen say we must, would be climate catastrophe. More supply is not the answer to either our oil or our climate problem — reducing consumption of oil is. And right now we have two feasible solutions: greatly increase our vehicle fuel economy and find alternative fuel sources that are abundant, low-carbon and affordable.

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Sea Level Rise

As usual, the rate of change is now seen to be faster than earlier predictions.

The deniers are out in force trying to persuade anyone and everyone that this is not really happening, but the basic measurements say otherwise. I guess fundamental scientific measurements of sea level are part of a vast left wing conspiracy, oh and death panels, too.

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Major cities at risk from rising sea level threat

A storm at sea

Sea levels will rise by twice as much as previously predicted as a result of
global warming, an
important international study
has concluded.

The Scientific Committee on
Antarctic Research
(SCAR) calculated that if temperatures continued to
increase at the present rate, by 2100 the sea level would rise by up to 1.4
metres — twice that predicted two years ago.

Even if the average global temperature increases by only 2C — the target set
for next week’s Copenhagen summit — sea levels could still rise by 50cm,
double previous forecasts, according to the report.

The IPCC report predicted that the melting of ice sheets would contribute
about 20 per cent of the total rise in sea levels, with the majority coming
from the melting of glaciers and the expansion of the water as it warms. It
said that it was not able to predict the impact of melting ice sheets, but
suggested this could add 10-20cm.

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The Domino Effect

As our global greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase the natural sinks that can and do absorb these gases are becoming saturated. In the case of the oceans, the increased carbon dioxide storage has increased ocean acidity and threatens the basic health of much of the sealife.

We really have much less time to address these problems than the press on global warming would suggest.

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As emissions increase, carbon ‘sinks’ get clogged

In the race to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, scientists have been looking to forests and oceans to absorb the pollution people generate.

World’s oceans, forests becoming less able to absorb CO2

Relying on nature to compensate for human excesses sounds like a win-win situation — except that these resources are under stress from the very emissions we are asking them to absorb, making them less able partners in the pact.

“What our ocean study and other recent land studies suggest is that we cannot count on these sinks operating in the future as they have in the past and keep on subsidizing our ever-growing appetite for fossil fuels,” Khatiwala said.

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Denmark is Going to Give Electric Cars a Chance

This is how you do it. No matter how much individuals decide to do, we will not be able to address the global warming challenge without significant changes in public policy.

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In Denmark, Ambitious Plan for Electric Cars
COPENHAGEN — Is saving $40,000 at the showroom enough to get drivers behind the wheel of an electric car? With a program in the works to add easy access to charging stations, Denmark is about to find out.
The government offers a minimum $40,000 tax break on each new electric car — and free parking in downtown Copenhagen.
The Silicon Valley company, Better Place, is making a big push in Denmark and in Israel. That makes those two countries the world’s most important test cases for the idea that electric motors and batteries can supplant the petroleum-burning engines that have powered cars for more than a century.
With Better Place and the smart grid working together, cars would charge up as the winds blow at night, when power demand is lowest. Charging would soak up the utility’s extra power and sharply shrink the carbon footprint of electric vehicles.

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