An oil and gas building spree in the United States might have a serious boomerang effect that could hit the industry as hard as a changing fundamentals landscape hit the coal industry in the 2010s, a report from Global Energy Monitor has warned.
According to the report, there is US$232.5 billion worth of new oil and gas pipelines being planned and built right now in North America, with most of this in the United States. This expansion, however, does not rely on an increase in domestic demand for oil and gas. It relies almost exclusively on demand growth in Asia, much like the coal expansion in the 2010s. That, however, went awry, decimating the coal industry.

The factors that could ruin the pipeline expansion in the United States include demand patterns in that key Asian market everyone is targeting as well as changing attitudes—and legislation—concerning climate change and the oil and gas industry.
Asia, and particularly China and India, the continent’s largest economies, have become the top target market for all commodity industries, but the Asian markets are particularly important for the energy industry. Demand for fossil fuels in Europe, for example, is falling steadily under the pressure of climate change-related legislation and changing climate attitudes.
Even in the United States, the EIA has projected a slowdown in oil and gas demand growth, which, according to Global Energy Monitor, means the domestic market would not be able to take all the additional oil and gas coming in from the shale plays that are driving the overall growth in fossil fuel production. In China and India, conversely, energy demand, including oil and gas demand, is on the rise. For now.
Referring to a term coined by John Maynard Keynes—“animal spirits”—the report explains the ambitious expansion plans of energy companies in the U.S. with a misleading sense of optimism that the current supply and demand dynamics will continue. In other words, pipeline builders falsely believe Asian markets will continue to be as thirsty for U.S. oil and gas—especially gas—as they are now. This, according to Global Energy Monitor, is not the case.

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At least in one poll, climate is a top issue for registered Dems. And, maybe surprising to some, Beto O’Rourke is out with the first serious policy proposal to deal with it.

The Hill:

Climate change action is the top issue for Democratic voters, according to a new national poll out Tuesday.
The CNN poll found that 82 percent of registered voters who identified as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents listed climate change as a “very important” top priority they’d like to see get the focus of a presidential candidate. 
The issue was trailed by universal government-provided health care, at 75 percent, and executive action on stricter gun control measures at 65 percent. Impeaching President Trump ranked fifth on the list of priorities for Democratic voters, at 43 percent.
The poll is the first national survey to show climate change rising to the top of the ranks among issues Democrats plan to focus on in the 2020 election.

Only 14 percent of Republican voters in the same poll listed climate change as a major threat.

Poll here.

Rob Meyer in the Atlantic:

The first 2020 presidential candidate out with a comprehensive climate-change policy is … Beto O’Rourke?
I was surprised, too. The former congressman from Texas, whose campaign has previously been somewhat skimpy on policy proposals, debuted on Monday a $1.5 trillion proposal meant to rapidly move the economy away from fossil fuels and slow the advance of climate change.

“We will ensure we are at net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by the year 2050, and that we are halfway there by 2030,” O’Rourke said in a video posted to Twitter. His plan calls climate change “the greatest threat we face—one which will test our country, our democracy, and every single one of us.”
O’Rourke says his proposal is the “most ambitious climate plan in the history of the United States.” Certainly it is—so far—the most wide-ranging climate plan debuted by any Democratic presidential candidate in the 2020 race, though a number of contenders say their own proposals will come out shortly. And it makes for a dramatic contrast with the agenda of President Donald Trump, who has repealed major federal rules restricting carbon pollution and staffed the federal government with former fossil-fuel lobbyists.

It certainly doesn’t lack for length. The new proposal, running more than 2,500 words, has nearly doubled the policy content of O’Rourke’s campaign. Previously, his website devoted only one page to policy, detailing a 3,000-word “vision for America” that ranged across 13 different issues.

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Canadian Floods Roll on

April 29, 2019

“False Balance” is when journalism gives equal time to a brilliant scientist and a lying moron.

What climate explainers have tried to alert us to for decades.
“False Balance” in journalism is a crisis, and is making us all dumber.

Wisdom from Katherine Hayhoe, Alex Honnold and Snooki.

Got these memes from a friend.

Unicef donations here.

During the research I did for the video above, detailing barriers to rapid buildout of nuclear energy – I kept hearing that the one place in the world where nuclear was being done right was South Korea.

Maybe not.

Longer article excerpted here – essential reading – sheds more light on the institutional and economic barriers to existing nuclear technology.

No matter where you fall on the nuke/nonuke spectrum, this is consequential information.

Money quote:

“South Korea was right on the cusp of taking over the world market.”
Not anymore. Less than a decade after Barakah broke ground, Korea is dismantling its nuclear industry, shutting down older reactors and scrapping plans for new ones.

MIT Technology Review:

Two years earlier, a South Korean consortium had won an $18.6 billion contract to build four nuclear reactors on the ground where Lee now stood—at the time, the single biggest reactor deal in history. The plant—named Barakah, after the Arabic word for a divine blessing—was a personal triumph for Lee, who had reportedly swung the deal with a desperate 11th-hour phone call to bin Zayed, and a victory for his country, whose Korea Electric Power Corporation, Kepco, had led the bid and won out against more experienced French competition. It made for a great underdog story. A small, resource poor nation that relied heavily on imported energy, South Korea had kick-started its nuclear program in the 1970s by buying reactors on turnkey contracts from Canada, France, and the United States. But Kepco and its nuclear affiliate, KHNP, quickly developed their own model based on an American design. The first homegrown reactor was operational by 1995, and more soon followed. Eventually South Korea, which is roughly the size of Indiana, became the most reactor-dense country in the world, with 23 reactors providing about 30% of its total electricity generation. The Emiratis had been impressed.
More was at stake in the UAE than just South Korea’s national pride, however. What the country was doing could help solve the climate crisis. While renewable-energy production has grown dramatically, many scientists, engineers, and environmental activists believe a nuclear power system is the only truly scalable alternative to fossil fuels. Yet over the years the high capital costs, uncertain profits, and safety concerns associated with nuclear power have discouraged investors and led governments back to cheaper, dirtier fuel sources like coal and gas.
The French state-owned company Areva, for example, had a project in Finland that was already billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. The US’s $6.8 billion Watts Bar Unit 1 reactor in Tennessee had taken 23 years to complete, and cost more than 18 times its original $370 million price tag. Areva had bid for the Barakah project, but its $36 billion proposal was reportedly almost twice as high as Kepco’s. The Korean bid rekindled the hope that nuclear could be clean, safe, and cheap enough to replace fossil fuels.

How did Kepco manage it? Lee Hee-yong, a former Kepco executive who had led the bid, told me the key was repetition—building to the same template over and over, rather than designing customized plants each time as was typical. This increased expertise and efficiency, and the result was lower prices. “Prior to the UAE deal, we had been continuously building reactors for the past 30 or 40 years,” he told me in the office of his two-person boutique energy consultancy in Seoul. “The fact that we maintained a strong supply chain and network of specialized workers was key to keeping costs low.”

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57 million views and 270k comments. Not bad.

Stumbled across this 2012 interview with Glaciologist Mauri Pelto, at Easton Glacier, Cascades range, in Washington State.
Really fascinating visualization of how a glacier made it’s mark, where it was, and where it is now.

This was my first crowd funded field initiative, predating Dark Snow Project by a year.

Below, a view from Easton Glacier over neighboring Deming Glacier.

If you don’t follow software wizard Kevin Pluck on Twitter, you are missing some of the clearest and most innovative climate graphics anywhere.
Kevin got disgusted with a video from the climate-denying Heartland Institute, and deconstructed it, above – which made me think of..

Below, example of one of Kev’s more successful viral animations.

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