Oil and Gas
The clock towards a sea-ice free Arctic is ticking ever more rapidly. And just as quickly, oil and gas companies are rushing to the region to grab newly-exposed resources. That has many environmentalists worried about the threat of spills in this pristine wilderness - and the reckless gamble with a climate change shock.
The peak oil debate is basically divided into three camps. Those who wish to save the world, those who wish to safeguard jobs, and others who take a pragmatic view that encompasses both sides of the peak oil argument.
Data gathered from 24 million miles of Electric Vehicle journeys shows they have saved a million gallons of petrol and 8,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Electric vehicles reduce emissions related to global warming and have lower fuel costs than petrol-driven vehicles. But these benefits differ depending on how electricity grids in different regions generate their electricity according to a UCS study.
Ride sharing across to and from the UK and Europe. Around 775,000 tons of carbon emissions and 100 million gallons of petrol have been saved by the world's leading ridesharing website, carpooling.com.
Gulf of Mexico coral has been affected by the Deepwater Hoizon oil spill. Macondo well oil has damaged deep-water corals up to 11km away from the blowout site.
Bottlenose dolphins ill from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. NOAA marine biologists examined 32 dolphins and found they were underweight, anaemic, had low blood sugar and have some symptoms of lung disease and liver disease.
A technique that mirrors carbon dioxide capture in natural gas has been improved and could be used on coal-fired plants.
Obama rejected the proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline after months of pressure from citizens concerned about environmental and social justice.
Gulf geography helped bacteria to breakdown harmful compounds leaking from the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and quantity estimates have been confirmed.
More disturbing news for environmentalists, with the announcement that starting next year, the US Department of the Interior has granted Shell tentative approval to begin drilling exploratory wells to begin exploiting the vast oil and gas resources in the Arctic Ocean.
The cargo ship, Rena, ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef, near New Zealand. So far it has spilled between 220 and 330 tons of oil and with a further 1400 tons still onboard this environmental disaster is not over yet.
Top news headlines, stories and issues from the environment world this week up to October 14th 2011. Topics this week include conservation and wildlife in the UK, North Sea oil drilling, arctic ice and the oil spill in New Zealand.
In order to keep oil away from the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico large amounts of the oil spilled by the Deepwater Horizon well in 2010 were burned, now scientists have measured the impact that decision had on air quality.
Following a June oil spill off the coast of China - a spill that drew the ire of Chinese officials - ConocoPhillips has set up a fund to offset the damage.
WWF Russia is asking for authorities there to pause plans for oil-drilling in the Arctic's Pechora Sea, claiming that company Gazprom would be unable to handle anything except the most minor of spills. The area is home to a major migratory bird feeding ground, as well as endangered Atlantic walruses. A region-wide plan for upgrading oil-spill infrastructure is desperately needed they say.
A new study reveals that microbes have a natural ability to degrade petroleum hydrocarbons that enter the environment as a result of an oil spillage. The study of both oil spills published in the current edition of the US journal Environmental Science & Technology, reveals the vital part that micro organisms play in reducing the overall environmental impact of oil spills.
As second leak is discovered on the Gannet Alpha platform Shell is accused of not releasing information fast enough about the spill. Confirmation on the amount of oil leaked too several days to emerge. This morning (Tuesday) a second leak was discovered at the Gannet Alpha platform, which is 111 miles east from Aberdeen.
Attempt to remove mention of protests via injunction backfires as Greenpeace supporters tweet pictures. Cairn Energy won an interim injunction on Monday after Greenpeace activists entered their offices. Cairn Energy is responsible for deep-water drilling in the Arctic. Greenpeace said their volunteers wanted to see the firm's ''secret Arctic oil spill response plan''.
A new paper, out on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today, is casting light on what happened to the flood of oil from BP's Deepwater Horizon unprecedented spill. The results of the analysis of the uniquely-obtained oil samples - from both the gushing well-head, and the drifting oil plumes discovered 3,600 feet down - are helping to map out the implications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill for the Gulf of Mexico, and the ongoing risks of deep-water drilling for oil in the future.
Where we are headed: the transition to a low-carbon way of living. The Wealth of Nature forms a trilogy with The Long Descent and The Ecotechnic Future, by looking closely at how we are squandering our natural wealth and what the consequences of this will be. John Michael Greer is one of the most clear-sighted of authors who are grappling with the multiple crises of peak oil, climate change, pollution, and the social and economic factors which make our leaders' responses to these scourges so difficult.
Caribou in Alberta are falling foul, not to wolves, but instead to the stress of ongoing work to extract the one of the dirtiest of fossil fuels, oil-sands. That's one of the conclusions from a study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, which recommends more sensitive placing of oil-infrastructure to ease pressure on the declining reindeer.
A new study on the use of fuels in Ghana's capital shows that the poor are locked out of clean fuel use - so suffering from increased pollution from tiny particles in cooking smoke. With the country developing its natural gas potential, the authors - publishing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - argue that both the health of the poorest, and the country's forests, will benefit from the slashing of charcoal use, in favor of gas.
Get more out of the money you spend on fuel by driving smarter. Gone are the days of cheap petrol and gas. Today we need to be far more aware of the amount of fuel we are using in our cars, not only to keep money in our pockets but also to help protect the environment.
With high oil prices are sailing ships about to make a comeback? In order to lower running costs, cargo ships are now often reducing speed to 12-15 knots, but this makes them slower than the sail-powered clipper ships of a century or more ago.
Greenpeace protesters clinging to a controversial Arctic drilling ship were evicted and arrested yesterday - even as the oil firm involved, Cairn Energy, sought damages from Greenpeace, via the Dutch courts. Greenpeace issued statements saying it remained unbowed in its determination to defend the Arctic environment.
The frozen waters of the Arctic are again home to confrontation, with Greenpeace successfully attaching a 'survival pod', with a pair of activists, to an oil drilling ship off of Greenland. They are determined to halt an oil exploration program which poses extra risks in the remote Arctic seas - and could help turn up the heat with climate change.
The US Government has decided that while Atlantic tuna stocks are under pressure they are not yet in danger of extinction, although the ongoing effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill may change that. Currently the western Atlantic, eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean populations of blufins are to be designated as 'species of concern.'
Doubts raised by scientists that microbes consumed much of the Deepwater Horizon methane plume. All organic life on earth utilises carbon as a nutrient. Some bacteria are able to ingest methane, the simplest hydrocarbon, to satisfy this need, in part at least.
A review of the documentary, 'White Water, Black Gold,' which will be shown at this year's Projecting Change festival on Saturday May 28, 2011.
The conflict over a British company's plans to drill for oil off Greenland continues as Greenpeace faces the Danish navy deep in the Arctic Sea. Greenpeace ships, the Arctic Sunrise and the Esperanza, have been searching the North Atlantic for the oil rig, Leiv Eiriksson. The ships finally found the Cairn Energy owned oil rig this week hidden amongst the icebergs.
Stalled Bills, bipartisan wars and suggestions Obama isn't doing enough to tackle high oil prices. Americans are increasingly unhappy at the pumps. Gasoline prices might have fallen for the first time in two months this week but with prices surging over $100 a barrel, it's hitting voters' pockets hard.
One man's journey from oil industry insider to environmental campaigner. Songs of Petroleum is the autobiography of Jan Lundberg, ecology activist, musician, and the driving force behind the Culture Change website. He has had a fascinating life, being the son of Dan Lundberg, an oil analyst and pioneering TV talk show host, and having been both an oil industry insider and ecology activist fighting against oil corporations
Biofuels are predicted to be supplying over a quarter of the world's transport fuel market by the year 2050. As the world struggles with rising petrol and diesel costs, biofuels are increasingly being seen as the most viable alternative source. However, this will come at a cost.
At BP's first AGM since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, protests inside and outside the meeting show the company faces a battle to win back trust. At around 10pm on 20 April 2010, BPs Deepwater Horizon rig exploded killing 11 workers and leading to 4.9 million barrels of oil flooding into the Gulf of Mexico. The ramifications of the disaster to the local community are still being felt.
A quarter of the Arctic's permafrost coastline is suffering from erosion due to climate change. The impact on settlements, shipping, oil and gas installations and coastal infrastructure is likely to grow. As ice free periods increase due to global warming, there is a direct effect on the fragile polar coastline which is largely composed of frozen permafrost.
A colony of endangered Northern Rockhopper penguins is facing a grim future after a ship grounded on an important breeding island in the South Atlantic Ocean. The remoteness of the Tristan islands and the fact that there is no air field on any of the islands has caused major headaches for the oil spill management efforts.
With the one-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill disaster looming in the near future, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has released a report written by senior scientist Dr. Doug Inkley that details the current state of both the wildlife and the wetlands in the region. Although the report's findings indicate that some species have begun to show signs of recovery, many others are still in peril and will require the help of legislators, conservation groups, scientists and regulatory bodies in order to survive.
A survey on the reactions of Gulf locals, one year on from the biggest marine oil spill in history, shows that denizens of Louisiana and Florida had differing outlooks on some aspects of the disaster. Distrust of BP was common, but those from Louisiana felt they had suffered more, and were more likely to leave - despite both states suffering a similar economic losses.
A new study on the total climate-impact of fossil fuels shows that natural gas is more dangerous to the planet than coal - but that top of the roost for climate-change causing fuels may well be shale gas. This massive new energy resource, being aggressively exploited across the US, has been slated for the waste-water pollution contamination from 'fracking'. Now its image as a 'clean' transitional fuel is in doubt too.
A flotilla of vessels opposing the surveying for deep sea oil has been ordered to stay away by the New Zealand Police. Activists in the Ruakumara Basin off the East Cape of New Zealand were able to stop the seismic survey vessel Orient Explorer from carrying out its work by swimming in front of it.
The dwarf seahorse, which resides in seagrass located throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Florida and the Caribbean, is threatened with extinction from pollution caused by the Gulf oil spill disaster.
Research into algae-based biofuel continues, but some researchers now believe that completing replacing fossil based fuels any time soon in out of the question. Moreover, it would be difficult to produce enough of it to replace diesel.
Shale gas is the last fossil fuel to be exploited. It is relatively clean and relatively cheap, but it's downside is the harm that it can do to the environment. Fracking or hydraulic fracturing may not be a term familiar to everyone, but it is the name given to the process of extracting natural gas from shale.
With a second oil price spike in three years threatening a fragile world economy, could 'Peak Oil' production be around the corner. And if so, will it help wean us off of polluting-oil use - or usher in a darker dirtier future?
The U.S government has strongly rejected media reports that BP has struck a deal to resume drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. BP holds the largest deepwater acreage in the Gulf of Mexico and is a partner in many wells operated by other companies, including Noble Energy.
The Critically Endangered Western gray whale is under threat from the development of a new oil and gas platform off Russia's Sakhalin Island. The biggest concern is the proximity of the proposed platform to the feeding grounds of the Critically Endangered Western gray whale. The area earmarked for the project is near Piltun Bay, the primary feeding area for Western gray whale mothers and calves.
In an address at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama discussed the need for alternative energy standards and called for a significant reduction in the nation's dependence on foreign oil. Obama noted that there has been progress in the transportation sector, including the increased use of vehicles that are powered by biofuels and natural gas, as well as the auto industry's more efficient production methods involving traditional engines.
Counting carcasses is not a good way to measure marine death tolls say scientists who have studied the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on cetacean species in the Gulf of Mexico. As many as 50 times more whales and dolphins were killed than carcasses were recovered after the 2010 disaster.
EU unveils plans to make cities free from petrol and diesel driven cars by 2050. The European Commission has stated that petrol and diesel should be banned in all European cities in order to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, particularly imported oil, and tackle climate change.
The ongoing conflict in Libya is causing growing uncertainty and fear in the oil markets of the West. The violence in Libya and the role of the UN is causing debate about the involvement of the West in disputes in the Middle East. A long conflict and ongoing dispute, while continuing to raise the spectre of Iraq in the consciousness of British and US voters, also raises fears about the impact ever-increasing oil and gas prices.
Water Security Risk Index show more oil producing countries rated 'extreme risk'. The danger is that disruption to water supplies could, in turn, lead to higher oil prices, as high volumes of water are needed in the oil production process. Huge quantities of 'lift water' are often used to force oil from wells with insufficient geological pressure to bring the oil to the surface
Researchers at an American university have devised a way to dramatically increase the production of butanol - an environmentally-friendly alternative to diesel and gasoline - from bacteria normally seen as harmful to humans.
Using clean fuel has not been a success with two-stroke auto-rickshaws. Expert says that more lives could be saved by using the fuel for cooking. Switching to clean fuel must be a good move and towns and cities worldwide are doing just that with their transport fleets. One such city was New Delhi in India. In 2003 the city converted 90,000 buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws to compressed natural gas (CNG), a well-known 'clean' fuel. Filed in environment: fuel/energy.
Summit options New York Times article on Deepwater Horizon tragedy. The production company has optioned an article from the New York Times written by David Barstow, David Rohde, and Stephanie Saul. The piece, entitled 'Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours' was an in depth look at what happened in the run up to the explosion and sinking of the oil rig. Filed under environmental issues: Deepwater Horizon/Energy.
Despite dramatic failures of deep-water drilling, both in the Gulf of Mexico, and closer to home in the Timor Sea, with devastating consequences of the resulting oil spill, the Australian government is considering plans for further oil exploration - in some of its most sensitive marine areas. The Ningaloo Reef, close an important marine migration route, would be threatened by such exploration, according to WWF-Australia.
Former Shell president argues a reliance on imported oil will cause a double dip recession in the US. The US has been accused of damaging its own economic recovery in the face of unrest in the oil markets because of an over-reliance on imports. The markets are responding to the on-going political upheaval and uncertainty in Libya.
Almost a year later, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is still affecting wildlife. An unusual increase in the mortality rate among dolphins on the Alabama and Mississippi coasts is being reported this week. At least 24 dolphins have died since the beginning of the year, the majority of which have been infant dolphins, either aborted or stillborn during the calving season.
Power systems company Rolls-Royce has won a £20 million order from Chinese conglomerate Sinopec to help search for new oil and gas reserves. The company will design and equip a seismic research vessel which will survey the seabed.
Hybrid vehicles get bigger and better with significant numbers expected to be on the road by 2015. Hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius have been the automotive success-story of the last decade, and this has fuelled growth in hybrid power for bigger vehicles like buses and trucks. Hybrid vehicles use electric power to supplement the polluting and inefficient internal combustion engine (ICE) which powers most vehicles using petrol or diesel.
A conservation group is planning to sue the US government for what they believe is a failure to care for a critical polar bear sanctuary in Alaska. The Centre for Biological Diversity believes that the US Interior Department has allowed harmful oil and gas developments to go ahead and as a result has significantly damaged polar bears habitat in Alaska.
The proposed construction of a new oil and gas platform on the coast of Sakhalin Island in Russia is putting more pressure on the survival of the critically endangered western gray whale population. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) lists the western gray whale as critically endangered. The ICUN believes that about 130 of the whales remain in the oceans, with only 30 of these being mature females capable of reproducing.
Startup company, Modular Carpet Recycling (MCR), from Delaware, United States, says it has developed a process that can recycle nylon fibres from old carpet, which could save millions of barrels of oil in exports every year.
Barack Obarma changes his mind about allowing oil-drilling off the Atlantic Coast of the US. After a pledge by President Barack Obama made in spring 2010 that as part of a new five-year offshore energy-drilling plan more offshore tracks would be opened up off Florida's Atlantic coast, the administration has changed its mind.
Seven miles south west of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead a remotely controlled underwater vehicle called Jason discovered oil-fouled dead and damaged corals at 1400 metres deep.
The concept of peak oil is familiar to most, but peak coal could be closer than energy analysts had imagined within the next two decades, making cheap coal a thing of the past.
In an attempt to become a world leader in the LNG industry, Shell Oil has been given the go ahead by the Australian Government to establish a floating LNG processing plant off the coast of Western Australian.
By putting in place legislation banning plastic shopping bags from stores throughout the island nation, American Samoa is taking a bold step in protecting its environment. American Samoa has taken the first big step and set in law the banning of plastic bags. The ban includes any non-biodegradable or non-compostable plastic bags that are petroleum based.
Big Coal is spending money in the US to make sure that an anti-environmental message stays at the top of the political agenda. Big Coal - the politically powerful lobbying and funding by the US coal industry - has a great deal of influence in West Virginia, as well as the other Rust Belt states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois. Governors and political parties know that funding from Big Coal may make or break a campaign, and they need to win votes from an electorate who are employed in, or dependent on, the coal industry.