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News articles on oil
Mongabay.com news articles on oil in blog format. Updated regularly.
(12/17/2008) A new tool helps motorists evaluate the fuel efficiency of their vehicle in terms that more accurately reflect the cost of driving than miles-per-gallon (MPG).
Limiting global warming to 2-degree rise will require $180/t carbon price says energy think tank
(11/13/2008) In a report released Wednesday the International Energy Agency warned that a business-as-usual approach to energy use would result in a 6°-degree rise in temperatures putting hundreds of millions at risk from reduced water supplies and diminished agricultural production. But the agency said that limiting temperature rise to 2-3°-rise by the end of the century would be "possible, but very hard."
First RSPO-certified ("eco-friendly") palm oil shipment to arrive in Europe
(11/10/2008) The first shipment of palm oil certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is expected to arrive in Europe Tuesday, but an environmental group is already criticizing the initiative's credentials.
In final weeks, President Bush aims to extend his environmental legacy
(11/09/2008) On Tuesday, November 4th, the people of the United States elected a new president, Senator Barack Obama. Many feel a new day is coming on a number of issues, including the environment. However the Bush Administration has 72 days left in its term and appears hopeful to use every one of those to make last-minute changes to environmental rules that will have wide-ranging impacts on the nation's endangered species, air, water, parks, and undeveloped land. As the administration has done since taking office eight years ago, it is working toward such policies—all of them controversial—to benefit industry at the cost of the environment and health safeguards.
EU's sustainable biofuels push angers Malaysia, Brazil
(11/07/2008) Eight developing countries threatened to file a World Trade Organization complaint against the E.U. for its proposed legislation to require imported biofuels to meet environmental standards, reports Reuters.
Air travel may be powered by biofuels in 3-5 years
(10/27/2008) Boeing says biofuel-powered planes are only three-to-five years away from being a reality, reports The Guardian.
Peru's uncontacted Amazon tribes under attack
(10/22/2008) Illegal logging in the Peruvian Amazon is driving uncontacted tribes into Brazil where they are in conflict over food and resources with other uncontacted groups, according to a Reuters interview with a leading expert on indigenous tribes.
Ecuador's plan to protect rainforest from oil drilling looks doomed
(10/09/2008) Ecuador's proposal to protect one of the world's most biodiverse rainforests from oil development has failed to secure any funding ahead at its December deadline, reports the Guardian Unlimited.
Chevron loses attempt to reduce payment in suit by Amazon rainforest natives
(10/08/2008) Chevron lost its attempt to force arbitration in a case in which it could be liable for billions of dollars to pay for cleaning up damages to the Amazon rainforest in eastern Ecuador.
US government: $28 carbon price would raise gas prices by 25 cents
(10/08/2008) A national carbon price under a cap-and-trade system would have a limited impact on gasoline prices, reports a new study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The report estimates that a carbon price of $28 per ton — a bit less than current carbon prices in the European market — would boost gas prices by 25 cents per gallon, while a $200 per ton tax would increase prices by less then $2. The findings suggest that the cost of climate change legislation may be lower than claimed by industry, but also indicate that efforts to curb Americans' driving habitats via a carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme may be of limited effectiveness. A $2 increase in the price of gas would still leave U.S. fuel prices well below those in most of the world.
CO2 emissions accelerate 400% as world turns to dirtier fuels
(09/26/2008) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose at a record clip in 2007, according to the Global Carbon Project's annual overview of the greenhouse gas.
Falling palm oil price makes palm biodiesel viable, may offer target for NGOs
(09/10/2008) Plunging palm oil prices are increasing its attractiveness as a biofuel feedstock and thereby helping buoy demand for the oilseed, reports Reuters.
Obama talks science: ocean health, water scarcity, climate change, and more
(09/05/2008) Presidential nominee Barack Obama recently answered fourteen science-related questions for the organization Science Debate 2008. The questions covered a wide-variety of topics, including the importance of innovation, science and math education, energy policies, national security and biosecurity, genetics research, stem cells, space exploration, health, support for research and restoring scientific integrity in the Whitehouse. Below are brief descriptions of his answers on three topics: climate change, water scarcity, and the health of marine ecosystems. Republican presidential nominee John McCain has also been sent the same fourteen questions, so far he has not responded.
Republicans backtrack, call for end to ethanol requirements in gas
(09/02/2008) Meeting at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, Republicans Monday called for an end to a requirement that gasoline contain a set amount of ethanol, reports Reuters.
Oil development could destroy the most biodiverse part of the Amazon
(08/12/2008) 688,000 square kilometers (170 million acres) of the western Amazon is under concession for oil and gas development, according to a new study published in the August 13 edition of the open-access journal PLoS ONE. The results suggest the region, which is considered by scientists to be the most biodiverse on the planet and is home to some of the world's last uncontacted indigenous groups, is at great risk of environmental degradation.
Clean energy gold rush in 2007
(07/01/2008) New investment in renewables and energy efficiency surpassed $148 billion in 2007, rising 60 percent rise from 2006, according to an analysis issued Tuesday July 1 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). High oil prices drove the trend.
Energy firm to mine oil sands in the Republic of Congo
(05/21/2008) Eni SpA, one of Italy's largest energy companies, has signed an agreement to exploit oil sands in the Republic of Congo, reports The Wall Street Journal.
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions reach record high in 2007
(05/21/2008) U.S. carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.6 percent in 2007 to a new record reported the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA).
American demand for gas, big cars begins to wane
(03/03/2008) With crude oil today setting an inflation-adjusted record high, the Wall Street Journal reports that Americans are cutting back on gasoline consumption.
35-mpg mileage target will save consumers $22 billion a year in gas costs
(12/03/2007) The recently passed 35-miles per gallon target for the U.S. car fleet will save American consumers $22 billion a year in gasoline costs assuming an average price of $2.55 according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. However price premiums on fuel-efficient technologies could eat into these savings, reports an article in the Wall Street Journal.
Cooking oil, palm oil biodiesel can reduce emissions relative to diesel
(11/28/2007) A lifecycle analysis of biodiesel by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) shows that using palm oil derived from existing plantations can be an effective biofuel feedstock for reducing greenhouse gas emissions relative to conventional diesel fuel. However, palm oil sourced from rainforest and peatlands generating emissions 8 to 21 times greater than those from diesel.
Carbon dioxide can be safely stored in porous sandstone of former oil fields
(11/28/2007) New research suggests that carbon dioxide can be safely geosequestered in porous sandstone that formely contained oil. The findings may help scientists devise alternative mechanisms for fighting global warming.
Dutch: no subsidies for biofuels-driven rainforest destruction
(10/31/2007) The Dutch government will exclude palm oil from "green energy" subsidies as growing evidence suggests that palm oil is often less sustainable than advertised.
Brazil to search for oil in the Amazon
(10/21/2007) Brazil's plan to seek oil in the Western Amazon has upset environmentalists, reports the Associated Press (AP). The National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, plans to put US$36 million toward oil and gas exploration in Acre, a state bordering Bolivia, according to Brazilian state media Agencia Brasil, but environmental officials say no impact study has been done to assess how the plan could affect the Amazon.
With Corn ethanol more costly than oil, is Jatropha a better biofuel?
(08/24/2007) Jatropha may be a more economic biofuel than corn-based ethanol, reported the The Wall Street Journal on Friday, citing research from Goldman Sachs.
Economics of next generation biofuels
(08/08/2007) 'Second generation' biorefineries -- those making biofuel from lignocellulosic feedstocks like straw, grasses and wood -- have long been touted as the successor to today's grain ethanol plants, but until now the technology has been considered too expensive to compete. However, recent increases in grain prices mean that production costs are now similar for grain ethanol and second generation biofuels, according to a paper published in the first edition of Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining.
100 years ago: oil shortages spur need for alternative fuels
(08/08/2007) The fuels committee of the Motor Union of Great Britain and Ireland has issued a valuable report on motor-car fuels... a famine in petrol appears to be inevitable in the near future, owing to the fact that demand is increasing at a rate much greater than the rate of increase of the supply. In 1904 the consumption of petrol in the United Kingdom was 12,000,000 gallons; in 1907 it had risen to 27,000,000 gallons... the committee discusses in the report other possible fuels. The supply is divided into two parts. The first includes all fuels limited in quantity...The second group contains one item only - alcohol - and it is evident from the whole tone of the report that the committee expects to find in denatured vegetable spirits the fuel of the future.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will cut pollution, emissions, oil use
(07/20/2007) Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality significantly by 2050, reports a new study by The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Fuel efficiency boost wins unanimous Senate support
(06/22/2007) The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to raise fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks as part of the new energy bill.
Extortion or global warming mitigation?
(05/24/2007) Marketwatch reported more details on Ecuador's proposal to forgo development of Amazonian oil fields in exchange for payments from industrialized nations. Last month Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that if the South American country is compensated with half of the forecasted lost revenues, it will not exploit oil in Yasuni National Park, setting aside the area for wildlife and indigenous people. Correa said the cost would be about $350 million per year.
California sues Bush administration over fuel standards
(05/14/2007) Monday California sued the Bush administration for "illegally adopting 'dangerously misguided' gas mileage rules." In a lawsuit backed by 11 states, the suit alleges that the Highway Traffic Safety Administration's new mileage standards violate federal law by ignoring both the environment environmental impact on oil use and the country's growing dependence on imported oil.
Carbon dioxide emissions lag 25% behind 2012 targets
(05/08/2007) The world is far behind carbon dioxide emissions targets set by the Kyoto Protocol reports the Little Green Data Book 2007, an annual publication put out by the World Bank. The publication notes that global carbon dioxide emissions have risen 19 percent since 1990, more than 25 percent behind goals set forth under the Kyoto Protocol, which called for a 5.2 percent reduction from 1990 levels.
Reps Lott and Stevens oppose fuel efficiency bill
(05/08/2007) Tuesday the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill that would raise the passenger fleet automobile fuel standard to an average 35 miles per gallon by 2020, reports Reuters.
China finds 7.5 billion barrel oilfield
(05/08/2007) PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas producer, announced the discovery of a 7.5 billion barrel oil field off the northeast coast of China. The find, in an undersea field in Bohai Bay, is the largest in Asia in four decades and will boost China's known oil reserves by 20 percent. Nevertheless, the discovery will not be enough to offset China's oil imports, which have surged in recent years due to a booming economy and rapid adoption of automobiles.
Cost of stabilizing climate 0.1% per year
(05/04/2007) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its long awaiting installment on climate change mitigation, arguing that the costs of offsetting global warming will be much lower than some claim. The IPCC estimates that emissions can be reduced rapidly using existing technology at a cost of 3 percent of GDP, or 0.12 percent per year over the next 25 years, though new technologies could further reduce this cost. While the projections are encouraging, they may be conservative. Some analysts, including the well-respected Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, have calculated that emissions targets that would stabilize the climate could be achieved at no net cost and possibly even a profit. Even McKinsey & Company, a leading management consulting firm, agrees, putting the net cost of reducing emissions by 46 percent at zero.
Ecuador: pay us not to develop Amazon oil reserves
(04/27/2007) Ecuador says it will wait a year to see whether the international community takes its offer to forsake development of a giant oil field in the Amazon rainforest in exchange for compensation, reports the Environmental News Service.
Chevron shareholders may be liable for billions in environmental damages
(04/25/2007) The lead lawyer in the landmark environmental lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuador is in California to warn that the oil major has failed to prepare for a possible multi-billion dollar damages bill within the coming months
U.S. can cut oil imports to zero by 2040, use to zero by 2050
(03/29/2007) The United States could dramatically cut oil usage over the next 20-30 years at low to no net cost, said Amory B. Lovins, cofounder and CEO of the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute, speaking at Stanford University Wednesday night for a week-long evening series of lectures sponsored by Mineral Acquisition Partners, Inc.
Middle East oil less important than African oil for US
(02/22/2007) Preliminary data from the Energy Information Administration indicate that U.S. crude oil imports from Africa exceeded supplies from the Middle East in 2006 for the first time in 21 years.
Newly tapped Alaska energy source could potentially replace oil
(02/22/2007) Researchers in Alaska have successfully drilled gas hydrates -- frozen methane deposits that could someday replace petroleum as a key energy source.
California Oil Tax Pits Venture Capitalists Versus Big Oil
(09/27/2006) Oil firms are locked in a fierce battle with venture capitalists and environmentalists over Proposition 87, California's proposed oil tax, according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal. California votes on the initiative November 7.
Bush Administration doing little to treat "addiction to oil"
(08/09/2006) The Bush Administration is doing little to treat America's "addiction to oil" according to an article in today's Wall Street Journal. In his January 31 State of the Union address, President Bush said it was time to do something about America's dependence on foreign oil. Rising oil prices and unrest in the Middle East are of growing concern in the United States which leads the world in oil consumption -- the vast majority of which comes from overseas, especially the Middle East.
California fails to curb its oil addiction, no luck with alternative fuels thus far
(08/02/2006) California has failed in its efforts to curb its addiction to oil says an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal.
Madagascar, Mired in Poverty, Lures Exxon Oil Search
(07/18/2006) Two-wheeled ox carts and decades-old Renaults choke the cobbled streets of Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital, reminders of how slowly the country has advanced since independence in 1960. Now the government is auctioning oil drilling rights to improve the lives of its 18 million citizens.
American cars heavier, less fuel efficient in 2006 than 1986 finds EPA
(07/18/2006) $3 gasoline no impact on American car sales finds EPA but agency takes a noteworthy stance on both climate change and energy security. Despite record nominal gas prices, American consumers continue to cars that are less fuel efficient than 20 years ago according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Technique could add "tens of billion of barrels" to Saudi reserves
(07/10/2006) An oil recovery technique using steam injection could add "tens of billion of barrels" to Saudi Arabia's reserves said Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The paper reports that earlier this year U.S.-based Chevron Corp. began a field test of a technique that could pump heavy crude oil that previously considered unrecoverable. The story shows that high oil prices will continue to drive drillers to pursue traditionally marginal sources of energy, even ones that a particularly difficult to recover and refine.
New process makes fuel from simple sugar
(06/29/2006) The soaring prices of oil and natural gas have sparked a race to make transportation fuels from plant matter instead of petroleum. Both biodiesel and gasoline containing ethanol are starting to make an impact on the market.
Ecuador's oil nationalization may hurt environment
(05/23/2006) Last week Ecuador seized Amazon oilfields controlled by Occidental, an American oil firm which produces about 20 percent of the country's oil output and has invested about $1 billion since 1999. The decision will bring a short-term boost in government revenue while appealing to street protestors who have caused havoc for the country's politicians over the past few years. However, looking the beyond the politics, the seizure could have implications for the environment of the country which is home to some of the world's most biodiverse ecosystems.
Exxon Valdez oil spill more damaging to wildlife finds study
(05/16/2006) New evidence suggests that oil from the Exxon Valdez may still causing damage to Alaska's Prince William Sound, 17 years after the ship ran aground. The study, by chemist Jeffrey Short and colleagues at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Juneau, Alaska, appears today on the Web site of the American Chemical Society's journal.
US has low-cost alternatives to oil; peak oil frenzy and human-induced climate change avoidable says Columbia University
(05/14/2006) Surging oil prices have fueled calls for the United States to develop new sources of affordable and secure domestic energy. While renewable energy -- especially biofuels, wind power, and solar technologies -- is an area of particular interest, researchers from the Earth Institute at Columbia University say that the U.S. already has relatively low-cost alternatives to imported oil, including coal, tar sands, and oil shale. These resources can be extracted and used at a lower cost to the environment than some might expect. In a report published in the most recent issue of Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Klaus S. Lackner and Jeffrey D. Sachs argue that "coal alone could satisfy the country's energy needs of the twenty-first century." They say that "coal liquefaction, or the process of deriving liquid fuels from coal, is already being used in places and with expanded infrastructure could provide gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel at levels well below current prices." Further, Sachs and Lackner suggest that "environmental constraints such as increased carbon dioxide emissions arising from greater use of coal and other fossil fuels could be avoided for less than 1 percent of gross world product by 2050," a sum far less than others have estimated.
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