Category Archives: Energy

Home (Video)

‘Home’ trailer (watch the full documentary here)
Also available in Arabic, French, German, Russian and Spanish.

This documentary, ‘Home‘, is almost perfect.

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Also posted in Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming, Pollution, Water

Update on Shell Lawsuit

I know many of you will be wondering what happened in the Wiwa vs. Shell case I wrote about recently, as they were scheduled for a June 3 pre-trial conference, and that date has now long passed.

Well, Shell kept delaying and there were no reasons given. Now, however, we see what was going on behind the scenes – Shell was deliberating over an out of court settlement of 15.5 million dollars, which the plaintiffs ultimately accepted.

I’m torn over the outcome – jubilant in one respect, and feeling wholly dissatisfied in another. The good news is that Shell is being taken to task over its activities in the Niger Delta, and is having to cough up some cash to compensate. And, it’s great to see the power of democracy through the internet, as months ago Shell dismissed the plaintiffs as if they didn’t expect the case to go to trial or to gather any steam. With many bloggers picking up the scent, and bringing this issue to the greater public, pressure grew and grew until they realised this situation was not going to be easily swept under the mat. It’s great to see a revolution of typing bringing succour to the underdog.

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Also posted in Geopolitics & Economics, Pollution

The Video Shell Doesn’t Want You to See

Photo credit: Ed Kashi

The video below was originally displayed on – the website for the plaintiffs filing a law suit against the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell – but was removed by court order after legal motions were filed by the multinational. Thanks to YouTube, however, the video has a new lease of life and has at time of typing been viewed over 65,000 times since being uploaded two weeks ago. It’s a decent introduction to the atrocities committed by the corporation in collusion with the Nigerian government and its military, spotlighting their determined efforts to put down a peaceful and popular movement by the citizens of Nigeria against the violent, corporate control and destruction of their lives, land and resources.

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Also posted in Geopolitics & Economics, Global Warming, Pollution

Why ‘Increased Energy Efficiency’ Won’t Save Us

There’s a lot of talk in political circles on how technology and ‘increased efficiency’ will save us from our socioeconomic and ecological woes. The U.S., for example, is finally getting a little more serious about vehicle fuel efficiency standards, and we’re sharpening our pencils in many other areas as well.

Saving energy is course a good thing – indeed, it should be seen as an imperative moral duty. I mean, on a cold, windy winter’s day, would you wander around the house in your underwear with the heaters wound to max and curtains flailing wildly through wide open windows? Most would consider this obscene. In the same way, producing vehicles that unashamedly consume vast amounts of ancient forest just for a race between the lights is the ultimate in stupidity.

But, having said all that, too few understand that just making something more efficient doesn’t necessarily translate into an energy saving. On the contrary, it has been repeatedly shown that greater efficiency translates easily into greater consumption.

Yes, read that last sentence again.

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Also posted in Consumerism, Geopolitics & Economics

Nuclear Fusion – a Long Shot?

Nuclear Fusion in the sun
already powers our lives

If you could compare all the different applications of clean technology (solar, wind, etc.) to horses in a race, I guess you could say that Nuclear Fusion is the ‘long shot’. It’s the old nag that everyone expects to come in last, if it comes in at all. But, as long shots do, if it does come in the pay-off would be huge.

Often slated to be a fifty year project, the time-frame has recently been chiselled down to a ‘modest’ thirty years – maybe.

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Also posted in Nuclear

Food Futures Now – Feeding People & Place Without Fossil Fuels

It’s time to pull the world back
from the brink — we can do it!

We live in interesting times, don’t we? We’re currently witnessing a convergence of problems that threaten life as we know it, not to mention our sanity. I say our sanity, as sometimes it can feel that the societal changes needed are on such a scale, and our embedded infrastructure is so established and inflexible, that we can feel like a helpless, captive audience — just along for the roller coaster ride (where the roller coaster is being maintained by a crew focused only on short-term gain…). Those of us with children fear for their future. Indeed, we wonder what life will be like for ourselves over the coming few years, let alone the next couple of decades.

But at the same time as we’re having apocalyptic visions, we’re also seeing a heightened awareness of, and desire for, solutions, and an eagerness and sense of urgency to implement them.
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Also posted in Food Shortages, Global Warming, GMOs, Society

Staring at the Future from the Top of the Slippery Slide

The IEA World Energy Outlook reports get more accurate every year – by 2030 it’ll be spot on.

Disclaimer: As the title should indicate, don’t read this post if you’re of a delicate disposition.

The International Energy Agency has just released the latest incarnation of its annual ‘World Energy Outlook‘ report – the 2008 edition. Please stand for a moment of mock-reverence.

Thank you. Please be seated.

For those not familiar, the IEA releases an annual report, making reasonably detailed projections of expected energy supplies and demands for the nations of the world. It breaks these total energy forecasts down into its various sources (oil, coal, natural gas, renewables, etc.), and looks at expected economic growth trends for different countries and sectors and their impacts on energy consumption. The last several editions have covered the period from publication to the year 2030, and they have also factored in a few different scenarios to roughly cover policy changes that could occur throughout the period to give policymakers an idea of potential outcomes.

It is certainly a worthwhile endeavour – you could say critical, actually. If only they did it well.

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Also posted in Geopolitics & Economics, Global Warming

Powering Down – Will We?

Most underestimate the implications…

Through our Hollywood-tinted glasses we’re accustomed to happy endings. The instinctive “it won’t happen to me” mentality is alive and well, but, whilst perhaps preserving the comfortable status quo (if not our sanity), it does little to promote objectivity. In a world threatened by global warming, potential constructive accomplishments are thus too often hampered and bogged down in the realm of discourse and debate.

In plain English – we need to get real.

On this note, check out the following clip. Richard Heinburg, the author of the book “Powering Down“, has much to say on possible strategies, or failing that, outcomes, for our post peak-oil world. I think it’s time we really examine, not just computer climate models – but societal projections.

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Also posted in Consumerism, Geopolitics & Economics, Global Warming, Society

The Rise and Predictable Fall of Globalized Industrial Agriculture

Today I’d like to introduce you to a (well written and beautifully presented) report, titled – ‘The Rise and Predictable Fall of Globalized Industrial Agriculture‘ (55 page, 2.4mb PDF). The title says it all. Should you be concerned? Yes.

Your concern, however, should not be that the globalised industrial agribusiness model will collapse – this is not only inevitable, but also necessary, and, might I add, desirable – the focus should instead be on when and how it will fall.

Let me explain.

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Also posted in Global Warming, Pollution, Soil

Peak Oil and Petrodollars

Peak Oil and a developing trend to switch international oil trading from the weakening U.S. dollar to the Euro (€) may fuel more oil grabs, economic collapse, and further disregard for climate change

World governments, many of whom currently pay lip service to the present and future problems associated with a warming planet, are eager to add to these woes by arguing (and perhaps soon fighting?) over anticipated new oil discoveries as the arctic ice continues to shrink. We know burning fossil fuels causes global warming, but we are tripping over ourselves to find more to burn. This makes it expedient to review some of the factors involved in our continued free-for-all over oil. Some of what follows may surprise.

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Also posted in Geopolitics & Economics, Global Warming