Enviro News Wrap: COP18 Underway; Is Sandy the New Normal; the Economics Of NatGas, and more
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- UN Climate Talks in Qatar start on November 26 and the initial terms of the Kyoto Protocol is expiring this year. Will Storm Sandy have any impact on the US position and role, and will the world ever agree on a plan to solve the climate crisis?
- Natural gas is taking advantage of this era of low prices (about half of oil) and is moving into fueling vehicles. The price of natural gas will go up in the long-term, but for big companies it's a good short to mid-term plan. The more the industry can innovate and "Green" itself the more natural gas will be the green alternative to oil. Production of natural gas in the US will increase, the only question is how it will be produced. Japan is very interested in importing natural gas, and with export interest like that US companies will definitely come up with the goods.
- Shell has a renewable energy leg of the company; the comments in this interview with Dick William, the President of Shell Wind, are striking when you keep in mind that Wind costs society less, oil and coal have lower prices, and you can't make a profit off of good will. Also, the long term-profit potential for wind is huge.
- After Storm Sandy the media has highlighted insurance companies that have always been worried about increased claims from climate change related weather events. Imagine buying extra coverage for "Super Storms."
- Obama's environmental record has been mixed, but it's always better than any Republican's policies. Obama is the true pragmatist walking in the middle of the road and is following through with an "all of the above" platform.
- Some county governments are not profiting like they thought they would from big Solar projects and aren't happy about losing money. I sympathize with the county governments, but, oh, if only county governments in Ohio would be outraged about increased expenses due to the explosion of asthma rates in urban centers.
- There are so many wars in the Middle East it is hard to keep track of which war is impacting the price of oil by how much. As Iraq recovers it will begin to export the trove of oil that it holds in the ground.
- Rare Earth Metals have become a focus of the US recently, not due to rarity but due to the environmental impact of extraction and China's control of output. For our technology of the future, green or not, we need to either fight for more control or just innovate away from using these resources.