February 2011


OK, so I am the first one to admit that humans have tinkered with animal’s and plant’s genetics for a 100,000 years before we even knew what genes were. The most famous was the creation or the domestication of wolfs. If you feed them and they did not bite you they got to stay. If they bit you, you killed it and got another one. Made sense when a friendly wolf bred with another friendly wolf, the puppies would be more friendlier. Same with cattle. Breed a big cow with another bigger cow and you get bigger stronger cows. But this process many times took 100s of years and you had time to figure out whether it was safe or not. This is now happening in a single year’s time. There is no telling what we could be unleashing on ourselves. Worse yet, the big players in this area are some of the worst players on the planet. Monsanto, Dow, BSF. Companies known to be rapists of the planet.

http://www.good.is/post/feast-your-eyes-the-atlas-of-genetically-modified-crops1/

Feast Your Eyes: The Atlas of Genetically Modified Crops


Yesterday, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, a nonprofit organization funded in large part by the biotech industry, issued a new report on the status of genetically modified crops around the world.

The Economist has used ISAAA’s data to make a map showing where in the world GM crops are grown. As you can see, the United States is by far the leader in the field, with 165 million acres (66.8 million hectares) of GM crops under cultivation, an increase of nearly 7 million acres on 2009 levels.

Clive James, ISAAA’s director and founder, told the BBC that more than 15 million farmers grow GM crops, and that, “during 2010, the accumulated commercial biotech plantation exceeded one billion hectares [2.47 billion acres]— that’s an area larger than the U.S. or China,” and equivalent to 10 percent of the world’s arable land.

Meanwhile, The Economist pointed out an interesting trend:

Developing countries are planting GM crops at a more rapid rate than rich countries. Brazil has added some 10m hectares [24.7 million acres] since 2008 and overtook Argentina as the second-biggest grower in 2010. India, too, increased its area by over 10 percent last year. The most popular crop is soya, while the most common modification is tolerance to herbicides.

With the European Union having just voted to allow animal feed imports containing up to 0.1 percent GM seeds (previously shipments found to contain any trace of non-approved biotech crops were turned away upon arrival at port), it does indeed seem—for better or for worse—as though GM crops are here to stay.

Chart via The Economist.

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I do not normally advise the US to attack third world countries. Especially over oil. But in this case the mad man is attacking his own people. The chaos is shutting down the oil fields in Libya and rippling through the oil world. He is threatening to set the oil fields on fire. He ordered naval vessels to bombard Tripoli. Where is the 5th Fleet when you need them.

http://chicagobreakingbusiness.com/2011/02/u-s-gas-prices-spike-6-cents-overnight.html

U.S., Chicago gas prices spike 6 cents overnight

By CNN
Posted today at 10:37 a.m.

A customer purchases gasoline at a Chicago Shell station on Feb. 7, 2011. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) 

U.S. gas prices jumped 6 cents overnight, as the recent spike in oil prices begins to hit filling stations across America. That marks the third day in a row that prices have risen, and brings the national average to the highest level since October 2008.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose 5.9 cents to $3.287, motorist group AAA said Friday. Gasoline also jumped 6 cents overnight in Chicago, where prices averaged $3.497.

So far this week, gas prices have increased nearly 12 cents a gallon. And analysts expect prices to continue higher in the next few days following a sharp rise in the price of crude oil.

Gas prices were highest in Hawaii, where drivers paid $3.757 a gallon, on average. Wyoming had the lowest gas prices at roughly, $3.014 a gallon.

The jump in pump prices follows a surge in prices for crude oil, the main ingredient in gasoline. Oil prices were holding near $98 a barrel early Friday morning, one day after prices hit a high of $103 a barrel — the highest since October 2008.

Economists warn that an energy price shock could hurt the economic recovery in the United States. In general, every $1 increase in the price of oil costs consumers $1 billion over the course of a year.

That’s concerning because consumer spending makes up the bulk of U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic growth.

Oil prices have been driven higher by political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, where much of the world’s oil comes from. Despite the surge in prices this week, the amount of oil that has been taken off the world market has been relatively minimal.

Read more about the topics in this post: ,

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More next week.

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I hope the lunatic rots in hell.

http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2011/02/libya-oil-updates.html

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Libyan Oil Grinding to a Halt

Here’s the latest:

At least 300kbd-400kbd of oil production are shut-in already, and likely more, but the situation is still confusing.

As much as a quarter of Libyan oil output has been shut down, Reuters calculations showed on Wednesday, as unrest prompted oil companies to warn of production cuts in Africa’s third-largest producer.

Austria’s OMV said on Wednesday it might be heading for a full production shutdown in Libya. Total, Repsol, Eni and BASF have also said they are either slowing or stopping output.

The latest comments point to a growing impact on oil output from Libya, which produces 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of high-quality oil, or almost 2 percent of world output. About 1.3 million bpd is exported, mainly to Europe.

According to Time Magazine’s Robert Baer, anonymous sources close to Gaddafi say he is now giving orders to sabotage Libya’s oil industry:

There’s been virtually no reliable information coming out of Tripoli, but a source close to the Gaddafi regime I did manage to get hold of told me the already terrible situation in Libya will get much worse. Among other things, Gaddafi has ordered security services to start sabotaging oil facilities. They will start by blowing up several oil pipelines, cutting off flow to Mediterranean ports. The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya’s rebellious tribes: It’s either me or chaos.

Libyan ports are shutting down:

Libyan cargo port operations have shut down due to increasing violence sweeping the country, Reuters has reported.

Operations at Tripoli, Benggazi and Misurata Mediterranean ports, which handle general cargo and container shipping, have closed.

In particular, oil exports appear to be halting completely:

Operations at Libyan oil ports were disrupted by a lack of communications, trade sources said, and flows from marine oil terminals in Libya were halted on Tuesday, an Italian government source said.

“The situation is worrying. This morning the oil terminals were blocked in Libya,” the government source said.

It was not possible to get through by phone to Libyan oil ports or shipping agents on Tuesday.

“Everything is out,” said a source with a major oil company. “We can’t get through to anyone. Our operations people say contact is impossible with the shipping agents, port officials, anyone. The lines are all down.”

The country appears to be descending into civil war:

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya kept his grip on the capital on Wednesday, but large areas of the east of the country remained out of his control amid indications that the fighting had reached the northwest of the country around Tripoli.

Libyans fleeing across the country’s western border to Tunisia reported fighting over the past two nights in the town of Sabratha, home of an important Roman archeological site 50 miles west of Tripoli. Reuters reported that thousands of Libyan forces loyal to Col. Qaddafi had deployed there.

“The revolutionary committees are trying to kill everyone who is against Qaddafi,” said a doctor from Sabratha who had just left the country, but who declined to give his name because he wanted to return.

Of course, as for the oil production losses, the Saudi’s say they stand ready to make up the difference:

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Go there and read the rest. More tomorrow I am afraid.

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This has an interesting storage system however so read the rest of the article.

http://www.green-energy-news.com/arch/nrgs2011/20110012.html

February 13, 2011 – Vol.15 No.48

OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY MEETS OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY STORAGE.
by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News

Eventually the United States will get its first offshore wind farm. No one is taking bets as to when it will go online. There have been many proposals, but so far resistance onshore has kept those projects from being built.

Still, wind resources are much better offshore than on and those windy resources are often near heavily populated areas that will be able and willing to consume electricity generated by those reliable ocean breezes.

As with many relatively expensive technologies it’s not such a bad thing to be a late adopter. Early adopters make and have to correct mistakes at a high cost. Early adopters too have only earliest versions of the technology to work with. Late adopters, on the other hand, learn from the mistakes of early adopters and need not repeat them. Late adopters also get to use newer, more sophisticated versions of the technology in question.

Offshore wind is one of those relatively expensive technologies that it’s OK to be a late adopter.

When U.S. offshore wind builders finally get around to planting the first turbine in the ocean bottom (or perhaps floating turbines in deep water over the horizon) they’ll have a better idea of the costs, know exactly how to install them and they’ll have access to far more powerful turbines than those used in the first offshore wind farms in Europe. The U.S. will benefit by being slow to adopt offshore wind, but the time has come to embrace the technology; wind developers know this, so does the U.S. government.

Even as dollars are being pinched in Washington, the Department of Energy has put aside $50.5 million for projects that support offshore wind energy development. The Department of the Interior too, in its Smart for the Start program, has given a hand to offshore wind development by designating four areas along the Mid-Atlantic coast to be on the fast track for regulatory approval.

The funding being offered by DOE can be used for the development of innovative wind turbine design tools and hardware to provide the foundation for a cost-competitive and world-class offshore wind industry in the United States (up to $25 million over 5 years); for baseline studies and targeted environmental research to characterize key industry sectors and factors limiting the deployment of offshore wind ( up to $18 million over 3 years); and for the development and refinement of next-generation designs for wind turbine drivetrains (up to $7.5 million over 3 years).

The Department of the Interior has chosen areas on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Delaware (122 square nautical miles), Maryland (207), New Jersey (417), and Virginia (165) to receive early environmental reviews that will help to lessen the time required for review, leasing and approval of offshore wind turbine facilities.

Government isn’t alone in seeking to develop offshore wind.

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More manana.

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OK, I do not normally do politics. But Moammar puts the tin in tinpot. Bombing your own people? Blowing up you own munitions stockpiles? Threatening to set the oil field on fire? Screwing with energy markets? There are any number of reasons to quit burning oil but he is reason number one.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/21/markets/libya_oil_unrest/

Libya: Why the oil market is nervous

oil prices

Click chart for oil and other commodity prices

By Ben Rooney, staff reporterFebruary 22, 2011: 9:42 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Libya is the first oil exporting nation to be engulfed in the political upheaval spreading across North Africa and the Middle East, and investors are worried that further chaos in the region will drive crude prices even higher.

U.S. oil prices soared more than 7% early Tuesday, coming within $2 of $100 a barrel. That’s on top of the 6% surge on Monday. The price spikes follow violent protests in Tripoli, Libya’s capital, that claimed an estimated 200 lives over the weekend.

Libya produces about 2% of the world’s oil but is a major regional player. In 2010, the country produced about 1.65 million barrels per day, making it Africa’s third-largest crude producer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It also supplies several hundred thousand barrels per day of natural gas and other liquid petroleum products.

In addition, Libya sits atop large reserves of oil and gas that have yet to be developed. Libya holds around 44 billion barrels of oil reserves — the largest in Africa — according to Oil and Gas Journal, an industry publication.

By contrast, Russia produces 10.1 million barrels per day, while the United States produces 9.8 million barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Administration. Saudi Arabia, currently observing OPEC production quotas, produces 8.57 million barrels per day. Those numbers include oil from ethanol, natural gas liquids and other products.

The world consumes 87.5 million barrels of oil day.

U.N. sanctions in place since 1992 had prevented most Western oil firms from operating in Libya after agents from the country’s intelligence service were implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270. The sanctions have left most of the country’s natural gas reserves, along with a lot of its oil, fairly undeveloped.

The sanctions were lifted in 2004, after Libya said it was disbanding its nuclear program and finished cooperating in the Pam Am case. In 2006, the United States officially took Libya off its list of states that sponsor terrorism. That opened the door for renewed investment in the oil and gas sector

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Oil is verging on 100 $$$ per barrel and once it goes past that. Who knows. Please see the article for more balanced analysis. More tomorrow.

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Harry Haynes sent this to me. Electric cars are so cool. Sorry I couldn’t post the video. You’ll have to go to the site to see it. It’s 10 minutes long but it is worth the time.

http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1686

Electric Drag Racing

View Related Episode: Beeswax Ship, Electric Drag Racing, Native Bumblebees

Oregon Field Guide: Electric Drag Racing

Go out to the drag strip for some racing gone green – without a drop of gas.

Watch as John Wayland’s electric car, the White Zombie leaves high powered gas cars in the dust as Portland makes a home for the National Electric Drag Racing Association. John claims that his car is the world’s fastest accelerating street legal electric car. See this 1972 Datsun time and time again take advantage of the electric motor’s full torque in the first instant and continue to break world records.

First Broadcast: 2007
Producer: Vince Patton
Videographers: Greg Bond, Michael Bendixen
Editor: Greg Bond

Appeared in episode: Beeswax Ship, Electric Drag Racing, Native Bumblebees

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More tomorrow.

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Key word here is nothing.

http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1055509_rearchers-100-percent-green-energy-possible-by-2050

Researchers: 100 Percent Green Energy Possible By 2050

John Voelcker February 16th, 2011 John Voelcker By John Voelcker Senior Editor February 16th, 2011

wind farmwind farm 

Enlarge Photo

We approach energy policy with care here, since GreenCarReports is largely about … well, cars.

But a recent article claims it could take just 40 years to convert the bulk of the world’s global energy usage from fossil fuels to renewable energy, primarily wind and solar power.

That’s not only vehicle fuel, but also electric-power generation, home heating, and the many other global activities that rely on the remarkably high energy density of the hydrocarbon molecules in coal, oil, and natural gas.

Beijing smogBeijing smog 

Enlarge Photo

Researchers from Stanford University and the University of California-Davis published their analysis in the journal Energy Policy.

Measuring costs vs benefits

The main challenges, say the authors, will be summoning the global will to make the conversion. “There are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources,” said author Mark Jacobson, a Stanford professor, saying it is only a question of “whether we have the societal and political will.”

Another challenge: accurately accounting for both the costs (which are comparatively easy to tally and project) and the benefits (which are tougher).

Power lines by Flickr user achouroPower lines by Flickr user achouro 

Enlarge Photo

When looking at the cost of junking half a century’s worth of existing power plants, for example, how can electric utilities benefit from the tens of billions of dollars in public health costs that will be avoided in the future once those emissions are no longer being generated?

Those public-health benefits might include saving 2.5 to 3 million lives each year.

And then there’s the benefit of halting climate change, not to mention reductions in water pollution, and increased energy security as more of each nation’s energy is generated from within its own borders.

Step One: New generation from renewables

The authors assessed the costs, benefits, and materials requirements necessary to convert the bulk of the world’s energy usage to renewable sources.

Nissan lithium-ion battery pack plant under construction, Smyrna, Tennessee, Jan 2011Nissan lithium-ion battery pack plant under construction, Smyrna, Tennessee, Jan 2011 

Enlarge Photo

Just as it will do over the next few decades for cars, electricity will play an increasingly large role, with 90 percent from wind turbines and various forms of solar generation.

Hydroelectric and geothermal sources would each provide about 4 percent of the total, with another 2 percent from wave and tidal power.

Vehicles would run either on electricity provided by the power grid, or hydrogen stored under high pressure and converted to electricity in a fuel cell. Airplanes would be fueled with liquid hydrogen. But, crucially, the hydrogen would all be produced electrically, with the electricity coming from those same renewable sources: wind, sun, and water.

Geothermal Power Plant in IcelandGeothermal Power Plant in Iceland 

Enlarge Photo

The analysis shows that the land and raw materials needed won’t pose a problem. What will be needed is a much more robust electrical grid.

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Have a great weekend. More next week.

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Advanced Energy Solutions
We Empower You to Get Energized ™
February 2011

You are subscribed as dougnic55@yahoo.com

Businesses Go Solar:
New Solar Incentives for 2011

aes-urbana.jpgChanges in tax laws, combined with a new utility incentive program, and bottoming out prices on solar equipment, have set up 2011 to be an excellent time for businesses to install solar.

The 2010 tax-cut extension bill shortens the schedule on depreciating a solar asset, now allowing for 100% depreciation in the first year after installation.

For example, new for 2011 is a solar incentive from Ameren Missouri for the purchase of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). Combining this new incentive with the existing Solar Rebate, 100% Depreciation, and the Federal Treasury Grant, businesses will realize an approximate 85% reduction in the first year cost for solar!

For businesses small and large, solar can be a strong investment: positive cash flow every year, short breakeven, increased Net Operating Income, and a double-digit Internal Rate of Return. Energy costs went up over 20% last year and will continue to go up, so no longer is energy incidental to your Balance Sheet. Establishing an ongoing energy strategy that includes renewable energy and efficiency can help manage “utility risk” while offering improved financial performance for facilities.

This is the best time of year to make plans for solar installation. A number of solar incentives are scheduled to sunset at the end of this year.  Even though it is cold up on the roof, planning and scheduling now can ensure you get the system installed this year before the tax laws change again for 2012. Contact AES Solar to learn about the incentives and the improved financial picture for solar.

This Year Only:
100% Depreciation Bonus for Solar Systems

This year is THE YEAR to invest in solar energy if you own a business!  Now, in addition to the 30% federal income tax credit already available, the federal government is providing an unheard of depreciation-based incentive to businesses that install a solar system.  The newly updated incentive offers a 100% depreciation bonus for systems installed during 2011 and a 50% bonus for those installed in 2012!

What does this mean for you?  It essentially means that it is possible to write off 85% of the cost of a solar system as an expense in the FIRST YEAR while still taking advantage of half of the 30% federal income tax credit!

This incentive was added to the mix in December of 2010 as part of The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.  For more information, check out:

The facts:
http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=US06F
How to calculate how it works for you:
http://www.sunmath.com/solar-blog/files/calculate-macrs-depreciation-solar.html

To take advantage of this super opportunity contact us at 1 800 229 0453 or chris@aessolar.com

Have a sunny day,

Chris Klarer
Technical Sales
Advanced Energy Solutions Group, Inc.

To stop receiving these emails please unsubscribe. 

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OK, so we spent the last 30 posts showing what the rightwing and the leftwing talking heads have been talking about. Now onto real news. This was forwarded to me by Andy Martin of Phat Andy’s Barbecue fame. Thanks for that man.

http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/smart-takes/amtraks-high-speed-rail-vision-for-2040-new-york-to-washington-in-96-minutes/11144/

Amtrak’s high-speed rail vision for 2040: New York to Washington in 96 minutes

By Andrew Nusca | Sep 30, 2010 | 37 Comments

Amtrak on Tuesday unveiled its vision for high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor by 2040, and it’s a doozy.

According to the train operator’s “A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor” report (.pdf), progress in the next 30 years could bring trips from New York City to Washington, D.C. in 96 minutes and trips from Boston to New York in just 84 minutes.

Amtrak is thinking “world class” rail, and the plan involves speeds of up to 220 miles per hour (about 354 kilometers per hour) that, all said and done, would slash existing commute times between the aforementioned cities in half.

But no plan is without a price tag, and Amtrak hangs that vision on a peg of $117.5 billion.

Here’s a statistical rundown of how that adds up on the ground:

  • Deadline: 2040.
  • Ridership by 2040: 18 million.
  • Capacity to expand beyond that: up to 80 million annually.
  • Frequency: one to four trains per hour in each direction, with additional trains for peak demand. Today: 42 per day. Tomorrow: 148.
  • Plan would generate an annual operating surplus (yes, you read that correctly) of about $900 million.
  • More than 40,000 full-time construction jobs each year for 25 years’ worth of building track, tunnels, bridges and stations.
  • More than 120,000 permanent jobs benefit from “improved economic productivity” along the corridor
  • $4.7 billion investment each year over 25 years, or $117.5 billion in total.

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Next up, cheaper more efficient solar pane. More tomorrow.

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Ted is no liberal. Ted is no kinda green peace leftie. He is an old school leftie. If there is a war, there must be an economic reason. Iraq was about oil and funding the military industrial complex. Afghanistan is about an oil and gas pipeline and funding the military industrial complex.

http://www.rall.com/rallblog/books

Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?
Essays and Graphic Novellas, 2006
NBM Hardback, 6?x9?, 304 pp., $22.95

“Ted Rall’s Silk Road to Ruin is a rollicking, subversive and satirical portrait of the region that is part travelogue, part graphic novel. It’s fresh and edgy and neatly captures the reality of travel in the region.”
—Lonely Planet Guide to Central Asia

Comprising travelogue, political analysis and five graphic novellas, SILK ROAD TO RUIN is the book Ted Rall wanted to write in lieu of TO AFGHANISTAN AND BACK: a comprehensive look at what he calls the “New Middle East”–the part of the world the United States will focus upon in the near future. SILK ROAD TO RUIN, featuring an introduction by “Taliban” author Ahmed Rashid, includes 200 pages of essays about everything from oil politics to the wild sport of buzkashi and 100 pages of graphic novel–format comics about five of his trips to the region.

Elderly Central Asians are starving to death in nations sitting atop the world’s largest untapped reserves of oil and natural gas. Looters are cavalierly ambling around in flatbed trucks loaded with disinterred nuclear missiles. Statues of and slogans by crazy dictators are springing up as quickly as their corrupt military policemen can rob a passing motorist. And on the main drag in the capital city of each of these profoundly dysfunctional societies, a gleaming American embassy whose staff quietly calls the shots in a new campaign to de-Russify access to those staggering energy resources.

CIA agents, oilmen and prostitutes mix uneasily and awkwardly in ad hoc British-style pubs where beers cost a dollar–a day’s pay and more than enough to keep out the locals. In an extreme case of the “oil curse,” wealth is being pillaged by U.S.-backed autocrats while their subjects plunged into poverty. Meanwhile Taliban-trained Islamic radicals are waiting to fill the vacuum.

It is a volatile mix. But does anybody care?

Transformed by what he saw being done in America’s name and eager to sound the alarm, Rall went back to remote Central Asia again and again. He returned to visit the region’s most rural mountain villages. He brought two dozen ordinary Americans on the bus tour from hell. He went as a rogue independent and as a guest of the State Department. He returned to cover the American invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11, then went back again. Capitals moved, street names changed and the economic fortunes of entire nations turned on a dime from year to the next, but those changes merely reinforced Rall’s firm belief that Central Asia is the new Middle East: thrilling, terrifying, simultaneously hopeful and bleak, a battleground for proxy war and endless chaos. It is the ultimate tectonic, cultural and political collision zone. Far away from television cameras and Western reporters, Central Asia is poised to spawn some of the new century’s worst nightmares.

To order a copy inscribed by Ted to the person of your choice, click here (price includes shipping within the United States):

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More tomorrow.

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