Climate & Energy

Oil Futures

What we don’t know (but think we do) about oil prices might hurt us

Predicting the future is hard. It's so difficult that even teams of analysts using fancy models get results like this: This isn't back-of-the-envelope stuff. This is the U.S. Energy Information Administration's official prediction for oil prices, circa 2007. According to the "high price" scenario, oil may reach $100 per barrel some time around 2030. But wait: oil was at $127 last week. So, not only was the EIA projection wrong -- it was wildly and completely wrong. Okay, everyone makes mistakes, even energy analysts. In 2008, the EIA cleaned up its act and produced this forecast:

Daily Show on green McCain

A man on emission:

Carly Fiorina on McCain

RNC ‘Victory Chair’ talks about McCain’s climate agenda

Grist recently caught a few minutes with Carly Fiorina, the “Victory Chair” of the Republican National Committee. (Quite the title, eh? Apparently it means she’s …

Driven to abstraction

The climate crisis cannot be solved without cost-benefit analysis

Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown law professor, has written an essay arguing against the embrace of cost-benefit analysis by environmentalists. She suggests that environmentalists enjoy nature …

Note to media/Bush

Saudis/OPEC don’t control the price of oil any more

With Bush going to Saudi Arabia to beg -- again -- for lower prices, the media is gaga over a confrontation that has about as much significance as a Rocky Balboa fight. Even the venerable NYT just published an article, "Bush Rebuffed on Oil Plea in Saudi Arabia," that opens, "With the price of oil hitting record highs, President Bush used a private visit with King Abdullah to make a second attempt to persuade the Saudis to increase oil production and was rejected yet again." Unlike the 1970s and 1980s and even much of the 1990s, neither OPEC nor the Saudis any longer control the price of oil. If any country had a million barrels a day of (sellable) spare oil capacity, they could make more than $100 million a day selling it, even if that much new oil dropped prices 20%, which it probably wouldn't. Who would sit on that kind of money? Yes, the Saudis are selling over 8 million barrels a day, so they don't really need the money. But if they have any significant excess capacity, it is sour or high-sulfur crude (see the other experts on the full CNBC interview here). Such crude is not currently in demand: "Many refineries are not set up to process such crude because it is more difficult and expensive to refine into products."

Nitrogen bomb

‘Science': nitrogen as important as carbon in climate change

Speaking of the troubles associated with industrial agriculture and its fertilizer regime, check this out: The public does not yet know much about nitrogen, but …

High gas prices, healthy new habits

Gallup shows Americans making smart choices to break the gas habit.

It took soaring fuel prices for old habits to shift. But they're shifting alright. Just take a look at these poll results -- Gallup finds that big numbers of Americans are making changes in their daily lives to deal with higher gas prices. Here's a snapshot:

Conservative Christians launch skeptical climate campaign

Conservative religious leaders have launched a “We Get It!” campaign that just goes to prove that saying something doesn’t make it so. The campaign aims …

A future for FutureGen?

Senate slips life support for ‘clean coal’ boondoggle into war supplemental package

Remember FutureGen, the pilot program that was supposed to yield the nation’s first zero-emissions, “clean coal” power plant? The one that even the Bush administration …