Friday, September 28, 2007

The Seven Commandments of Mexican ethanol

From's How the World Works:

What is the perfect biofuel solution? Or is the very concept hopelessly utopian? Globalization and the Environment highlights an exploration of how one might go about constructing a sustainable ethanol economy that simultaneously serves the interests of social justice, the environment, and renewable energy, in the context of Mexico.

The overriding goal of author Ricardo Cantú in his delightfully titled "Ethanolomics: The Think-About's of the Mexican Ethanol Project" is to devise a strategy for improving the living standards of the rural poor in Mexico via an invigoration of the agricultural economy, without committing the major sin of inducing price hikes in food staples that will hurt the urban poor.

Achieving the desired balance will not be easy. As ground rules, Cantu provides a set of guidelines:

They are:...MORE
(Sorry about the tease, I've got to dash).

First Solar's Day In The Sun

From Forbes:

First Solar, a pricey stock in the pricey world of solar-energy stocks, had a bright session in the stock market on Friday after it announced a new factory and got a pat on the back from a stock analyst.

Phoenix-based First Solar (nasdaq: FSLR - news - people ) rose 7.0%, or $7.71, to $117.76, after it said it was adding a third factory to a complex it is building in Malaysia. The new unit will have a production capacity of 120 megawatts of solar modules per year and will cost about $150 million. It is expected to become operational in 2009.

The rise in First Solar's shares brought the stock within $6 of its record high of $123.21, set July 31.

First Solar currently operates factories in the United States and Germany with an annual production capacity of 210 megawatts. It hopes to raise that to 570 megawatts when the Malaysian project is complete.

The announement comes after First Solar announced in July a slew of new long-term deals in Europe. The European Union is aiming to have 21% of its energy produced by renewable resources by 2010. (See "Making Hay While The Sun Shines").

"Our customers have demonstrated that they are among the best-positioned in the industry to develop meaningful project pipelines for large ground and roof-mounted projects across the European Union," stated Mike Ahearn, chief executive officer of First Solar....MORE

See also: "Climateer Predicts"

Iran - Pakistan - India Gas Pipeline Stuck in Quick Sand

We told you this was going to be tough*.

From Energy Bangla:

They call it peace pipeline. Iran Government embarked on serous efforts to promote higher gas export abroad since the discovery of giant South Pars Gas field in 1988. In 1995 Pakistan and Iran signed a preliminary agreement for construction of a natural gas pipeline linking the gas field in the Persian Gulf with Karachi, Pakistan’s main industrial port located at the Arabian Sea.

Iran later proposed an extension of the pipeline from Pakistan to India. This pipeline if implemented will not only meet India’s growing energy demand to a great extent but also will also benefit Pakistan from Iranian natural gas exports as Pakistan’s territory will be used as transit route. India initially opposed the idea mainly due to the historically traditional tense relations and rivalry. It came up with an alternate idea for development of a deep sea pipeline where no threat to security of resources would exist. From 2000 the three governments met at regular interval and advanced the initiative to a great distance. But not it seems India due to its changed relation with USA has started thinking otherwise.

India skipped a crucial official talk on the $7.4 billion IPI gas pipeline talk just concluded in Teheran. Iran called the meeting of the technical experts and lawyers from three countries to exchange views on the gas supply contract during Sept 24-26.Officials of three countries were expected to discuss the issues arising out of the technical and legal experts meeting on September 27.But due to absence of India major issues remained unresolved.

Earlier a top Iranian Petroleum Ministry official said, “There are crucial bilateral issues that need to be resolved first before we begin discussions on contractual issues on a trilateral platform”. He further said New Delhi and Islamabad had reached understanding on transportation tariff payable for wheeling natural gas through 1035 –Km pipeline segment in that country.

But explaining the reasons of abstaining from the meeting one Indian official said, “We have communicated to Iran’s Petroleum ministry’s special representative H Ghanimi Fard and Pakistan’s Petroleum Secretary Farrakh Qayyum that we will not be attending the trilateral meeting unless the bilateral issues are resolved with Pakistan Incidentally , a bilateral meeting of officials from India and Pakistan scheduled to be held in Islamabad in August this year was also called off at the last moment as India cancelled appearance citing pressing urgencies at home. Many in India believe India has become a little bit puzzled due to strong US reservation about the pipeline and to some extent Indian government tends to succumb to U.S pressure. Pakistan on the other hand appears to remain committed to the pipeline till now. But it is to be seen how it absorbs U.S pressure eventually. But it’s spokesman said it will initiate bilaterally the multibillion dollar gas pipeline project if India does not agree upon it.

Tasnim Anam further said Pakistan is still committed and sincere to the Iran-Pakistan –India (IPI) gas pipeline project. IPI is very important project as Pakistan needs energy to fulfill its future. Pakistan’s economy is growing while energy requirements are increasing and the country is facing shortage of energy. Pakistan is firm to follow the IPI project even without India. Pakistan will do it with Iran.

India is now in serious dilemma....MORE

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

*Iran, Pakistan, India Agree Gas Price For Transnational Pipeline

Iran, Pakistan and India have agreed on a formula for the price of natural gas to be pumped through a pipeline that will link the three countries, India's Asian Age daily said. The deal has removed the main obstacle to the signing of a three-way agreement on building the 2,300 km Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline with an estimated price tag of $7.5 billion. The first deliveries from gas-rich Iran are expected in 2011.

If you ever thought your negotiations were tough...

Blackout: Enron and the California Power Crisis (Transcript)

From PBS:

    NEWSCASTER: California's power supply came up short today, and the lights went out.

ANNOUNCER: For the first time in 65 years, the electric power market is in chaos. Electricity rates are climbing, and not just in California, where the largest utility has gone belly-up.

    JEFFREY K. SKILLING, President and CEO, Enron: It is the most volatile commodity in the world.

ANNOUNCER: The plague of blackouts that started on the West Coast could spread to New York by summer. And entire regions of the country are short on power.

    Rep. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), Minority Leader: Guy at rally: This is an American problem! It's not just a California problem!

    RICHARD B. CHENEY, Vice President: There's not a lot you can do. You can't manufacture kilowatts in the West Wing of the White House.

ANNOUNCER: Investigators claim that a handful of energy companies siphoned billions from consumers while the lights were out.

    RICHARD PRIORY, CEO, Duke Energy: We took the market price. We didn't take any excess price, I can assure you of that.

    LORETTA LYNCH, President, California PUC: These folks are going to bleed us to death like leeches unless we stop them.

ANNOUNCER: But the industry charges that regulators and politicians failed to act.

    GRAY DAVIS, Governor, California: This is people taking advantage, and sticking it in as deep as they can.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, in a joint production between FRONTLINE and The New York Times, correspondent Lowell Bergman investigates the energy storm that could soon engulf the nation.

LOWELL BERGMAN, Correspondent: [voice-over] If you want to understand the story of electric power in America today, you have to follow the money. It's a story that takes you here, to Houston, Texas. This is "Energy Alley," home to a new breed of power company run by electric cowboys who've pioneered radical ways of buying and selling energy.

On this downtown block alone stands a phalanx of new energy giants - Dynegy, El Paso, Reliant - and down the street. the biggest of them all, the Enron Corporation.

On this trading floor, young MBAs and Ph.D.'s trade everything from oil, gas and electricity to Internet bandwidth and hedges against the weather itself.

[on-camera] What's going here, hundreds of millions of dollars in-

[voice-over] Twice the size of its nearest competitor, Enron runs the largest e-commerce site in the world. Jeff Skilling is Enron's new CEO.

JEFFREY K. SKILLING: Our gas portfolio, we probably do- oh, probably close to $3 billion, $2.5 billion to $3 billion a day of purchases and sales. So that would be a notional factor. So, yes, big.

LOWELL BERGMAN: Enron's a new kind of company. It's not a big energy producer, but makes money instead as a middleman, buying electricity before it's made, then selling it to customers.

[on-camera] Do the weather guys get punished here if the weather is wrong? I mean, if they predict wrong?

JEFFREY K. SKILLING: No. Do have any whip marks on your back there, Mark?

LOWELL BERGMAN: [voice-over] The company relies on its own team of private weather forecasters to find the most profitable market to sell into. Who needs heating? Who needs cooling? And when?

ENRON FORECASTER: But we're looking for above-normal temperatures on all three coasts - Gulf Coast, East Coast and West Coast.

LOWELL BERGMAN: [on-camera] But it's going to be hot this summer.

ENRON FORECASTER: It looks like it'll be a hot summer, to the tune of about two degrees. That may not sound like a lot, but over a 91-day time period it is a considerable number of cooling-degree days.

LOWELL BERGMAN: This is all in-house, proprietary information.

JEFFREY K. SKILLING: Yes. This is done so that we can help get an understanding of what's going on in the marketplace, our understanding of what's going on in the marketplace-

LOWELL BERGMAN: Or may happen in the marketplace.

JEFFREY K. SKILLING: Or may happen in the marketplace. And that's what makes markets work. That's what makes markets efficient.

LOWELL BERGMAN: [voice-over] Take what happened last summer in California. It was unusually hot weather, and a drought in the Pacific Northwest drastically cut into imports of badly needed hydro-electric power. At the control room for the state's power grid, president Terry Winter normally could draw on his reserves. But now there were days when he found himself scrambling for power and paying whatever it took to keep the lights on.

TERRY WINTER, CEO, California ISO: It was a Monday. We had had a problem with one unit going out at 1:30 in the morning. We immediately then went into our reserves, pulled down our hydro. It became evident that nobody had energy for us. And by 11:00 o'clock, we dropped off around 500 megawatts.

LORETTA LYNCH, President, California PUC: At the end of May - in fact, on May 22nd - there was an unseasonably hot day. Power use went up some in California, but the price of power skyrocketed, much more than the demand for that day. The prices charged for power bore no relationship to the cost of producing that power.

LOWELL BERGMAN: [on-camera] So something funny was going on.

LORETTA LYNCH: I don't think it's actually funny. I think it's pretty appalling that the folks who sell us power can charge whatever they want. And on that day, they did. And then on subsequent days they did, such that last summer the price of power shot up from about 5 cents a kilowatt hour, on average, to about 18 cents a kilowatt hour on average, so more than tripling over last summer.

LOWELL BERGMAN: [voice-over] In spite of those wholesale price spikes, Loretta Lynch, head of the California PUC, refused to raise retail rates. And when she finally did, consumers reacted angrily, and so did industry, accusing Lynch of doing too little, too late. But Lynch believes the current crisis rests with those charging the state its high prices, and she accuses them of price gouging.

LORETTA LYNCH: You and I have to buy electricity every day, and we can't store it. So the people who make electricity know they have a fundamental economic necessity that people will buy at any price, and so they charge any price they want.

LOWELL BERGMAN: Economists call the ability to manipulate prices "market power," and electricity is especially susceptible when power supplies run short. It can take years to bring new plants on line. And in the meantime, prices are at the mercy of a handful of companies....


How to do Journalism (off-topic)

As you know I get a kick out of Inner City Press. Good coverage of the Great Wall Street Banks (especially as it relates to sustainability and the poor) and day in, day out coverage of the U.N. that is second-to-none.

Here are excerpts from a couple stories about the big shindig going on at First & 46th:

The press conference was scheduled to coincide with the UN's daily noon briefing, thereby excluding most UN correspondents, and its locale was outside the UN, at the Inter-Continental Hotel on 48th Street and Lexington Avenue, seven blocks from UNDP. Nevertheless, Inner City Press ran to the UNDP briefing immediately after the noon briefing. Source

And recognizing the same spirit in a competitor:

Alongside this bleak presentation, "Rwanda has emerged," President Kagame told the two reporters on Thursday night, as an example for all of Africa. The duo thanked him for this time, and he proceeded north along the UN's second floor, with an entourage of six.

This method of interviewing was perfected this week by radio journalist Bessan Vikou of BBC Afrique. Vikou, as he is known, tells Inner City Press that in the first three days of the current General Debate, he has interviewed eight heads of state as they descended from meeting with Ban Ki-moon on the 38th floor. "It would have been nine if I had gotten Kabila," president of the DRC, Vikou said. "They get off on the second floor and there's no where they can go. I tell them 'BBC! BBC!' and they almost always stop. It is even more likely when I am with another journalist, like now." Source

Ya gotta love it

Climateer Predicts

UPDATE below.
We don't do a whole lot of public forecasting at Climateer Investing. Partly this is for the reason stated by Warren Buffett in his 1987 Letter to the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway:
 In a world in which big investment ideas are both
and valuable, we have no interest in telling
competitors what we are doing except to the
extent required by
law. We certainly don't expect
others to tell us of their
investment ideas. Nor
would we expect a media company to
disclose news of
acquisitions it was privately pursuing or a
to tell his competitors about stories on which he is

working or sources he is using.

Mostly it is to avoid public shame, humiliation and disgrace.
But we're willing to prognosticate from time to time. Here goes:

1) Recent action on the NYMEX leads us to the view that oil prices will
see $60 before they see $100.
(This comes with the standard Force Majeure provisions*, of course)


2) We predict a sudden and dramatic cooling of the Northern
This cooling is imminent and could see 100 degree Fahrenheit
temperature declines in some locales.
Mittens and scarves, kids.

*Including the Butterfly flapping it's wings in Borneo thing
(should we need an out).

See: "Buy a stock or two..." (caught about 1150 DJIA points)
"UPDATE: Jim Cramer Beats Monkey in Stock Picking Contest"
(left about $22 on the table)

UPDATE: We chickened out of the oil call, still sticking with the temp. Here's the follow-up.

UK Oil Output Up on Six Oilfield Start-Ups

From Dow Jones via Rigzone:

U.K. crude oil production increased 2.8% during the second quarter compared with the same quarter a year ago due to the start-up of six oil fields, including the very large Buzzard field in the U.K. North Sea, the government's latest energy statistics report showed Thursday.

Total indigenous U.K. production of crude oil and natural gas to liquids increased to 19.7 million metric tons as six fields were brought online since the beginning of the year, according to the energy statistics report published by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

The start-up of the oil fields transformed the U.K. into a net oil exporter during the second quarter of this year, exporting 0.8 million tons more than it imported of oil and oil products. The U.K. was a net oil importer in the second quarter of last year.

Overall, the U.K. consumed 4% less energy in the second quarter than the same period a year ago, broadly in line with a 5.4% drop in energy production to 46.5 million tons of oil equivalent during the second quarter of this year....MORE

HT: Energy Balance

Global Nuclear Energy Partnership a potential nuclear suppliers cartel; IAEA proposals for multilateral fuel supply system may falter on participants’

From Green Markets:

Michael Richardson - a former Asia editor of the International Herald Tribune, and a security specialist at the Institute of South-East Asian Studies in Singapore - wrote in The Canberra Times,, (25/9/2007, p.17), “France had echoed earlier warnings from the United States and Israel that if negotiations with Iran over its controversial nuclear program failed, military action might follow. The United Nations Security Council has called on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and other sensitive nuclear technologies”.

High anxiety: “This is where the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and Australia come in. On the same day France issued its warning, the world’s five leading makers of fuel for nuclear reactors - China, France, Japan, Russia and the US - met with other concerned countries to enlarge a cooperative arrangement they formed last year, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership”....MORE

Ozone Hole Science Revisited

I thought I was confused (see "What Planet is the U.N. living On and How to Make a Buck by Answering Correctly") last week.

Now Ron Baily authors this for Reason:

Scientists are commemorating the discovery 20 years ago that man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used chiefly in refrigerators and air-conditioners were responsible for creating the "ozone hole" over the Antarctic. The scientists concluded that CFCs would drift into the stratosphere where they would produce chlorine compounds that react with ice particles and sunlight to efficiently destroy ozone molecules that shield the surface from ultraviolet light streaming from the sun. In 1987, the world adopted the Montreal Protocol to eventually eliminate the production of CFCs. Activists often cite the Montreal Protocol as a model for a future treaty addressing man-made global warming by banning the emission of greenhouse gases. A Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded in 1995 to the three scientists who identified the ozone/CFC connection.

This neat story of the scientific identification of a man-made cause for stratospheric ozone depletion followed by a successful international response to the threat is now being challenged by some very recent research. (sub required) is reporting a new analysis by Markus Rex, an atmosphere scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Germany, which finds that the data for the break-down rate of a crucial molecule, dichlorine peroxide (Cl2O2) is almost an order of magnitude lower than the currently accepted rate.

What this could mean according to the Nature news article is that:

"This must have far-reaching consequences," Rex says. "If the measurements are correct we can basically no longer say we understand how ozone holes come into being." What effect the results have on projections of the speed or extent of ozone depletion remains unclear....MORE

Scientists Ask Congress To Fund $50 Billion Science Thing

From Scientific American

Okay it was really the Onion via SA.

The Climate Change Peril That Insurers See

We've had some posts on the insurers:

Warren Buffet on Global Warming
In The Front Line, The Insurance Industry's Response to Climate Change
New capital rules set to benefit big EU insurer
'Solvency II': EU to take global lead in insurance regulation
Climate Change, Hurricanes and Insurance
Polygamous lesbians flee Sharia
Chubb Assembles Team to Focus on Green Energy Insurance Solutions
SEC Pressed on Climate-Change Disclosures and When will Warren Buffett get on Board the Love Train?*

Here's the Washington Post's take:

Montana is burning again. This summer, some of the nation's worst wildfires incinerated homes, barns and fences, killing livestock and forcing families to evacuate. Wildfires have increased fourfold since the 1980s, and they are bigger and harder to contain because of earlier-arriving springs and hotter, bone-dry summers. Last year's fires broke records; this year could be worse. As courageous firefighters beat back the flames, insurance companies continue to pay out billions for wildfire losses across the West.

Meanwhile, Florida is bracing for the duration of the hurricane season even as rebuilding continues from the eight hurricanes that crisscrossed the Sunshine State in 2004 and 2005. Storms grow ever more intense: Since the 1970s, the number intensifying to Category 4 or 5 hurricanes has almost doubled, costing insurers tens of billions of dollars

Montana and Florida are not the only states suffering huge insurance losses from natural disasters. Increasingly destructive weather -- including heat waves, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, hailstorms and drought -- accounted for 88 percent of all property losses paid by insurers from 1980 through 2005. Seven of the 10 most expensive catastrophes for the U.S. property and casualty industry happened between 2001 and 2005.

Ten years ago, Peter Levene, chairman of Lloyds of London, was skeptical about global warming theories, but no longer. He believes carbon emissions caused by human activity are warming the Earth and causing severe weather-related events. "At Lloyds, we feel the effects of extreme weather more than most," he said in a March speech. "We don't just live with risk -- we have to pick up the pieces afterwards."...MORE

One tip. Quit building on the coast! Galveston poised to defy geologists

Africa climate change woes aired at Clinton summit

From Reuters:

Africa is unfairly suffering from global warming and must be able to sell carbon credits to grow in a "green fashion," Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Bill Clinton's philanthropic summit on Thursday.

Climate change took center stage at the third annual Clinton Global Initiative sponsored by the former U.S. president, being held as the world's biggest polluters, including the United States and China, met at the State Department in Washington for talks on global warming.

"Africa contributed nothing to global warming because it failed to develop the way the rest of the world developed," Meles said. "Africa's capacity to cope with climate change is very weak. Therefore climate change could push the fragile economies and societies of Africa beyond the precipice."

Speaking on a panel with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.N. climate change envoy Gro Harlem Brundtland and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Meles said the "only realistic option" for Africa was sustainable growth, but money was needed to achieve that.

"The money has to come from the cap and trade mechanism," Meles said. "We did not pollute. We are being punished because of what you did and we deserve the right to sell carbon credits to you so we can use the money to promote green development in our countries," he said, drawing applause from the audience.

Under the Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming, rich countries can meet their emissions reduction targets by funding green energy development in poor countries in exchange for carbon credits.


But the overall $30 billion emissions market has failed to help Africa, with China and India benefiting the most. World Bank data shows Africa accounted for 3 percent of the credits sold, compared with China's 61 percent share and India's 12 percent....MORE

Gore calls for ‘global Marshall plan’

Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative no less.
Have they patched over 2000?

From the Financial Times:
Al Gore, the former US vice-president, on Wednesday called for a “Marshall plan” to make job creation and measures to address climate change compatible and urged President George W. Bush to commit to mandatory cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.

“This is an emergency,” Mr Gore told the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative. “I think that the key to fighting global poverty is to have the wealthy nations and the developing nations join together to reduce global warming … I think what we need is a global Marshall plan to make the creation of jobs around the reduction of carbon the central principle for how we develop this.”

Mr Gore said Mr Bush should follow the example of former US president Ronald Reagan, who after an initial delay responded to the 1985 discovery of a hole in the ozone layer by supporting a marked reduction in chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs.

“We have to have a binding reduction on carbon,’’ he said.

Robert Zoellick, the head of the World Bank, sounded a sceptical note on the developing world’s ability and desire to reduce carbon emissions, however. Poorer countries are worried aid is going to be “hijacked” by the climate change agenda, Mr Zoellick said.

Countries such as China and India threaten to become the world’s top producers of carbon dioxide, as they ramp up energy use to feed rampant economic growth. The rapid development of poorer countries is considered by many scientists and economists to be one of the chief challenges in tackling climate change.

“There is some sensitivity in the developing world that resources that can be channelled to climate change will come at the expense of other development needs,” Mr Zoellick said. “It needn’t be that way, it shouldn’t be that way… but it is the responsibility of the developed world to reassure the developing world that it doesn’t come at their expense and instead can come in support of their aims of overcoming poverty.”

“Every place I went, people are very worried that developed countries are going to hijack spending,” he added. “We have to explain how it fits their energy and growth needs.”...MORE

Clinton: Carbon market better than carbon tax

From Foreign Policy's Passport blog:

Another reporter asked Clinton if he preferred a carbon tax or a carbon market:

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, first of all, I think that--while we should all be personally impatient to do more on climate change--we should recognize that in the great sweep of history, typically people propose changes that are not embraced right away... People ask me all the time, you know they say, "Well, you failed to get healthcare reform, and you failed to make peace in the Middle East." Well I say, "It's a very good thing to fail in the right cause, because it keeps free people stumbling in the right direction." You know, politics is an inexact Pilgrim's Progress.... You just do these things because you know they have to be done, and sooner or later if you get really fortunate, the circumstances and the attitudes meet....

On the carbon market, we wanted one, and we had hoped to be able to persuade everybody to participate. Now, more and more economists in the U.S. and around the world believe that a carbon tax is a better policy because it is an incentive to individuals to use less carbon-producing substances, whatever they are, and to conserve more. In theory, that is right. Plus, it's hard to develop a carbon market that you can't evade and gain. On the other hand, I still believe that ... the green market, the market for averting the worst consequences of climate change, is underorganized, undercapitalized, with low levels of consumer understanding. Therefore I still favor the carbon market as opposed to the carbon tax. Keep in mind: Al Gore and I passed the carbon tax through one house of the Congress in 1993 and that also got beat; we got a long way on that. But I think the carbon market is better because I think it will energize all these investors and idea people and will create the kind of multifaceted change that will be really necessary to prove that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and grow the economy at the same time.


Timing is Everything: Water Deals in China

As I was about to post Veolia's news release on their $3.7 Bil. contract, I am informed that the Energy Roundup is pointing us to the NYT's story on water in China:

China’s runaway economic growth is putting many parts of the country at risk of running short of clean water, the New York Times reports. “China is scouring the world for oil, natural gas and minerals to keep its economic machine humming,” the paper writes. “But trade deals cannot solve water problems.”

Here's Veolia:

Veolia Water wins major contract to supply 3 million inhabitants with drinking water in Tianjin, China

Veolia Water has been selected to supply 3 million inhabitants with drinking water in Tianjin, one of China's most rapidly growing and important economic cities. The contract, for a period of 30 years, is worth an estimated cumulated turnover of around 2,65 billion Euros for Veolia Water, and involves a participation of 49% in the Tianjin Shibei Water Company Ltd.

Tianjin, Port of Beijing and key city for China, is where the country's third stock exchange is set to be built. It includes the largest comprehensive seaport in the North and many industries requiring large amounts of water. Several sporting events for the Olympic Games will be hosted by the city.

The contract was signed with the Tianjin Water Works (Group) Company Ltd, that launched, together with the Municipal Department in charge of State Owned Assets, an international tender for the acquisition of 49% of its subsidiary's equity, Tianjin Shibei Water Company Ltd and its conversion into an Equity Joint Venture. The project will cover the district of Shibei, the Northern part of Tianjin, and the Binhai district on the Eastern coast.

It will include managing the Xinkaihe water production plant (1 million m3/day) which uses classic clarification technology, with 1988km of linear network, as well as the Jinbin water production plant under construction, which will provide 500,000m3/day. The Jinbin plant will incorporate clarification, ozonation and activated carbon filters. In addition, the company will develop the water conveyance network to all the industrial areas in the Binhai area, situated along the coast of Bohai Bay.

The project will run alongside a comprehensive development and reconstruction plan by the Central Government along the River Haihe, which will eventually be linked up with China's three other major rivers, the Yangtze, the Yellow and the Huaihe rivers.

Commenting on the contract, Antoine Frérot, Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Water said, "With this project, Veolia Water illustrates its proven and long standing expertise in anticipating and accompanying the development of major cities like Tianjin that are faced with strong economic and demographic expansion. Veolia Water has formed many successful long term partnerships in China, and with the Tianjin contract, we are continuing to develop our presence in China's large cities".

Bankers to lobby developed countries on carbon-trading system

From the International Herald Tribune:

A group representing some of the world's leading banks will urge the United States and other industrial nations this week to move quickly to introduce a lightly regulated system for trading carbon emissions permits.

Permit-trading offers banks a potentially vast new business. For it to grow, leading economies - particularly the United States - will need to set limits on the quantities of greenhouse gases that can be released and to allow companies in other parts of the world to buy emissions permits.

"Where politicians opt to implement carbon constraints, then it should be cap-and-trade," said Imtiaz Ahmad, head of emissions trading at Morgan Stanley in London and vice president of a lobbying group called International Carbon Investors and Services, which is being created to represent the banks.

The banking companies, which include Citigroup, Lehman Brothers Holdings and Morgan Stanley, are giving strong signs that Wall Street wants Washington to open the way to reduced emissions using a trading system based on the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement the United States did not ratify, rather than by enacting carbon taxes.

The group also includes European institutions like BNP Paribas, Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank, as well as niche investment banks like Climate Change Capital and the law firms of Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper....MORE

The fair choice for climate change

Old hands in climate policy know "Contraction and Convergence", for those new to the discussion, here's a BBC article from last year:

This week and next, government representatives attend UN talks in Bonn looking for the next step forward on climate change. In The Green Room this week, Aubrey Meyer argues that the effective and fair model they need already exists.

The impact of climate change, it is generally agreed, will land hardest on the poor.

So perhaps it is time to listen to what people from the poorest continent, Africa, are asking for.

At the climate negotiations in Bonn this week, the Africa Group of Nations has called for the adoption of a concept called Contraction and Convergence - C&C, in the jargon.

They first made their call a decade ago. And with 12 million Africans currently facing drought and famine linked to climate, they have good reason to assert that C&C is right, that it is urgently needed, and ask: "For how long must Africa suffer at the hands of others?"

Contraction and Convergence is the only long-term framework for regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which does not make carbon dioxide production a luxury that only rich nations can afford.

It creates the social equity which Africa needs, and the carbon reductions which are in all our interests.

Global shares

Contraction and Convergence is a straightforward model for an international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions.

It sets a safe and stable target for concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and a date by which those concentrations should be achieved, based on the best scientific evidence.

The atmosphere being a "global good", C&C declares that all citizens of the Earth have an equal right in principle to emit, and will actually be given an equal right by this future date, the individual allowance for each citizen being derived from the "safe" global target.

So from the grossly inequitable situation we have now, per capita emissions from each country will "converge" at a far more equitable level in the future; while the global total of emissions will "contract".

That is C&C in a nutshell....MORE

Use nuclear energy

From the Times of Trenton:

With the president's climate change summit less than a week away, the administration is gearing up for a frank, practical discussion with key nations on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Attendees should not lose sight of the fact that technologies are up and running in the U.S. today that have been quietly contributing to CO2 emissions reductions for decades. I am referring to the 104 nuclear plants in operation across the country, including the one at Oyster Creek.

Nuclear power generates about 52 percent of the electricity produced in New Jersey and it does so with no carbon-based greenhouse gas, which is thought to cause global warming.

As a co-founder* and former leader of Greenpeace, I was once a strong opponent of nuclear power generation, but times have changed and I have updated my views accordingly. Now I find my self part of a growing number of leading environmentalists around the world who have come to understand that nuclear energy is an in tegral part of any campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I recently toured the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Ocean County, and found the staff there to be strongly focused on public safety and environmental protection. Based on my more than 35 years in the environmental movement and my understanding of the current energy trends in the state, I think the extension of Oyster Creek's operating license will play a crucial role in Gov. Corzine's important greenhouse gas legislation....MORE

I believe Mr. Moore is right on this issue and I also believe I am obligated to point out something I recently found:

*"In "Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists, and Visionaries Changed the World," author Rex Weyler writes "Greenpeace was founded by Quakers Dorothy and Irving Stowe, Marie and Jim Bohlen, and journalists Ben Metcalfe, Dorothy Metcalfe, and Bob Hunter. This group organized the first campaign to sail a boat into the U.S. nuclear test zone on Amchitka Island in the Bering Sea.

"Canadian ecologist and carpenter Bill Darnell coined the name "Greenpeace" in February 1970. A year later, Moore wrote to the organization, applying for a crew position on the boat and was accepted."

Moore wrote his letter on March 16, 1971, two years after the group was founded, describing himself as a graduate student "in the field of resource ecology." Clearly, then, Moore was not a founder of Greenpeace. Founders don't write letters applying to join. After the Stowes, Metcalfes and Bob Hunter left the organization, Moore briefly served as president, from 1977 to 1979. Former members recall that his bullyism nearly scuttled Greenpeace. He launched an internal lawsuit against his rivals in other Greenpeace offices, was replaced as president in 1979, and eventually drummed out of the organization as a troublemaker."

Dingell Opens the Door … with a Hybrid Carbon Tax

From the Carbon Tax Center:

With a mighty creak of long-rusted hinges, a door is finally opening in Washington. The present Congress will apparently be asked to consider a carbon tax.

The measure — actually, a hybrid carbon and petroleum tax — will be introduced by the powerful chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan).

Today Dingell posted on his Web site a summary of the bill, which he began drafting in June. The current version would phase in, each year for five years, a charge of $10 per ton of carbon content of coal, oil and natural gas; plus an additional 10 cents/gallon for gasoline and jet fuel (kerosene). By the end of the five-year period the charges would reach $50/ton of carbon plus 50 cents/gallon of gasoline and jet fuel. These equate to 63 cents a gallon of gas and 90 cents for one hundred kilowatt-hours assuming the nationwide average fuel mix.

Dingell is asking the public for comments. Here's ours: we think the bill is terrific. In line with what we said when we founded the Carbon Tax Center, and as Dingell himself wrote last month in the Washington Post, "[S]ome form of carbon emissions fee or tax … would be the most effective way to curb carbon emissions and make alternatives economically viable." Moreover, as we elaborate below, his supplemental tax on gasoline and jet fuel has the look of genius.

How much carbon and petroleum would Dingell's hybrid carbon tax eliminate? A lot, if you change one key parameter; instead of halting the tax after year 5, continue ramping it up. If the tax works and the impacts on families and businesses can be offset through tax-shifting and rebates, why stop?

We examined a 20-year ramp-up — starting Dingell's "10/10" tax in 2008 and continuing through 2027 to a level of $200 per ton of carbon plus $2/gallon on gasoline and jet fuel. Here's where the U.S. would be in the representative year 2025:

  • Carbon dioxide emissions would be down by 1.55 billion metric tons from projected levels, a 20% drop — a decrease equivalent to current emissions from England, France and Italy combined.
  • Petroleum consumption would be 4.5 million barrels a day less than otherwise, an 18% decrease from projected usage, and more than 10% greater than Iran's current production.

Moreover, these reductions could be supplemented by savings from other targeted policies and programs to reduce use of petroleum, natural gas and coal-fired electricity. (Indeed, a companion section of Dingell's bill will call for phasing out the federal tax deduction on mortgage interest on very large homes, thus ending a subsidy through which middle and working class families subsidize gargantuan sprawl homes for the wealthy.) No other single policy measure — not broader CAFÉ standards, not a national Renewable Energy Standard, not a massive biofuels push, and certainly not a new generation of subsidized nuclear power plants — can produce nearly the carbon and petroleum savings promised by the Dingell hybrid carbon tax, provided it extends beyond the initial five-year period.

The brilliant touch in the Dingell bill is the supplemental tax on gasoline and aviation fuel....MORE

‘This Is Going to Hurt’-Rep. Dingell and the Carbon Tax

From Newsweek:

A defender of the auto industry proposes a carbon tax that will cause everyone pain. Is the country ready for shared sacrifice to combat global warming?

Rep. John D. Dingell is a recent convert on climate change. In more than 50 years in Congress, representing a Michigan district that includes suburban Detroit, he has been a tough-talking defender of the auto industry.

But now Dingell is proposing tough legislation that would impose a sharp carbon tax on American consumers of energy, including a 50-cent surcharge on every gallon of gasoline. Some critics suspect that Dingell is posturing—proposing a far-reaching measure that’s sure to die as a way of obstructing other proposals. NEWSWEEK’s Jeffrey Bartholet spoke to Dingell about his change of heart, and his legislative aims. Excerpts:...MORE

Banker Needs Swedish Nanny for Self

From New York Craigslist:

Single investment banker looking for a Swedish Nanny. I want to be up front and tell you I do not have any kids nor do I plan on any in the near future. You will be taking care of ME.

Please note that you need to be hot. Not hot by investment banking standards where people have been buried in their cubicles for so long they actually think Maria Bartiromo is attractive. But hot by hostess standards at a restaurant in the East Village or some hip club in Chelsea that I could never get into.

Your responsibilities will involve listening to my tirades about my expense reimbursements and encouraging me when I say things like "One of these days I am going to take some time off and write a screenplay" or "I should be dating models, not building them!" You will also need to agree with me when I say things like "If I was running this bank, Wachovia would be #1 in the league tables."

Must be able to clean, cook and do laundry. Must not mind living with me in a studio rental in Murray Hill. No smokers please.

  • Location: Manhattan
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 433871714
HT: Dealbreaker

Commodities boom extends to obscure metals, too

From the Financial Post:

Molybdenum, indium, germanium, cadmium, manganese

If one deal in the mining industry raised eyebrows in recent years, it was molybdenum producer Blue Pearl Mining Co.'s $575-million acquisition of Thompson Creek Metals Co. last October. It raised two questions: How did a molybdenum company raise half-a-billion dollars? And, what the heck is molybdenum?

In fact, the Blue Pearl deal delivered a clear message: that this commodity boom stretches far beyond the "primary" metals. While gold, copper, nickel, coal and zinc get most of the attention, demand for secondary metals such as lead, molybdenum, indium, germanium, cadmium and manganese has been very strong as well.

The most visible of the bunch has been molybdenum, or moly, a silvery-white metal with anti-corrosive properties that has applications in the steel and energy industries. The emergence of pure-play moly companies such as Blue Pearl (now called Thompson Creek Metals) and China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. highlighted the soaring demand for the metal. Even renowned investor Eric Sprott set up a holding company to invest in moly assets....MORE

Emerging markets: an exhilarating, but potentially lethal, ride

From FT Alphaville:

Out of one bubble and right into the next. John Auther earlier this week pondered whether the stampede towards emerging markets following the Fed’s gift to stock markets was just creating another thing to go pop down the line.

Now Jonathan Garner at Morgan Stanley, which has been leading the charge on economic decoupling of emerging markets from the US, has gone a bit cold as well. Holding a tiger — let alone a dragon — by the tail is a recipe for an exhilarating ride, but potentially lethal should it turn and bite, he notes in a report which advises investors to take some profits at this stage.

This is what happens when everyone suddenly agrees with you - the bulls are suddenly feeling nervous now they seem to be occupying consensus ground. The MSCI Emerging Markets index is up 23 per cent since Garner advised investors to pile in back in August, hitting a new all-time high earlier this week....MORE

Playing the organic foods game

By Marshall Loeb at MarketWatch:

Organic food sales in the U.S. reached almost $17 billion in 2006, a gain of more than 22%, says a recent survey by the Organic Trade Association.

But some producers are less interested in good nutrition than in capitalizing on the American consumer's appetite for all things organic. In hopes of tapping into the growing organic market, some of these companies use misleading labels to lure customers.
Here's a crash course in label reading from Consumer Reports:

What to buy
"100% Organic." Translation: By law, a product with this label has to be made entirely of certified organic ingredients, produced in accordance with federal organic standards, and include no synthetics.
Conclusion: You get what you pay for.

"Organic." Translation: Products bearing this label are required to contain no less than 95% certified organic ingredients. The remaining 5%: Non-organic and synthetic ingredients.
Conclusion: Good and (mostly) good for you.

"Made with Organic Ingredients." Translation: These products contain a 70/30 split of organic ingredients and other non-organic products that have been approved by the USDA.
Conclusion: The good stuff, plus a little extra.

What to avoid
"Free-range" or "Free-Roaming." Translation: For many of us, these words evoke images of chickens free to roam the broad expanses at will. Don't be fooled....MORE

Carbon trading the success story in credit crunch

From Reuters:

Going green has paid off in the credit crunch as the embryonic carbon trading market has outperformed against the volatile equity and bond markets.

Carbon credits are tradable schemes which are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by giving them a monetary value. Individual countries, on the back of approval from the European Commission, give out these credits to companies.

Carbon credit trading is only one of three strategies to have delivered positive returns for hedge funds in August.

For instance, since mid-July the Intercontinental Exchange Commission 10 December Contract benchmark for carbon credit trading is up by around 10 percent. In comparison since July 18 the FTSE All Share is down 6.8 percent.

Vicki Bakhshi, associate director of governance and sustainables at F&C Investments, said the dwindling credit supply has caused carbon credit trading to succeed.

"The supply and demand in the carbon market help insulate the sector from the wider economy," she said....MORE

DOE to Provide Nearly $20 Million to Further Development of Advanced Batteries for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

From the U.S. Department of Energy:

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Kevin M. Kolevar today announced DOE will invest nearly $20 million in plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) research. Five projects have been selected for negotiation of awards under DOE's collaboration with the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) for $17.2 million in DOE funding for PHEV battery development projects and; DOE will provide nearly $2 million to the University of Michigan (U-M) to spearhead a study exploring the future of PHEVs. DOE funding announced today will help advance President Bush’s Twenty in Ten Plan, which aims to displace twenty percent of gasoline usage by 2017 through greater use of clean, renewable fuels and increased vehicle efficiency. PHEVs have the potential to displace a large amount of gasoline by delivering up to 40 miles of electric range without recharging – a distance that would include most daily roundtrip commutes.

“These projects will help provide the perspective and expertise necessary to get plug-in hybrid electric vehicles out of the laboratory and into the showroom, a key part of the President’s plan to reduce our reliance on oil by increasing the use of clean energy technologies,” Assistant Secretary Kolevar said. “The Department remains committed to working with our national labs, universities, industry and automakers to advance the President’s energy agenda and we are eager to continue supporting the widespread of use affordable, emissions-free sources of energy to enhance our Nation’s energy security.”

The five projects selected for negotiation of awards of up to $17.2 million from DOE aim to address critical barriers to the commercialization of PHEVs, specifically battery cost and battery life. Combined with cost-share from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), these projects will allow up to $38 million in battery research and development. DOE funding is subject to negotiation of final contract terms and Congressional appropriations. Projects are expected to begin this year and continue through 2009; funding will come from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (fiscal years ’07-’09). USABC will negotiate final contract terms with five lithium ion battery developers. Companies selected for negotiation of awards include:

  • 3M of St. Paul, MN – selected for an award of up to $1.14 million from DOE (total DOE/industry cost share: $ 2.28 million) over two years to screen nickel/manganese/cobalt (NMC) cathode materials through building and testing of small-sized cells;
  • A123Systems of Watertown, MA – selected for an award of up to $6.25 million from DOE (total DOE/industry cost share: $12.5 million) over three years for a project to develop batteries based on nanophase iron-phosphate chemistry for 10- and 40-mile range PHEVs;
  • Compact Power Inc. of Troy, MI – selected for an award of up to $4.45 million from DOE (total DOE/industry cost share: $12.7 million) over three years to develop batteries for 10-mile range PHEVs using high energy and high power Manganese-spinel;
  • EnerDel, Inc. of Indianapolis, IN – selected for an award of up to $1.25 million from DOE (total DOE/industry cost share: $2.5 million) over two years to develop cells for 10- and 40-mile range PHEVs using nano-phase lithium titanate coupled with a high voltage Nickel-Manganese cathode material;
  • Johnson Controls – Saft Advanced Power Solutions of Milwaukee, WI – selected for an award of up to $4.1 million from DOE (total DOE/industry cost-share: $8.2 million) over two years to develop batteries using a nickelate/layered chemistry for 10- and 40-mile range PHEVs.

The University of Michigan’s Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute (MMPEI) will receive nearly $2 million from DOE to coordinate efforts among DOE and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and DTE Energy to conduct a two-year study on PHEVs. Specifically, the study will:

  • Evaluate how PHEVs would share the power grid with our Nation’s other energy needs;
  • Monitor the American public’s evolving view of PHEVs and provide the first national-level empirical data on how driving behavior differs with these vehicles compared to conventional gasoline, diesel, and hybrid vehicles;
  • Assess a possible reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with the increased use of PHEVs;
  • Identify how automakers could optimize PHEV design to increase performance while also reducing cost. U-M researchers and auto industry partners will build a simulation model to test different PHEV design concepts.

Research for this study will take place over the next two years, and a preliminary report is expected to be released in January of 2008, at the Detroit Auto Show. DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability and Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) will fund this study (fiscal years 2007 and 2008, subject to appropriations from Congress).

EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Program leads the Department’s efforts to bring PHEVs to market and works with industry to develop advanced transportation technologies that will reduce the Nation’s use of imported oil. The development of a lower cost, high-energy battery has been identified as a critical pathway toward commercialization of PHEVs. DOE goals include making PHEVs cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016.

USABC is a consortium of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), the umbrella organization for collaborative research among the Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation. Supported by a cooperative agreement with the DOE, USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of fuel cell, hybrid, and electric vehicles.

Assistant Secretary Kolevar made today’s announcement while hosting a press conference with Jon Willinghoff, Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner; Gary S. Was, Director of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute; and Jud Virden, Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Science and Technology at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Media contact(s):
Julie Ruggiero, (202) 586-4940


Thursday, September 27, 2007

The ‘carbon offset’ child labourers

From the Times of London:

Pumping furiously on a foot treadle in the afternoon heat, six-year-old Sarju Ram is irrigating her impoverished family’s field, improving the crop and – without knowing it – helping environmentally sensitive holiday-makers assuage their guilt over long-haul flights to dream destinations.

But Sarju and her four brothers and sisters working flat out in a clump of trees that provide scant shelter from the sun illustrate a growing argument over claims that British environmentalists’ efforts to curb greenhouse emissions are inadvertently fuelling an increase in child labour.

Sarju’s family is a beneficiary of Climate Care, an organisation that helps some of Britain’s leading public figures and companies to offset their carbon dioxide emissions by funding sustainable energy projects.

The Prince of Wales turned to Climate Care after his environmental adviser, Jonathon Porritt, worked out the prince’s carbon footprint.

Customers of British Airways are among those who have been encouraged to log on to Climate Care’s website and calculate how many tonnes of greenhouse gases their flights will generate, and how much it will cost to neutralise the impact on the atmosphere. A flight to Barbados for a family of four, for example, generates 7.55 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which will cost them £56.64 to offset.

Climate Care uses the money to help persuade families such as Sarju’s to give up labour-saving diesel pumps and buy human-powered treadles instead. It claims that by using the treadle, a family will save money on diesel and hire charges, earn more from increased crops and cut the carbon emissions that would have been produced by the pump.

Last week Indian experts criticised the scheme, saying it was promoting child labour and forcing poor farmers to work harder so that wealthy air travellers could enjoy exotic holidays without worrying about the environment....MORE

Storing Solar Power Efficiently

From MIT's Technology Review:

Solar proponents love to boast that just a few hundred square kilometers' worth of photovoltaic solar panels installed in Southwestern deserts could power the United States. Their schemes come with a caveat, of course: without backup power plants or expensive investments in giant batteries, flywheels, or other energy-storage systems, this solar-power supply would fluctuate wildly with each passing cloud (not to mention with the sun's daily rise and fall and seasonal ebbs and flows). Solar-power startup Ausra, based in Palo Alto, thinks it has the solution: solar-thermal-power plants that turn sunlight into steam and efficiently store heat for cloudy days.

"Fossil-fuel proponents often say that solar can't do the job, that solar can't run at night, solar can't run the economy," says David Mills, Ausra's founder and chairman. "That's true if you don't have storage." He says that solar-thermal plants are the solution because storing heat is much easier than storing electricity. Mills estimates that, thanks to that advantage, solar-thermal plants capable of storing 16 hours' worth of heat could provide more than 90 percent of current U.S. power demand at prices competitive with coal and natural gas. "There's almost no limit to how much you can put into the grid," he says.

Major utilities are buying the idea....MORE

Clinton promises solar sunrise, will Ausra deliver? and "Making Carbon Markets Work"

This is a mini link-dump of stuff I was reading at Scientific American.
Good old Bill Clinton has done it again. Perhaps inspired by David Mills' speculation on the capacity of solar thermal power plants to deliver emissions-free electricity in this country, his confab going on in NYC presently has united said visionary's solar thermal company Ausra with utility giants Florida Power and Light (FPL) and Pacfic Gas and Electric (PG&E)....MORE

Making Carbon Markets Work
(10 pages)
As Congress debates how to cut climate-warming emissions, insights drawn from the European carbon market can help. (Because of the timeliness of this issue, the editors of Scientific American decided to publish this article online in advance of its publication in the December issue.)
A Global Approach
Clean Development Mechanism
Making Agreements Stick
Evaluating Climate Policy
Start-up Difficulties
Property From Thin Air
Growing Markets Worldwide
Wooing the Reluctant
Gaming the System
A Better Way
A Four-Step Plan
Energy R&D Investment
More To Explore
FIGURE 1: Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil Fuel and the Kyoto Challenge
FIGURE 2: Carbon Markets, Prices and Volume

Frightening new maps of U.S. coastal areas to be inundated by global warming
Hysterical about hysteria
How to Be Your Own Phone Company
Don't Forget: Drink a Beer—Or Two—a Day!

Commentary: Global Warming And Berkeley

As I've said to the folks in the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, Okay.
You First.

From the Berkeley Daily Planet:

...the time for bolder self-sacrifice has arrived. The only real, long term hope for the eco-sphere is a massive human population collapse, hopefully leading to the voluntary extinction of the human race. Already, a new urgency and groundswell of support is building for the idea that humans are a type of super toxin which the planet cannot sustain or support in the longterm. Cogent support for the voluntary extinction of the human race is well-articulated in all its ramifications and implications here :

The city and residents of Berkeley should be on the leading vanguard of the voluntary extinction of the human race. First of all, if China can implement a very sensible one child policy in urban centers, Berkeley voters should approve an advisory No Child policy for residents of our city. It could be our answer to the Bush regime’s No Child Left Behind Act!...

...Imagine if Berkeley has the honor of becoming the first human ghost town on earth to revert to a primal state of nature! The oaks old and new will flourish along the streams in which trout and salmon teem! Mountain lions will boldly roam the plains and not confine themselves to Wildcat Road in Tilden Park any longer. Perhaps bears from other regions of the state will finally return to what we call “Grizzly Peak Blvd.” The grasslands will return to the slopes of the hills after forest fires clear them off and the air will blow pure and sweet over the bubbling creeks just as it once did when the ancestors of Running Wolf roamed the Bayshore in peace and harmony with all nature.

Edna Spector is a Berkeley resident.
Here's the VHEM.

James Lovelock's plan to pump ocean water to stop climate change and "Start Ice Ages in Your Spare Time"

From The Telegraph:

A plan to save our world from extreme climate change by pumping cold water from the depths of the oceans is outlined today by James Lovelock, the scientist who inspired the greens.

James Lovelock is best known for his ideas that portray Earth as a living thing, a super-organism - named Gaia, after the ancient Earth goddess - in which creatures, rocks, air and water interact in subtle ways to ensure the environment remains stable.

Today Lovelock, of Green College, Oxford University, outlines an emergency way to stimulate the Earth to cure itself with Chris Rapley, former head of the British Antarctic Survey who is now the director of the Science Museum, London.

They believe the answer lies in the oceans, which transport much more heat than the atmosphere and, covering more than 70 per cent of the Earth's surface.

They propose that vertical pipes some 10 metres across be placed in the ocean, such that wave motion would pump up cool water from 100-200 metres depth to the surface, moving nutrient-rich waters in the depths to mix with the relatively barren warm waters at the ocean surface.

This would fertilise algae in the surface waters and encourage them to bloom, absorbing carbon dioxide greenhouse gas while also releasing a chemical called dimethyl sulphide that is know to seed sunlight reflecting clouds.....MORE

Just as a side note, Russ George of Planktos is a panelist at the Woods Hole Iron Fertilization Symposium.

More interesting to me is the idea of focusing on the sulphur cycle; again using iron, but not to hustle the carbon market.

Rather, a billion dollars worth of iron sulphate dumped over a large enough area should be enough to trigger a new ice age:
Full-scale iron fertilization of the Southern Ocean must be ruled out simply because major cooling of the region by increased DMS would result in a temperature drop of perhaps 10 degrees Celsius or more," Wingenter says.
And, from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
Changing concentrations of CO, CH4, C5H8, CH3Br, CH3I, and dimethyl sulfide during the Southern Ocean Iron Enrichment Experiments

James Woolsey and Electric Cars

I believe this is the first time CI has linked to a story from National Review Online.
If you've followed Mr. Woolsey's career you know he's tough to pigeon-hole*.

From NRO:

A determined pack has begun to race its engines and to try to shoulder us off the road toward energy independence. It’s time for those determined to stay on the track to drive aggressively.

The energy-independence question is really about oil — the rest of U.S. energy use presents important issues, but not the danger of our being subject to the control of nations that “do not particularly like us,” as the president put it. Some of the engine racers have an economic interest in keeping our transportation system 97-percent oil-dependent. Less understandable are the authors of a recent Council on Foreign Relations report accusing those working for such independence of “doing the nation a disservice.”

The authors of that report and their followers define “independence,” contrary to both Webster’s and common sense, as essentially “autarky” — i.e. complete self-sufficiency, or not importing oil even though we remain dependent on it. Such a Pickwickian definition captures none of the thinking of serious advocates of reducing our oil dependence: The point of independence is not to be an economic hermit, but rather to be a free actor.

It is true that some who promote oil independence spice their remarks by implying that we might substitute oil from domestic sources or from our near neighbors for cheap Middle Eastern imports, and somehow manage to insulate ourselves from the world oil market.

But speechwriters’ tropes shouldn’t be taken as serious policy proposals. Geology will not cooperate in any such fantasy. There is no reasonable way that we can leave oil in place as the near-exclusive fuel for the world’s transportation systems and simultaneously wall ourselves off from the world oil market.

If we want to end dependence on the whims of OPEC’s despots, the substantial instabilities of the Middle East, and the indignity of paying for both sides in the War on Terror, we must define oil “independence” sensibly — as doing whatever is necessary to avoid oil’s being the instrument of despotic leverage and foreign chaos.

Those who won our independence as a nation didn’t just fling imported tea into Boston harbor — they did whatever was necessary to wrest themselves from British control. We need not call out the Minutemen, but to avoid the consequences of dependence we must become independent — not just of imported oil, but of oil itself.

Does this mean that we cannot use oil or import any? Of course not. Oil is a useful commodity that can readily transport energy long distances. It already has competition from natural gas in industry and from gas and electricity for heating. But in transportation it brooks no competition — it is thus not just a commodity but a strategic commodity.

Oil’s monopoly on transportation gives intolerable power to OPEC and the nations that dominate oil ownership and production. This monopoly must be broken. To tell us that in following this path we are doing a “disservice to the nation” and should resign ourselves to oil dependence is like telling us we should not urge an alcoholic to stop drinking, but should rather impress upon him the health advantages of red wine.

Not long ago, technology broke the power of another strategic commodity. Until around the end of the nineteenth century salt had such a position because it was the only means of preserving meat. Odd as it seems today, salt mines conferred national power and wars were even fought over control of them....MORE (He gets to electric vehicles, an idea he's been promoting in a serious way, at very high levels)

Here he is at the WSJ's OpinionJournal:
Gentlemen, Start Your Plug-Ins
How does 500 miles a gallon sound to you?

An oil and security task force of the Council on Foreign Relations recently opined that "the voices that espouse 'energy independence' are doing the nation a disservice by focusing on a goal that is unachievable over the foreseeable future." Others have also said, essentially, that other nations will control our transportation fuel--get used to it. Yet House Democrats have announced a push for "energy independence in 10 years," and in November General Motors joined Toyota and perhaps other auto makers in a race to produce plug-in hybrid vehicles, hugely reducing the demand for oil. Who's right--those who drive toward independence or those who shrug?

Bet on major progress toward independence, spurred by market forces and a portfolio of rapidly developing oil-replacing technologies.....MORE

*R. James Woolsey joined FDD in August, 2002, as a Distinguished Advisor. Previously Mr. Woolsey was a partner at the law firm of Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C., where he practiced for twenty-two years, on four occasions, beginning in1973; his practice was in the fields of civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and corporate transactions.

During the twelve years he has served in the U.S. Government Mr. Woolsey has held Presidential appointments in two Democratic and two Republican administrations. He was Director of Central Intelligence in 1993-95. He also served as: Ambassador to the Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), Vienna, 1989-1991; Under Secretary of the Navy, 1977-1979; and General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, 1970-73. He was appointed by the President as Delegate at Large to the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) and Nuclear and Space Arms Talks (NST), and served in that capacity on a part-time basis in Geneva, 1983-1986. As an officer in the U.S. Army he was an adviser on the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I), Helsinki and Vienna, 1969-1970.

Mr. Woolsey has been a Director or Trustee of numerous civic organizations, including The Smithsonian Institution, where he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents, Stanford University, The Goldwater Scholarship Foundation, and The Aerospace Corporation. He has been a member of: The National Commission on Terrorism, 1999-2000; The Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the U.S. (Rumsfeld Commission), 1998; The President's Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, 1989; The President's Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management (Packard Commission), 1985-1986; and The President's Commission on Strategic Forces (Scowcroft Commission), 1983. He is currently a Trustee of The Center for Strategic & International Studies; Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Clean Fuels Foundation; and Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board of Global Options LLC.

Mr. Woolsey is presently a member of the Board of Directors or Board of Managers of: Information Systems Laboratories, Inc. (ISL); Linsang Partners, LLC; Fibersense Technology Corporation; Invicta Networks, Inc.; DIANA, LLC; and Agorics, Inc. He has served in the past as a member of the Boards of Directors of: BC International Corporation; Sun HealthCare Group, Inc.; USF&G; Yurie Systems, Inc.; Martin Marietta; British Aerospace, Inc.; Fairchild Industries; Titan Corporation; and DynCorp, and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

Mr. Woolsey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1941. He is married to Suzanne Haley Woolsey, the Chief Communications Officer of the National Academies (Science, Engineering, and Medicine) and they have three sons: Robert, Daniel, and Benjamin. Mr. Woolsey attended Tulsa public schools, graduating from Tulsa Central High School in 1959. He received his B.A. Degree in 1963 from Stanford University (With Great Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa), an M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar 1963-65, and an LL.B from Yale Law School in 1968, where he was Managing Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Mr. Woolsey is Vice President of the Global Strategic Security Division at Booz, Allen, & Hamilton. He is a frequent contributor to major publications, and from time to time gives public speeches, on the subjects of foreign affairs, defense, energy, and intelligence

Source: FDD

Here's his comment on his relationship with President Clinton:

Remember the guy who in 1994 crashed his plane onto the White House lawn? That was me trying to get an appointment to see President Clinton.