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Potential emissions of CO2 and methane from proved reserves of fossil fuels: An alternative analysis

Global Environmental Change
Volume 36, January 2016, Pages 12–20

Potential emissions of CO2 and methane from proved reserves of fossil fuels: An alternative analysis

Richard Heede, Naomi Oreskes


Under a Creative Commons license
Open Access

•We focus on reserves held by companies with the capacity to deliver carbon fuels to world markets.

•Potential emissions from their expected production are quantified.

•The proportion of the remaining 2 °C carbon budget are estimated.

• The core climate threat is capital investment in finding and developing new reserves.

• The majority of reserves are held by companies that are not publicly traded.

Scientists have argued that no more than 275 GtC (IPCC, 2013) of the world’s reserves of fossil fuels of 746 GtC can be produced in this century if the world is to restrict anthropogenic climate change to ≤2 °C. This has raised concerns about the risk of these reserves becoming “stranded assets” and creating a dangerous “carbon bubble” with serious impacts on global financial markets, leading in turn to discussions of appropriate investor and consumer actions. However, previous studies have not always clearly distinguished between reserves and resources, nor differentiated reserves held by investor-owned and state-owned companies with the capital, infrastructure, and capacity to develop them in the short term from those held by nation-states that may or may not have such capacity.

This paper analyzes the potential emissions of CO2 and methane from the proved reserves as reported by the world's largest producers of oil, natural gas, and coal. We focus on the seventy companies and eight government-run industries that produced 63% of the world’s fossil fuels from 1750 to 2010 (Heede, 2014), and have the technological and financial capacity to develop these reserves.

While any reserve analysis is subject to uncertainty, we demonstrate that production of these reported reserves will result in emissions of 440 GtC of carbon dioxide, or 160% of the remaining 275 GtC carbon budget. Of the 440 GtC total, the 42 investor-owned oil, gas, and coal companies hold reserves with potential emissions of 44 GtC (16% of the remaining carbon budget, hereafter RCB), whereas the 28 state-owned entities possess reserves of 210 GtC (76% of the RCB).

This analysis suggests that what may be needed to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference (DAI) with the climate system differs when one considers the state-owned entities vs. the investor-owned entities.

For the former, there is a profound risk involved simply in the prospect of their extracting their proved reserves. For the latter, the risk arises not so much from their relatively small proved reserves, but from their on-going exploration and development of new fossil fuel resources.

For preventing DAI overall, effective action must include the state-owned companies, the investor-owned companies, and governments. However, given that the majority of the world's reserves are coal resources owned by governments with little capacity to extract them in the near term, we suggest that the more immediate urgency lies with the private sector, and that investor and consumer pressure should focus on phasing out these companies’ on-going exploration programs.


See this related Guardian article by Oreskes for her discussion on the implications of her paper.

Parents call the cops on teens distributing a banned book

Parents call the cops on teens distributing a banned book

December 25, 2015 By Michael Kozlowski 64 Comments

Around two weeks ago parents in the Idaho school district of Meridian successfully campaigned to remove a novel from its 10th grade reading curriculum . The book was entitled The Absolutely True Diary and it won a A National Book Award. It tells the tale of a Native American teenager who decides to attend an all-white high school outside of his reservation and has themes such as making sense of race, and sexual discovery.

Students who were utterly fed up with a few parents who had a problem with the book decided to take action. The teens started a petition to have the book reinstated. They collected an impressive 350 signatures, but the school remained firm.

A local indie bookstore heard about the students plight and started a crowdfunding campaign to buy a book for each of the 350 kids who signed the petition. It worked—the campaign raised $3,400, enough for a book per kid.

Rediscovered Books and the students distributed all but 20 books to the teens that came to claim them, but here is where things got interesting. A few parents were livid that the students went out on their own and ended up getting the books that they worked so hard to ban. Police told local news channel KBOI they had been called by “someone concerned about teenagers picking up a copy of the book without having a parent’s permission.”

That is right, a few parents actually called in the cops because a few hundred teens wanted to get a book that the school had banned....

Be sure you read the ending!

Established Energy Continues It's War on Renewables

Nevada Regulators Eliminate Retail Rate Net Metering for New and Existing Solar Customers
SolarCity and Vivint said the decision would force them to shut down operations in the state.

by Julia Pyper
December 23, 2015

Update: On Wednesday, SolarCity announced it would halt operations in Nevada.

"This is a very difficult decision but Governor Sandoval and his PUC leave us no choice. The people of Nevada have consistently chosen solar, but yesterday their state government decided to end customer choice, damage the state's economy, and jeopardize thousands of jobs," said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. "The PUC has protected NV Energy's monopoly, and everyone else will lose. We have no alternative but to cease Nevada sales and installations, but we will fight this flawed decision on behalf of our Nevada customers and employees."


The Nevada Public Utility Commission voted unanimously in favor of a new solar tariff structure on Tuesday that industry groups say will destroy the Nevada solar market, one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.

The decision increases the fixed service charge for net-metered solar customers, and gradually lowers compensation for net excess solar generation from the retail rate to the wholesale rate for electricity, over the next four years. The changes will take effect on January 1 and will apply retroactively to all net-metered solar customers.

The broad application of the policy sets a precedent for future net-metering and rate-design debates. To date, no other state considering net-metering reforms has proposed to implement changes on pre-existing customers that would take effect right away. Changes are typically grandfathered in over a decade or more.

“Most disturbing is the Commission’s decision to retroactively sabotage existing solar customer’s investments ...

Alabama uses (BP) oil spill money for renovation of governor's mansion

Alabama uses oil spill money for renovation of governor's mansion
By Jay Reeves The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 11:30 p.m.

Beachfront property had been abandoned
In this Friday, May 15, 2015 file photo, a locked gate blocks the entrance to Alabama's abandoned Gulf Coast governor's mansion in Gulf Shores, Ala. Work began earlier this month to fix the 7,500-square-foot gubernatorial mansion that wasn’t repaired after Hurricane Danny in 1997. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)

BIRMINGHAM — Alabama is using BP grant money left over from the 2010 Gulf oil spill to finally repair and renovate a beachfront governor's mansion that has been abandoned for nearly two decades.

Work began earlier this month near Gulf Shores to rehabilitate the two-story, 7,500-square-foot gubernatorial mansion that wasn't fixed after Hurricane Danny in 1997. The project should be done by late May, a spokeswoman for Gov. Robert Bentley, Jennifer Ardis, said Monday.

Ardis said taxpayer money isn't going into the project. Instead, she said grant money provided by BP and left over from the 2010 oil spill is being used to cover the cost, estimated at $1.5 million to $1.8 million.

While environmentalists filed suit over the state's plan to use BP restoration money to construct a hotel on the beachfront, Ardis said the state is “comfortable” using money remaining from a separate BP grant to pay contractor Phil Harris Construction Inc. to fix the mansion.

Baldwin County...

TEPCO confronts new problem of radioactive water at Fukushima plant

TEPCO confronts new problem of radioactive water at Fukushima plant
December 26, 2015

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has unexpectedly been forced to deal with an increasingly large amount radioactive water accumulating at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after seaside walls to block the flow of groundwater were constructed in October.

TEPCO completed the walls on Oct. 26 to block contaminated groundwater from flowing into sea. The utility began pumping up groundwater from five wells dug between the walls and the plant's reactor buildings. The plan called for releasing the less contaminated water into the sea after a purification process, butTEPCO discovered that the water had larger amounts of radiation than it had expected.

TEPCO officials said the situation has left the utility with no option but to transfer 200 to 300 tons of groundwater each day into highly contaminated reactor buildings since November, a move that couldfurther contaminate the water.

Comprised of numerous cylindrical steel pipes measuring 30 meters tall, the seaside walls were installed on the coastal side of the No. 1 to No. 4 reactor buildings to block contaminated groundwater flowing out of the highly contaminated buildings from reaching the ocean.

To control groundwater levels...

Ford introducing 13 new electric car models by 2020

Ford to spend $4.5 billion by 2020 on electric vehicles
Alisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press 6:39 p.m. EST December 10, 2015

DEARBORN -- Ford announced its largest five-year investment ever in electrified vehicles, with a pledge to spend $4.5 billion and introduce 13 new models by 2020, CEO Mark Fields announced today.

Fields said 40% of nameplates globally will be electrified by the end of the decade, up from 13% now. They will be a mix of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full battery-powered electric vehicles.

It's a move driven by customer demand as well as the need to meet fuel efficiency standards, Fields said.

Among the plans is an update to the Ford Focus electric vehicle coming at the end of 2016 for North America and Europe. It will have an improved range of 100 miles and can reach 80% of its charge in 30 minutes, considered the maximum length of time consumers will easily tolerate. The current Focus Electric has a range of 76 miles and can be fully charged in 3.5 hours with a 240-volt outlet. Getting to an 80% charge takes about 2.5 hours.

Even with a 100-mile range...
From the Detroit Free Press: http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/ford/2015/12/10/ford-spend-45-billion-2020-electric-vehicles/77076192/

Yet again - more delays in building S. Carolina's nuclear reactors.

And there ain't none of them there Damned Hippies anywhere in sight or behind the scenes. It is puuure-D#@* rooted in the nature of the technology.

More delays for Vogtle
Posted: December 11, 2015 - 12:15am

ATLANTA — Work to add two nuclear reactors to Plant Vogtle is growing further behind schedule, according to experts hired by state regulators to monitor construction who testified Thursday.

William Jacobs, a nuclear engineer who has managed the construction and startup of seven reactors, testified at a hearing before the Public Service Commission that efforts to catch up haven’t been successful. Instead, the commission consultant said delays have gotten worse despite assurances from Georgia Power executives.

“We monitor it very closely every week,” he said. “We look at the metric packages, and many of the activities tend to slip out week by week.”

Jacobs, who watches the construction and meets regularly with the builders, said the builders have tried to speed things up, including adding workers to a second shift. None have been successful in erasing the 379-day delay...

Porsche will invest $1 billion to launch battery-powered Mission E

I could be wrong, but I really don't think the hydrogen proponents on DU see the picture the rest of us see. Maybe this will help.

Porsche will invest $1 billion to launch battery-powered Mission E
05 Dec 2015

Porsche will spend about 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) on production facilities at its biggest plant to make its first-ever all-electric sports car.

The Volkswagen-owned manufacturer will create more than 1,000 new jobs at its base in Zuffenhausen in Germany where a new paint shop and assembly line will be set up to build the battery-powered "Mission E" model, Porsche said on Friday.

Porsche's investment in emissions-free drive technology reflects parent VW's growing commitment to increase its electric offerings as it struggles to overcome an emissions scandal.

VW has said the next generation of its VW-badged flagship luxury saloon Phaeton will be electric and it plans to expand the so-called MQB modular production platform to focus more strongly on long-range plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.

Analysts have warned that VW's admission of rigging diesel emissions tests ...


Expanded EIA Data on Small-Scale Solar ‘Important Step Forward,’ SEIA Says

Expanded EIA Data on Small-Scale Solar ‘Important Step Forward,’ SEIA Says
December 3, 2015
By Jennifer Delony
Associate Editor

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) recent decision to provide monthly estimates of small-scale distributed solar PV electricity generation and capacity by state and sector is an important step for the solar industry, Justin Baca, senior director of research, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said on Dec. 2.

The EIA on Dec. 1 released its first monthly statistics for the small-scale solar sector, saying that of the total 3.5 million MWh of U.S. solar generation in September, 33 percent came from small-scale solar PV and 67 percent came from utility-scale solar.

“By expanding its reporting of solar energy data, EIA has taken an important step forward in recognizing the growing role solar energy plays, and will play moving forward, in our national energy mix,” Baca said. “As we go into what we expect to be an unprecedented year for solar energy in the U.S., we look forward to working with the EIA to refine its coverage of solar as an indispensable player in our nation’s clean energy future.”

The EIA said that its previous Electric Power Monthly reports provided state-level data only for utility-scale generation sources, including solar. National-level generation and capacity estimates for small-scale solar PV were provided on an annual basis. As Renewable Energy World reported, the SEIA earlier this year performed an independent analysis that found that the EIA’s data with only utility-scale solar generation underreported the amount of solar generated in the U.S. by about half.

"Generation from rooftop PV systems has become an increasingly important part of total solar generation in the United States,” ...

A Cap on Solar Is Not the American Way By Barry Goldwater Jr.

A Cap on Solar Is Not the American Way
December 2, 2015
By Barry Goldwater Jr.

As a conservative, I’ve got my eyes on New Hampshire right now, a state that is buzzing with presidential hopefuls and the energy of a burgeoning solar industry. But the Granite State needs strong conservative leadership to ensure its energy future remains poised for jobs and economic growth. New Hampshire is up against a fast-approaching and unnecessary cap on solar and state leaders should lift it immediately.

There are currently more than 70 solar companies in New Hampshire, employing hundreds. We can do better not only by our hardworking families who want to save money on rising energy bills and who deserve good local jobs, but also by our homegrown solar companies who want competition. A cap on solar energy is not the conservative way and it is not the American way.

Solar is finally beginning to take off in the Granite State, creating good local jobs and providing us the freedom to produce our own homegrown, affordable, clean energy. That’s why I formed Tell Utilities Solar won't be Killed (TUSK), a group that helps the public tell utilities that solar is right for conservatives and right for America. I believe in choice and competition, and rooftop solar is the only true form of competition that utility monopolies have ever faced. Now is the time to put our conservative principles to work and unfetter an industry that is working for New Hampshire.

And my fellow conservative voters agree. Polls across the country continue to underscore the support for rooftop solar on the right. In Arizona, 83 percent of conservative voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who wants to end solar power. In Louisiana, 76 percent of conservatives in a recent poll agree the opportunity for homeowners to go solar is important for providing choice and competition in electricity. When South Carolina voters were asked if consumers should pay an additional fee to invest in solar panels, 92 percent said “no.”

In New Hampshire, some utilities have already hit the solar cap, a limit on a critical solar policy called net metering. Net metering provides fair accounting for the energy solar customers deliver to the grid...
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