For SmartPlanet this week, I explained why baseload power generation from nuclear and coal plants will be phased out in favor of renewables, and compared grid management to the ancient Chinese practice of foot-binding. The real issues around integration of renewables into the grid have to do with human arrangements, not technology. Read it here: Why baseload power is doomed
I co-authored and co-signed a response to the Murray/King article on peak oil published in Nature in January (which I discussed here), which was published today. It was heavily edited but the main point was made: peak oil should be taken seriously and the research on it given due consideration in scientific journals like Nature. You can read the comment (pdf) here: Murphy_2012_Nature Correspondence.
For SmartPlanet this week, I explored the data on domestic U.S. production of fossil fuels to see if presidential policies affect it. President Obama takes credit for increasing fossil fuel production, while the fossil fuel industry blames him for falling production. So what’s the truth? Read my analysis here: Scoring the rhetoric on Obama’s energy policies
I appeared as a guest today on Warren Olney’s radio show, To The Point, which is syndicated on Public Radio International (PRI). Other guests included Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, and Neil King, veteran energy journalist for the Wall Street Journal. We discussed gasoline prices and how President Obama’s energy policies do and do not affect domestic U.S. oil and gas production. I referred to some of the facts in my column today, “Scoring the rhetoric on Obama’s energy policies.”
Our segment starts at 7:15 and runs for about 45 minutes. I thought it was a remarkably informative and useful panel discussion overall, and I hope you’ll check it out. Listen to it here: To The Point, March 21, 2012 (click the Listen button).
For SmartPlanet this week, I surveyed some of the transitions under way in various sectors of the economy in response to high oil prices, and found that mass transit ridership is increasing; airlines are really struggling; trucking and delivery services are trying to pass on higher costs; farmers are having to adopt new practices or relocalize production; and supply chain managers are looking to bring manufacturing back home. Read it here: High oil prices: Fortunately and unfortunately
Peter Kiernan, lead energy analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, blogged my recent piece “Oil demand shift: Asia takes over” on his personal blog Petropolitics yesterday and added his own insights about the geopolitical implications: Oil demand sets in the West
For SmartPlanet this week, I explored data on oil demand, net oil exports, and fuel economy, and found that oil demand from the developing world will overtake demand from the world’s mature economies this year, and will never look back. The U.S. cannot win the race against Asia for vehicle efficiency. Read it here:
Oil demand shift: Asia takes over
Jeff Goodell has a couple of good recent pieces about shale gas in Rolling Stone. The first, an entertaining close-up of Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon and his company’s business model, appears to have drawn heavily from my recent pieces on shale gas, although without direct attribution. The second, out today, speaks to President Obama’s assertion that we have 100 years of shale gas, and does quote my piece in Slate. Goodell is a fun writer to read, and these are worth a look if you are interested in the subject.
Separately, it seems the unfavorable economics of shale gas production are finally hitting the street, as Russia’s Lukoil announced yesterday that it is pulling out of $1.8 billion shale gas deal in the U.S.
Postscript March 5, 2012: I should clarify that I do not agree with all of Goodell’s representations. I also note that Chesapeake has issued a rebuttal and that Art Berman has objected to some of Goodell’s statements about him.
I was interviewed for a recent article in Media Matters about the poor reportage on gasoline prices. Their energy reporter Jocelyn Fong had liked my article “Why energy journalism is so bad” and wanted to make sure she did her homework and got the story right. I think she did a great job. Read it here: What Reporters Are Getting Wrong About Gas Prices