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President Barack Obama Speaks on Energy Savings at Home Depot in Alexandria Virginia

Obama Visits Virginia Home Depot Store

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a meeting on the economic impact of energy saving home retrofits with labor, manufacturing, and small business leaders at a Northern Virginia Home Depot store in Alexandria, Virginia on December 15, 2009. UPI/Ron Sachs/Pool

Date Taken: December 15, 2009

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Energy Conservation, Energy Efficiency, House & Home0 Comments

Worldwide Energy Demand to Rise 35 Percent by 2030

IRVING, Texas, Dec. 9 (UPI) — Rising energy demand over the coming two decades will require investment in all potential sources of energy, Exxon Mobil said Tuesday in its latest report.

The report, “New Outlook for Energy: A View to 2030,” predicted energy demand would be about 35 percent higher in 2030 than it was in 2005, and meeting that demand will require “trillions of dollars of investment and a commitment to innovation.”

Exxon Mobil said it expects economies worldwide to grow and living standards to improve — implying increased use of automobiles and energy-dependent appliances.

As with other recent forecasts, Exxon Mobil said natural gas supply is set to expand, particularly in the United States. Unconventional gas supplies in the United States are expected to meet more than 50 percent of gas demand by 2030.

Analysts said rising energy demand and consumption would pose a major challenge as the clamor grows for cleaner and more renewable energy sources.

Although high prices, political commitments and campaigning groups have all pushed initiatives toward energy sources with a lower carbon footprint, achieving substantial results is set to be a major challenge through the next decades covered by Exxon Mobil’s outlook.

Fossil fuels — oil, natural gas and coal — are set to continue meeting most of the world’s needs in the near future “because no other energy source can match their availability, versatility, affordability and scale,” the report said.

“The fastest-growing of these fuels will be natural gas, reflecting its abundance, versatility and economic advantages as an efficient, clean-burning fuel for power generation.”

The oil company was upbeat about the future. “We see many hopeful things — economic recovery and growth, improved living standard and a reduction in poverty, and promising new energy technologies,” said Exxon Mobil’s Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer.

“But we also see a tremendous challenge, and that is how to meet the world’s growing energy needs while also reducing the impact of energy use on the environment,” Tillerson added.

Tillerson said supplies of all economic fuel sources need to be expanded to satisfy projected increases in global energy demand. With world population set to rise to almost 8 billion, there will also be greater demand for energy indirectly applied to serve the broader societies.

Exxon Mobil’s outlook includes an assessment of how potential carbon emission reduction policies will affect future energy demand and impact the fuel mix. The company says that imposing higher costs for carbon emissions would affect energy prices and prove to be an incentive to switch to less carbon-intensive fuels, such as natural gas.

Exxon Mobil said energy-efficiency gains are expected to accelerate between 2005 and 2030 when contrasted with historical trends. Gains in energy efficiency will curb energy demand growth through 2030 by about 65 percent, it said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Coal, Consumption, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Energy Efficiency, Natural Gas, Other, Policies & Solutions0 Comments

China Discusses Carbon Emissions and Greenhouse Gases Targets

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 7 (UPI) — As world leaders gathered for the Monday opening of the U.N. climate-change conference in Copenhagen, a Chinese minister said his country’s carbon emissions would peak between 2030 and 2040.

Wan Gang, minister of science and technology, told the Guardian he hoped the maximum output of Chinese greenhouse gases would come as soon as possible within that range.

While Wan’s comments to the newspaper are not official policy, it is the nearest China has ventured in setting a target for when emissions will begin to decrease. Various experts, research groups and academics in China have estimated that emissions could peak between 2020 or 2050, although the government has yet to officially announce a target.

Determining a peak date for developing countries, which are experiencing quickly rising emissions, is a crucial issue for some 192 world leaders meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 7-18 to agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Under Kyoto, China was exempt from any requirement to control emissions.

“There are some uncertainties here, so it is difficult to say whether it will be in the beginning, the end or the middle, but I can say for sure it will be within that range,” Wan said in predicting the emissions peak occurring between 2030 and 2040. “As the minister of science and technology I would say the sooner the better.”

Wan said unpredictable factors such as the pace of China’s economic growth, increases in urbanization, and the level of scientific strides would affect the timing of the emissions peak. Attaining the earlier date in the range, he added, would be possible if China continued to invest in renewable energy efficiency, implemented carbon capture technology and promoted changes in consumer behavior.

China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon, will account for approximately 29 percent of total global emissions by 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,

Beijing announced its first carbon intensity target Nov. 26, saying it would cut carbon emissions per unit of its gross domestic product by between 40 percent and 45 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. Even with this cut, the country’s output of carbon dioxide is expected to increase by about 90 percent if the economy grows by 8 percent.

China’s Nov. 26 announcement “has assisted in triggering fresh momentum” in the days running up to the Copenhagen talks, Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the office of the U.N. Environment Program executive director, told state news agency Xinhua Saturday. “It underscores China’s determination to continue and accelerate the decoupling of CO2 emissions from economic growth,” he said.

Nuttall noted that China’s announcement, alongside commitments and pledges by other countries or blocs like the European Union, Brazil, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, is bringing the opportunity of a decisive agreement in Copenhagen much closer than perhaps was the case only a few months ago.

Xinhua predicts tough negotiations at the Copenhagen meeting.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Energy Efficiency, Office, Other, Pollution & Toxins, Science, Space, & Technology, Urbanization0 Comments

President Barack Obama to Attend Climate Change Summit in Denmark Later than Expected

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) — U.S. President Obama rescheduled his attendance at the climate change summit in Denmark, based on actions by China and India on coal, the White House said.

Obama will travel to the U.N.-sponsored summit in Copenhagen Dec. 18, when more than 80 leaders of government will convene to craft an agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement Friday.

Obama had planned to attend the gathering Wednesday as he traveled to Oslo, Norway, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, India and China have identified near-term climate goals, signaling a meaningful deal could be struck, White House officials said. India announced Thursday it will improve the energy efficiency of its economy between now and 2020. China outlined its own climate target last week.

“After months of diplomatic activity, there is progress being made toward a meaningful Copenhagen accord in which all countries pledge to take action against the global threat of climate change,” Gibbs said in the statement. “Based on his conversations with other leaders and the progress that has already been made to give momentum to negotiations, the president believes that continued U.S. leadership can be most productive through his participation at the end of the Copenhagen conference … .”

Even if issues still need to be negotiated for an agreement to be reached, Gibbs said the change in plans “reflects the president’s commitment to doing all that he can to pursue a positive outcome.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Coal, Energy Efficiency, Global Warming & Climate Change, Other0 Comments

California Sets Energy Efficiency Requirements for TVs

SACRAMENTO, Nov. 20 (UPI) — California has become the first U.S. state to adopt energy efficiency requirements for television.

The standards, approved this week by the California Energy Commission, require that new televisions sold in the state consume 33 percent less electricity by 2011 and 49 percent less electricity by 2013.

The standards affect only those TVs with a screen size 58 inches or smaller. TVs with screens larger than 58 inches, including home theater systems, are likely to be addressed in the next few years.

The rule does not apply to any of the approximately 35 million TV sets currently in use of for sale in California. The commission said that about three-quarters of TV sets now in stores comply with the 2011 standards and 25 percent meet the tougher 2013 rule.

California estimates that after 10 years, the regulations will save $8.1 billion in energy costs and save enough energy to power 864,000 single-family homes. Pacific Gas & Electric estimates that over a decade the standards will reduce CO2 emissions by 3.3 million tons.

“It is the real, achievable policies like the first-in-the-nation standards adopted by the Energy Commission today that have made California a world leader in the fight against climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Since the sale of flat-panel TVs started booming in the early 2000s, TV-related power usage has more than tripled to 10 billion kilowatt hours per year, said Arthur Rosenfeld, a nuclear physicist and member of the commission, the Los Angeles Times reports. This usage accounts for nearly 10 percent of residential electricity consumption.

Rosenfeld noted that the state’s energy regulations have had favorable outcomes in the past. In the 1970s, California banned energy-guzzling refrigerators and air conditioners. Before the ban, the average refrigerator in California consumed 2,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity, Rosenfeld said. Now the energy usage for a typical refrigerator has been slashed to 400 kilowatt hours per year, costs less and has more consumer-friendly features.

According to the commission, the state’s per capita electricity use has remained flat for 30 years compared to the rest of the United States, which has increased its energy consumption by 40 percent.

The Consumer Electronics Association issued a statement denouncing the regulations as “dangerous for the California economy, dangerous for technology innovation and dangerous for consumer freedom.”

“Instead of allowing customers to choose the products they want, the commission has decided to impose arbitrary standards that will hamper innovation and limit consumer choice,” the statement said, noting that in the last two years, energy efficiency of TVs has improved by 41 percent.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumption, Electricity, Electronics, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Energy Efficiency, Nuclear, Policies & Solutions, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

U.S. and China Discuss Climate Change

BEIJING, Nov. 18 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, on Tuesday pledged a “vigorous response” to climate change, saying they would work toward a global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In a joint statement, the two nations — the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gases — said climate change was “one of the greatest challenges of our time.” They said they agreed that a “vigorous response is necessary and that international cooperation is indispensable in responding to this challenge.”

Standing next to Hu, Obama told reporters “there can be no solution to this challenge without the efforts of both China and the United States.”

The announcement, as Obama concludes his first state visit to China, comes less than three weeks before the U.N.-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It follows acknowledgement Sunday by Asia-Pacific leaders, including the United States, that a binding global accord on emissions is not reachable in Copenhagen next month.

Obama said that he and the Chinese president “agreed to work toward a successful outcome in Copenhagen.”

“Our aim there, in support of what Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark is trying to achieve, is not a partial accord or a political declaration, but rather an accord that covers all of the issues in the negotiations, and one that has immediate operational effect,” Obama said.

But it was not clear if Obama meant that a binding legal agreement could still be achieved in Copenhagen.

The U.S.-China joint statement said both countries “believe that, while striving for final legal agreement, an agreed outcome at Copenhagen should … include emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries.”

Obama and Hu also announced seven joint initiatives to strengthen cooperation between the United States and China on clean energy, including a joint clean-energy research center, with a $150 million budget to be equally split between the two countries. Other joint initiatives announced include cooperation on energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean coal, electric vehicles and shale gas.

While the joint initiatives are “positive steps” that both countries are taking on the ground to address climate change, “more political will is needed from both leaders to ensure a successful outcome at Copenhagen,” said Yang Ailun, who heads the Climate and Energy Campaign for Greenpeace China.

But WWF’s China director for the Global Climate Initiative, Hou Yanli, said Obama and Hu had “greatly renewed our hopes for a strong and comprehensive deal at Copenhagen.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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U.S. and Chinese Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao Announce Clean Energy Plans

BEIJING, Nov. 17 (UPI) — U.S. and Chinese Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao announced Tuesday a package of measures designed to strengthen U.S.-Chinese cooperation on clean energy.

Hu said the two countries’ corresponding officials signed agreements to enhance “cooperation on climate change, energy and environment.”

First, a U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center will be established, the White House said in a statement. The $150 million center, equally funded by the two countries for five years, will facilitate joint research and development of clean energy technologies by teams of scientists and engineers from the United States and China and act as a clearinghouse to aid researchers in each country.

The two presidents also announced the beginning of the U.S.-China Electric Vehicles Initiative, which includes joint standards development, demonstration projects in more than a dozen cities, technical road-mapping and public education projects.

Also included in the package is a new U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Action Plan. Under the program, the two countries will work together to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, industrial facilities and appliances.

The fourth initiative is a U.S.-China Renewable Energy Partnership, in which the two countries will develop roadmaps for renewable energy consumption. The partnership also will include an Advanced Grid Working Group of government and industry leaders to develop strategies for modernizing electricity grids in both countries.

Obama and Hu also pledged to promote cooperation on cleaner uses of coal, including large-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects. Through the new U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, teams of U.S. and Chinese scientists and engineers will work together in developing clean coal and CCS technologies.

The final energy initiative is the establishment of the U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program that the presidents said will leverage private-sector resources for project development work in China for a number of clean energy projects that would benefit both nations. Collaborative projects include renewable energy, smart grid, clean transportation, green building, clean coal, combined heat and power, and energy efficiency.

“As the two largest consumers and producers of energy, there can be no solution to this challenge without the efforts of both China and the United States,” Obama said. “That’s why we’ve agreed to a series of important new initiatives in this area.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Buildings, Coal, Consumption, Education, Electricity, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Energy Efficiency, Transportation0 Comments

International Energy Agency (IEA) Says: $500 Billion in Costs for Each Year of Climate Inaction

LONDON, Nov. 10 (UPI) — Each year the world delays implementing a global climate-protection deal will add $500 billion to the costs related to greenhouse gas emissions reductions, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.

In its new World Energy Outlook 2010, the Paris-based IEA urged the world’s nations to work together to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius. The framework for such a target will be discussed next month at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, that is aimed at producing a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.

“World leaders gathering in Copenhagen next month … have a historic opportunity to avert the worst effects of climate change,” IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said in a statement.

But analysts have warned that a deal might be delayed until 2010 because industrialized and developing nations hold contradictory negotiation positions.

An adviser to 28 developed countries, the IEA in its new WEO urged for a reform of today’s energy system to avoid excessive climate change abatement costs.

“Continuing on today’s energy path, without any change in government policy, would mean rapidly increasing dependence on fossil fuels, with alarming consequences for climate change and energy security,” the report said.

Due to the global downturn, energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions in 2009 are well below previous forecasts, the IEA said.

“But this saving will count for nothing if a robust deal is not reached in Copenhagen — and emissions resume their upward path.”

This would dramatically increase costs linked to global warming.

Starting in 2010, every year’s delay would add another $500 billion to the $10.5 trillion needed between 2010 and 2030 to reduce CO2 emissions in a bid to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees C, a cap scientists say is critical to spare the world from the worst effects of climate change.

“A delay of just a few years would probably render that goal completely out of reach,” the report said. “If this were the case, the additional adaptation costs would be many times this figure. Countries attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference must not lose sight of this.”

If leaders fail to strike an agreement at Copenhagen and in the months beyond, global oil demand by 2030 is expected rise to 105 million barrels a day, the IEA said.

If, on the other hand, leaders strike a deal and boost electric mobility, renewables and energy efficiency, global demand for oil could rise by just 4 million barrels to 89 million barrels a day by 2030, the IEA said.

The IEA also revised its crude demand forecast for demand in 2015 to 88 million barrels a day, down from 94 million barrels a day a year ago. Oil prices will climb to $100 a barrel by 2020 and $115 a barrel by 2030, the IEA added.

A barrel of crude is currently valued at around $79, well below the record $147 it cost in July 2008.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Effects Of Air Pollution, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Global Warming & Climate Change, Other0 Comments

Al Gore Takes Global Climate Change Campaign to Nashville

NASHVILLE, Nov. 9 (UPI) — Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said during an appearance in Nashville the fight against global climate change can be helped by a variety of methods.

Appearing at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in the Tennessee city, the former U.S. vice president turned environmental activist detailed how everything from improved energy efficiency to fully embracing alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind power could aid in the fight, The (Nashville) Tennessean said Monday.

“We should try to do the best we can with all these solutions,” Gore said Sunday. “We’ve got to do it because every single day, we’re putting 90 million tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.”

The appearance by the author of “An Inconvenient Truth” came as Gore is promoting his newest book, “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.”

While some attendees oppose Gore’s theories, Tami Sprintz Hall of Franklin, Tenn., told The Tennessean her family is doing its part.

“It’s unfortunate some people aren’t going to believe it until it hits them in their face,” said Sprintz, who said her family uses energy-efficient light bulbs and recycles.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Energy Efficiency, Global Warming & Climate Change, Solar, Wind0 Comments

Victoria Considers Exporting Massive Amounts of "Dirty" Brown Coal Reserves

SYDNEY, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Victoria is considering exporting massive amounts of its “dirty” brown coal reserves.

The Age reported that confidential Cabinet documents it obtained show the Victorian government is considering offering billions of tons of the coal for competitive tender in 2010. The tender process would be preceded by a go-ahead for a $1.5 billion plan by energy company Exergen to mine, dry and ship 12 million tons of brown coal annually to India.

In addition to being greenhouse gas intensive, brown coal contains a high level of water and is low in energy efficiency. But proponents say that new technological approaches, including drying, can lower its moisture content from more than 60 percent to about 25 percent, cutting emissions when burned by about 30 percent.

The company’s Web site states that Exergen coal is more dense and compact than the brown coal it is sourced from. Once stabilized, in a briquette form, the Web site says, “it is an ideal export product enabling the benefits of reduced emissions to be made available to any nation.”

According to The Age, the official documents it obtained indicate that public concerns could arise from the export of brown coal, a greenhouse-gas intensive fuel. But, the documents state, the exports can be justified on three grounds: that Victoria cannot on its own limit global emissions; the coal could help developing countries overcome poverty, and emissions in those countries could be even higher if Victorian coal is denied and dirtier fuels are used.

Environment Victoria, a lobby group, says brown coal is one of the least environmentally friendly fuels and there have been few technological advances to clean up the resource.

Mark Wakeham, campaign director for the group, said the state, in justifying coal exports on the grounds that it was not responsible for a global climate agreement, is ”like saying we can’t singlehandedly deliver world peace so let’s go on a killing spree.”

“We think this is largely about trying to get hold of a coal allocation before it all gets too hard with global climate change deals and as the industry’s social license to operate evaporates,” Wakeham said.

The Age reports the Cabinet documents indicate Victoria’s Gippsland has coal reserves of 33 billion tons. That’s enough to power Victoria for some 500 years at the current rate of consumption. Approximately 13 billion tons of Gippsland’s reserves are still unallocated and could be available for export.

In September Victoria Premier John Brumby said he saw no reason why the state should not export brown coal. ”Australia exports oil, Australia exports gas, Australia exports black coal and Australia exports uranium,” he said. ”So why you would single out brown coal and say you can’t export that?”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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