Global Warming

The oil question: nature and prognosis

Publication date:
2008-12-01
First published in:
Science Progress
Authors:
C.J. Rhodes
Abstract:

A review is given of the nature and origins of crude oil (petroleum) along with factors relating to its production and demand for it. The modern globalised world economy and its population has grown on the assumption of limitless supplies of cheap crude oil. Almost all agriculture now is completely dependent on available oil and natural gas to run machinery and to make chemical fertilizers. Our complacent regard for oil is however invalid and a gap between the relentlessly rising demand for oil and its supply is expected to appear at some time in the period 2010 - 2015. The global peak in oil production "peak oil" predicted by M. King Hubbert in 1956, will exacerbate the situation, and the world must seek to run and organise itself in an imminent reality where supplies of conventional crude oil are both limited and increasingly expensive. Providing the equivalent of 30 billion barrels of oil a year as is currently used across the globe, by unconventional kinds of oil, e.g. from oil shale and tar sands is not realistic. Since most of the oil produced in the world is refined into liquid fuels to run transportation, human survival will depend on devising localised economies and communities that necessarily rely far less on personalised transport (cars).

Published in: Science Progress, Volume 91, Number 4, December 2008 , Pages 317-375
Available from: IngentaConnect

Fuelling America's Climatic Apocalypse

Publication date:
2007-06-01
First published in:
World Views: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
Authors:
T.B. Leduc
Abstract:

This paper examines the powerful intersection of Christian fundamentalism and fossil fuel interests in the United States' Republican administration's policy response to climate change. Of particular interest is the increasing recognition that apocalyptic Christian beliefs are informing America's political economic and public understanding of environmental issues, thus allowing climate change to be interpreted from a religious frame of reference that could impact a viable response in a country whose GHG emissions are amongst the highest in the world. While liberal secularists may think the Christian apocalypse to be a misguided belief, scientific discourses on the potential interacting impacts of climatic changes and energy shortages offer an almost complementary rational depiction of apocalypse. By bringing these Christian and secular revelations into dialogue, the following interdisciplinary analysis offers a unique perspective on the way in which apocalyptic thought can both negatively and positively inform a political economic response to climate change.

Published in: World Views: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology, Volume 11, Number 3, 2007, Pages 255-283
Available from: IngentaConnect

Children and Peak Oil: An Opportunity in Crisis

Publication date:
2007-06-01
First published in:
The International Journal of Children's Rights
Authors:
P. Tranter, S. Sharpe
Abstract:

Major social upheavals and crises are notorious as catalysts for the re-evaluation of values and the erosion or augmentation of human rights. In the contemporary global setting, scarcely any issue causes more anxiety, either directly or indirectly, than the production and consumption of the world’s energy resources. From the war in Iraq, to rising fuel prices, to global warming attributed to the burning of fossil fuels, energy consumption has been a central theme. This paper argues that the current concern about energy resources, particularly oil, provides an opportunity for a re-evaluation of our conceptualisation of children and children’s rights...

Published in: The International Journal of Children's Rights, Volume 15, Number 1, 2007, Pages 181-197
Available from: IngentaConnect

Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Globalization: Contradictions of Natural Capital

Publication date:
2007-06-01
First published in:
Review of Radical Political Economics
Authors:
F. Curtis
Abstract:

This article argues that economic globalization may be undermined by predicted impacts of global warming and peak oil (depletion). They are projected to cause significant damage to transportation infrastructure and increase transportation costs. They may also increase business risk, food prices, and general prices. As a result, the long distance exploitation of cheap labor may lose much of its economic profitability in coming decades, and supply chains may contract to regional and local lengths.

Published in: Review of Radical Political Economics, Volume 39, Issue 3, Pages 385-390
Available from: Sage Journals Online

Hydrogen's role in an uncertain energy future

Publication date:
2009-01-01
First published in:
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Authors:
P. Moriarty, D. Honnery
Abstract:

This study explores global energy demand, and hydrogen's role, over the 21st century. It considers four illustrative cases: a high (1000 EJ) and a low (300 EJ) energy future, and for each of these conditions, a high (80%) and low (20%) fossil fuel energy share. We argue that neither high energy future is probable, because of resource limitations, and rising energy, environmental and money costs per unit of delivered energy as annual energy demand rises far beyond present levels. The low energy/low fossil case is most likely, followed by the low energy/high fossil case, although both require large cuts in energy use, and most probably, lifestyle changes in high energy use countries. Hydrogen production would be best favoured in the low fossil fuel options, with production both greater, and implemented earlier, in the higher energy case. It is thus least likely in the low energy/high fossil fuel case.

Published in: International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 31-39
Available from: ScienceDirect

Implications of fossil fuel constraints on economic growth and global warming

Publication date:
2008-08-15
First published in:
Energy Policy
Authors:
W.P Nel & C.J Cooper
Abstract:

Energy Security and Global Warming are analysed as 21st century sustainability threats.

Best estimates of future energy availability are derived as an Energy Reference Case (ERC). An explicit economic growth model is used to interpret the impact of the ERC on economic growth. The model predicts a divergence from 20th century equilibrium conditions in economic growth and socio-economic welfare is only stabilised under optimistic assumptions that demands a paradigm shift in contemporary economic thought and focused attention from policy makers.

Fossil fuel depletion also constrains the maximum extent of Global Warming. Carbon emissions from the ERC comply nominally with the B1 scenario, which is the lowest emissions case considered by the IPCC. The IPCC predicts a temperature response within acceptance limits of the Global Warming debate for the B1 scenario. The carbon feedback cycle, used in the IPCC models, is shown as invalid for low-emissions scenarios and an alternative carbon cycle reduces the temperature response for the ERC considerably compared to the IPCC predictions.

Our analysis proposes that the extent of Global Warming may be acceptable and preferable compared to the socio-economic consequences of not exploiting fossil fuel reserves to their full technical potential.

Published in: Energy Policy, Article in Press
Available from: ScienceDirect

Implications of "peak oil" for atmospheric CO2 and climate

Publication date:
2008-08-05
First published in:
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Authors:
P.A. Kharecha, J.E. Hansen
Abstract:

Unconstrained CO2 emission from fossil fuel burning has been the dominant cause of observed anthropogenic global warming. The amounts of “proven” and potential fossil fuel reserves are uncertain and debated. Regardless of the true values, society has flexibility in the degree to which it chooses to exploit these reserves, especially unconventional fossil fuels and those located in extreme or pristine environments. If conventional oil production peaks within the next few decades, it may have a large effect on future atmospheric CO2 and climate change, depending upon subsequent energy choices. Assuming that proven oil and gas reserves do not greatly exceed estimates of the Energy Information Administration, and recent trends are toward lower estimates, we show that it is feasible to keep atmospheric CO2 from exceeding about 450 ppm by 2100, provided that emissions from coal, unconventional fossil fuels, and land use are constrained. Coal-fired power plants without sequestration must be phased out before midcentury to achieve this CO2 limit. It is also important to “stretch” conventional oil reserves via energy conservation and efficiency, thus averting strong pressures to extract liquid fuels from coal or unconventional fossil fuels while clean technologies are being developed for the era “beyond fossil fuels”. We argue that a rising price on carbon emissions is needed to discourage conversion of the vast fossil resources into usable reserves, and to keep CO2 beneath the 450 ppm ceiling.

Published in: Global Biochemical Cycles, Vol 22, 2008
Available from: AGU

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