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Archive for the ‘fossil fuels’ Category

Oil Peak 2014?

Posted by feww on March 11, 2010

Kuwaiti researchers predict world conventional crude oil production will peak in 2014.

Oil peak is the point where oil production, having reached a maximum, declines. “Scientists have developed several models to forecast this point, and some put the date at 2020 or later. One of the most famous forecast models, called the Hubbert model, accurately predicted that oil production would peak in the United States in 1970. The model has since gained in popularity and has been used to forecast oil production worldwide. However, recent studies show that the model is insufficient to account for more complex oil production cycles of some countries. Those cycles can be heavily influenced by technology changes, politics, and other factors, the scientists say.”

The world’s crude oil production, which comes from sources like this oil field, may peak a decade earlier than some scientists had predicted. Crdit : iStock

“The new study describe development of a new version of the Hubbert model that accounts for these individual production trends to provide a more realistic and accurate oil production forecast. Using the new model, the scientists evaluated the oil production trends of 47 major oil-producing countries, which supply most of the world’s conventional crude oil. They estimated that worldwide conventional crude oil production will peak in 2014, years earlier than anticipated. The scientists also showed that the world’s oil reserves are being depleted at a rate of 2.1 percent a year. The new model could help inform energy-related decisions and public policy debate, they suggest.” American Chemical Society Public Release said.

Related Information: Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model

Posted in crude oil, energy, fossil fuels, oil production, renewable energy | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fish, Fish Eggs Holocaust

Posted by feww on December 29, 2008

In view of public interest in the environmental impact and safety of power plants the following AP article first published in October is reprinted in full.

Billions of Fish, Fish Eggs Die in Power Plants

By Jim Fitzgerald, Associated Press – First Published 19 October 2008

BUCHANAN, N.Y. (AP) — For a newly hatched striped bass in the Hudson River, a clutch of trout eggs in Lake Michigan or a baby salmon in San Francisco Bay, drifting a little too close to a power plant can mean a quick and turbulent death.

Sucked in with enormous volumes of water, battered against the sides of pipes and heated by steam, the small fry of the aquatic world are being sacrificed in large numbers each year to the cooling systems of power plants around the country.

NIPSCO Coal Power Plant Cooling Tower. Michigan City. Indiana. Publisher: National Biological Information Infrastructure (Nov 2002). Credit: John J. Mosesso,

Environmentalists say the nation’s power plants are needlessly killing fish and fish eggs with their cooling systems, but energy-industry officials say opponents of nuclear power are exaggerating the losses.

The issue is affecting the debate over the future of a nuclear plant in the suburbs north of New York City, and the facilities and environmentalists are closely watching the outcome here to see how to proceed in other cities around the country. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this term in a lawsuit related to the matter.

The issue’s scope is tremendous. More than 1,000 power plants and factories around the country use water from rivers, lakes, oceans and creeks as a coolant. At Indian Point plant in New York, the two reactors can pull in 1.7 million gallons of water per minute. Nineteen plants on or near the California coast use 16.3 billion gallons of sea water every day.

Part of the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant, the site chosen for a proposed new nuclear power reactor, is seen here. The water cooling tower is emitting steam from hot water. The plant is near Raleigh, N.C. Image: Progress Energy, Murray & Associates. Image may be subject to copyright.

Most of the casualties are just fish eggs, and for many species, it takes thousands of eggs to result in one adult fish. The U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, which counts only species that are valuable for commerce or recreation, uses various formulas and says the number of eggs and larvae killed each year at the nation’s large power plants would have grown into 1.5 billion year-old fish.

Environmentalists note that even fish that die before maturity contribute to the ecosystem as food for larger fish and birds, and as predators themselves on smaller organisms. But once they’ve gone through the power plant, they become decomposing detritus on the river bottom and have moved from the top to the bottom of the food chain, said Reed Super, an environmental lawyer specializing in the federal Clean Water Act.

“This is a really significant ongoing harm to our marine ecosystem,” says Angela Haren, program director for the California Coastkeeper Alliance in San Francisco.

Technology has long existed that might reduce the fish kill by 90 percent or more. Cooling towers allow a power plant to recycle the water rather than continuously pump it in. New power plants are required to use cooling towers, but most existing plants resist any push to convert, citing the huge cost and claiming that most fish eggs and larvae are doomed anyway.

“We’re not killing grown fish,” says Jerry Nappi, spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, owner of Indian Point. “If we were killing billions of grown fish you’d be able to walk across the Hudson on their backs.”

And Nappi says the fish population in the Hudson is stable, despite a recent study commissioned by Indian Point opponents that said 10 of 13 species were declining.

He also says an insistence on cooling towers could lead to Indian Point’s closing and a sudden power deficit in the New York metropolitan area.

“What you’re really talking about is a $1.5 billion hit on the company, and then it becomes an economic decision whether they want to stay here,” he says. He believes talk of cooling towers is “a backdoor attempt by some to shut down Indian Point.”

A recent ruling dealt at least a small blow to Entergy’s efforts. The state Department of Environmental Protection, which is pushing for cooling towers, said the simple fact that so many fish eggs are destroyed each year at Indian Point is proof of an environmental impact, and Entergy can no longer maintain that it’s not adversely affecting the river.

Natural Draft Cooling Tower. Image Source:
Cooling Towers. Image may be subject to copyright.

There’s still months of argument ahead, but the ruling could be influential.

“We’ll be very interested to see how that comes out,” says Katie Nekola, an attorney for Clean Wisconsin, which failed to force cooling towers at the Oak Creek plant on Lake Michigan but won a $105 million settlement.

State agencies in California also are working on new regulations that should limit the numbers of fish killed, in the Pacific Ocean and other bodies of water.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, nuclear plants drink from other familiar bodies of water as the Mississippi River, Chesapeake Bay, Lake Michigan, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Oceans. Water used for cooling does not become radioactive.

Most plants without cooling towers use a system in which water is continuously pumped in, used for cooling, and returned.

Various types of barriers are used to keep adult fish out of the system; Indian Point uses screens with holes measuring a quarter-inch by a half-inch.

However, fish that are blocked by the screen can become caught on the screen by the force of the water intake. To rescue them, the screens rotate, and as they come out of the water a spray of water knocks the impinged fish into a trough, which is directed back to the river.

A California state report says 9 million fish are caught on nets there every year. Even turtles, seals and sea lions are occasionally caught. Environmentalists believe many fish and other creatures are killed in this process, or are injured and die later.

“When you hit a deer in your car, just because it gets up and runs away doesn’t mean it’s not going to die,” Haren said.

But Ed Keating, environmental manager at the nuclear subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc., said that probably only 1 percent of the fish caught get killed on the screens. Dara Gray, environmental supervisor at Indian Point, says there’s no reason to believe that any fish are injured or killed by being caught on the screen.

In the process known as closed-cycle cooling, used mostly in newer plants, the number of fish and eggs sucked in or impinged is sharply reduced because cooling towers use so much less water. Even if a power plant draws its cooling water from a river, it uses that water over and over again and rarely needs to replenish.

Some plants with cooling towers don’t have to worry about fish at all. PSEG Fossil has plants in New Jersey that now take treated wastewater from sewage plants.

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Posted in coal-fired, fish eggs, Fish Holocaust, fossil fuels, New Jersey | Tagged: , , , , | 15 Comments »

Only Zero Emissions Would Avert Dangerous Warming

Posted by feww on October 15, 2007

The following is a response to an article in the New Scientist titled Zero emissions needed to avert ‘dangerous’ warming. The response was submitted by The Management School of Restorative Business. The original article is posted below.

RE: Zero emissions needed to avert ‘dangerous’ warming

MSRB concurs with the overall conclusion of the University of Victoria report that the only way to stabilize the temperature is by total elimination of industrial emissions.

However, according to our model, even with the total elimination of industrial emissions effected immediately the temperature would stabilize above 3.2oC probably by 2025.

Further, their timeline appears to be too optimistic. According to our model the global warming “tipping point” occurred in mid 2006, beyond which all changes are irreversible [in the short run.] We expect to experience catastrophic climatic events starting by 2009-2010. By as early as 2015, we believe dramatic ecosystems collapses including ozone holes, global heating, extreme climatic events, toxic pollution, depletion of food and natural resources, unethical conduct, war and disease pandemics would result in the depopulation of most of our population clusters.

The world entered a double exponential* phase in 1980, when Earth’s “torching energy,” exceeded 9.51 terawatts {q[torch] > 9.51TW.} According to MSRB model the countdown toward the Earth’s “Terminal Energy” had started. The q[torch] for the first half 2007 averaged at 16.8TW. See and

*[Note: Double exponential functions grow even faster than exponential functions.]

Apart from the obvious political reasons, most climate models are fundamentally flawed because they (i) use tired old formula to “predict” the future changes based on empirical analysis, (ii) base their calculations on the “official” data, (iii) are “one-dimensional” and therefore unable to model accurately or forecast the behavior of sophisticated, highly interdependent systems such as Earth’s ecosystems.

The best [and the only intelligent] course of action on global and national levels would be an immediate “powerdown” to the “safe” energy consumption levels of about 60EJ, while allocating most of the resources to creating low-energy communities that provide food, shelter, education and safety for as many people as possible.

The Management School of
Restorative Business (MSRB)

Related Links:

Original Article:
Zero emissions needed to avert dangerous warming
16:56 11 October 2007 news service
Catherine Brahic

Only the total elimination of industrial emissions will succeed in imiting climate change to a 20C rise in temperatures, according to omputer analysis of climate change. Anything above this target has been identified as “dangerous” by some scientists, and the limit has been adopted by many policymakers.

The researchers say their study highlights the shortcomings of governmental plans to limit climate change.

A warming of 20C above pre-industrial temperatures is frequently cited as the limit beyond which the world will face “dangerous” climate change. Beyond this level, analysis suggests the continents will cease to absorb more carbon dioxide than they produce. As the tundra and other regions of permafrost thaw, they will spew more gas into the atmosphere, adding to the warming effect of human emissions.

The end result will be dramatic ecological changes, including widespread coastal flooding, reduced food production, and widespread species extinction.

Established model

In January 2007, the European Commission issued a communication stating that “the European Union’s objective is to limit global average temperature increase to less than 20C compared to pre-industrial levels”.

Andrew Weaver and colleagues at the University of Victoria in Canada say this means going well beyond the reduction of industrial emissions discussed in international negotiations.

Weaver’s team used a computer model to determine how much emissions must be limited in order to avoid exceeding a 20C increase. The model is an established tool for analysing future climate change and was used in studies cited in the IPCC’s reports on climate change.

They modelled the reduction of industrial emissions below 2006 levels by between 20% and 100% by 2050. Only when emissions were entirely eliminated did the temperature increase remain below 20C.

A 100% reduction of emissions saw temperature change stabilise at 1.50C above the pre-industrial figure. With a 90% reduction by 2050, Weaver’s model predicted that temperature change will eventually exceed 20C compared to pre-industrial temperatures but then plateau.

Stark contrast

The researchers conclude that governments should consider reducing emissions to 90% below current levels and remove what is left in the atmosphere by capturing and storing carbon (see Chemical ‘sponge’ could filter CO2 from air).

There is a stark contrast between this proposal and the measures currently being considered. Under the UN’s Kyoto protocol, most developed nations have agreed to limit their emissions to a minimum of 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. What happens beyond this date is the subject of ongoing debate and negotiation.

The European Union nations have agreed to limit their emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and support dropping global emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.

“There is a disconnect between the European Union arguing for a 20C threshold and calling for 50% cuts at 2050 – you can’t have it both ways,” says Weaver, who adds: “If you’re going to talk about 20C you have got to be talking 90% emissions cuts.”

Vanishing point

Tim Lenton, a climatologist at the University of East Anglia in the UK, agrees that even the most ambitious climate change policies so far proposed by governments may not go far enough. “It is overly simplistic assume we can take emissions down to 50% at 2050 and just hold them there. We already know that that’s not going to work,” he says.

Even with emissions halved, Lenton says carbon dioxide will continue building up in the atmosphere and temperatures will continue to rise. For temperature change to stabilise, he says industrial carbon emissions must not exceed what can be absorbed by Earth’s vegetation, soil and oceans.

At the moment, about half of industrial emissions are absorbed by ocean and land carbon “sinks”. But simply cutting emissions by half will not solve the problem, Lenton says, because these sinks also grow and shrink as CO2 emissions change.

“People are easily misled into thinking that 50% by 2050 is all we have to do when in fact have to continue reducing emissions afterwards, all the way down to zero,” Lenton says.

Journal reference: Geophysical Research Letters ( DOI: 0.1029/2007GL031018 )

Fair Use Notice: See Article 107, CHAPTER 1, TITLE 17 of U.S. Copyright Code

Posted in collapse, double exponential phase, ecosystems, environment, fossil fuels, Global Warming, lifestyle, Zero emissions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »