April 26 News: Insurance Report Says Risky Fossil Fuel Production Endangers Economic Recovery

A new insurance report says that unconventional fossil fuel production risks blowing global economic recovery off course. [Guardian]

Soaring risks around new fossil fuel frontiers – shale gas, deepwater exploration and the Arctic – have the potential to blow the global economic recovery off course, according to a report.

Energy companies need to adopt more sophisticated risk management strategies to take account of relatively low-likelihood but potentially “catastrophic” disasters, says the paper from the global insurance broker Marsh.

The warning comes amid a heated debate around environmental and other dangers associated with shale and other unconventional reserves. The industry says they are needed to meet a near-40% increase in energy demand forecast by 2030….

“The global energy sector is driving struggling countries out of the economic mire, while sating surging demand for power in China, the Middle East and North Africa,” said Andrew George, chairman of Marsh’s global energy business.

“However, myriad financial, physical and political risks are converging to create a risk landscape that is perhaps the most complex and challenging in the sector’s history.”

The House holds a hearing this morning on natural gas fracking regulations and safety risks. [The Hill]

A Senate committee released a white paper that suggested a carbon tax in place of nearly all other energy tax incentives. [The Hill]

China said it will have a national climate legislation within the next two years. [Climate Group]

Seattle and San Francisco have divested from fossil fuel companies. [Guardian]

China also agreed to accelerate the phase out of a common class of ozone-eating refrigerants that double as powerful greenhouse gases. [Nature]

Researchers have developed a system of allowing electric cars to charge and discharge onto the grid at the same time, earning vehicle owners money. [New York Times]

More on the Organizing for Action effort against climate deniers in Congress. [Guardian]

Also, @BarackObama tweeted it. [DeSmogBlog]

Somali piracy is threatening science with a large “data hole” in the Indian Ocean. [National Geographic]

Will wireless electric car charging ever be feasible? [Gas2]

Neil Young on climate change: “It’s just not a fast moving subject. It’s a slow moving big story. But it’s not going to be going away unless we do something.” [Domestic Fuels]

29 Responses to April 26 News: Insurance Report Says Risky Fossil Fuel Production Endangers Economic Recovery

  1. fj says:

    Yes, the fossil fuel industry “may be” helping struggling countries . . . , but not the best and most efficient long term way. And, that it is actually helping is a definite maybe.

    Most likely the fossil fuel industry is a major economic drain on those countries they are supposedly helping.

    The heavy machinery high density energy model is no longer viable.

    This must be the message loud and clear from the US and developed world, the UN, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, etc., etc., etc.

  2. fj says:

    Regarding the Guardian article on OFA, climate deniers live in a house cards The President can easily collapse; much easier than gun control.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    Oil company beancounters have determined that it’s cheaper to cut corners and pay off the occasional disaster than to do things safely, whether it’s drilling or pipelines. Evidence of this policy can be found in Palast’s Vultures Picnic, with detailed examples in Alaska and the Gulf.

    This is the dark side, baby, and most Americans are scared to fight them.

  4. Raul M. says:
    The Evolving Truth about Fracking for Natural Gas [Updated]
    There are reports of people taking action to clean their own tap water. It may only be 1 gallon at a time though.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Mark Zuckerberg’s New Political Group Spending Big On Ads Supporting Keystone XL And Oil Drilling


  6. catman306 says:

    I will never join FaceBook for a host of reasons and now there’s one more.

    Neither should you.

  7. Jacob says:

    Totally agree catman306. I’ve never seen the appeal of Facebook, nor have I been one to follow ridiculous fads, too bad there are so many sheep out there.

    Wake up folks there are many other ways to communicate with people that don’t involve selling out.

  8. prokaryotes says:

    Hope for US-China collaboration on climate change, clean energy
    China and the United States are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, Holland writes. A recent agreement between the two countries bodes well for promoting clean energy and addressing climate change globally.

  9. prokaryotes says:

    My main motivation to maybe stop using facebook is the fact that you require to “promote/boost” your posts in order to have all followers take notice.

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Biochar reduces nasty nitrous oxide emissions on farms

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    Sea surface temperatures hit their highest recorded temperature for the past 150 years in 2012, according to the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC).

    The most recent Ecosystem Advisory (from the second-half of 2012) indicated a pattern of unusually high temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean during the spring and summer seasons. These conditions occured in no other ocean on Earth the past century. Sea temperatures recorded in the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem reached 14 degrees Celsius (57.2°F) in 2012…………
    The reading was the highest in the period of record-keeping, dating to 1854, according to the NOAA. The increase seen from 2011-2012 was also a record for the period and only the fifth time where temperature changed by more than 1 C (1.8 F) …

  12. Merrelyn Emery says:

    If you don’t have unions in there, the safety regs are not worth the paper they are printed on, ME

  13. prokaryotes says:

    Imagine an oil exec wants to pay with money in a post clicalyptic world (civilization rocked by major climate disruptions) – but money has become worthless…

    Bitcoin: world’s fastest growing currency migrates off the internet – video

  14. catman306 says:

    I hope that Prokaryotes will respond:

    Whoops: Soils can’t lock away black carbon or biochar, study says.

    April 26, 2013

    LONDON – Climate scientists may have to rethink some of their old assumptions about carbon. US and European researchers have just established that black carbon, soot and biochar – the burnt remains from countless forest fires – doesn’t stay in the soil indefinitely.

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Surely no-one can be surprised by this. Facebook is one deeply sinister big organisation.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I think that ‘climalyptic’ might be more euphonious, and slide off the tongue easier.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    By Tim Radford, formerly of The Guardian. Thumbs and nostril hairs start twitching. The report seems to say that biochar may be eroded, then travel by river to the sea. Would it not then be deposited in marine sediments, and hence remains ‘mobilely’ sequestered?

  18. catman306 says:

    We can’t tell from the reading this article if the charcoal is dissolved or carried as a suspension that settles out like clay in pond water. Maybe someone gets Science magazine and is a better reader than Mr. Radford.

    Biochar is some really important stuff.

  19. Colorado Bob says:

    The 400 ppm marker begs the question , “When did the earth last have 400 ppm ?”
    A paper 4 years back –
    In the Miocene 15 million years ago , the ocean was 75-120 feet higher , the air was 5-10F hotter.

    “The last time carbon dioxide levels were apparently as high as they are today — and were sustained at those levels — global temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than they are today, the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher than today, there was no permanent sea ice cap in the Arctic and very little ice on Antarctica and Greenland,” said the paper’s lead author, Aradhna Tripati, a UCLA assistant professor in the department of Earth and space sciences and the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

    Read more at:

  20. Colorado Bob says:

    This implies we are a rock about to be hurled 15 million years into the future . In a human life time.

  21. fj says:

    Perhaps, the most blatant examples of the advantages of low power may lie in natural systems.

  22. fj says:

    It seems that high power has the advantages to those that have it especially in situations of large power disparity.

    It trends toward chaos; to be extremely wasteful and costly, destructive, difficult to control and dangerous.

  23. Ken Barrows says:

    Recover to what? Making more cars and homes built by fossil fuels?

  24. fj says:

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely . . .

    . . . from socioeconomics to technology.

  25. andreas says:

    It may well have been “only” 4.5 million years ago in the Pliocene – then warmer by some 3-4C and 5-40m higher sea level.

    To this we must keep stressing that the current speed of change is such that may preclude a good deal of the biological adaptation/species migration that had happened in the past and, furthermore, that the way we’re going we would quickly overshoot on to the unthinkable levels of some 1300ppm of CO2eq. in less than a century as Jonathan Koomey rightly stressed here:

  26. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    This is very excellent. China and the US must co-operate in every way if we are to beat all our problems. Immersion in Chinese civilization would be good for the USA, too, on a cultural level, because there is much both can learn from each other. We have reached the stage of development where complete global co-operation is absolutely required to solve problems in the world system as a whole. The age of hegemony, of Imperial Diktat, of the ‘Manifest Destiny’ to interfere in every country on the planet on the basis of some non-existent and never existent ‘moral superiority’ is over. A peaceful, non-aggressive, non-domineering USA, with its cultural diversity and synergistic energy would be a great boon to humanity if it actually did turn its trillions of dollars of swords into ploughshares.