Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New and Noteworthy (100% Renewable Energy by 2030, Not-So-Clean Natural Gas, Pirates)

In today's edition:

* Mark A. Delucchi and Mark Z. Jacobson recently published a two-part article in the December 2010 edition of the journal Energy Policy, "Providing All Global Energy With Wind, Water, and Solar Power," which is getting a fair amount of publicity for its argument that it is possible to meet 100 percent of the world's energy needs through renewables by 2030 (a case I find plausible). The article is presently behind a paywall, but it can be previewed at the journal's web site.

* By way of Energy Bulletin, Abraham Lustgarten's much-needed reminder of the overstated climatic benefits of natural gas, highlighting the massive role that natural gas plays in methane emissions (all too often overlooked by those concentrating solely on carbon emissions as the problem).

* Finally, on the heels of the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre's annual report on the problem of maritime piracy, Spencer Ackerman in the Wired Danger Room offers a piece on its big-picture impact, as calculated by a recent working paper from the One Earth Future foundation's Oceans Beyond Piracy Project. The economic damage done by the phenomenon may be running into the range of $7-12 billion per year when ransoms, raised insurance premiums, the expenses of ship rerouting and security equipment, costs to the economies of piracy-afflicted areas, the expenses of international naval forces and criminal prosecution and the like are taken into account. However, given the scale of overall maritime economic activity, observers have noted over the years, even these elevated expenses have a small enough impact that more decisive action about the problem is anything but assured.

Piracy in 2010

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