Oil prices back up, averaged $111 in 2011

For my ultimate post of 2011, I would like to write about something that was little to not noticed at all, yet as crucial as the increased importance of extreme weather events : oil prices were at their highest average ever this year.

According to some research carried out by the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (Cera) mentioned in Le Figaro [Fr] oil prices averaged $111 throughout 2011.

In 2008 – when oil prices reached the all-time high levels of $147 – the barrel of brent had averaged ” only ” $99. We had then noticed a near-exponential escalation of oil prices…

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2011 rewrote the record books on climate

Here is a rundown of all the extreme weather we witnessed in the past few months around the world  and the numerous calamities that struck all continents without exception… To The Guardian : ” The year 2011 was another ecologically tumultuous year with greenhouse gases rise to record levels, Arctic sea ice nearly equalling 2007’s … Read more

Engineers discover self healing circuits

To Ecogeek : “ A team of engineers at the University of Illinois have figured out how to create self-healing circuits in electronics and batteries, a discovery that could lead to longer equipment life ” ” As electronics have become more complex, one small circuit failure can render a device useless, especially since it is hard or often impossible to … Read more

Charlie Chaplin’s speech in The Dictator

For Christmas, our family reunion is generally the occasion to sing Christmas carols and read texts that are inspiring us. This year I intended to read one of the most inspirational texts of all time:

Charlie Chaplin’s final one in The Dictator. Despite being over seventy years old, there is a lot of things we should use now. Fighting greed, fighting ignorance, fighting hate are prerequisite.

Embracing love and helping each others could sure do wonders today. Keeping faith in such dark times is also much needed.

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European Union unveils its Energy Roadmap 2050

Is Europe finally moving ? To the European Commission‘s official website : ” On 15 December 2011, the European Commission adopted the Communication “Energy Roadmap 2050. “

” The EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 in the context of necessary reductions by developed countries as a group. “

I believe this is a sound decision, but its is lacking intermediary deadlines like -30 % percent by 2020. (highly feasible as we have seen).

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China to increase – again – its efforts

The situation is critical in the People’s Republic of China as everyday it is becoming more and more evident than business-as-usual scenario would doom the country, and the world.

As the air pollution in Beijing is reaching truly horrifing levels the local government has called to ” reduce emissions of “major pollutants” by as much as 10 per cent by 2015 “ according to The Telegraph.

To do so, the country will need no less than ” $536 billion (410 billion euros) of investments for environmental protection in the five years through 2015 “ as Bloomberg reports.

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The too many little oil spills of Russia

Here is something we never heard about before. To the Associated Press : ” Environmentalists estimate at least 1 percent of Russia’s annual oil production, or 5 million tons, is spilled every year. That is equivalent to one Deepwater Horizon-scale leak about every two months. Crumbling infrastructure and a harsh climate combine to spell disaster … Read more

A new job, a new life and new challenges

Dear visitors, readers and subscribers I would like to announce you that I am starting as of today a new life with a new job in a completely different kind of place. I have indeed left the bustling life of Paris for the calm of the countryside. I have been hired by a Belgian company … Read more

Toward super efficient solar panels

I came across two news today that could revolutionize solar panels by drastically increasing their efficiency. Given the current potential of this energy source with today’s technology, tomorrow will be bright for solar ! To the MIT Technology Review :” Replacing flat panels with three dimensional structures (see left) can significantly change the economics of … Read more

Amazon deforestation at its lowest. Can this last ?

I noted last year that Amazon deforestation was at its lowest. Well it decreased again. To Grist : ” a study on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon found that the number of square kilometers disappearing each year has hit a record low. “ However, these good news might be only temporary. Originally Grist was mentioning … Read more

HFCs rising use could accelerate global warming

To CleanTechies : ” The increased use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the production of refrigerators, air conditioners, and other products could play a significant role in accelerating global warming “

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) study notes that the projected emissions of HFCs by 2050 could equal nine billion tons of carbon dioxide — or about one-third of current CO2 emissions.

HFCs were introduced in the 1990s to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were a threat to  the ozone layer. So, this was a good idea with a strong downside.

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Mixed feelings about the Durban climate talks

As you sure know, the Durban Climate talks ended Sunday. There are some good news, but they are mostly bad. Good news first : The Kyoto Protocol has been extended until 2017.

Another good news : the Durban agreement was the first ever to bind all countries to act on climate change. Sure, this is merely halfway through business as usual and the needed target.

But this is the further we have ever been on climate negotiation ! Even if it won’t be enough, even if it is far from what should be done at a global level, we are going forward on climate.

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