Tuesday, July 1, 2008

EIA Predicts 50% Increase in World Energy Consumption by 2030

World marketed energy consumption is projected to increase by 50 percent from 2005 to 2030, according to a new report from the United States Energy Information Agency. Total energy demand in non-OECD countries is projected to increase by 95 percent, while OECD countries are expected to increase consumption by 24 percent.

According to the annual report, International Energy Outlook, the robust growth in demand among the non-OECD nations is largely the result of strong projected economic growth. In all the non-OECD regions combined, economic activity is predicted to increase by 5.2 percent per year, as compared with an average of 2.3 percent per year for the OECD countries.

I’ve gleaned some of the notable highlights from the report and digested/paraphrased so you wouldn’t have to. The full report will be out in July.

Carbon dioxide emissions

World carbon dioxide emissions will continue to increase steadily in the IEO2008 reference case, from 28.1 billion metric tons in 2005 to 34.3 billion metric tons in 2015 and 42.3 billion metric tons in 2030—an increase of 51 percent over the projection period. With strong economic growth and continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels expected for most of the non-OECD economies, much of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing, non-OECD nations. In 2005, non-OECD emissions exceeded OECD emissions by 7 percent. In 2030, however, non-OECD emissions are projected to exceed OECD emissions by 72 percent.

Coal and carbon

In the absence of national policies and/or binding international agreements that would limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, world coal consumption is projected to increase from 123 quadrillion Btu in 2005 to 202 quadrillion Btu in 2030, at an average annual rate of 2.0 percent. Coal’s share of world energy use has increased sharply over the past few years, largely because of strong increases in coal use in China, which has nearly doubled since 2000 and is poised to increase strongly in the future. China alone accounts for 71 percent of the increase in world coal consumption in the IEO2008 reference case. The United States and India—both of which also have extensive domestic coal resources—each account for 9 percent of the world increase.

The outlook for fossil-fuel-fired generation could be altered substantially by international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The electric power sector offers some of the most cost-effective opportunities for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in many countries. Coal—the world’s most widely used source of energy for power generation—is also the most carbon-intensive. If a cost, either implicit or explicit, were applied to emitters of carbon dioxide, there are several alternative no- or low-emission technologies that currently are commercially proven or under development, which could be used to replace some coal-fired generation. Implementing the technologies would not require expensive, large-scale changes in the power distribution infrastructure or in electricity-using equipment. It could be more difficult, however, to achieve similar results in end-use sectors like transportation.

Renewable energy

Worldwide, the consumption of hydroelectricity and other renewable energy sources will increase by 2.1 percent per year in the IEO2008 reference case, from 35 quadrillion Btu in 2005 to 59 quadrillion Btu in 2030. In the non-OECD nations, much of the growth in renewable energy consumption is projected to come from mid- to large-scale hydroelectric facilities in Asia and in Central and South America, where several countries have hydropower facilities either planned or under construction. Among the OECD nations, hydroelectricity is fairly well established, and with the exception of Canada and Turkey there are few plans to undertake major hydroelectric power projects in the future.

Increases in OECD renewable energy consumption are expected to be in the form of nonhydroelectric renewables, especially wind and biomass. Many individual OECD countries have incentives in place to increase the penetration of nonhydroelectric renewable electricity sources, both to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to promote energy security, and in the IEO2008 projections OECD renewable generation grows by 1.6 percent per year from 2005 to 2030, faster than all the other sources of electricity of generation except natural gas.

Natural gas

Worldwide natural gas consumption in the IEO2008 reference case increases from 104 trillion cubic feet in 2005 to 158 trillion cubic feet in 2030. Natural gas is expected to replace oil wherever possible. Moreover, because natural gas combustion produces less carbon dioxide than coal or petroleum products, governments may encourage its use to displace the other fossil fuels as national or regional plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions begin to be implemented. Natural gas is expected to remain a key energy source for industrial sector uses and electricity generation throughout the projection period. The industrial sector, which is the world’s largest consumer of natural gas, accounts for 43 percent of projected natural gas use in 2030. In the electric power sector, natural gas is an attractive choice for new generating plants because of its relative fuel efficiency. Electricity generation accounts for 35 percent of the world’s total natural gas consumption in 2030.

Non-OECD countries will account for more than 90 percent of the world’s total growth in production from 2005 to 2030.


Electricity generation from nuclear power is projected to increase from about 2.6 trillion kilowatthours in 2005 to 3.8 trillion kilowatthours in 2030. Higher capacity utilization rates have been reported for many existing nuclear facilities, and it is anticipated that most of the older nuclear power plants in the OECD countries and non-OECD Eurasia will be granted extensions to their operating lives. Still, there is considerable uncertainty associated with nuclear power.

Issues that could slow the expansion of nuclear power in the future include plant safety, radioactive waste disposal, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, which continue to raise public concerns in many countries and may hinder the development of new nuclear power reactors.

The take home:

  • It is no surprise that world energy use consumption will continue to grow, but the bulk of the growth will be from less economically developed countries. The key here will to be encourage the development of appropriate technologies and infrastructure.
  • Liquid fuels will move almost exclusively into the transportation sector and natural gas will replace oil in most of those cases. Natural gas is much cleaner than coal and can be used to throttle systems for peak demands and to smooth the spikes caused by wind-generated electricity.
  • Coal consumption will continue to grow assuming their is no new major policy action on carbon - though the report does seem to hint that such action is likely…eventually.
  • The full report will be out in July.
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Half of US Gun Deaths are Suicides

(ATLANTA) — The Supreme Court's landmark ruling on gun ownership last week focused on citizens' ability to defend themselves from intruders in their homes. But research shows that surprisingly often, gun owners use the weapons on themselves.

Suicides accounted for 55% of the nation's nearly 31,000 firearm deaths in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There was nothing unique about that year — gun-related suicides have outnumbered firearm homicides and accidents for 20 of the last 25 years. In 2005, homicides accounted for 40% of gun deaths. Accidents accounted for 3 percent. The remaining 2% included legal killings, such as when police do the shooting, and cases that involve undetermined intent.

Public-health researchers have concluded that in homes where guns are present, the likelihood that someone in the home will die from suicide or homicide is much greater.

Studies have also shown that homes in which a suicide occurred were three to five times more likely to have a gun present than households that did not experience a suicide, even after accounting for other risk factors.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court on Thursday struck down a handgun ban enacted in the District of Columbia in 1976 and rejected requirements that firearms have trigger locks or be kept disassembled. The ruling left intact the district's licensing restrictions for gun owners.

One public-health study found that suicide and homicide rates in the district dropped after the ban was adopted. The district has allowed shotguns and rifles to be kept in homes if they are registered, kept unloaded and taken apart or equipped with trigger locks.

The American Public Health Association, the American Association of Suicidology and two other groups filed a legal brief supporting the district's ban. The brief challenged arguments that if a gun is not available, suicidal people will just kill themselves using other means.

More than 90% of suicide attempts using guns are successful, while the success rate for jumping from high places was 34 percent. The success rate for drug overdose was 2 percent, the brief said, citing studies.

"Other methods are not as lethal," said Jon Vernick, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore.

The high court's majority opinion made no mention of suicide. But in a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer used the word 14 times in voicing concern about the impact of striking down the handgun ban.

"If a resident has a handgun in the home that he can use for self-defense, then he has a handgun in the home that he can use to commit suicide or engage in acts of domestic violence," Breyer wrote.

Researchers in other fields have raised questions about the public-health findings on guns.

Gary Kleck, a researcher at Florida State University's College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, estimates there are more than 1 million incidents each year in which firearms are used to prevent an actual or threatened criminal attack.

Public-health experts have said the telephone survey methodology Kleck used likely resulted in an overestimate.

Both sides agree there has been a significant decline in the last decade in public-health research into gun violence.

The CDC traditionally was a primary funder of research on guns and gun-related injuries, allocating more than $2.1 million a year to such projects in the mid-1990s.

But the agency cut back research on the subject after Congress in 1996 ordered that none of the CDC's appropriations be used to promote gun control.

Vernick said the Supreme Court decision underscores the need for further study into what will happen to suicide and homicide rates in the district when the handgun ban is lifted.

Today, the CDC budgets less than $900,000 for firearm-related projects, and most of it is spent to track statistics. The agency no longer funds gun-related policy analysis.

Original here

Robert Mugabe’s thugs shout: ‘Let’s kill the baby’

A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe.

Blessing Mabhena, aged 11 months, was seized from a bed and flung down with force as his mother, Agnes, hid from the thugs, convinced that they were about to murder her.

She heard one of them say, “Let’s kill the baby”, before Blessing was hurled on to a bare concrete floor.

Blessing, who may never be able to walk properly, was one of the youngest victims of atrocities against the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change in the run-up to last Friday’s sham presidential election.

As Mugabe, 84, the only candidate in the election, prepared to be sworn in as president today, it emerged that his forces of terror plan to pulverise opponents to prevent them from ever threatening his leading Zanu-PF again.

Leaked minutes of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which has orchestrated the violence since Mugabe lost a first round of voting in March, revealed that it is willing to wipe out opposition supporters.

A 10,000-strong youth militia loyal to the Zanu-PF has been created to enforce its wishes in case regular army units refuse, according to Zimbabwean human rights agencies.

“It’s a deliberate nationwide strategy to reoccupy space so all space is occupied by the Zanu of Mugabe,” said Jon Stewart, a director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum.

Minutes of one JOC meeting show that supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, “will all be internally displaced. The target number is two million supporters”.

The plan is to brutalise people into backing Zanu-PF or fleeing the country. “They’re not going to stop,” said a maid in Marondera. “They’re saying they’ll do more beatings and killings until all the ‘traitors’ are flushed out.”

She and her neighbours were waiting for officials to check their fingers for red ink to make sure they had voted on Friday.

Original here

Iran to ready thousands of graves for enemy soldiers

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran is to dig 320,000 graves in border districts to allow for the burial of enemy soldiers in the event of any attack on its territory, a top commander said on Sunday.

"In implementation of the Geneva Conventions... the necessary measures are being taken to provide for the burial of enemy soldiers," the Mehr news agency quoted General Mir-Faisal Bagherzadeh as saying.

"We have plans to dig 15,000 to 20,000 graves in each of the border provinces or a total of 320,000," the general said, some of them mass graves if necessary.

Bagherzadeh said Iran was keen to "reduce the suffering of the families of the fallen in any attack against our country... and prevent any repetition of the long and bitter experience of the Vietnam War."

His comments came as the United States continued to refuse to rule out an eventual resort to force against Iran over its contested nuclear programme, which the West fears is cover for a drive to build an atomic weapon.

They also came as Israeli officials spoke of their determination to prevent Iran developing a nuclear capability at all costs.

A former head of Israel's Mossad foreign intelligence agency said in comments published on Sunday that the Jewish state had one year to destroy Iran's nuclear programme or face the risk of coming under nuclear attack.

Shabtai Shavit told a London weekly that the "worst-case scenario" was that Tehran would have a nuclear weapon within "somewhere around a year".

"The time that is left to be ready is getting shorter all the time," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

Israel is the only, if undeclared, nuclear armed power in the Middle East.

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