Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘environment’ tag

Not Panic, but a Response is Needed to Oil Prices

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Of course panic would be counterproductive, but rising petroleum prices are yet another motivation for us to continue innovating towards cleaner, renewable, domestic energy resources.

Oil Ministers, CEOs: Don’t Panic About Oil Prices

Oil ministers, CEOs say don’t panic about oil prices but US drivers, economists are worried

The Associated Press
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HOUSTON March 9, 2011 (AP)

Energy leaders from around the world meeting in Houston this week have a consistent message about high oil prices: Don’t panic.


The energy leaders from around the world meeting in Houston in March, 2011, and have a consistent message about recent high oil prices: Don’t panic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file) Collapse

Oil markets may have heard the message — prices fell Wednesday for a second straight day to near $104 per barrel. U.S. drivers, however, may not be so easily reassured.

Oil rose 24 percent in the past three weeks. In that same time, the average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. increased 40 cents per gallon to $3.52, the highest since September 2008. This is straining the wallets of drivers and raising fears among economists that high energy prices will stall the nation’s economic recovery, lead to inflation, or both.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

March 10th, 2011 at 9:40 pm

A clash of environmental ideals in the Mojave Desert

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Solar-energy project vs. endangered desert tortoises

January 4, 2010 |  4:40 pm

On a strip of California’s Mojave Desert, two dozen rare tortoises could stand in the way of a sprawling solar-energy complex in a case that highlights mounting tensions between wilderness conservation and the nation’s quest for cleaner power.

Oakland, Calif.-based BrightSource Energy has been pushing for more than two years for permission to erect 400,000 mirrors on the site to gather the sun’s energy. It could become the first project of its kind on U.S. Bureau of Land Management property, leaving a footprint for others to follow on vast stretches of public land across the West.

The construction would come with a cost: Government scientists have concluded that more than 6 square miles of habitat for the federally threatened desert tortoise would be permanently lost.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 5th, 2010 at 7:21 am

Why farms may be the new forests

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Yet another Economist article that falls right in line with my PhD dissertation. One of us might be on to something.

Healthy ecosystems, such as forests, on or bordering agricultural land helps water and nutrient cycling, reducing the need for irrigation and chemical fertilizers. The enhanced biodiversity also acts as natural resistance to pests. The trick is paying farmers to keep forests on their land, compensating them for the loss of revenues from the crops that would have been planted on that land. These forests perform ecosystem services that greatly benefit society as a whole, economically and in terms of human and ecological health. Paying farmers helps to internalize those positive externalities.

Dec 30th 2009
From The Economist print edition

In the war against climate change, peasants are in the front line

 Into battle in the eco-war

FOR people who see stopping deforestation as the quickest climate-change win, Copenhagen seemed a success. Although there is still work to be done on the initiative known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), the deal struck in Copenhagen made it into a real thing, not just an idea. The notion of reducing net deforestation to zero was not explicitly mentioned, but it looks much more credible than it did two years ago.

As well as giving heart to the protectors of trees, this outcome is encouraging for people whose focus is not on forests but on fields. Climate and agriculture matter to each other in several ways. On the downside, farming is a cause of deforestation, and also emits greenhouse gases in its own right—perhaps 14% of the global total. On the upside, agriculture can also dispose of heat-trapping gases, by increasing the carbon content of soils.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

December 31st, 2009 at 12:06 pm