It's become the talk of the energy industry that the US love affair with energy may be given a boost with the additional production of gas and oils from increasingly successful (if environmentally controversial) "fracking" to get at shale layers to release their reserves. 

Australia is dipping into this technology as well despite well publicised "lock the gate" campaigns by farmers and those worried about water supply contamination.

A number of analysts say the USA's fortunes will fundamentally shift the energy balance in the world and potentially extend the life of fossil fuels for some time beyond the current peak oil scenarios.  America for one may close in on "energy independence" while Saudi Arabia is tipped to be importing fossil fuels by 2030.  And analysts are only now beginning to consider what will be accessed under an "ice free" Arctic.

Given that Peak Oil and the rising price of oil has been the one inescapable factor to motivate change in energy and transport policies, is a surge in fossil fuel supplies and more stable prices actually going to be unwelcome news for cycling and cyclists, more sustainable transport and those (apparently few) concerned about the impact of climate change? 

SMH article

Economist article

NYT article

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The following link is relevant to this discussion, particularly the exchanges between Omar and Duncan recently.

thanks - very interesting reading.

Getting harder to justify going overseas for cycling trips.

Why so? 

Staying in Australia can't be helping the planet no matter which way you look at it

And I much rather spend my holiday monies in countries that don't have stupid cycling laws, draconian fines and deal with toxic authorities

Most of the airlines will gladly take more of your money to "offset" your carbon contribution although it would be much better and effective if you contributed directly for something locally. Your day to day cycling rather than driving for transport already makes a big contribution and an overseas cycling holiday can be easily justified in metal health terms alone and the enjoyment your reports provide for the rest of us left behind. Do it again Bob without any guilt.

The airline industry has already reached agreement to not allow global emissions to grow beyond 2021.  There is a lot of work going into alternative fuels for aircraft. One of them is using sugar beet. Apparently the entire Florida citrus industry was destroyed by a bug and that land is being considered for large scale renewable aviation fuel production. There are others too. The next phase, from the late 2020's, will be to gradually reduce aviation emissions via the new renewable fuels.

I remember 15-20 years ago there was a Perth based member of BFA who was interested in peak oil. Unfortunately his name escapes me. He commented once that if all of Oz's wheat was used to provide a substitute for oil based fuel, it would only supply about 9% of Oz's needs at that time. Worst of all, we'd have no wheat to make bread! Seems like it's more important to move people around the country/world than feed them.


With millions in the world undernourished or starving, its perverse to be thinking of using viable agricultural land for biofuels when we can pump fuel out of the ground.

.. and don't for one minute think that only wealthy (well-fed) countries will use their land for biofuels.  The source will follow the cheapest land/labour - which means poor countries.

I've read similar things too. But this is specifically about aviation where batteries would be too heavy. So trying to find a biofuel can't be fairly dismissed as we are not talking about replacing ALL liquid fuel.

The airlines are investing heavily in this area as a consortium. There are several fronts including new enzymes.

 There are plenty of examples of where the marketplace causes agriculture to produce things that are not maximizing food production for poor people. All meat production for example. At the moment though there is a global glut of grain and people starving are doing so due to their poverty or to political failures.

Its a tricking one to keep the weight down for applications where weight is critical.  Combustion is the combining of element(s) with oxygen so in simplistic terms 1Kg of combustible material will be combined with ?Kg of Oxygen, which isn't being carried by vehicle.

I have pondered about the feasibility of manufacturing combustible fuel by splitting CO2 to C + O2.  Would probably also require H, so split CO2 and H2O and combine C+H to make a hydrocarbon.  the O2 is released to the atmosphere.  From an energy viewpoint it would be dependent on the efficiency of process.  And there isn't a lot of point to it while we are producing electricity from combustible sources 

Wikipedia has a long article on this. Says (towards the end)the new agreement is voluntary, only covers international aviation and will allow unrestricted growth until 2020, so the base line for reductions will be high. Reductions will be by offsets in other sectors, not actual reductions in aviation emissions.

Interesting section also on trying to reduce travel by plane. Banning Frequent flyer points is recommended.

I read that a trip to Europe by plane produces in a day about a years worth of CO2 emissions for the average Aussie. Alsoyouhave to consider the large amount of co2 emitted by associated activities, driving to the airport, running airports etc and the emission of NOx and water vapour into the stratosphere, which approx doubles the overall greenhouse effect.

Shared today on FB:

Today's capitulation on the Renewable Energy Target looks to ensure that Australia will not meet its emission commitment made in Paris. And transport will be a big reason why.

In brief, today's decision as stated by the PM means that each sector that contributes to CO2 output will now have to each carry their portion of the reduction. It had been argued that energy emissions would focus on the lowest cost way to reduce emissions and therefore unburden other sectors - and specifically the transport sector - from doing its share. The energy sector was assumed to be the one that would fulfil this role.

No longer.

As the graph we used at the last election clearly points out, by the government's own figures Australia is nowhere near to lowering its transport emissions. Quite the contrary, they are growing at an accelerating rate - fuelled by the government's own preoccupation on road building.

So, as it appears today, the Government is playing the shell game hoping that we won't be following the emission reduction promise and where it comes from. Because - unless they completely revise their transport priorities - it just isn't going to happen.


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