Planet Watch

"Peak oil" hits mainstream

As we noted yesterday, reportage on the oil market jittters sparked by the Iran elections included a quote from one analyst predicting an imminent rise to $100 a barrel. This ominous figure is being heard more and more. The Wall Street Journal on June 22 ran an overview of predictions concerning the oil market and its impact on the world economy that quoted Tom Petrie, an "oil bull" who runs his own energy investment bank and research operation out of Denver. Petrie puts the chances that oil will rise to $80 to $100 a barrel in the next couple of years at greater than 50 percent.

Biodevastation protesters need help

A friend writes from Philadelphia, scene of the recent anti-biotech protests (where, as we noted, a police officer died of a heart attack):

Please donate bail money!
A dozen or so protesters were arrested at the Biodevestation protests in Philadelphia this weekend. They are all still in jail, and need your help to get out. Only 3 people have been arraigned - it's $960 for each one of them to get bailed out. There is at least 1 other person facing felonies - one from Quebec who is facing 2 counts of felony assault. Everyone else is facing misdemanors - disorderly conduct and misdemanor. Thier bails should be set over the next 12 hours, but we know we'll need a lot of money to get them out. Every little bit helps, so please send money. You can Western Union it to Cynthia Pitt,Philadelphia. You can also paypal it to Or just bring it to the jail support vigil at 8th and Race Streets in Philadelphia.

Inuit to file petition against US on climate change

The Inuit of Alaska and Canada's far north, whose traditional way of life depends on hunting seals and polar bear—and therefore on cold—are not so sanguine about global warming. Thanks to TruthOut for passing on this interesting June 16 Reuters story:

Inuit to File Anti-US Climate Petition
Oslo - Inuit hunters threatened by a melting of the Arctic ice plan to file a petition accusing Washington of violating their human rights by fuelling global warming, an Inuit leader said on Wednesday.

Quiet exit for White House science-cooker

Jonathan Bennett of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) sends the following observations on follow-up coverage of revleations the Bush White House altered science on global climate change:

Exxon shaped Bush Kyoto policy

Kudos to TruthOut for pairing these two gems from the UK Guardian and the NY Times:

NPT conference ends in discord

The UN conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has closed with little accomplished in the way of new ways to enforce the fast-unravelling treaty. A May 28 report in the LA Times notes:

The United States tried to keep the focus on alleged nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea instead of its pledges to whittle down its own arsenal. Iran, which contends that its atomic program is strictly for generating electricity, refused to discuss proposals to restrict access to nuclear fuel and objected to being singled out as a "proliferation concern." And Egypt joined Iran in demanding that the conference address Israel's nuclear status and declare the Middle East "a nuclear-free zone." "The conference after a full month ended up where we started, which is a system full of loopholes, ailing and not a road map to fix it," Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters in Vienna as the conference fizzled to a close...

Non-nuclear states challenge US on proliferation

The US defended itself May 20 against charges from states without nuclear weapons that it is failing to fulfill its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). At a month-long conference reviewing the NPT, non-nuclear states dismissed U.S. diplomats' recitation of warhead and missile reductions. "Most of these measures date from before 2000," Mexico's Luis Alfonso de Alba complained to delegates, referring to the 2000 NPT conference, when the U.S. and other nuclear powers committed to "13 practical steps" to meet the treaty's goal of eliminating atomic arms. Those steps included activation of the 1996 treaty banning all nuclear tests—a pact since rejected by the Bush administration. U.S. delegate Jackie Sanders pointed to current "alarming examples" of proliferation, referring to North Korea's declared weapons program and U.S. allegations that Iran also plans to build atomic arms. Confronting such threats—not focusing on US—"must be the primary objective of the 2005 Review Conference," the ambassador said.

Are you ready for $100/barrel oil?

The "peak oil" phenomenon, which has so far received more serious treatment in the foreign press than here in the USA, is starting to break through to the mainstream--at least among the business media. On May 4, opinion columnist Matthew Lynn asks "Are You Ready to Sign Up for the $100 Oil Club?" He writes:

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