2011 May 6

The Master Resource Report  2011-05-06

Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity?    (page 1 )

Solar power.    (page  2 )

US sells ethanol to Brazil?    (page 2 )

Iraq’s oil production.   (page 3 )

The internet consumes 2% of U.S. power.   (page 4 )

Reminder that Art Berman will be speaking on shale gas.

“A geological consultant who is skeptical that shale gas will be a cheap and abundant supply of natural gas speaks this month at the University of Washington. Arthur Berman, of Labyrinth Consulting Services, will speak on Shale Gas: A View from the Bottom of the Resource Pyramid, at 7 p.m. Monday, May 16, in 220 Kane.”

CO2 as a proxy for virtual or embodied energy

The Master Resource Report has commented on both virtual water and virtual energy in the past along with some of the implications of the transfer of these critical natural resources. So an article last week in the Economist on CO2 embodied in imported goods struck a note of interest.

“On a production basis, many of the rich countries (but not America, which has not ratified Kyoto) have cut their emissions—by 6% in 1990-2008 in the case of the European Union. But the EU’s imports of embodied carbon from developing countries rose a lot more than its local emissions fell. Overall, the rich world’s increase in “carbon imports” is six times bigger than cuts in the developed countries’ own industrial emissions. The lion’s share of this carbon comes, predictably enough, from China; 18% of the global increase in emissions since 1990 is embodied in Chinese exports.”

If CO2 is used as a proxy for embodied or virtual energy in imported goods it seems there is a strong basis to question the argument that developed countries are dramatically more energy efficient since this energy consumption is not reflected in domestic energy consumption data. If the carbon production from industrial activity has moved offshore the energy used to emit it has too. It seems equally unlikely therefore that the energy to GDP ratios so often reported could be substantially off the mark.

As the excerpt above indicates the “increase in “carbon imports” is six times bigger than cuts in the developed countries’ own industrial emissions.” That represents a tremendous amount of virtual energy that is not reflected in the energy data of developed countries like the U.S.

This issue deserves some serious research since public policy is being set on the assumption that the U.S. and other OECD countries have become so much more energy efficient in the last few decades. Along with the per capita gasoline consumption data presented two weeks ago there is justification for a re-evaluation of the fundamental assumption the U.S. operates at a higher energy efficiency used to formulate energy policy.

Of course this would matter even more if the U.S. actually had an energy policy.

ASPO-USA sets date for 2011 conference.

2011 Peak Oil & Energy Conference: Truth in Energy

November 2-5, 2011

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill

Washington, DC

More information will be on the ASPO-USA website soon, www.aspousa.org.