In The Pipeline 7/8/11

America’s largest trading partner and ally has an energy “Picasso in the attic” called oil sands, but the usual anti-energy suspects prefer we use Venezuelan, Middle Eastern or Brazilian oil.  Why?  Do you remember the Buddhas of Bamiyan? Wall Street Journal (7/8/11) reports: In a 21st-century oil boom, this sparsely populated Canadian province has become one of the world’s newest petroleum powerhouses. Foreign investors are piling in, and Alberta plans to double production over the next decade…The problem is that the U.S.—the biggest consumer of Alberta petroleum—may not want the additional oil…Most of Alberta’s 1.5 million barrels of daily exports are extracted from oil sands, or bitumen. Turning this tar-like substance into oil is an energy-intensive process that generates lots of carbon dioxide, a gas suspected to contribute to global warming. Almost all the oil produced ends up in the U.S., where environmentalists and some powerful Democrats have lined up against importing any more of the stuff… Washington remains ambivalent about a proposed expansion of a pipeline that could nearly double exports from Alberta to the U.S. Another line—proposed to pipe Alberta oil to the Pacific, where it could be shipped to Asian markets—is opposed by native Canadian groups…”Alberta will be in a very difficult position” if either one of the two pipelines don’t go forward, Alberta’s Energy Minister Ron Liepert said. “By 2020, we’ll be landlocked in bitumen. We have to get it to market, and right now we don’t have the infrastructure in place.”..Canada’s constitution cedes ownership of its energy reserves to its provinces. That essentially makes Alberta its own petrostate. And Edmonton is mounting a public-relations war to find new markets for its oil.

Meanwhile, it looks like China could use the Picasso in the attic

China is Winning the Future

True courage — politicians are beating their chest for slimming down big corn, but no one likes ethanol except for corporate farmers and elitists who hate poor people New York Times (7/8/11) reports: Federal subsidies for corn ethanol have long been considered untouchable in Washington — not least because politicians want the votes of Iowans, who have traditionally held the first nominating caucuses in the contest for the presidency…But this year, cutting the budget deficit holds more allure than courting corn farmers, making a turning point in ethanol politics…In Washington, there is growing consensus that the ethanol industry has reached financial stability, making much government assistance unnecessary. A strong majority of the Senate recently voted to end most of the subsidies…The pressure prompted three influential senators to announce a compromise on Thursday that would drastically cut the financial support and end a tariff on foreign ethanol entirely by the end of July. The White House, which has supported a reduction of the subsidies, said it was encouraged by the latest proposal…Three Republican presidential candidates — Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum — are also seeking to eliminate or phase out subsidies for the industry even if that hurts them in Iowa. Jon Huntsman has decided he will not even participate in the caucuses, in large part because of his antisubsidy record…No one is seeking to end the most important government support for ethanol — a federal mandate that gasoline blenders mix increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline. But at a time when many tax breaks are under scrutiny, there seems to be little political will to continue giving $6 billion a year in federal tax credits to fuel blenders that must buy the ethanol anyway.

Just how China was smart enough to sell opium to the world, they are smart enough to sell renewable energy….and it looks like we’re chasing the dragon USA Today (7/8/11) reports: Overall, the $211 billion in 2010 investments in renewable energy — wind, solar, geothermal and related technologies — was driven by policies in nations that increasingly require such power worldwide. The United Nations Environment Programme report finds that Chinese wind farms and German solar rooftops led investments but, surprisingly, developing nations spent more on renewable energy utility projects, $72 billion, than developed ones, at $70 billion…”Quite a jump, considering the economic headwinds, a surprisingly positive result,” says UNEP’s Virginia Sonntag-O’Brien. The “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011” report, the fifth in an annual series, analyzed 26,300 renewable power projects recorded for the year by the London-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance firm…Among the findings: •China led all nations with about $49.8 billion in investments, ahead of German spending of $41 billion and U.S. spending of $29.6 billion…•Big gains came in small-scale projects such as rooftop solar panels, up 91% to $60 billion, tied to stimulus spending by nations in 2010, and government research, up 121% to $5.3 billion.

I’d hate to be a Quebecer in the winter — the government is making people decide between bacon or heat as their cap and tax scheme is bound to make energy prices skyrocket CBC News (7/8/11) reports: Quebecers face higher fuel costs as the province prepares to launch a cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions beginning in 2013, Environment Minister Pierre Arcand acknowledged Wednesday…While the size of the increases remain unclear, he said the new system will prevent wild tax increases by encouraging businesses to innovate to reduce their emissions…”It’s clear that over the coming years there will certainly be increases and consumers need to be ready,” Arcand said at a news conference after unveiling a 60-day consultation period…The program is designed to reduce Quebec’s emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020. It will primarily affect about 100 Quebec companies that are responsible for 85 per cent of the province’s emissions…The transportation sector will be added to the system in 2015, but agriculture, forestry and garbage won’t be affected…Quebec is part of a co-ordinated regional effort of the Western Climate Initiative, which also includes Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba representing three-quarters of the Canadian population and economic activity.


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