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Science and The Gulf Spill вЂ“ Scientists Gauge The Impact of Oil
Erna Buffie, Suite 101
Whether deploying robotic gliders, tracking oil up the food chain or trying to stanch the flow of oil, scientists in the Gulf play a key role.
Right now, dozens of scientists are out in the Gulf doing what they do best - working on our behalf, gathering information, trying to estimate and mitigate the environmental impact of the spill.
So who is out there? What are they doing? And why should we be grateful theyвЂ™re there?...
(1 July 2010)
related: The Gulf Oil Spill вЂ“ Safety Problems Exposed by The Gulf Spill
Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s real energy problem(s)
Kate Mackenzie, Financial Times
An interesting report from Saudi Arabia: the countryвЂ™s king reportedly said at the weekend that he had ordered oil exploration cease in order to keep reserves for future generations.
From Dow Jones, quoting the Saudi Press Agency:
RIYADH (Zawya Dow Jones)вЂ“Saudi ArabiaвЂ™s King Abdullah has ordered a halt to oil exploration operations to save the hydrocarbon wealth in the worldвЂ™s top crude exporting nation for future generations, the official Saudi Press Agency, or SPA, reported late Saturday.
вЂњI was heading a cabinet meeting and told them to pray to God the Almighty to give it a long life,вЂќ King Abdullah told Saudi scholars studying in Washington, according to SPA.
вЂњI told them that I have ordered a halt to all oil explorations so part of this wealth is left for our sons and successors God willing,вЂќ he said.
However, the KingвЂ™s comments perhaps shouldnвЂ™t be taken too literally; oil ministry official told Dow Jones it was not an outright ban as such, вЂњbut rather meant future exploration activities should be carried out wiselyвЂќ.
(5 July 2010)
related: Saudi King Seeks Wise Oil Use, Not Output Ban, Sfakianakis Says
What happens when coal is gone?
Mariette DiChristina, Scientific American
WhatвЂ™s the best way to address a politically charged topic such as the future of energy? Remove the politics. вЂњWeвЂ™re going to skip over the politics,вЂќ Robert P. Laughlin, who won a Nobel Prize for physics in 1998, told a rapt audience of young scientists and others here at the 60th annual Nobel Laureate Lectures at Lindau. вЂњIвЂ™m not interested in now but in the time of your childrenвЂ™s childrenвЂ™s children, six generations into the future and 200 years from now,вЂќ when all carbon burning has stopped because itвЂ™s been banned or none is left, he said. вЂњThinking about a problem this way is so simple. Instead of arguing about what to do now, I want to talk about what will happen when thereвЂ™s no coal."
In two centuries, people will still want to drive cars, fly in airplanes and have lighting in their houses. вЂњEverybody I know thinks there will be big price increases with the end of easy oil and thereвЂ™ll be a struggle over the resources,вЂќ he said Monday. The young scientists in the audience вЂњneed to figure out how to keep that struggle from turning into a hot war.вЂќ
Toward that end, Laughlin established some principles about hydrocarbons such as gas, oil and coal: everyone wants the cheapest gas possible; when oil runs out, prices will fluctuate but can be managed with technologies in development; and when coal ultimately runs out, further innovation will have to happen to keep society stable...
(29 June 2010)
Let the hollow media optimism sound a warningGulf spill won’t dampen U.S. appetite for oil