Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The limbo bar drops to $1.95 plus 2014 in energy and environment

Last Friday, the news was $1.99 gas arrives in my neighborhood.  Today, the price at all four stations is $1.95.  Yesterday, the three stations down the street lowered regular to that price while the corner station was at $1.99.  Today, the corner station matched them.  I expect that's where the local price of gas will end the year.

Gas Buddy supports my expectation, as the national average rose slightly from $2.27 yesterday to $2.28 today, a move mirrored by the Detroit average, which also rose slightly from $2.02 to $2.03 today.  I suppose the price could drop to $1.93 tomorrow, but that would be both counter to the trend and unexpected heading into a holiday.  Maybe Friday or Saturday, should the metro mean remain steady.

Oil-Price.Net suggests that one or two price drops are possible, as both crude oil indexes (indices?) have broken through support.  WTI dropped below $55 while Brent fell through $60.  However, both may have hit bottom as both rose today, WTI $0.51 to $54.12 and Brent $0.02 to $57.90.

Speaking of the low price for oil, it was one of the top, if not the number one, energy story of 2014.  Follow over the jump for the relevant links and excerpts.

Manish Bapna of Forbes leads off with his list of The Top 5 Energy and Climate Stories of 2014.
2014 was a remarkable year for energy and climate issues. Oil prices are plummeting, the United States and China made a major joint climate announcement, and renewable energy reached price parity with coal in a growing number of markets. Iconic tech companies—including Google and Apple—are playing a larger role in both renewable energy and home energy efficiency.

Against this backdrop, 2014 is on track to go down as the world’s hottest year ever recorded. Already the first 10 months of 2014 have been the hottest on record globally. And, notably nine of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. This is a troubling trend.
In short, last year was both good and bad.  David Biello of Scientific American summed it up succinctly when he wrote of The Year in Energy and Environment: It Wasn’t All Apocalyptic.  I agree.

So does Jason Mark of Earth Island Journal.  In EcoWatch, his list of the 10 Most Important Environmental Stories of 2014 included a lot of energy developments, some of which were good.
The calendar is about to flip over once again, meaning it’s time for the obligatory roundup of the most important environmental stories of the past year.

This list is mostly subjective—my own personal picks, filtered through my own lens. But I did reach out to a several dozen environmental activists and thinkers to tap into the wisdom of the crowd. I asked folks to give me their suggestions not necessarily for the “biggest” news as measured by headlines or page views or likes, but for the most important stories. That is, happenings likely to have an impact on ecosystems, politics, economy and culture beyond 2014.

Not surprisingly, climate change and energy once again dominate the list. But there was also some important news in wildlife conservation and loss, forest protection and politics. Without further ado, here’s my list of the top 10 most important environmentally related stories of 2014.
An even more positive take came from Andrew Winston of Harvard Business Review.  His list of The 10 Most Important Sustainable Business Stories from 2014 was very positive.
It’s been an amazing 12 months in the world of sustainable business. From climate change to inequality, the scope of humanity’s biggest environmental and social challenges came into much sharper focus this year — as did the scale and range of opportunities to do something about them. And citizens, using new social media tools and old-fashioned marches, rose up to drive change. Both in response and pre-emptively, the world’s leading companies continued to aggressively pivot their businesses toward more sustainable and innovative ways of operating.

To make sense of all of this activity, I made a list of the year’s big themes, looking for the bigger story across multiple examples. But I also ran across a few specific company stories that were just really compelling or cool. So here is my admittedly subjective look at the top 10 sustainability stories and themes of the year, with sustainability broadly defined as encompassing people, planet, and profits:
David Helvarg of National Geographic echoed the theme of good and bad in My Top Ten U.S. Ocean Stories of 2014.
Given the cascading disasters the ocean faces from industrial overfishing, pollution, coastal sprawl and climate change there’s been some surprisingly good news in the United States this year. Here are ten stories – both good and bad – that impacted the blue in our red, white and blue.
Of course, one can't be too positive when  Top Ten Weather Stories of 2014 by Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground leads off with this news.
#1: Earth Likely Had Its Warmest Year on Record
The year 2014 has made it very apparent that global warming has not stopped, as the year-to-date-period January - November 2014 was Earth's warmest such period since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). If December is at least 0.42°C (0.76°F) higher than its 20th century average, 2014 will surpass 2005 and 2010 as the warmest year on record; the departure of temperature from average during the first three weeks of December has exceeded that mark, making it likely that 2014 will end up as the warmest year on record in NOAA's reckoning. The average global sea surface temperature was the highest for January - November in the 135-year period of record, due in large part to seven consecutive months (May - November) of record warmth. Remarkably, the record-warm global temperatures of 2014 occurred in the absence of El Niño, a large-scale warming of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean that historically has been present whenever an extended period of record-warm global temperatures have occurred.
Stay tuned to see if this projection comes true.

No comments:

Post a Comment