Lucius Fox

Chief Executive Officer of Wayne Enterprises

crisisgroup:

Black Gold in the Congo: Threat to Stability or Development Opportunity? | International Crisis Group

Kinshasa/Nairobi/Brussels  |   11 Jul 2012


Renewed oil interest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could nurture communal resentments, exacerbate deep-rooted conflict dynamics and weaken national cohesion.

Black Gold in the Congo: Threat to Stability or Development Opportunity?, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, warns of a potential “oil curse” in the still vulnerable country. Oil exploration in the east and the Central Basin could aggravate conflict in the high-risk areas of the Kivus, and feed secessionist tendencies in a context of failed decentralisation and financial discontent between the central state and the provinces. If confirmed, oil discoveries could redefine the country’s geopolitics, and notably question mineral-rich Katanga’s political influence.

“In the context of a general oil rush in Central and East Africa, the lack of clearly defined borders, especially in the Great Lakes region, poses significant risk for maintaining regional stability”, says Marc-André Lagrange, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Senior Analyst. “Oil reserves straddling the country’s borders with Uganda and Angola have already caused tension”.

Eastern DRC is plagued by rebel groups that are already illegally exploiting natural resources, along with the Congolese army. The April 2012 failed mutiny by General Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes since 2006, and the emergence of a new armed group (M23) are illustrations of this longstanding instability. In the west, while offshore oil production for Angola started several years ago, Kinshasa is contesting the definition of maritime borders.

In addition, poor governance has been the hallmark of the oil sector since exploration resumed. Black gold is the main source of government revenue and yet, with exploration in full swing, oil sector reform is several years behind schedule. Instead of creating a transparent legal framework and robust institutions, the previous governments behaved like speculators.

The state’s failure to adequately regulate the diverging and potentially conflicting interests of companies and poor communities is fuelling resentment, which could easily flare up into local violence. Exploration blocks include natural parks and a World Heritage Site.

Regionally, the government should work with neighbouring countries and the African Union to design a management model for cross-border reserves and launch a border demarcation program. Nationally, it should reform the oil sector and declare a moratorium on exploration in unstable areas, especially in the east, and involve provinces in the main management decisions concerning this resource.

“In a context of massive poverty, a weak state, poor governance and regional insecurity, an oil rush will have a strong destabilising effect”, says Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director. “To avert such a devastating scenario, the government should, at the regional level, favour dialogue with its neighbours to solve border disputes, and, at the national level, regulate oil exploitation to improve governance and accountability”. 

FULL REPORT

Posted at 2:24pm and tagged with: Democratic Republic of Congo, République démocratique du Congo, DRC, Oil, Energy,.

crisisgroup:

Black Gold in the Congo: Threat to Stability or Development Opportunity? | International Crisis Group
Kinshasa/Nairobi/Brussels  |   11 Jul 2012
Renewed oil interest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could nurture communal resentments, exacerbate deep-rooted conflict dynamics and weaken national cohesion.Black Gold in the Congo: Threat to Stability or Development Opportunity?, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, warns of a potential “oil curse” in the still vulnerable country. Oil exploration in the east and the Central Basin could aggravate conflict in the high-risk areas of the Kivus, and feed secessionist tendencies in a context of failed decentralisation and financial discontent between the central state and the provinces. If confirmed, oil discoveries could redefine the country’s geopolitics, and notably question mineral-rich Katanga’s political influence.“In the context of a general oil rush in Central and East Africa, the lack of clearly defined borders, especially in the Great Lakes region, poses significant risk for maintaining regional stability”, says Marc-André Lagrange, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Senior Analyst. “Oil reserves straddling the country’s borders with Uganda and Angola have already caused tension”.Eastern DRC is plagued by rebel groups that are already illegally exploiting natural resources, along with the Congolese army. The April 2012 failed mutiny by General Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes since 2006, and the emergence of a new armed group (M23) are illustrations of this longstanding instability. In the west, while offshore oil production for Angola started several years ago, Kinshasa is contesting the definition of maritime borders.In addition, poor governance has been the hallmark of the oil sector since exploration resumed. Black gold is the main source of government revenue and yet, with exploration in full swing, oil sector reform is several years behind schedule. Instead of creating a transparent legal framework and robust institutions, the previous governments behaved like speculators.The state’s failure to adequately regulate the diverging and potentially conflicting interests of companies and poor communities is fuelling resentment, which could easily flare up into local violence. Exploration blocks include natural parks and a World Heritage Site.Regionally, the government should work with neighbouring countries and the African Union to design a management model for cross-border reserves and launch a border demarcation program. Nationally, it should reform the oil sector and declare a moratorium on exploration in unstable areas, especially in the east, and involve provinces in the main management decisions concerning this resource.“In a context of massive poverty, a weak state, poor governance and regional insecurity, an oil rush will have a strong destabilising effect”, says Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director. “To avert such a devastating scenario, the government should, at the regional level, favour dialogue with its neighbours to solve border disputes, and, at the national level, regulate oil exploitation to improve governance and accountability”. 
FULL REPORT

Has the solar-power industry lapsed into a classic cycle of boom and bust after a decade of unprecedented growth? It might appear so. As years of government subsidies boosted the global installed capacity of solar-photovoltaic (PV) modules and dramatically cut prices, new producers, including China, rushed into the market, prompting oversupply and pressure on margins that threaten many pioneering players. Demand today isn’t keeping up with supply, and governments continue to scale back support as they cope with the aftermath of the economic crisis.

Posted at 1:01pm and tagged with: Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Energy, Alternative Energy, Solar Power,.

Japan has 54 nuclear reactors, but as of Saturday, not one of them will be in operation – how will the country cope?

Posted at 10:12am and tagged with: Japan, 日本国, Nippon-koku, Nihon-koku, Energy, Nuclear Energy, Environment, Infrastructure,.

kiplinger:

csmonitor:

Can natural gas save America? Our latest cover explores the benefits and limits of looking to natural gas to stabilize energy resources in the US.

READ: With all this natural gas, who needs oil?

Posted at 11:19am and tagged with: Fuel, Natural Gas, Shale Gas, Sustainability, Energy, Renewable Energy, Marcellus Shale Field,.

The source of U.S. oil imports has been evolving. Canada, Latin America and Africa have been sending more oil to the U.S., while Middle Eastern crude is playing a smaller role.

Posted at 12:53pm and tagged with: Oil, Imports, United States, Fuel, Energy, Fossil Fuel, Canada, Latin America, NAFTA,.

theatlantic:

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Decentralization of Energy

If there’s one lesson you should pick up from this story, it’s that alternative energy isn’t only about changing what we put in our fuel tanks or how our electricity is made. Alternative energy is going to alter entire business plans and change who we are, what our responsibilities are, and how we think about ourselves. If it helps, though, this transition is nothing new. The United States has already gone through it once before. This country began as a place where energy was individual labor—something most people had to physically be involved with every day, whether they were chopping wood or driving a team of horses. Fossil fuels—oil, coal-fired engines, natural gas—changed all of that. During the course of the twentieth century, energy became a commodity. Most Americans didn’t directly labor to produce it. Most of us didn’t have to think about it at all, except when we paid the monthly bills.

Now, as where we get our energy from shifts again, what energy is—what it means to us—is changing again, too. Yet we aren’t reverting to the nineteenth century. We’re creating something new. The future of energy is a world that shares characteristics of both the past and the present. In the future, we will see where the electricity we use is made. It’ll be on our roofs, in our rivers, closer to our cities. Because more of us will make electricity, more of us will have to pay attention to how the grid works and how our choices affect it. Third parties will still handle the complicated details of keeping that energy supply reliable. There will still be wizards of the grid. Utility companies will still exist, even if their primary business model is fundamentally different. You and I are still going to enjoy the convenience of not having to chop wood every time we want a warm house. It will be different, and we won’t all get what we want, but different and imperfect don’t necessarily mean bad.

This can work. This future can happen. Yet it won’t simply happen on its own. Standing between us and the future of energy is an awfully big wall. Whether we can scale it will depend on how well we can plan and whether we have the willpower to follow those plans through.

Read more. [Image: Wisconsin Historical Society]

Posted at 2:28pm and tagged with: Energy, Wind power, Solar power, Alternative energy, Electricity,.

theatlantic:

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Decentralization of Energy

If there’s one lesson you should pick up from this story, it’s that alternative energy isn’t only about changing what we put in our fuel tanks or how our electricity is made. Alternative energy is going to alter entire business plans and change who we are, what our responsibilities are, and how we think about ourselves. If it helps, though, this transition is nothing new. The United States has already gone through it once before. This country began as a place where energy was individual labor—something most people had to physically be involved with every day, whether they were chopping wood or driving a team of horses. Fossil fuels—oil, coal-fired engines, natural gas—changed all of that. During the course of the twentieth century, energy became a commodity. Most Americans didn’t directly labor to produce it. Most of us didn’t have to think about it at all, except when we paid the monthly bills.
Now, as where we get our energy from shifts again, what energy is—what it means to us—is changing again, too. Yet we aren’t reverting to the nineteenth century. We’re creating something new. The future of energy is a world that shares characteristics of both the past and the present. In the future, we will see where the electricity we use is made. It’ll be on our roofs, in our rivers, closer to our cities. Because more of us will make electricity, more of us will have to pay attention to how the grid works and how our choices affect it. Third parties will still handle the complicated details of keeping that energy supply reliable. There will still be wizards of the grid. Utility companies will still exist, even if their primary business model is fundamentally different. You and I are still going to enjoy the convenience of not having to chop wood every time we want a warm house. It will be different, and we won’t all get what we want, but different and imperfect don’t necessarily mean bad.
This can work. This future can happen. Yet it won’t simply happen on its own. Standing between us and the future of energy is an awfully big wall. Whether we can scale it will depend on how well we can plan and whether we have the willpower to follow those plans through.
Read more. [Image: Wisconsin Historical Society]

Against a backdrop of rising gas prices, the public continues to see development of alternative energy sources as a higher priority than increased production of oil, coal and natural gas, but the gap has narrowed since a year ago.

Support for allowing more offshore oil driving, which dropped sharply after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has recovered to pre-spill levels. Support for increased use of nuclear power, which dropped after last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan, has recovered, but more modestly.

Among those who have heard about fracking — a process that injects chemicals and large amounts of water into shale to free natural gas — there is more support than opposition.

Posted at 3:43pm and tagged with: Energy, Oil, Gas, Natural Gas, Fracking, Coal,.

fastcompany:

The new SimCity will let you take control of a city’s environmental destiny:

“You start your city without any money, and you could exploit the coal seams underneath the city and start digging coal out of the ground and make a city that’s pretty filthy, one that’s built on burning coal for power, might have a lot of coal-sustained industries around it and would make me a ton of money as a player. In the long term that would sort of blight the prospects of the city.” In that coal-dependent city, there would be little natural beauty and excessive air and ground pollution, not to mention citizens suffering from coal-related health problems.

Alternatively, players could opt for other sources of energy—gas-fired power plants, solar panels, wind turbines, or nuclear power. All of these sources have their drawbacks. Solar panels, for example, take up a lot of space and produce less power for the money when compared to coal…

Posted at 10:12am and tagged with: SimCity, Energy, Environment, Sustainability, Video Games, Gaming, Technology,.

fastcompany:

The new SimCity will let you take control of a city’s environmental destiny:

“You start your city without any money, and you could exploit the coal seams underneath the city and start digging coal out of the ground and make a city that’s pretty filthy, one that’s built on burning coal for power, might have a lot of coal-sustained industries around it and would make me a ton of money as a player. In the long term that would sort of blight the prospects of the city.” In that coal-dependent city, there would be little natural beauty and excessive air and ground pollution, not to mention citizens suffering from coal-related health problems.
Alternatively, players could opt for other sources of energy—gas-fired power plants, solar panels, wind turbines, or nuclear power. All of these sources have their drawbacks. Solar panels, for example, take up a lot of space and produce less power for the money when compared to coal…

publicradiointernational:

British company Pavegen has developed a new paving tile that captures the energy of footsteps and turns it into electricity.

On a small scale, one day’s worth of foot traffic over a few tiles could power one street light overnight. In another recent field test at a music festival, dancers stomping on a dance floor with Pavegen tiles generated enough energy to recharge their mobile phones.

The company’s first big field test will come this summer at the London Olympics. Pavegen will be installing its system just outside the Westfield Stratford Shopping Center, one of Europe’s biggest and busiest urban shopping malls. The tiles will be placed on one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares leading into nearby London Olympic Park. Depending on the foot traffic, the company hopes its tiles might be able to power the mall’s entire lighting system. More.

(Image: Pavegen)

Posted at 5:55pm and tagged with: PRI's The World, Social Entrepreneurship, Renewable Energy, Pavegen, Energy, Alternative Energy,.

publicradiointernational:

British company Pavegen has developed a new paving tile that captures the energy of footsteps and turns it into electricity.
On a small scale, one day’s worth of foot traffic over a few tiles could power one street light overnight. In another recent field test at a music festival, dancers stomping on a dance floor with Pavegen tiles generated enough energy to recharge their mobile phones.
The company’s first big field test will come this summer at the London Olympics. Pavegen will be installing its system just outside the Westfield Stratford Shopping Center, one of Europe’s biggest and busiest urban shopping malls. The tiles will be placed on one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares leading into nearby London Olympic Park. Depending on the foot traffic, the company hopes its tiles might be able to power the mall’s entire lighting system. More.
(Image: Pavegen)

poptech:

In our ongoing conversation about the future of energy - and a follow-up to our post last week - we captured some great stories from energy disruptors on the ground at ARPA-E’s Energy Innovation Summit.

Makani Power is developing an Airborne Wind Turbine to extract energy from the powerful, consistent winds at altitude.

Posted at 11:48am and tagged with: ARPAE, energy, sustainability, wind, wind power, engineering, ARPA-E, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, Department of Energy, DOE,.