Saturday, March 22, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Mexico Works to Protect Monarch Migration
Every year like clockwork, monarch butterflies in Canada pack their bags in September and head to Mexico for their winter break. The annual migration is a huge tourist attraction, and Mexico is working to further support it by expanding their nesting areas and curbing illegal logging in the region. The AP reported:
President Felipe Calderón pledged 4.6 million U.S. dollars toward advertising and equipment for the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which covers a 124,000-acre (50,000-hectare) swathe of trees and mountains that for thousands of years has served as the winter nesting ground to millions of orange-and-black-winged monarch butterflies.
Calderón said the plan would encourage tourism to an impoverished area where illegal logging has been rampant.
The logging has depleted the foliage where insects – a.k.a. butterfly food – reside. Fortunately, a staff of rangers "equipped with assault rifles and body armor," have been searching for gangs of lumber thieves, and their work has helped decrease logging in the area by 48 percent.
We at IT are glad to hear that tourism was the trigger that inspired Calderón to protect the forests - and the butterflies as a result.
at 11:41 PM
What a Stud!
The latest in Britain’s ever-greening roadways: Astucia SolarLite “smart” road studs, in-road lights outfitted with a tiny solar panel, an LED light, and reflective surface said to improve visibility tenfold after-hours. Eco-friendly and safer? We’re in.
Dotting U.K. roadways in Scotland, Wales, Buckinghamshire, Norfolk, and Oxfordshire, the studs store solar energy during the day and automatically illuminate up to half a mile (900 meters) of visibility for drivers from dusk to dawn.
According to a news release issued by Astucia Traffic Safety Systems, the “road stud extends driver reaction times from 3.2 to over 30 seconds, when driving at 60 mph.” Plus, local authorities have reported a 70 percent reduction in nighttime accidents since the installation of the SolarLite studs.
The release also cites research by the Transport Research Laboratory, which shows that when the smart studs are used, drivers are significantly less likely to cross the center white line or to speed into the corners in addition to braking earlier and more consistently.
Such eco-friendly light studs could do wonders for the pitch-black back roads of my native Iowa, not to mention the sanity of worrisome mothers.
Thanks to EcoGeek for getting the scoop!
at 11:34 PM
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
New ’super-spike’ might mean $200 per barrel oil
Posted by Oil Tycoon
at March 10, 2008
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — With $100-a-barrel here for now, Goldman Sachs says $200 a barrel could be a reality in the not-too-distant future in the case of a “major disruption.”
Goldman on Friday also boosted by $10 the low end of its 2008-2012 projected range for crude to $60 a barrel — significantly lower than current prices, to be sure, but a possible mark for oil if “normalized” trends return to the marketplace.
With the dollar’s fall continuing and financial markets roiled by the credit crunch, commodities like oil have been drawing the fancy of increasing numbers of investors. Accordingly, Wall Street firms have been eager to adjust forecasts to incorporate fresh data on the global economy and energy supplies.
Goldman analysts Arjun Murti, Kevin Koh and Michele della Vigna said prices have advanced more quickly than Goldman had forecast back in 2005, when it predicted a range of $50 to $105 a barrel as part of its “super-spike” oil theory.
“We characterized the upper end of the band as more likely to be driven by geopolitical turmoil and that recession was a key risk to our view,” the analysts said. “In fact, oil prices have reached $100 a barrel without extraordinary turmoil, and the U.S. currently appears to be in recession.”
Tacking on $15 a barrel to all of its oil estimates, Goldman now sees average selling prices of $95 a barrel for 2008, $105 a barrel for 2009 and $110 a barrel for 2010. The high end of its range is now $135 a barrel — but Goldman hinted that prices could be headed even higher.
“As the lack of supply growth and price-insulated non-OECD demand suggest a future rebound in U.S. gross domestic product growth or a major oil supply disruption could lead to $150-$200 a barrel oil prices,” Goldman said.
While saying it has a bullish long-term outlook, Goldman acknowledged that oil prices could correct from recent highs.
Goldman also reiterated its view that oil prices could fall as normal market conditions return over the next four years.
“The core of our ’super-spike’ view is that oil prices will keep rising until demand declines globally on a multiyear basis, resulting in the return of excess capacity and a lower cost structure,” Goldman’s analysts said. “Given this view, once excess capacity returns, we think prices can move sharply lower.”
The analysts reiterated their “attractive” view on the European energy sector, but kept a neutral view on the Russian sector due to costs. It upgraded Transneft and Sibir Energy to neutral from sell after underperformance, and cut Imperial Energy to sell from neutral on capital-spending requirements.