The world celebrated Earth Day on Sunday (above) with festivities around the globe. Millions took part in ceremonies to honor the Green Movement while others worried that the effort to protect natural systems is slowing. In the Washington Post, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite talked of a “new Earth Day Theology” and the Christian Science Monitor suggested Earth Day needs “regreening.”
The Argentine seizure of YSF petroleum company from Spain’s Repsol continued to reverberate around the world as political leaders warned of a new era of nationalizations and trade wars. The Argentine government moved quickly with plans to open the newly nationalized company to investors but Repsol warned it would intervene with lawsuits. Other observers questioned whether anyone would want to invest in a company that had just been seized from its owners. Parlatino, the Latin American Parliament, gave the move a stamp of approval, however, and polls showed 65 percent of Argentinians approve the move.
The existence of vast reserves of shale gas deep in the earth is beginning to take hold around the globe. The United Kingdom is the latest to take inventory with a geological study that estimates Britain’s potential at 1,000 trillion cubic feet. Britain’s consumption is only 3.5 tcf per annum. Brazil and China have similar offshore deposits. All this may require a huge adjustment to the idea that the world is facing energy scarcity. But France has already banned fracking, as has New York State, and accessing these resources will remain a matter of dispute among neighborhoods and nations.
Phillips celebrated Earth Day with the introduction of a $60 LED bulb designed to replace the standard $1.95 60-watt incandescent bulb. The bulb does last 20 years, however, and saves 80 percent of the electricity along the way. Will the public buy? LEDs are already being used to replace traffic lights in suburban St. Louis. With a little coaxing, others may follow.
Finally, the debate of oil prices and the Obama Administration’s approach to rising gas prices continues. Myra Saefong of MarketWatch asks whether oil is really worth $100 a barrel. The Economist asks is cheap oil is gone for good? Jordan Weissman of The Atlantic asks how much oil is really in the United States and William Tucker of The American Spectator describes President Obama’s “snipe hunt” after oil speculators. All in a day’s news.