The death toll climbed past 80 at the desert drilling outpost as Algerian forces sifted through the rubble and searched the site for explosives. Two Canadians were reported to be among the militants who took hostages at the site. The incident has forced the major oil companies to reexamine security measures and rethink their whole operations in potentially hostile countries. Is this the new face of terrorism?
President Obama’s Second Inaugural has prompted all kinds of speculation on what his next term will do for energy. Kate Sheppard, writing in Mother Jones, says it’s time to say goodbye to the “Dream Team” of the first administration – Lisa Jackson, Ken Salazar and Steven Chu. David Callahan of Demos wonders if this will be an inaugural for “the people or for Exxon?” And Paul Driessen in The Washington Times says the President is simply engaging in green wishful thinking. Salazar’s legacy could include 300 square miles of solar collectors in Arizona, but Robert Semple in The New York Times says he leaving unfinished business.
Germany is starting to experience some weird reactions to its “energiewende” – the effort to give up nuclear. Renewables have driven the price of electricity so high that people are starting to raid the forests for firewood. (But what the heck? Wood is renewable, isn’t it?) Eastern Europe is getting very restive about the surges of wind power coming across the border and is taking measures to disconnect from the German grid. The Prague Post says it’s time to rethink the whole anti-nuclear idea.
And a pro-nuclear documentary is making its debut this week in, of all places, the Sundance Film Festival. Filmmaker Robert Stone, a former leftist, says he grew disillusioned with environmentalists while making another documentary and now realizes that the dangers of nuclear energy are being exaggerated. His entry, “Pandora’s Promise,” may open theaters as well. A pro-nuclear film on Robert Redford’s home territory? That’s something original.
Finally, NASA has produced a satellite image (above) that reveals how much of America’s energy is going up in smoke. One of the most prominent features are gas flares that consume 240 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in the Bakken Shale – enough to heat 500,000 homes. Mindy Lubber, writing in Forbes, says it’s time to curb the waste.