In climate-related news:
From Inside Climate News: “Global Warming Is Pushing Arctic Toward ‘Unprecedented State,’ Research Shows.”
Global warming is transforming the Arctic, and the changes have rippled so widely that the entire biophysical system is shifting toward an "unprecedented state," an international team of researchers concludes in a new analysis of nearly 50 years of temperature readings and changes across the ecosystems.
Arctic forests are turning into bogs as permafrost melts beneath their roots. The icy surface that reflects the sun's radiation back into space is darkening and sea ice cover is declining.
Warmth and moisture trapped by greenhouse gases are pumping up the water cycle, swelling rivers that carry more sediment and nutrients to the sea, which can change ocean chemistry and affect the coastal marine food chain. And those are just a few of the changes.
The researchers describe how warming in the Arctic, which is heating up 2.4 times faster than the Northern Hemisphere average, is triggering a cascade of changes in everything from when plants flower to where fish and other animal populations can be found.
Together, the changes documented in the study suggest the effects on the region are more profound than previously understood.
From the AP: “Global warming is shrinking glaciers faster than thought.”
Earth’s glaciers are melting much faster than scientists thought. A new study shows they are losing 369 billion tons of snow and ice each year, more than half of that in North America.
The most comprehensive measurement of glaciers worldwide found that thousands of inland masses of snow compressed into ice are shrinking 18 percent faster than an international panel of scientists calculated in 2013.
The world’s glaciers are shrinking five times faster now than they were in the 1960s. Their melt is accelerating due to global warming, and adding more water to already rising seas, the study found.
“Over 30 years suddenly almost all regions started losing mass at the same time,” said lead author Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich. “That’s clearly climate change if you look at the global picture.”
From Bloomberg: “New Satellite Photos Show Climate Change Is Sweeping Europe.”
Subhead: Swedish forest fires, retreating glaciers and arid cropland attest to a new reality.
Climate change is picking up pace in Europe, thrusting farmers and power generators onto the front lines of a battle with nature that threatens to upend the lives of the half billion people who occupy the world’s biggest trading bloc.
Last year was the third hottest on record and underlines “the clear warming trend” experienced in the last four decades, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, which operates a network of satellites for the European Union that collects weather, soil, air and water data.
Copernicus lenses captured dozens of images illustrating how climate change is unfolding on Europe’s landscape. The images were made available to coincide with a gathering of 15,000 scientists in Vienna at an annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union, which assesses the issue each year.
From the Guardian: “Two-thirds of glacier ice in the Alps 'will melt by 2100’.”
Subhead: If emissions continue to rise at current rate, ice will have all but disappeared from Europe’s Alpine valleys by end of century.
Two-thirds of the ice in the glaciers of the Alps is doomed to melt by the end of the century as climate change forces up temperatures, a study has found.
Half of the ice in the mountain chain’s 4,000 glaciers will be gone by 2050 due to global warming already baked in by past emissions, the research shows. After that, even if carbon emissions have plummeted to zero, two-thirds of the ice will still have melted by 2100.
If emissions continue to rise at the current rate, the ice tongues will have all but disappeared from Alpine valleys by the end of the century. The researchers said the loss of the glaciers would have a big impact on water availability for farming and hydroelectricity, especially during droughts, and affect nature and tourism.
“Glaciers in the European Alps and their recent evolution are some of the clearest indicators of the ongoing changes in climate,” said Daniel Farinotti, a glaciologist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and one of the research team.
From CNBC: “Climate change will crush real estate values for investors who don’t prepare, new report says.”
For any investor, measuring opportunity against risk is critical. And for real estate investors in particular, risk is rising exponentially in the age of climate change.
To that end, big real estate firms are pouring significant resources into calculating climate risk and its likely effect on property portfolios — everything from increasingly extreme weather to a rise in sea levels.
“This process will be painful for investors who are caught off guard, but those who are prepared have the potential to outperform,” a new report from the Urban Land Institute said.
Damage to U.S. real estate from extreme storms hit a record high in 2017. Natural disasters, including floods, mudslides and wildfires, cost more than $300 billion in damage, the bulk of it to residential and commercial real estate.
From Bloomberg: “Investors Should Worry If Climate Goals Are Missed, Report Warns.”
Investors be warned: If the planet heats up by more than two degrees, it’s going to get a lot harder to make money.
That’s the conclusion of investment advisory firm Mercer LLC, which modeled the financial fallout from two, three and four degrees Celsius of global warming through 2100 in a report released Monday.
The report marks one of the first attempts to model sector-specific investment risks from climate change over decades. If warming is limited to no more than two degrees, coal and other fossil fuels lose the most in value, because countries have shifted toward cleaner energy. If temperatures rise further, sectors with the biggest losses will include industrials and agriculture.
“Asset owners should consider climate change at every stage of the investment process, from investment beliefs, policy and process to portfolio construction decisions,” said Deb Clarke, global head of investment research for Mercer, which is owned by Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.
In business-related news:
From Oilprice.com: “Oil & Gas Discoveries On The Rise As Oil Majors Dive In.”
Oil and gas exploration is off to a flying start in 2019, with majors taking a bigger bite of the conventional resources discovered in the first quarter, according to Rystad Energy.
Global discoveries of conventional resources in the first quarter reached a robust 3.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Most of the gains were recorded in February, posting 2.2 billion barrels of discovered resources – the best monthly tally on record since August 2015.
“If the rest of 2019 continues at a similar pace, this year will be on track to exceed last year’s discovered resources by 30%,” says Taiyab Zain Shariff, Upstream Analyst at Rystad Energy.
From a global perspective, the push for substantial new discoveries shows no signs of slowing down, with another 35 high impact exploration wells expected to be drilled this year, both onshore and offshore. Three such highly prospective wells are already underway: the Shell-operated Peroba well, off Brazil, with pre-drill prospective resource estimates of 5.3 billion boe; Eni’s Kekra well in Pakistani waters, with pre-drill prospective resource estimates of 1.5 billion boe; and the Total-operated Etzil well off Mexico, with pre-drill prospective resource estimates of 2.7 billion boe.
“If these wells prove successful, 2019’s interim discovered resources will be the largest since the downturn in 2014,” Shariff remarked.
From the Washington Post: “Trump to issue executive orders seeking to speed up oil and gas projects.”
President Trump is planning to issue a pair of executive orders on Wednesday to “help American energy companies avoid unnecessary red tape” by making it easier for firms to build oil and gas pipelines and harder for state agencies to intervene, according to the White House.
The executive action seeks to rein in states’ power by changing the implementation instructions, known as guidance, that are issued by federal agencies , according to a former Trump administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his relationships.
The order would also alter Transportation Department rules to allow the shipment of liquefied natural gas by rail and tanker truck, he said. And it would seek to limit shareholder ballot initiatives designed to alter companies’ policies on environmental and social issues. Trump will ask the Labor Department to examine whether retirement funds that pursue those investment strategies are meeting their responsibility to maximize returns.
A second order, focused on cross-border energy projects, would clarify that the president is solely responsible for approving or denying pipelines and other infrastructure that cross international boundaries. The secretary of state has previously played that role.
From Rigzone: “EOR Push May Make the Permian Even Bigger.”
Standing at the center of the prolific Permian Basin, Scott Hodges explains how the future of the world’s largest oil field may very well depend on what he calls jokingly calls the "really smart guys.”
Hodges, a 57-year-old manager with Occidental Petroleum Corp., runs a cluster of installations at the Hobbs oil field, where dozens of wells don’t pump a single barrel of oil but instead do the opposite: push stuff -- lots of it -- into the ground.
Occidental runs the operation in southeast New Mexico as part of its so-called enhanced-oil-recovery program, injecting carbon dioxide and water underground to force out crude that might otherwise languish in the reservoir. EOR already works in conventional oil fields -- now the company is trying to make it work commercially in shale rock.
If Occidental and its rivals’ experiments with similar techniques are successful -- a big if, in the view of many others -- it could further transform the Permian, which is already the world’s largest oil patch. To do that, knowing how the oil, gas, CO2 and water work together thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface is crucial.
From Oilprice.com: “Energy Minister: Saudi Arabia Could Be Natural Gas Exporter In Five Years.”
Saudi Arabia could begin natural gas exports in five-six years as it has already begun talks with neighboring Gulf Arab states to build natural gas pipelines, S&P Global Platts quoted Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as saying at the Gulf Intelligence energy forum in Riyadh on Monday.
The Saudis will soon launch feasibility studies for a pipeline out of the Kingdom to some of its allies in the Persian Gulf, according to the Saudi minister.
Large volumes of natural gas have been found in the Red Sea, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted al-Falih as saying last month.
In January this year, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser told Reuters in an interview that the oil firm was looking to spend billions of U.S. dollars on natural gas acquisitions in the United States as part of Aramco’s strategy to bolster its gas business and become a global natural gas player.
At the end of February, Nasser said that Saudi Arabia aims to export as much as 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day by 2030 as part of its goal to boost the international footprint of its natural gas business.
In November last year, Nasser said that Saudi Aramco, already a top global oil producer but not as strong in gas production, will boost efforts to grow its natural gas output, from both conventional and unconventional reserves.
Saudi Aramco’s gas development program is expected to attract as much as US$150 billion in investments over the next decade, Nasser said. Natural gas production is expected to jump to 23 billion standard cubic feet a day from the current 14 billion cubic feet a day, Aramco’s top executive said in Dubai a few months ago.