World population may grow larger than previously estimated, reaching 11 billion people by century’s end, according to the United Nations. That would mean two billion more people on Earth than expected by 2100, with the increase largely due to high birth rates in Africa.
Almost two-thirds of the 70 nuclear reactors currently under construction worldwide, the most since 1989, are located in China, India, and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.
Last year, Russia was the world’s largest producer of crude oil and condensate and the second-largest producer of natural gas. Oil production in 2013 increased 1.3% and gas by 2.1%..
Russia has discovered what may prove to be a vast pool of crude oil in the Arctic. Rosneft said a well drilled in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic Ocean suggests the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas. The well found about 1 billion barrels of oil and similar geology nearby means the surrounding area may hold more than the US part of the Gulf or Mexico.
Russia’s Gazprom Neft confirmed an oil tanker filled with 200,000 barrels of crude oil extracted from an Arctic field was shipped to markets in northwest Europe last week across Arctic waters. It was the second tanker of oil delivered from the Yamal Peninsula. Changes in global weather patterns are leaving parts of the Arctic region ice-free for longer periods of time.
Saudi Arabia’s newest oil refinery reached full capacity—400,000 barrels per day — last month, adding to international competition will likely force more European refineries to close. Europe’s refineries are too small and not sophisticated enough to compete with the new entrants.
The average US household spent more than $2,600 on gasoline last year for a third consecutive year — an all-time high and a 111% increase compared with the amount spent a decade earlier.
Germany used coal to generate 45% of its power last year, the highest level since 2007, as Chancellor Angela Merkel is phasing out nuclear in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
India’s new environment minister said his country would not offer a plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions ahead of a climate summit next year in Paris. He said India’s first priority was to alleviate poverty and improve the nation’s economy, which would necessarily involve an increase in emissions through new coal-powered electricity and transportation.
The governor of the US state of California has approved legislation designed to increase the use of clean-air vehicles and bicycles. One piece of legislation allows 15,000 additional electric and partial zero-emissions vehicles, or 70,000 total vehicles, to obtain green stickers that permits driving in carpool lanes even when a person is driving solo.