Last month China said it would allow millions of families to have two children, the most radical relaxation of its strict one-child policy in close to three decades. The move is part of a plan to raise fertility rates and ease the financial burden on China’s rapidly aging population.

Former British Petroleum geologist Dr. Richard Miller has warned that the age of cheap crude oil is long gone, bringing with it the danger of “continuous recession” and increased risk of conflict and hunger.

Scotland’s first minister is banking on crude oil from the North Sea to underpin the country’s economy in the future. His government claims that more than 90% of the UK’s oil reserves might become Scotland’s after independence because they lie under Scottish territorial waters.

An offshore-USA study by the American Petroleum Institute and the National Ocean Industries Association shows that by 2035, access to potential petroleum reserves in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf could create more than $23 billion in economic activity and 280,000 jobs.

The seeds of jatropha—an inedible, drought-resistant plant—can be refined into a low-carbon jet fuel or diesel fuel. A California firm, SGB,  has succeeded in growing hybrid strains of the plant that produce biofuel in quantities that it says are competitive with crude oil priced at $99 a barrel.

The average amount of electricity consumed in US homes has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade, even though homes are increasingly electrified. Power usage declined in 2013 for the third year in a row, to 10,819 kilowatt-hours per household, according to the Energy Information Administration. This is the lowest level since 2001, when households averaged 10,535 kwh. In 1990, before most homes had a personal computer, HD TVs and multiple other gadgets, average consumption totaled 9,447 kilowatt-hours per household.

The share of renewable energy among all 27 European Union member states rose to 14.4% in 2012 compared to 13.1% in 2011, according to the EurObserv’ER. EU countries have set a 20% target for the share for renewable energy by 2020. Countries with the highest share include Sweden at 52.4%, Spain at 42.4% and Finland at 36.4%.

The UK  gets more electricity from offshore wind farms than all other countries combined. Its waters already contain more than 1,000 turbines, and the government thinks capacity could triple in six years. Currently offshore wind produces 3% of the UK’s total electricity and accounts for 20% of its total renewable energy.

The National Statistics Office says electricity remains the most common source of power among households in the Philippines. Based on its latest survey taken in 2011,  74% of households use electricity for lighting purposes. For cooking, fuel wood is used by more than half of the households, followed by liquefied petroleum gas, charcoal and biomass residues.

 

with h/t Tom Whipple

 

 

 

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