Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

from Ask...:

Where oil prices will be in June 2012?

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Wars and revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami have sent oil and gas prices soaring with economists worrying over the impact of escalating energy costs on global growth. Last week, for the first time in a decade, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to reach an agreement to boost the output as Saudi Arabia did not convince the others that world's economy will need more fuel.

From June 13 to June 15, Reuters Global Energy and Climate Summit 2011 will feature more than 60 global decision-makers in the energy and climate businesses to discuss the challenges facing the 21st century. This is your chance to give us your forecast on whether oil prices are more likely to got back to their peak of $147 per barrel hit on 2008, or below the current range of around $120.

from Environment Forum:

Could “putting the cow inside the plant” make a new biofuel?

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SWITZERLAND/The Next Big Thing in biofuel might involve genetically engineered plants that digest themselves, making it cheaper to turn them into fuel. That's one of the new ideas that Arun Majumdar finds fascinating. As the head of the U.S. Energy Department's ARPA-E -- the path-breaking agency that aims come up with efficient, green energy solutions -- Majumdar said this concept is one of a few dozen that are in the development stage now.

Majumdar let his enthusiasm show as he described this project at the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit on Thursday. He was talking about a project in its early stages at Massachusetts-based Agrivida.

Will Bjorn Lomborg be compared to Al Gore?

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lomborgBjorn Lomborg (left) worries that people will conclude he’s becoming like Al Gore (right).gore

At first sight, that sounds unthinkable.

Lomborg, a Danish statistician who wrote the book “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, argues that the world should develop cheap new green technologies before taking radical steps to fight global warming (…echoes of the policies of former U.S. President George W. Bush).

Economic security or environmental destruction?

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The Oil Sands, the world’s second-largest proven reserves after Saudi Arabia, hold out the promise of energy security for the United States and economic security for Canada. But environmentalists fear the destructive, energy intensive process of extracting the oil will carry direct consequences for the planet. Despite the doubts, new oil sands projects are again springing up after the financial crisis halted development. How will oil companies balance the quest for more oil with environmental concerns? Mar. 22-23 we’ll put those questions to the oil companies, environmental groups and government officals at the first Reuters Canadian Oil Sands Summit in Calgary.

How Leo DiCaprio started a car company

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Henrik Fisker, the storied car designer who has shaped Aston Martins, Fords and BMWs, told the Reuters Autos Summit this week that he now wants a starring role in the green revolution.

But he also wants to make the world safe for sports cars for generations to come.

from Environment Forum:

A Nightmare on Auto Street: Big boxes

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When it comes to competition in the auto business, it's the unknown that keeps the top U.S. Honda executive, John Mendel, up at night.

Mendel, speaking to the Reuters Auto Summit in Detroit, said he is always concerned about the conventional competitors. But what he is really afraid of is a company that "changes the game."

Upstarts!

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The U.S. government has pumped more than $100 billion into Detroit over the past year to keep automakers General Motors and Chrysler alive. But some of the sector’s remaining capitalists are having a hard time stomaching a $25 billion Department of Energy loan program intended to spark new developments in electric cars. 

Start-ups Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors have won about $1 billion in combined funding, while longtime players Ford and Nissan have received substantially larger loans from Washington to work on vehicle electrification — a technology the White House and many in the industry hope will reduce the United States’ dependence on imported oil and lower emissions of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas. 

60-hour work weeks, all in the name of climate change

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Some politicians may be accused of dragging their heels when it comes to dealing with climate change, but you can’t say members of the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism’s executive board aren’t clocking in the hours.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), an emissions trading scheme under the Kyoto Protocol worth $33 billion last year according to the World Bank, allows companies and countries to outsource their greenhouse gas reduction efforts by investing in clean energy projects in emerging countries like China and India, where making emissions cuts costs less.

Enviro-boxer Britain needs to spend more on climate cure

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Scientists may face an uphill battle in trying to warn the world about the looming perils of global warming, but one of Britain’s top academics wouldn’t trade places with the politicians tasked with negotiating a new global treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“Although the science (of climate change) is difficult and still uncertain, it’s a doddle compared to the politics,” said Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, Britain’s science academy.

Google’s Green Energy Czar on investing in renewables

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Bill Weihl, Google’s Green Energy Czar, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Energy Summit in San Francisco and talked about Google’s solar thermal project, infrastructure costs and where he sees the energy mix heading in 20 years.

Here he chats about emerging clean tech hubs and what the United States should do about investing in renewables.

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