Saudi Arabia may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating and may already have achieved “peak oil”, US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks and quoted by The Guardian show. The documents urge that a Saudi oil executive’s warning that crude reserves may have been overstated by nearly 40% be taken seriously.
Johannesburg may soon begin to be eaten away by acidic water from gold mines, Reuters reported. A 40-kilometre stretch of mines dug more than a century ago is expected to start leaking toxic chemicals in the months ahead, according to experts. The land now houses some of South Africa’s greatest population densities and largest companies.
A surge in weather-related disasters in Australia could push global mining firms to overhaul supply contracts and rethink how bad weather will affect operations and customers, Reuters said. Miners need to better assess the threats from floods, storms and droughts and include weather data and risks in mine management and commodity contracts, one resources lawyer said.
Meanwhile, citing its Asian-led mining boom, Australia said its carbon emissions will rise more than predicted by 2020, according to Agence France-Presse. And an architect of the country’s stalled climate-change policy, economist Ross Garnaut, has linked recent natural disasters with global warming and called for a new political push to cut emissions, Reuters reported.
The first victim of India’s efforts to quadruple its nuclear-power capacity will be an ecosystem in the Konkan region of the mountain range running along the country’s west coast -- a biodiversity “hotspot” -- Praful Bidwai commented in The Guardian. He sees a “disaster-in-waiting” in plans to install six reactors at Jaitapur.
In Latin America’s energy sector, the growing presence of Chinese and Brazilian capital is facilitating the construction of hydroelectric complexes, according to Tierramérica, but the money also is fuelling nationalist stances that are adding to the environmental criticisms of the projects.
Indonesia ordered hefty rice imports to boost stocks by a third, Reuters said, in the latest sign that governments concerned about rising food prices and dwindling supplies are rushing into the market and could drive inflation even higher.
The amount of fish caught in Russian, Canadian and US Arctic waters has been dramatically under-reported for decades, according to a Canadian study published in Polar Biology. Researchers said their catch estimate was 75 times higher than figures supplied to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Police on Easter Island evicted a group of indigenous Rapa Nui people who have been occupying the grounds of a luxury hotel since August, the BBC said. The protesters oppose development of the Chilean-annexed island and say the hotel land was taken from their ancestors illegally.
And Agence France-Presse reported the death in Sarawak of Along Sega, one of the last nomadic tribesmen of Borneo and a fighter for the forests and traditional lifestyle of his Penan people.
It’s a campaign fronted not by placards and protest marches, but a team of lawyers. Tom Levitt meets the UK-based legal activists fighting air pollution through the courts