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Oil prices have dropped to levels not seen in years. It’s not all good news. Reuters

Oil price drop offers short-term gains but long-term pains

The recent drop in crude oil and gasoline prices in the United States is a nice stocking stuffer for consumers this holiday season, but it could turn into a lump of coal. A global oil glut has caused the…
Coal seam gas is only one issue for managing one of Australia’s most important geological resources. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Coal seam gas is just the latest round in an underground war

In a recent article on The Conversation, Queensland coal seam gas (CSG) researchers argued that the industry is progressing faster than the science, leading to concerns over fugitive emissions and impacts…
Tensions ran high in Balcombe last summer. EPA/ Facundo Arrizabalaga

Fracking protesters accuse police of intimidation campaign

Although only a small area of land has been offered to companies exploring the potential for fracking in the UK so far, much more is likely to come. But opposition to fracking is growing – and growing…
Is trouble brewing in the North Sea? Jo Christian Oterhals

Why an $80 barrel of oil is bad

The dramatic and unexpected 20% fall in oil prices since mid-June has caused alarm in Scotland, the UK and indeed worldwide. Why did oil prices slump to a four-year low of US$84 (£52) per barrel this week…
Better get our heads out of the sand and run. Peter Byrne/PA

Fracking boom could mean up to 12% more carbon emissions

The consistent message from those who would seek to exploit shale gas is that it has three distinct advantages over existing forms of fossil fuel energy: it is cheap, it has a lower influence on global…
Is the sun setting on West African oil? A platform in Limbe, Cameroon. VirginieVV

US fracking boom puts West African oil economies at risk

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the US made a point of diversifying its sources of oil to reduce dependence on the Middle East. It was a strategic move which promised a huge boost to West African…
A different perspective on fracking: wells in the Jonah Field, Wyoming. Ecoflight

Without full disclosure of accidents and chemicals used, fracking risks remain unknown

The rise of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has ushered in an era of intense drilling that has been called the great shale gas rush. Fracking allows oil and natural gas to be extracted from horizontal…
While there may be gold beneath the surface, it’s hard to reach. Wu Hong/EPA

US-style fracking success far from guaranteed on British soil

Britain’s energy-hungry population is highly dependent on oil and gas, which powers around two thirds of the UK’s energy needs. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) projects that by 2030…
It depends if the price is right, it seems. Peter Byrne/PA

Fracking will be tried in the court of public opinion in 2015

There has been an anxious search for new sources of fossil fuels, and shale gas appears to offer Britain a key national resource. But the nation’s new-found hydrocarbon wealth has met with far from universal…
Frack the police: a protester is taken down at Barton Moss. Lynne Cameron/PA

Police violence at anti-fracking protests is about order, not law

In November 2013 at Barton Moss on the outskirts of Salford, IGas, a company specialising in onshore extraction of oil and gas, began exploratory drilling to test for coal bed methane and shale gas. The…
Australia has a possible path to 100% renewables – if governments and business can be persuaded to take it. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Renewable energy target can go all the way to 100% – if we let it

The political outlook for renewable energy is not great – and I’m not just talking about the view out of Joe Hockey’s car window. The Renewable Energy Target (RET), which aims to deliver 41 million megawatt-hours…
The WA Environmental Defenders Office was involved in the legal challenge to planned gas processing at James Price Point. Cortlan Bennett/AAP Image

Environmental legal aid slashed when Australia needs it most

When residents from the tiny town of Bulga won a three-year court battle to stop Rio Tinto expanding an open-cut coalmine beside them, it was hailed as a victory for David over Goliath. Yet the type of…

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