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Best of the Blogs, Energy: Exxon Mobil Leaves Poland


Plus, Tesla Roadster racing around the world while solar energy helps third world countries.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on energy from around the Web every Tuesday.

Link: Exxon Mobil ends shale gas exploration in Poland

"ExxonMobil (XOM) said it is ending its exploration for shale gas in Poland after finding insufficient amounts of gas in two exploratory wells in the country's east.The move is the latest blow for Polish hopes to find massive shale gas reserves that would help ease the country's dependence on Russian energy sources.

"Some two dozen global energy companies are searching for shale gas across Poland. The country's energy hopes were also hit this year when a geological study estimated recoverable reserves at no more than some 768 billion cubic meters, much less than originally hoped."

National Geographic: The Great Energy Challenge
Link: Low-Cost Solar Brightens Lives in the Developing World

"A decade ago, Katherine Lucey oversaw a heavily subsidized $1,500 solar-light installation in the rural district of Mpigi in central Uganda. The 60-watt rooftop solar panel system could power three lights in the four-room, off-the-grid house.

"The family's father wanted the lights in his office, bedroom, and main room. But his wife successfully argued instead for a light in the room where she cooked dinner, a light outside for security, and a light for her chicken coop. After all, chickens lay more eggs when they have more light.

"Thanks to technological advances, simple solar lamps go for as little as $10 to $20 each, and ones that have multiple brightness settings and an outlet to charge a cell phone don't cost much more. For daytime use, there are even cheaper options, such as a $2 to $3 solar bottle bulb made of a plastic bottle of purified water and bleach, sealed into the roof."

New York Times: Green
Link: On Our Radar: The Negotiating Text in Rio

"Environmentalists complain that the negotiating text being readied for the Rio+20 environmental conference this week in Brazil is riddled with words like "support" and encourage" rather than "must" or "will," the language of commitment; a coalition, meanwhile, organizes a "Twitterstorm" calling for an end to fossil-fuel subsidies. The conference opens on Wednesday. [W.W.F.,]"

"A nontenured epidemiologist who lost his job at the University of California, Los Angeles sues over his nonreappointment, saying that the decision was an attempt to 'purge an academic dissenter.' The researcher, James Enstrom, has played down the dangers of secondhand smoke and found no relationship between diesel particulates and the mortality of Californians. [Nature News Blog.]"

Live Science
Link: Icy Antarctica Once Ringed With Carpet of Lush Flora

"The few plants that live in Antarctica today are hardy hangers-on, growing just a few weeks out of the year and surviving poor soil, lack of rain and very little sunlight. But long ago, some parts of Antarctica were almost lush.

"New research finds that between about 15 million and 20 million years ago, plant life thrived on the coasts of the southernmost continent. Ancient pollen samples suggest that the landscape was a bit like today's Chilean Andes: grassy tundra dotted with small trees."

"'Just as history has a lot to teach us about the future, so does past climate,' Feakins said in a statement. 'What this record shows us is how much warmer and wetter it can get around the Antarctic ice sheet as the climate system heats up.'"

Autoblog Green
Link: Tesla Roadster racing around the world in 80 days [w/video]

"Ah, those Jules Verne fanatics, you'll find them everywhere. One Tesla Roadster owner last month set upon his own tribute to the author by starting his attempt to drive around the world in – yes – 80 days. Even better, it's now a race to be the first world round trip driver with a standard EV (that 'standard' is important, since the Solar Taxi has already made the trip back in 2007-2008, a journey that took 17 months."

"Rafael de Mestre left Barcelona on presumably a full charge on May 11 and started heading west. As of today, his car is on a ship somewhere west of Los Angeles, according to his website, and had put about 3,700 miles on the Roadster. The car is now being shipped to China, where he is to continue his journey for another five weeks or so. "
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