Editors: Tom Whipple, Steve Andrews

Quote of the Week

“Non-OPEC production is very strong. We still expect production [gains] coming from, not just United States, but also Norway, Canada, Guyana, among other countries. Therefore, I can tell you that the markets are, in my view, very well supplied with oil, and as a result of that, we see prices remain at $65 a barrel.”

Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency

Graphic of the Week

1.  Energy prices and production
2.  Geopolitical instability
3.  Climate change
4. The global economy and trade wars
5. Renewables and new technologies
6. Briefs

1.  Energy prices and production

Brent futures slipped to below $65 a barrel on Friday as the threat of war in the Middle East receded, and investors focused on rising US inventories and other signs of ample supply.  WTI closed at $59 a barrel.  During the past week, crude fell by $5 a barrel and is now below where it was before a US drone strike killed Iranian general Soleimani on Jan. 3.  US crude inventories rose 1.2 million barrels in the week before last, but gasoline stocks shot up sharply.  In the past two weeks, gasoline stocks have increased by more than 22 million barrels.  The EIA data was released shortly after President Trump spoke about Iran, a move the market interpreted as a de-escalation of the tensions.  The EIA data, combined with the Iran news, sent oil prices tumbling.
Due to continuously rising US natural gas production, prices at the US benchmark Henry Hub averaged $2.57 per million in 2019—the lowest annual average price since 2016.  The average natural gas price last year was $0.60 lower than the average Henry Hub price in 2018.  Permian Basin forward gas prices are testing new lows in January as the 2020 market outlook for available pipeline capacity exiting the West Texas basin continues to be insufficient.  At market close last Wednesday, the balance-2020 curve at Waha dipped to its lowest on record at 63 cents/million BTUs.  Across the US, lower natural gas prices spurred increased domestic natural gas consumption, especially in the electricity generation sector, as well as higher natural gas exports out of the US, setting a new liquefied natural gas export record, the EIA said.
Low natural gas prices have finally brought the decade-long shale gas boom in Appalachia to a halt.  Gas production in Appalachia declined by about 1 billion cubic feet per day over the past 30 days, bringing output down to an average of 32.7 billion, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.  That helped drag down overall US gas production to 91.8 billion cf/d, a 1.7 percent decline from 93.4 billion in November.  While Permian Basin oil and gas production gets a lot of attention, the Marcellus shale has been growing at a blistering rate for about a decade.  That is now coming to an end as the shale gas industry struggles with oversupply and low prices, lack of profits, debt, investor skepticism, and competition from very low-priced associated gas from the Permian. 
US drilling activity continued to contract in the fourth quarter, and the sense of gloom among shale drillers in Texas remains palpable.  The latest data from the Dallas Federal Reserve shows that the business activity index – a broad measure that captures conditions in the energy sector in Texas – remained in negative territory, although narrowed from a reading of -7.4 in the third quarter to -4.2 in the fourth.  Oil producers are trying to ride out the storm, but that means a steep fall in activity for service firms.
The Dallas Fed Energy Survey asks a series of questions, to which oil and gas executives respond anonymously, which allows them to speak frankly.  The survey reached 170 firms, 111 of which were E&Ps, and another 59 that were oilfield services companies.  The Fed found that 41 percent of all firms expect to cut spending in 2020, while 34 percent plan to increase CAPEX.  The vast majority of companies are basing their 2020 budgets off a WTI price between $53 and $56 per barrel.  Only 41 percent of companies said that they could breakeven at $50 per barrel, while another 40 percent said they need prices above $55 per barrel.
OPEC’s crude oil production declined further in December as the cartel’s leader Saudi Arabia continued to lead by example, cutting much more than required.  The biggest compliance laggards—Iraq and Nigeria—moved to comply with their quotas.  According to the survey of OPEC and oil companies’ sources, and ship-tracking data, OPEC’s production in December 2019 dropped by 50,000 b/d compared to November.  They stood at 29.5 million b/d.  In November, OPEC’s crude oil production declined by 193,000 b/d from October.  At the same time, Saudi Arabia cut production ahead of the OPEC+ meeting, Iraq tried to fall in line with its quota, and Iran further suffered from the US sanctions, according to OPEC’s official figures.
The world’s appetite for oil could peak within five years, according to one of Europe’s biggest oil and gas firms – much earlier than most rival oil companies expect.  Luis Cabra at Repsol, which last month became the first major oil company to declare a target of reducing carbon emissions from operations to net-zero by 2050, said peak demand could arrive soon as countries begin to act on climate change. Global oil demand is expected to inch up by around one percent this year, reaching just over 100 million barrels per day, according to the International Energy Agency.  Most oil companies expect that demand won’t peak until the mid-2030s.  However, Cabra says that “the demand for oil will peak maybe five to ten years from now, and then oil demand will be reduced, and accordingly we will adapt to this situation.”

2.  Geopolitical instability

Iran, Iraq, and Libya remain the top geopolitical hotspots that could threaten the world’s oil supply.

Last week saw the most dangerous period of political instability in decades as Washington and Tehran exchanged threats as to what they were about to do to each other.  Although tensions have eased in the last few days, sooner or later more troubles affecting oil supplies can be expected.  After a series of tit for tat attacks between US forces and Iranian backed militias culminated in the US’s assassination of a beloved Iranian general, the two seemed to be on the brink of war.  The assassination was such an affront that Tehran had to respond by killing Americans or hurting US interests.  For several days Washington and Tehran exchanged threats, many of which implied a threat to the region’s oil exports.

In the end, Tehran chose a sensible option which was to fire 16 missiles at two Iraqi airfields which housed US troops.  As American and Iraqi personnel at the targeted facilities were warned by Iran and technical sensors that the attack was coming, they had time to take cover, so no one was killed or injured.  This outcome allowed Tehran to tell its people that it had dealt the Americans a crushing blow, while at the same time not provoking Washington into launching retaliatory air or missile strikes on Iranian targets including “cultural centers.”

After the Iranian attacks, which did destroy several aircraft shelters, both sides were able to claim victory from the exchanges and say they were satisfied for now.  Unfortunately, in the midst of the attacks, an Iranian air defense site shot down a Ukrainian civilian airliner filled with Iranians just north of Tehran.  An attempted coverup by the Iranian government of the shootdown resulted in a revival of protests in Tehran against the government.

The fallout from the assassination has only begun.  Iraq, which is dominated by Iranian backed Shiite militia, was outraged by the killing of Shiite’s most celebrated warrior.  Despite the lack of a fully functioning government, the Shiite majority in Iraq’s parliament voted that the US should pull its forces out of the country. Washington rejected the demand saying US forces will stay.

If forced to withdraw their troops, US officials are in the preliminary stages of developing sanctions on Iraq that will include its oil industry if they are to do any good.  Such a path would create practical consequences with no clear benefits, sources familiar with the initial work said.  Many Iraqis believe that a US presence in the country is essential to a country where politics are dominated by Sunni-Shiite rivalries.

During the standoff last week, US and other western oil companies pulled personnel out of Iraq and even from Kurdistan, fearing for their safety in the heated environment.  While the oil ministry said production and exports haven’t been affected, challenges remain for the longer term because of a need for Western expertise and financing for some of Iraq’s more difficult projects.

Iraq set an all-time record for annual oil sales in 2019, as the federal government and autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government combined for an average of 3.968 million b/d of exports.  Iraq’s crude production is steady at 4.46 million b/d in line with its OPEC quota and has not been affected by recent events.  Exports are averaging 3.45 million b/d.

In December Iraq scaled back its production to a nine-month low of 4.58 million b/d.  The production, though, was still above Iraq’s old quota of 4.51 million b/d under the previous agreement with OPEC+.  Baghdad will need to cut an additional 120,000 b/d to meet its new target of 4.46 million b/d.  The country flouted its quota for most of 2019 arousing the wrath of other OPEC+ members.

Tehran’s announcement last week that it would abandon limitations on enriching uranium may be the most important fallout from last week’s events.  The European nations that were a party to the agreement are very disturbed and President Trump announced that the Iranians would never be allowed to build nuclear weapons.  Israel, which has its own stockpile of nuclear weapons, surely agrees with this sentiment.

Neither Tehran nor Baghdad have particularly stable governments at the minute. Just last month both governments were dispersing large anti-government demonstrations with machine gunfire.

East Libya based forces led by General Haftar said on Thursday they would continue in their military campaign against rival forces in the capital Tripoli, appearing to reject a call by Russia and Turkey for a ceasefire.  The arrival of Turkish military advisers in Libya should bolster the internationally recognized government but may not be enough to turn the tide of a conflict in which eastern-based forces have the upper hand thanks to foreign support.   At least 30 people were killed, and 33 others wounded in an attack on a military academy in the Libyan capital last week, likely by UAE aircraft which along with Russia and Egypt have been supporting Haftar.

Turkey’s decision to send the advisers and technical experts came in response to a request by the Government of National Accord, which Ankara backs.  “Our soldiers’ duty there is coordination and they will develop the operation center there.” President Erdogan told CNN.  He said Turkey’s objective was “not to fight but to support the legitimate government and avoid a humanitarian tragedy.”  Turkey has already provided drones and armored vehicles for the defense of the capital, which helped stall the offensive launched by Haftar’s forces nine months ago.  

Libyan forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said last week they had taken control of the strategic coastal city of Sirte in a rapid advance preceded by airstrikes.  Holding Sirte would be an important gain for Haftar.

3.  Climate change

President Trump, flanked by officials from construction and other industries, announced changes to how the National Environmental Policy Act is implemented.  He proposed sharply limiting environmental reviews of pipelines and other major federally permitted infrastructure projects, a move that would sweep away a hurdle slowing his agenda for unfettered fossil fuel development. The new guidance would curb federal agencies from considering climate impacts by specifying that agencies are only required to analyze impacts that are immediate, local and direct.

Nearly a quarter of the US’s carbon dioxide emissions come from fossil fuels developed on federal lands, according to a government report.  The Trump administration’s relentless push to expand fossil fuel production on federal lands is hitting a new snag: its own refusal to consider the climate impacts of development.  The federal Bureau of Land Management’s Utah office in September voluntarily suspended 130 oil and gas leases after advocacy groups sued, arguing that BLM hadn’t adequately assessed the greenhouse gas emissions associated with drilling and extraction on those leases as required by law.  The move was unusual because BLM suspended the leases on its own, without waiting for a court to rule.

Tremendous quantities of natural gas are intentionally burned off to make way for oil production.  The problem is likely to get worse in the US, the number four flarer of gas behind Iran, Iraq and world-leader Russia.  It is more than an issue of waste as flaring may be responsible for 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.  The World Bank estimates that 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas were flared worldwide in 2018, —equivalent to the combined consumption of France, Germany, and Belgium.

Natural gas is often an unwanted byproduct of an oil well, and it isn’t worth enough to sell unless there is a gas-gathering pipeline and processing plant nearby.  Geography determines whether it is worth something or not.  For example, the big oil fields of eastern Siberia or Algeria’s Sahara Desert are so far from end markets that the investment to process, gather and transport the associated gas produced would exceed its market value.  In other cases, though, poor planning and regulation are as much to blame.

Last year the price of gas at the Waha Hub in Texas reached negative four dollars per million British thermal units while gas in the other parts of the country was around $2.50/MMBtu.  In other words, companies with natural gas on their hands in that region had to pay people to take it.  Prices would still be negative if the local regulator, the Railroad Commission of Texas, hadn’t greatly expanded the amount of gas that could be burned off.

The US-based Environmental Integrity Project has just published a report titled Greenhouse Gases from Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Production which discusses recent and potential future emissions from US petroleum and natural gas systems.  Climate warming pollution from the US oil, gas, and petrochemical industries could rise about 30 percent by 2025 compared with 2018 because of additional drilling and 157 new or expanded projects “fueled by the fracking boom.”

Australia’s bushfire crisis worsened Thursday night into Friday as hot, dry and windy conditions redeveloped across the country’s hard-hit southeast, causing two large blazes to merge into one.  The new “megafire” measures about 1.5 million acres, about the size of the state of Delaware or roughly eight times as large as New York City.  Australian authorities urged another mass evacuation. The Insurance Council of Australia estimates the damage bill had reached US$485 million but said it expected the cost to rise significantly.  

In the UK, the summer heatwaves of 2019 resulted in almost 900 extra deaths, according to statistical analysis from Public Health England.  Over the past four years, more than 3,400 people have died early during periods of extreme temperature in England.  Global warming is increasing the frequency of heatwaves and a cross-party committee of MPs warned in July that the UK was “woefully unprepared” for this impact of the climate emergency.

Home sales are slowing in wildfire-prone areas of California as insurers retreat from high-risk regions, say real-estate agents and homeowners.  Insurance companies have continued to reduce their wildfire exposure in the past two years after paying more than $24 billion for California wildfire losses in 2017 and 2018. Home insurers have declined to renew policies for tens of thousands of homeowners across the state, and regulators expect more nonrenewals in the coming months.

4.  The global economy and trade wars

Economists taking a long view see graver threats to growth both at home and abroad looming on the horizon.  The World Bank in its latest forecast cut expectations for global growth this year by .2 percent, to 2.5 percent, citing “fragile” conditions brought on by ongoing trade uncertainty and a slowdown in investment.  That would amount to a tiny improvement over 2019, which saw the worldwide economy expand by 2.4 percent, the slowest pace since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Bank warned that “downside risks predominate, including the possibility of a re-escalation of global trade tensions, sharp downturns in major economies” and disruptions in the developing world.  The Bank also sees US growth stumbling from the unspectacular 2.3 percent growth it notched in 2019 to 1.8 percent this year — on its way down to 1.7 percent in both 2021 and 2022.  That would amount to a significant underperformance measured against President Trump’s promise to deliver at least 3 percent growth.  Economists gathered at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting last week shared a “dark” mood.

US tariffs against China triggered a slide in imports in November, contributing to the lowest trade deficit in three years.  US exports also picked up, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.  The foreign-trade gap in goods and services contracted 8.2% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $43.09 billion in November, the department said.  That was the lowest goods and services deficit since it hit $42 billion in October 2016.

Devastation in China’s pork industry pushed consumer-price inflation to an eight-year high in 2019, complicating decisions for Beijing’s policymakers trying to boost a cooling economy.  Consumer prices were up 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday—relatively benign by global standards, but a challenge for the world’s second-largest economy.  Seeking to get ahead of the disease last year, China culled its herds, halving the pig population.  The result was a 43% rise in the price of pork, the primary meat of Chinese diets.

“This year the biggest uncertainty is definitely oil.”  A 10 percent increase in oil prices would probably drive up China’s consumer inflation by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points.

5.  Renewables and new technologies

The Trump administration signaled strong support for self-driving vehicles last week as it released new guidance from federal agencies at the annual CES tech conference.  US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao unveiled the administration’s latest principles for autonomous vehicles, which she says unifies autonomous efforts across 38 US departments and agencies.

China will not cut subsidies for new electric vehicles again in July, the minister for industry and information technology, said on Saturday.  China has been slowly rolling back a generous 5-year subsidy program for electric vehicles started in 2016, saying it plans to phase out subsidies after 2020, amid criticism that some firms have become overly reliant on the funds.

New research from Stanford University questions the climate and health benefits of carbon capture technology against simply switching to renewable energy sources like wind and solar.  The study concludes that carbon capture technologies are inefficient at pulling out carbon and often increase local air pollution from the power required to run them.  Replacing a coal plant with wind turbines, on the other hand, always decreases local air pollution and doesn’t come with the associated cost.

Dominion Energy said Tuesday it has selected Siemens Gamesa to supply offshore wind turbines for its 2,600-MW installation off the coast of Virginia.  The project’s economics could be challenged if the wind farm is excluded from east coast power grids.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted that lithium-ion batteries have created a rechargeable world over the past decade.  In the new decade, batteries and battery technology are set to play an increasingly important role in bringing more electric vehicles and renewable energy to the market.  Rapidly declining costs and the potential to scale up existing and breakthrough battery and energy storage solutions are set to dramatically change the global mobility market and the power grid over the next ten years.

The University of Manchester in the UK says that a cleaner replacement for jet fuel, made from seawater, could be just a few years away. A new process of harvesting aquatic bacteria is not subject to many of the pitfalls that have kept algal biofuel from flourishing as an industry.  Unlike algae, the bacteria in question do not need “tightly controlled environments for its production process.  These bacteria can be grown using agricultural and food waste and the process of creating fuel would have less impact and could be cheaper than for current biofuels.”  Bioethanol comes from plants, such as corn, that compete for land with food crops.

6.  The Briefs (date of the article in the Peak Oil News is in parentheses)

Piracy in some of the world’s most critical oil chokepoints is on the rise –but now, pirates are resorting back to another method of income generation better suited to times of lower oil prices: taking human captives. (1/6)

Euro gas battle: Amid geopolitical tensions over Russian pipeline supply in Europe, the US now faces additional economic pressure from growing LNG production originating in Russia, and will have to contend with a pincer move from these two sources of natural gas if it is to consolidate its gains of market share in European LNG, and for so-called “freedom gas” to live up to its name and liberate Europe from Russian gas dependency. (1/9)

French refinery strike: The Federation of the Chemical Industry, part of the French CGT labor union, has called on staff at oil refineries and at other companies in the chemical sector, to extend their industrial action against the government’s pension reform and block deliveries from plants Tuesday -Thursday next week.  This follows the previous call to block deliveries from refineries on January 7-10. (1/11)

Turkey maintains that the new-found energy wealth of the internationally recognized Cypriot republic should be shared with the Turkish inhabitants to the north. According to experts, the gas fields of the island’s coast contain approximately 227 billion cm which could be worth $44.8 billion. Ankara wishes to connect the mainland with the North of Cyprus via an 80 km pipeline which they say should start pumping gas by 2025. (1/7)

Russia has halted oil supplies to Belarus amid a disagreement over tariffs, according to officials at a Belarusian oil refinery. The officials told RFE/RL that the shipments stopped on January 1 and the facility is currently processing only Russian oil delivered before that date. Belarus has been at odds with Russia over oil-transit prices for some time against a backdrop of increasing pressure by Moscow on Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenka to deepen integration between the two countries. (1/6)

Kuwait expects its share of the oil production from the Neutral Zone that it shares with Saudi Arabia to be 250,000 b/d by the end of 2020 when production will have resumed after half a decade of hiatus because of a dispute. (1/10)

China will open its arms for foreign oil and gas companies, and for local private E&Ps, the country’s Ministry for Natural Resources told media.  The move is intended to “stimulate market vitality.” China has been actively looking for ways to boost domestic oil and natural gas production to alleviate its dependence on imports. However, this has proved difficult to do relying only on the state-owned energy giants. (1/10)

In Nigeria, President Buhari’s radical move in November to hike taxes on companies operating in its lucrative deepwater blocks may have raised the government’s share of the revenue from oil but could backfire by deterring international oil companies from Africa’s largest producer and hindering output growth. Nigeria’s oil sector may not get a much-needed revamp in 2020 as President Muhammadu Buhari’s state-led economic model will likely throttle reform and blunt efforts to increase oil production in the near term and further out. (1/7)

Nigeria hurt by subsidies:  whenever there is a surge in oil price, the expectation is that Nigeria will earn more dollars from crude exports.  But because the country imports the bulk of petrol it consumes and sells below the market price, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation–which is the sole importer of the product for Nigeria–incurs billions in subsidy (under-recovery) daily. (1/9)

Offshore Suriname, Apache, and France’s Total said Tuesday they have struck what they call a “significant” oil and gas discovery, the first sizable find in that country after several years of closely watched industry drilling. (1/8)

Venezuela’s socialist government installed a new head of Congress on Sunday after armed troops blocked opposition legislators from entering parliament, in a move condemned by dozens of nations as an assault on democracy. Troops with riot shields blocked opposition leader Juan Guaido from entering parliament for what was expected to be his re-election as head of Congress, at one point pulling him off the compound’s iron railings after he tried to push past security forces. (1/6)

More sanctions on Caracas: The US may respond to escalating political disarray in Venezuela by allowing a sanctions waiver for Chevron and four US oil services companies to expire later this month and could ratchet up oil sanctions on foreign companies still working in the South American country. (1/7)

The Trump administration is considering sanctions against some of the Venezuelan lawmakers who took part in a bid supported by President Nicolas Maduro to wrest control of the country’s congress from US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido. Deliberations over the possible sanctions’ targets, including Maduro-backed lawmaker Luis Parra, are in the early stages, and a final decision is not imminent. (1/8)

For Mexico, the largest oil hedge in the world cost “around $1 billion” for 2020, Mexico’s Finance Minister Arturo Herrera said on Thursday.  For 2019, Mexico spent $1.23 billion, locking in a fixed price of $55 per barrel. (1/10)

New pipelines: North America will contribute some 51 percent to all new crude oil trunk or transmission pipeline additions through 2023, with expected combined new-build crude oil pipeline length of 14,344 kilometers (8,913 miles) by that year. (1/10)

The US oil rig count dropped by 11 to 662, according to Baker Hughes.  Gas rigs were also down by four to 119.  The total rig count of 781 is down 294 from last year, or 27%.  (1/11)

The US Gulf of Mexico made history in August 2019 as it exceeded oil production of 2 million b/d. Production increases in 2019 paved the way for $2.34 billion more offshore royalty revenue for the Federal Treasury. In addition, GOM production will continue to set records through 2020, according to the US EIA.

The Trump administration on Monday took its first step toward tighter pollution controls on trucks, an anomalous move for a government known for weakening environmental policies but one that would pre-empt tougher state rules. (1/7)

The oil industry’s top lobbying group on Tuesday is launching a campaign to counter attacks from 2020 Democratic hopefuls vowing to phase out fossil fuels. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have called for banning fracking and curbing the use of fossil fuels as part of efforts to combat climate change. Other candidates have also outlined ambitious environmental plans. The American Petroleum Institute will air advertisements that highlight the industry’s role in paring greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change while encouraging a truce in heated political debates over energy. (1/8)

Coal closures: Tri-State Generation and Transmission will close its entire Colorado- and New Mexico-based coal-fired generation fleet decades earlier than the assets’ potential end-of-life. The company will retire a coal mine in Colorado, as the cooperative transitions toward a greater proportion of renewables in its energy mix. (1/11)

Nuke fears: Professor Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychologist, told the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel recently that if mankind wanted to stop climate change without stopping economic growth too, the world needed more nuclear energy, not less. Germany’s decision to step out of nuclear, he agreed, was “paranoid.” (1/9)

Natural gas heating ban? Bellingham, Washington has long been looking to scale back its contribution to climate change. In recent years, city leaders have converted the streetlights to low-power LEDs, provided bikes for city employees and made plans to halt the burning of sewage solids. Now, Bellingham is looking to do something that no other city has yet attempted: adopt a ban on all residential heating by natural gas. (1/6)

Sweden has seen a 4% drop in the number of people flying via its airports, a rare decrease in recent years for a European country. The figures come as the Swedish-born movement of “flight shaming” is gaining prominence. (1/11) 

Climate change = stranded assets: Investors, pension funds and companies need to get ahead of the financial risk from climate change, as many fossil fuel assets risk becoming worthless. Mark Carney, the outgoing Governor of the Bank of England, said the fact that current plans by fossil fuel companies, and investors who own assets in those companies, are to continue on a path that puts the world on a trajectory of 3.7-3.8 degrees of warming constitutes a significant financial risk. (1/9)

JetBlue announced this week that it plans to go carbon-neutral on all domestic flights starting in July, a first for a major US airline. The company’s plan involves both taking steps to reduce its flights’ overall carbon emissions and increasing its investment in carbon offsets, which are environmental projects that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (1/10)

Bank investors’ climate fears: Eleven institutional investors have filed a resolution to be voted on at Barclays’ annual meeting in May, requiring the bank to set out plans to stop providing all financial services to firms not aligned with the Paris climate agreement. (1/9)

The National Climate Assessmentreleased in late 2018 warned that climate change will exact a dire toll on American farms. It projected more drought, more heat, and more extreme rainfall. A few months later, the Midwest flooding began, swamping fields as farmers watched helplessly. In the months that followed, 2019 notched two records: It became the wettest on record in the lower 48 states, and a record 19 million insured acres were left unplanted, costing taxpayers an estimated $4.2 billion in insurance payouts. (1/8)

Sea levels could rise by 140 centimeters in Bangladesh by 2100. Bangladesh and parts of India could be hit by sea-level rise almost twice as high as previously thought due to land subsiding, even if the world takes ambitious action on climate change. Already prone to flooding and drought, Bangladesh has long been seen as vulnerable to a warming world, with a tenth of the delta that the country occupies just a meter above sea level. (1/8)