Opinion on the strategic situation of oil companies

Over the past year, oil companies have seen the price of their product fall by half. Yet, the visiting professor and chair of the Kings Policy Institute at Kings College London writes, there is a “poverty of strategic thinking” on what to do about this, beyond blind trust that “prices must rise again”. “There is no serious analysis of […]

Beijing Enterprises buy German waste-to-energy group

Beijing is surrounded by rubbish dumps so large that they have been described as the city’s “seventh ring”. On Thursday Beijing Enterprises completed the largest ever Chinese acquisition of a German business, purchasing a German waste management company for €1.44bn. The target company is regarded as an industry leader in advanced technologies for filtering emissions. The firm currently converts 4.7m […]

Obama proposes $10 per barrel oil tax — unlikely to happen

President Obama’s White House has proposed “bold” $10 per barrel tax on imports of oil. “The White House said that the tax would encourage a shift away from an oil-dependent transportation system and provide revenue that it would use to pay for much-needed infrastructure investment.” With a current price of $30-$40/bbl this represents a tax […]

The oil bubble: bursting in slow motion

Bubbles are created when buyers overpay in the hope of finding a ‘greater fool’ to sell to later. This has happened lately in the Chinese stock and property markets. Apartments were built on borrowed money, bought and left empty as prices rose, in the hope they could be offloaded later on to a greater fool before the bubble burst. The same approach was applied in the […]

Climatologist: If We Release a Small Fraction of Arctic Carbon, ‘We’re F*cked’

For the record, it appears that ocean currents are destabilizing methane hydrates on the Arctic slope. The warmer the ocean gets, the more methane gets spewed out of those stores on the continental shelf, and the warmer the ocean gets, ad infinitum. There is an immense amount of carbon stored in the arctic. “It’s a giant number. But we […]

IPCC and renewable energy — the view from Texas

So, the IPCC has concluded that averting climate change catastrophe is ’eminently affordable’. Of course it is — it always was. Quibbles about the ‘cost’ of averting climate change have always been spurious, partly because the cost of not taking action will always be greater (ie death), and partly because any ‘cost’ will always show […]

Bad news, good news…

Two stories here, one describing the problem, one addressing part of the solution. First, a new study by Nasa shows yet again that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades, just as many previous empires and civilisations have done. Echoing Jared Diamond (TED talk here, synopsis here) they find the key factors driving the risk of […]

Germany produces half its electricity from solar

On Friday 25 May 2012, Germany’s solar power plants produced a record 22 gigawatts of electric power, equivalent to 20 nuclear power plants, and half the country’s demand for electricity that day. Germany aims to be nuclear-free by 2022. It currently generates four per cent of its annual energy needs from the sun. Source: RT.com

Two ways to adapt to post-oil

Yesterday’s story about how the IMF foresees a doubling in the real price of oil by 2022, and the consequent urgent need to adapt or redesign our business models, might have raised a few eyebrows. So here are two stories about how adaptation to life with less oil can proceed quite straightforwardly… and in fact […]