Some people talk about peak energy (or oil) supply. They expect high prices and more demand than supply. Other people talk about energy demand hitting a peak many years from now, perhaps when most of us have electric cars. Neither of these views is correct. The real situation is that we right now seem to be reaching peak energy demand through low commodity prices.
Things have never been this dry for this long in the recorded history of the state of California, and this has created an unprecedented water crisis. At this point, 1,900 wells have already gone completely dry in California, and some communities are not receiving any more water at all. As you read this article, 100 percent of the state is in some stage of drought, and there has been so little precipitation this year that some young children have never actually seen rain. Sadly, this is just the beginning. There is a reason why experts refer to fresh water as “the new oil”.
Pope Francis says that global warming is a fact and that a new global political authority is necessary in order to save humanity from utter disaster. The new encyclical that was scheduled to be released on Thursday has been leaked, and it is being reported that this new global political authority that Pope Francis envisions would be in charge of “the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”.
Some events make us question in which of the two we might actually be living in: what if it was some version of Bizarro?
"Sustainability is so 2007. Those were the heady days before the Global Financial Crisis, before the failed Copenhagen Climate Summit, before the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)... the list continues. Since 2008, informed conversations on the economy, the environment, and energy have shifted from ‘sustainability’ to ‘resilience’. There are undoubtedly many reasons for this shift, but I’ll focus on just two: undeniable trends and a loss of faith. Let me explain."
It seems that for the global warming lobby, all that is necessary to set everything right is to hand control of the global economy over to governmental central planners. In their minds, the machinery of government only needs to be set in motion, and everything will be done with righteous precision to preserve the climatological status quo by increasing the cost of energy and cutting economic activity. The costs of such a venture, whether in money or in human lives and human comfort, need never be considered, because, we are told, the only alternative is the total destruction of planet earth. This “Follow Us or Die!” routine is a propagandist’s dream of course, but in real life, where more rational heads - on occasion - prevail, the costs of any proposed government action must be considered against the costs of the alternatives.
"An electric car does not make you green... You’re better off filling up at the pump," if you live in Canada. According to a new study by professor Chris Kennedy, even if every driver in Canada made the switch - from gas to electric - the total emissions might not actually go down... since in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, electric cars generate more carbon pollution over their lifetimes than gas-powered cars. Paging Al Gore...
Bloomberg estimates industrial output may have to be slashed by a fifth in order for Beijing to hit its own pollution targets and by up to 40% if China wants its citizens to be able to breathe the same air as the rest of the world.
- French policewoman killed in shoot-out, hunt deepens for militant killers (Reuters)
- The Bold Charlie Hebdo Covers the Satirical Magazine Was Not Afraid to Run (BBG)
- Evans Says Fed Shouldn’t Rush Rate Rise as Inflation Undershoots (BBG)
- Oil holds above $51 as traders search for floor (Reuters)
- Gross Helps Fuel New Fund With His Own Cash (WSJ)
- ECB warns Greek funding access hinges on keeping bailout (Reuters)
- Greece Jolts QE Juggernaut as ECB Gauges Deflation Risk (BBG)
- Analysts Say There's No Telling How Low Oil Prices Could Go (BBG)
- Scientists find antibiotic that kills bugs without resistance (Reuters)
The 114th Congress formally convened yesterday. In what follows, Goldman Sachs presents its views on some of the central questions regarding the political and policy outlook for the coming year. In general, Goldman expects most of the deadlines Congress faces over the coming year to result in only limited uncertainty, though the debt limit increase that will be necessary later in 2015 is the main potential exception. Additionally, they expect legislation to "audit" Fed monetary policy decisions is likely to pass the House again in 2015, but enactment looks less likely.
Some are thinking that 2015 will be a repeat of 2014 with a few incremental changes, However, the interesting question to ask is, how has the ground shifted in 2014, if indeed it has? To our mind, the really interesting development of 2014 is that the world as a whole (with a few minor exceptions) has become quite lucid on the topic of what the United States, as a global empire, is and stands for. Another major shift we have observed is that a significant percentage of the thinking people in the US no longer trusts their national media. In case somebody out there in the media realm is tired of playing it safe and printing stuff that's only fit for wiping your Kardashian with, here are a some points for you to try to refute...
However desirable it may be to protect the Earth from the dire consequences of a runaway climate the chances that the world will agree to cut its emissions quickly enough to stay below the 2C threshold are somewhere between zip, zilch and zero. (There’s also the question of whether cuts of the magnitude necessary would be politically, economically and technologically achievable if the world does agree, but we’ll leave it aside here.) Now imagine that you are one of the prominent politicians – Obama, Kerry, Merkel, Ban Ki-moon, Hollande, Cameron, Davey, whoever – who have publicly and repeatedly stated that climate change is the greatest threat facing the world, that the world is in serious trouble if nothing is done to stop it but that a solution is still within our reach. What do you tell people when next year’s make-or-break Paris climate talks show that it isn’t?
Some of the major problems that humanity faces today transcend borders, and as such international cooperation is of vital importance. But recent events make such cooperation increasingly more challenging. Without going into the wisdom of the decision, sanctions imposed on Russia over its foreign policy in Ukraine have a wide range of implications that go much beyond the economic sphere. For one, international dialogue is breaking down fast; just this week Russian President Vladimir Putin unceremoniously left the G20 meeting early. Inevitably, this will have repercussions on major international cooperation initiatives, perhaps irreversibly in some cases. Here are a few notable examples...
- They go all in: China’s PBOC Cuts Interest Rates for First Time Since 2012 (BBG)
- And all in-er: ECB's Draghi throws door to quantitative easing wide open as recovery wanes (Reuters)
- Global Markets Rally: ECB Head Says Central Bank Is Ready to Expand Stimulus Program After China Cuts Rates (WSJ)
- Obama unveils U.S. immigration reform, setting up fight with Republicans (Reuters)
- U.S. increasing non-lethal military aid to Ukraine (Reuters)
- Russia warns U.S. against arms to Ukraine as Biden due in Kiev (Reuters)
- Ukraine slashed gold holdings in October, Russia added more - IMF (Reuters)
- Abe Dissolves Japan’s Lower House of Parliament (WSJ)