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Category Archives: Energy

The Beginning of the End?

Can anyone explain how Mankind is going to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere (now above 4 parts per million), without which GW will be catastrophic, with an average rise of 6̊C or even more in the worst-case scenario?

Pollticians blather on about renewables, but even as I write, many countries are planning to extract shale oil; Iraq and Iran are racking up oil production; nuclear is being phased out in Germany and elsewhere, while coal burning increases – last year China was opening one new coal-fired power station PER WEK – not sure if this extreaordinary rate has slowed, but India is also vastly increasing emissions….

No economy can stay solvent without growth, but growth is currently impossible without even more emissions.

My conclusion is that it is almost impossible to imagine how bad this could get, economically, socially and in terms of natural disasters.

And in the short-term (which is of most interest to politicians), European industry is going to be decimated. Gas prices in the US are now around three times lower than in Europe. How the hell can high-energy European firms stay competitive? Even German industry is looking down the barrel of a gun.

This is from “The Daily Telegraph”:

“Last week, I spoke to Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Authority (IEA), who is often described as the world’s leading forecaster in this field. He has been telling anyone in Europe willing to listen that the continent faces a major crisis of competitiveness because of high energy prices. “This year is critical,” he told me. “I don’t see many such junctures in the economic history of Europe in which energy could play such a critical role for the long-term prosperity of the European people.”

The problems are these. Europe’s high subsidies for renewables to meet climate change targets, coupled with the switch to gas, which is expensive to import, are damaging energy-intensive manufacturers, who between them employ some 30 million people. Nuclear power has either been blocked, as in Germany, or delayed, as in the UK, and the take-up of shale has been painfully slow. In America, by contrast, the shale revolution has seen energy prices tumble, making industry more profitable and putting extra money into the pockets of consumers – so far, $1,300 a year for every American, expected to rise to $4,000 by 2015.

The head of one of Europe’s biggest energy companies told a conference I attended recently that the EU’s energy policy was a “total mess”. He added: “Not only are we unable to attract investment to create new jobs, but we risk losing them as well.”

My advice? Plant potatoes, prepare sandbags, get a gun – and pray.

 

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