Links – Week 14, 2010

Photo by: mugley

I haven’t been doing much general reading this week because I’ve been focussed on writing this essay on how peak oil is going to effect my organisation. It had become bigger than Ben Hur…….and then my computer crashed and hasn’t recovered. I’m trying not to panic about losing all that work….so you’ll have to forgive me if I’ve been a little distracted.

Regardless….here are a couple of things I found interesting around the interwebs this week.

The population debate in Australia seems to be heating up. I think this may well be the issue the next election is won or lost over. We’ll see.

When Size does matter – The PM needs to put flesh on his population policy before the issue explodes.

That 35 million-plus number has hung out there in the interim without much supporting architecture, mobilising people who are not instinctively culture warriors on immigration, or zero-population-growth environmentalists; people who struggle to maintain quality of life in Australian cities, where infrastructure is already straining to meet the needs of the existing population. People who would recoil from the idea of such an increase. Sensible people who vote.

This is an interesting article on the intersection between Climate change and Peak Oil. Venezuala, one of the major exporters of Crude oil to the US may be struggling to meet it’s production targets because of drought.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Countdown at the Guri

Now, if you are wondering why a falling water level in the Venezuelan highlands should be if interest to Americans, the answer is easy. Despite years of political tensions between the Chavez government and Washington, the U.S. is still importing some 800,000 barrels a day of crude from Venezuela. Should these imports go away, it is likely to come suddenly – shipping oil from Venezuela to Louisiana only takes two days — we are going to see an instantaneous jump in gasoline prices. Given that the U.S. is at the top of President Chavez’s least favorite countries list, it does not take much imagination to figure out who would be shut off first if exports have to be curtailed.

Links – Week 13, 2010

This week I received in the mail, a signed copy of Dmitry Orlov’s limited edition book of essays, Hold Your Applause. Dmitry is one of my favourite authors, so I was very keen to snap up a copy of some of his famous essays. This week I’d like to feature some of my favourite blogs from prominant authors in the Peak Oil movement.

Dmitry Orlov – ClubOrlov – Author of Reinventing Collapse

James Howard Kunstler – Clusterf*&# Nation – Author of The Long Emergency

Sharon Astyk – Casaubon’s Book – Author of Independence Days 

John Michael Greer – The Archdruid Report – Author of The Long Descent

Michael C. Ruppert – From the Wilderness – Author of Confronting Collapse


Quacks like a duck…

According to an article in Le Monde on March 25, the US Department of Energy “admits that ‘a chance exists that we may experience a decline‘ of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 ‘if the investment is not there.'” […]

The Le Monde article goes on: “The DoE dismisses the ‘peak oil’ theory, which assumes that world crude oil production should irreversibly decrease in a nearby future, in want of sufficient fresh oil reserves yet to be exploited. The Obama administration supports the alternative hypothesis of an ‘undulating plateau.’ Lauren Mayne, responsible for liquid fuel prospects at the DoE, explains : ‘Once maximum world oil production is reached, that level will be approximately maintained for several years thereafter, creating an undulating plateau. After this plateau period, production will experience a decline.‘”

In other words, we don’t believe that world oil production will soon reach a maximum and begin to decline (the “peak oil theory”); instead, we believe that world oil production will reach a maximum, stay there for a few years, and then decline. That decline could commence as soon as next year.

As Richard Heinberg says, what’s the difference? This article is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I think this is the first time the US Department of Energy has even confirmed that production will decline (even though it was in a French paper, not American). Secondly, is this how they are covering their a*%^ for denying Peak Oil for so many years? On one hand frustrating, but the fact that it is now in print has to be a good first step, doesn’t it?


The Depression Now Known as “The Great Correction”

In our way of looking at things…we are still in a prolonged bounce following the big drop of ’08-’09. Stocks have yet to realize that the economy is in a depression. Yes, we know it doesn’t seem much like a depression. Even we have stopped using the term…

Now we’re calling it “The Great Correction”…in which we’re expecting a number of things to get sorted out – including the stock market boom from ’82-’07…the post-’71 dollar-backed monetary system…and the huge credit expansion that goes all the way back to 1946.

But that’s not all. It could be that this period will correct the whole, extraordinary surge in Anglo-Saxon power that began in the 17th century. English speakers have been on a roll since Sir Francis Drake defeated the combined armada of Spain and France in 1588. Soon after England began putting together her empire…and then, the industrial revolution turned Britain and America into economic powerhouses.

In addition to reducing asset prices and de-leveraging the economy, The Great Correction could be reducing the relative power and influence of the English speaking peoples. We don’t know…but that’s the way it looks now…

10 Signs of Speculative Mania in China

In the aftermath of the credit crunch, the outlook for most developed economies appears pretty bleak. Households need to deleverage. Western governments will have to tighten their purse strings. Faced with such grim prospects at home, many investors are turning their attention toward China. It’s easy to see why they are excited. China combines size – 1.3 billion inhabitants – with tremendous growth prospects. Current income per capita is roughly one-tenth of U.S. levels. The People’s Republic also has a great track record. Over the past thirty years, China’s Gross Domestic Product has increased sixteen-fold.

So what’s the catch? The trouble is that China today exhibits many of the characteristics of great speculative manias. The aim of this paper is to describe the common features of some of the great historical bubbles and outline China’s current vulnerability.

If there was ever proof that China’s productive boom is the largest off-shoot of the global credit bubble, it’s this article below. Of course that makes the demand for Australian resources itself – this great commodity boom since 1999 – a derivative of the credit bubble too. Hmmn.

Shanghai Thames Town: A little piece of England in China

Tucked away near the last stop of Line 9, the satellite settlement of Thames Town opened in 2006 as part of Shanghai’s One City, Nine Towns program, with low-rise apartments and gated complexes designed to house 10,000 residents. Despite an intensive marketing effort (including a beauty pageant), the community failed to take off, and what’s left is a ghost town — and an ideal place for a quiet afternoon stroll.