Resiience, 25 December 2014
By the time many of my readers get to this week’s essay here on The Archdruid Report, it will be Christmas Day. Here in America, that means that we’re finally most of the way through one of the year’s gaudiest orgies of pure vulgar greed, the holiday shopping season, which strikes me as rather an odd way to celebrate the birth of someone whose teachings so resolutely critiqued the mindless pursuit of material goodies. If, as that same person pointed out, it’s impossible to serve both God and Mammon, the demon of wealth, it’s pretty clear which of those two personages most Americans—including no small number who claim to be Christians—really consider the reason for the season.
The Conversation, 19 December 2014
Ex-NSW Premier Nick Greiner has proposed that land value embedded in public housing estates be recycled to generate new social housing – by redeveloping the estates into higher density living. Greiner claims by using uplift in land values it won’t cost the government a cent. A similar argument was made recently at the UrbanGrowth NSW Summit on Sydney’s Bays Precinct renewal project.
Energy Trends Insiders, 12 December 2014
Finally, I will make predictions for 2015, while providing appropriate context for the predictions. I find the context is more important than the predictions themselves. I can make a prediction on the direction of oil prices, but if you understand the factors likely to drive the price in 2015, you can adjust your expectations accordingly as conditions change.
But this week I would like to post a new interview that I did with Jason Burack of Wall Street for Main Street. I have been asked many times in recent weeks for comments on what’s happening in the oil and gas markets. Here I lay things out as I see them in a wide-ranging 40 minute interview: http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2014/12/12/reading-the-tea-leaves-in-the-oil-markets/#more-17380
Resilience, 18 December 2014
What do the plummeting oil prices tell us not only about our near term economic future in Canada, but the political fragility of the world's petro states? If Canada fully joins the petro state club, as our prime minister and his party desire, is oil's volatility just the cost of doing business, or a threat to our nation's well-being?
Quartz, 11 December 2014
The pilots of Instagram are internet famous. Their stunning photos of the skies, captured from their unusual perspective inside the cockpit, garner hundreds, sometimes thousands of likes from fans. But taking photos, or using most any electronic device, while piloting a commercial aircraft is prohibited by American and European regulators. Pilots for airlines large and small, flying planes of all sizes, seem to be violating the safety rules, taking photos with their phones as well as GoPro cameras mounted inside the cockpit. Some also appear to be flouting even stricter regulations for takeoff and landing, when not even idle conversation is allowed in the cockpit.
Huffington Post, 17 December 2014
Tesla’s stock price fell below $200 on Tuesday, continuing a slide many have chalked up to the plunging price of oil. But cheap gasoline is just one of many problems plaguing the electric-car maker. Weak sales, longer delays of its next model rollout and a predictable correction of its stock price after months of seemingly limitless ascension are to also to blame. Tesla stock was a Wall Street darling earlier this year, reaching a record $284.89 in September.
T&L News, 11 December 2014
No, it’s not April’s fool day… Boeing and South African Airways are looking forward to the first harvest of energy-rich tobacco to make sustainable aviation biofuel. The pioneering project supports South Africa’s rural economy, environment, and public health: South African farmers will soon harvest their first crop of energy-rich tobacco plants, an important step towards using the plants to make sustainable aviation biofuel.
Sydney Morning Herald, 10 December 2014
Airbus Group, which has failed to find a new airline buyer for its A380 superjumbo this year, is at a crossroads that leaves it with two directions: spend heavily to improve the plane – or let it go. This year is shaping up to be the first since the doubledecker entered service without a new airline customer. Its only buyer was a leasing company that has yet to line up a single carrier to take any of the 20 planes it ordered. The backlog remains as thin as it is fragile, highlighted by the cancellation of six jets ordered by Japan's Skymark Airlines, with two close to handover.
Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 2014
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi on Wednesday shrugged off suggestions that the world's biggest crude exporter might cut production to reverse the deepest price slump in years, saying the kingdom's output had remained steady through last month. Naimi's comments on the sidelines of an annual UN climate change conference in Lima, Peru, stuck to the message he laid out at OPEC's meeting two weeks ago: The market would be left to balance itself without the kingdom's intervention. That stance was seen as a shift from longstanding Saudi policy to act as a swing supplier.