Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Michael Klare writes about the future direction of the oil industry - which looks to involve cashing out quickly than building anything lasting:
At the beginning of this century, many energy analysts were convinced that we were at the edge of the arrival of “peak oil”; a peak, that is, in the output of petroleum in which planetary reserves would be exhausted long before the demand for oil disappeared, triggering a global economic crisis. As a result of advances in drilling technology, however, the supply of oil has continued to grow, while demand has unexpectedly begun to stall.  This can be traced both to slowing economic growth globally and to an accelerating “green revolution” in which the planet will be transitioning to non-carbon fuel sources. With most nations now committed to measures aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases under the just-signed Paris climate accord, the demand for oil is likely to experience significant declines in the years ahead. In other words, global oil demand will peak long before supplies begin to run low, creating a monumental challenge for the oil-producing countries.

This is no theoretical construct.  It’s reality itself.  Net consumption of oil in the advanced industrialized nations has already dropped from 50 million barrels per day in 2005 to 45 million barrels in 2014. Further declines are in store as strict fuel efficiency standards for the production of new vehicles and other climate-related measures take effect, the price of solar and wind power continues to fall, and other alternative energy sources come on line. While the demand for oil does continue to rise in the developing world, even there it’s not climbing at rates previously taken for granted. With such countries also beginning to impose tougher constraints on carbon emissions, global consumption is expected to reach a peak and begin an inexorable decline.According to experts Thijs Van de Graaf and Aviel Verbruggen, overall world peak demand could be reached as early as 2020.

In such a world, high-cost oil producers will be driven out of the market and the advantage — such as it is — will lie with the lowest-cost ones. Countries that depend on petroleum exports for a large share of their revenues will come under increasing pressure to move away from excessive reliance on oil.
- Meanwhile, Murray Dobbin discusses how the Libs are helping Saudi Arabia to continue and expand its human rights abuses. The CP notes that they're also following in the Cons' footsteps in limiting workers' ability to refuse unsafe work. And Alison calls attention to the farce that is the Libs' excuse for public consultation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

- Patrick Cain reports on the plummeting number of tax evasion prosecutions in Canada. (And it's worth noting that the starting point hardly represented an obvious deterrent to begin with.)

- Brian Hutchinson points out the odour of corruption emanating from Christy Clark's donor-funded income. And Sarah Mills highlights Brad Wall's similar payments for service.

- Finally, David Walters offers a look at the options and choices facing families at several points on the income spectrum - though it's worth pointing out that the people included in article skew far higher than the U.S.' actual income distribution.

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