Tony Blair, the former UK prime minister, argues in an interview with the FT (transcript below) that now is the time to kick-start investments in a green economy. The stimulus packages being rolled out around the world should focus on green measures, he says, if we are to avoid an unsustainably high-carbon future.
When in office, Tony Blair did much to raise climate change higher on the political agenda. In 2005, he made the topic the focus of the UK’s presidency of the European Union, and of the G8 summit, which the UK hosted. From that G8 summit came a new forum for international climate change discussions, the Gleneagles Dialogue. He used his relationship with George W Bush to try to persuade the US president to take a more conciliatory approach on climate change, especially with regard to carrying on negotiations on climate change under the auspices of the United Nations.
Cambridge Energy Research Associates has put out an interesting set of forecasts for oil supply over the next five years, which received a fair amount of press coverage.
What the reports do not explore very closely, however, is the extent to which CERA is still at the optimistic end of the range of forecasts.
Earth Hour, the global switch-off at 8.30 on Saturday night to raise awareness of climate change, was aiming to get 1bn people to join in this year. It is not clear yet how many took part, but there is some good video available from events in several cities in Europe and Oceania. It is noticeable, though, that the famous landmarks being switched off, the Eiffel Tower and so on, are generally clearly visible in silhouette against the blaze of lights still burning around them. (Except in New Zealand, where it looks as though they were really going for it, with lots of candles and acoustic guitars.)
No footage from China, so far, which rehearsed last week, but decided to soft-pedal the event because of the clash with its new “Serfs’ Emancipation Day” holiday.
Sheila McNulty writes from Houston:
The small companies that drive the bulk of US natural gas production are going to Washington DC next week to lobby against tax increases for the oil and gas industry proposed by the Obama Administration.
Commerzbank highlights the estimates from Oil Movements, the information service, that Opec shipments are dropping by 770,000 barrels per day in the four weeks to April 11 compared to the previous four weeks. If accurate, that would confirm that Opec members are sticking by their commitment from Vienna on March 15 to cut their over-production above their agreed limits, which was then about 800,000 b/d.
The news sent crude prices to a 4-month high of $54.60 a barrel on Thursday.
The FT is the subject of the sincerest form of flattery today, in the shape of a 12-page spoof and accompanying website from environmental campaigners, linked to protests around the London G20 meeting next week.
It is a mix of jokes and arguments, of varying quality, but the production is superb. Thay have reproduced the look of the FT very impressively.
The best bit: the leader column, which writes
Frankly, the Financial Times is more honest than most, both about its bias and the state of the world. Investors tend to want their news less filtered, even if they still like it framed to serve their interests.
Perhaps we should use that in our advertising.
Energy news from elsewhere:
- Vote for IAEA chief is deadlocked (WSJ)
- Investment cuts open door to jump in oil price (WSJ)
- Opec could cut oil output at next meeting, says Venezuela minister (Reuters)
- US gasoline prices top $2 a gallon for first time in 4 months (Bloomberg)
- Afren’s Ebok block in Nigeria is ‘transformational,’ says chief Shahenshah (Bloomberg)
Energy news from the FT:
- Rio Tinto reveals its ‘Plan B’ on funding
Alternative ready if Chinalco’s $19.5bn investment blocked
- London Metal Exchange breaks mould with dividend plan
Proposal faces opposition at AGM
- Tax losses to sweeten Premier’s purchase
Net cost for buying Oilexco’s North Sea operations may be $100m
HSBC has an interesting research note out today on gas to liquid and coal to liquid fuels, lumping them together under the branding of “clean diesel”. (Which is accurate so long as you don’t worry about the horrendous CO2 emissions from CTL. GTL is actually a little better than conventional crude refining.)
The argument is that, although the immediate outlook is not so great, longer-term the “XTL” (where X=gas, coal or biomass) have a great future