So far, progress towards the Copenhagen meeting in December to determine the successor to the Kyoto protocol has been mixed at best. China is holding out for concessions the developed world is highly unlikely to grant, the US climate bill has been heavily criticised, as has Japan’s recent commitments, while Australia’s emissions-trading proposals languish.
The G8 commitment yesterday to an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 sounds quite encouraging, until you get to the baseline vagueness.
But hold on a moment. Perhaps things aren’t so bad?
With Ed Crooks
Ghana has long seen itself as a torchbearer for African aspirations, as it has been relatively stable and democratic in recent decades compared to some of its fellow West African states.
Will the country’s recently-discovered oil wealth change that?
The offshore Jubilee field is thought to house as much as 1.2bn barrels of oil, and some of the small oil companies with holdings there have sparked quite a bit of interest.
Yet Ghana’s newfound hydrocarbon riches inevitably prompt comparisons with Nigeria, another Anglophone country just a few hours drive away by bush taxi, and US President Barack Obama on his first state visit to Africa at the weekend will warn Ghana against falling prey to the curse plaguing almost every oil-rich country.
On Energy Source:
G8 agrees stiff emissions targets – but will the rest of the world?
Petrodollars: Enduring and influential
Markets: Oil rebounds after concern for commodities markets
Shell, the world’s biggest company (with various qualifications)
Opec’s demand forecasts
What age will the G8 be in 2050?
UK offshore drilling down while Norwegian is up (OilVoice)
Pickens’ wind farm: It’s a delay, not a cancellation (Power Lines/Platts)
The Cello cellulose biofuel scandal (TNR)
July 2009 peak oil update from The Oil Drum
China promotes nuclear power (Copenhagen 2009)
There are still risks in Brazil’s pre-salt play (Platts)
Is anyone ready for $20/gallon gas? (NewsWeek)
The social elements of China’s rapid growth in car ownership (China Environmental Law)
How important is the revenue from oil-producing countries in the worldwide economy? They may not be as big a force in world investment flows as pension funds, but petrodollars are one of the four most influential sources of investment according to a new McKinsey Global Institute study. And they’re increasingly investing that money in foreign real estate and commodities – particularly in Africa and Asia.
The really big investment powers are still pension funds, mutual funds and insurance companies. But their combined assets fell by a fifth from 2007 to 2008, from $75,500bn to $60,000bn. Meanwhile the four groups identified by McKinsey – petrodollars, hedge funds, private equity and Asian governments – only fell slightly from $12,300bn to $12,100bn in that period.
Commodity markets staged a partial recovery on Thursday with crude oil prices rebounding by more than $1 a barrel while base metals made modest gains, helped by weakness in the US dollar.
On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund revised its global economic growth forecast for 2010 higher, up from 1.9 per cent to 2.5 per cent, but warned that recovery was likely to be weak.
Noting that financial conditions had improved, the IMF also cautioned that vulnerabilities remained and said “more work” was needed to fix banks and markets.
Shell has overtaken Wal-Mart to top Fortune’s Global 500 list. A look at the last five years of winners goes like this: Wal-Mart, Exxon, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart, Shell – but it’s basically a field dominated by energy.
The rankings are based on revenues, hence General Motors’ appearance at #18. Cutting the numbers any other way shows a different story: by market cap for example, Exxon jostles with PetroChina. And by proven reserves Exxon is the undisputed winner, at least among listed companies.
Anyway, back to this list: Wal-Mart might be at the top, but it’s energy that dominates the field, with six of the top 10 being oil & gas majors.
Looking back five years shows how oil companies have fared relative to auto industry. In 2005, auto companies and energy companies both accounted for four places in the top 10, but in 2006 energy companies accounted for half of that number, and by 2007 just two auto companies made the cut.
The wild gyrations of oil prices in the past year haven’t much harmed the earning power of the oil majors, at least relative to their peers in other industries. Their feted technical knowledge and capital investment has ensured they have a place, even as the national oil companies grow stronger, and this means they can still benefit as developing economies become the focus of energy demand growth. For big US car companies, however, all the demand in China isn’t enough.
Cuts of 80 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050: it sounds like a lot, and it is. This was the target agreed by the G8 on Wednesday.
They also resolved to try to hold global temperature rises to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, which scientists regard as the limit of safety – the first time such a target has been formally adopted in a leading international forum.
The 80 per cent cuts will only apply to developed countries but the G8 wants the rest of the world to rally round and provide the extra cuts needed to ensure that global emissions fall by half by 2050.
That, at least, was the plan. But the major emerging economies aren’t playing along.
G8 agrees cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
Gordon Brown hailed the deal as ‘historic’ (FT)
Editorial: G8 must galvanise talks on warming
A consensus is needed between the rich and poor for a new deal (FT)
GdF and Eon fined €1.1bn
Penalty for colluding in a carve-up of their domestic markets (FT)
Green groups sue US agencies over Western transmission corridors
They want to shift the corridors to link renewable zones (Platts)
Obama presidency improves climate pact chances, IPCC chief says
Pachauri said an accord could be reached in Copenhagen (Bloomberg)
NRG rejects sweetened bid from Exelon
Rival turned down offer worth $7bn (FT)
Tullow decides on more west African drilling
Move to explore one of the world’s most promising oil rich regions (FT)
Opec predicts slow oil demand recovery
It will take 5 years to return to pre-financial crisis levels (FT)
Russians raid Sibir Energy subsidiary
Pressure rose on Chalva Tchigirinsky, its main shareholder (FT)
CFTC prepares crackdown on speculators
New trading curbs are being examined by US regulators (FT)
UK oil industry calls for North Sea tax cuts
Demand to slowdown decline of Britain’s oil and gas output (FT)