Energy Source will be taking a break for the next few days, and returning with more energy news and analysis on January 4. If you haven’t already, you can sign up for our daily email (free registration required) to be reminded when we’re back on air.
Thanks to all who’ve read, commented and emailed us during our first year. It’s been fun.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest energy issues from 2009, and the ideas that will be tested in 2010. You can add suggestions of anything that should be on the list, either via the comments or by emailing us.
1. What role will China’s consumption, foreign acquisitions, inventories, and domestic production play in the energy future?
2. Is the $70 crude price floor here to stay?
3. Did oil prices help cause the recession – and might they threaten the recovery?
4. When will oil inventories draw down?
There are easily more than 100 ‘big questions’ for climate change and clean technology in 2010, but here’s a few, based on some of this year’s big themes:
1. Will a binding post-Copenhagen agreement ever be struck – and between whom?
2. How will low-carbon investment fare in the fallout from Copenhagen?
3. How will carbon offset projects fare after Copenhagen?
4. How quickly and effectively will the ‘quick start’ financing promised to developing countries be deployed?
“Nopenhagen, fiascopenhagen, slowpenhagen, COP out, flop COP, bad COP, the great disappointment” – a few labels thrown around by one market analyst over the conclusion of the Copenhagen climate change conference.
In fact, few seem happy with the outcome, apart from China and India. Now the recriminations have begun in earnest, and though the US and Barack Obama were initially criticised, much of the blame since has focused on China. China has hit back at the criticism, particularly at comments by UK environment minister Ed Miliband, saying it is another example of developed countries shirking their own obligations (though the UK incidentally has set rather stringent targets).
But the attacks on China are continuing. Mark Lynas, an environmental activist and author who advises the Maldives government on climate change, wrote a blistering account of some of the final hours of Copenhagen in today’s Guardian, accusing China of wrecking the deal. In it, he describes horrified reactions from Angela Merkel and Kevin Rudd as China vetoed emissions commitments – even from developed countries, which were widely believed to have agreed to an 80 per cent reduction by 2050.
Opec slide viewed by journalists in Luanda (Javier Blas/FT)
The Opec oil cartel has repeated it through the year: as a contribution to the global economy recovery, it was supporting moderate oil prices.
Saudi Arabia put numbers on the cartel’s words, describing the $70-$80 a barrel range as “excellent”.
For sure, Opec’s aim of $70-$80 a barrel – the group avoid talking about a target – has helped the global economy, particularly of poor oil importing countries.
But there are signs that the oil cartel is not as altruistic at it appears at first glance. Opec appears to be as concerned about the global economy as to drive consumers away from oil.