Daily Archives: April 16, 2010

Kate Mackenzie

Having overtaken the US as the world’s biggest CO2 emitter in 2006, last year China also became the world’s leading investor in renewables. Much of the future of climate change depends on the relative gradients of these two growth patterns: if renewables investments ramp up fast enough and carbon-neutral technologies become viable on a mass scale, there is a good chance of flattening and eventually reversing the upwards curb of China’s greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the scale of that challenge is immense. Even if Beijing succeeds in meeting its Copenhagen target to reduce emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 per cent from 2005 to 2020, carbon usage is still going to be dragged up by economic growth that is currently running at 11.9 per cent a year.

More importantly, as US president Barack Obama acknowledged in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this week, “we can’t, we can’t allow China to wait” before taking action:

Sheila McNulty

Chevron has come to the FT to explain that Chevron’s apparent generousity toward its chief executive, Dave O’Reilly, while Exxon was cutting back the pay package of its chief executive, Rex Tillerson, last year, was not as clear cut as it seems. At a time when Big Oil was seeing big drops in earnings amid the economic downturn and falling commodity prices, it did look as if Chevron was being particularly nice.

The pay package of Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, the US’s biggest oil producer, fell 16 per cent in 2009. For 2009, Tillerson’s total pay, including salary, bonus and stock, was $27.2m, according to Exxon’s proxy filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2008, his total pay had been $32.2m.

Yet O’Reilly, Chevron’s chairman and chief executive, received a total pay package of $15.2m in 2009, up 10 per cent from 2008. In 2009, O’Reilly’s salary increased almost 9 per cent to $1.79m, and stock and option awards totalled $9.9m, which was up from $8.65m in the year-earlier period.

Chevron however notes some of the numbers look better than they really were because O’Reilly retired at the end of the year.

Kate Mackenzie

Economist and ur-blogger Brad DeLong has published his thoughts on what should be done after the rather weak outcome of the Copenhagen meeting, and the general despondency about this year’s international climate talks.

He writes:

So what do we do now? I think we should do four things:

  • Pour money like water into research into closed-carbon and non-carbon energy technologies in order to maximize the chance that we will get lucky—on energy technologies at least, if not on climate sensitivity.
  • Beg the rulers of China and India to properly understand their long-term interests
  • Nationalize the energy industry in the United States.
  • Restrict future climate negotiations to a group of seven—the U.S., the E.U., Japan, China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil—and enforce their agreement by substantial and painful trade sanctions on countries that do not accept their place in the resulting negotiated system.

You can read more about the thinking behind each point on his blog — he’s also provided a PDF and a recording of his presentation to the 2010 Peder Sather Symposium on the subject.

Kate Mackenzie

Oil is very much a geopolitical story, and markets keenly follow the developments on movements to impose  sanctions on Iran, one of the world’s biggest oil exporters.

Despite the slow progress of efforts to impose sanctions, more and more companies are ceasing to export gasoline to Iran, which is a net importer of refined products – and this is looking like a key bullish argument for oil prices of late. On Thursday Petronas, Malaysia’s national oil company, said it has stopped exporting products to Iran, and Platts this week pointed out that this has become something of an unofficial embargo of late:

“…the scorecard now lists Lukoil’s Litasco, Shell, Vitol, Trafigura, Reliance Industries and Glencore as companies that stopped selling gasoline to Tehran”.

There are a few reasons for the increasing number of companies pulling back on selling products into Iran, despite a lack so far of actual sanctions, according to JBC Energy:

Apart from political pressure, rising financing and insurance risks are the main driving factors behind this development.

With Iran’s rising demand for oil products, it would seem vulnerable to these sorts of actions. The latest IEA monthly oil market report noted that Iran was one of the six countries that would account for three-quarters of all oil demand growth in 2010 (the other five are China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil, and India).

Platts notes, however, there are no reports of gasoline shortages in the country – and postulates that intermediaries may be filling the gap.

Kate Mackenzie

- The Singapore dollar revaluation and Asia’s oil demand growth

- Pentagon objections hold up Oregon wind farm

- After Copenhagen, what can be done?

- Oil shocks and optimal monetary policy

- What Russia wants in the Arctic

- Wind farms, raising land temperatures

- Appeals by mines delayed safety sanctions

- Exxon’s oozing oil pits haunt Texas residents as XTO deal nears

- Solar power‘s growing pains

Kate Mackenzie

BP plans to press ahead on Canada oil sands - FT

China to fight ‘world war’ scale climate destruction – Bloomberg

Senate climate bill roll-out set for April 26 - The Hill

Point Carbon estimates Senate bill carbon price at $31 - The Hill

Petrobras, Sinopec aim for upstream cooperation - Argus

BP pledges not to use open pit mining at Canadian oil sands site - Guardian

Peabody raises bid for Macarthur coal - FT

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