Peak Oil Portfolio Update  

Posted by Big Gav

Once again, more than six months have passed since I last updated the peak oil portfolio, so I figure its time to have a look and see how its been going.

The same disclaimers as last time applies - this isn't investment advice, I'm not a financial adviser and never ever invest based on the rantings of strangers on the internet, particularly pseudonymous ones that pretend to be carnivorous reptiles.

Bearing in mind that over this period, the oil price has risen from around US$63 to US$73 (positive for this portfolio), while the A$ has risen from 79 cents to 88 cents (negative) and the ASX has risen from 5410 to 6340 (positive), here's how things are looking:

Oil Search (OSH)2520$3.98$10,030
Woodside (WPL)280$44.90$12,570
BHP (BHP)445$38.05$16,930
Alinta (AAN)865$15.07$13,030
Origin (ORG)1355$9.56$12,950
Worley Parsons (WOR)965$35.40$34,160
Centennial Coal (CEY)1980$3.44$6,810
ROC Oil (ROC)3570$3.56$12,710
GRD (GRD)1755$2.90$5,090
TAP Oil (TAP)1690$1.97$3,330
Paladin (PDN)2200$8.01$17,620
Solco (SOO)16,665$0.115$1,910
Aust Renewable Fuels (ARW)3185$0.36$1,160
Karoon (KAR)2560$2.42$6,190
Compass Resources (CMR)3155$5.50$17,350
Downer EDI (DOW)820$7.36$6,030
Wind Hydrogen (TBD)25,000$0.20$5,000
since last+25.0%
since start+41.0%

By way of comparison:
WTI$63 (approx)$7316.0%
WTI (adjusted to A$)$80 (approx)$834.00%
ASX 2005100541017.0%

I'm making one new addition to the portfolio, buying $5000 of new entrant Wind Hydrogen as it sounds interesting, generating hydrogen as a form of energy storage attached to a wind farm - the sort of thing we will see a lot of in future when we eventually transition to an entirely clean energy economy (my few alternative energy investments thus far have been dismal, especially compared to the oil services and uranium companies, however I'd rather this portfolio wasn't comprised entirely of ethically challenged industry sectors - at some point I'll do a completely clean tech version of the portfolio, but I'm not in a hurry).

The portfolio has done pretty well lately (if I could get a 25% return - not including dividends - on my money every 7 months I'd be pretty happy), though in the current financial environment even a complete idiot would make a hefty profit (note: in reality I'm actually stupider than a complete idiot as I have precisely nothing invested in the market). Still - an 8% outperformance over the index is pleasing, especially with the oil price only rising slightly in local currency terms.

On the other hand, the guys at The Daily Reckoning has been going on about a "crack up boom" (a whole lot of other peak oil / resources investment talks at that link) for a long, long time now, so this could of course just be an example of hedging against the debasement of fiat currency rather than any growth in real value. Other groups seeking to profit from the peak continue to pop up in my Google alerts fairly regularly too,

On a semi-related note (to the "crack up boom" theory), Crikey had a good article on a "tale of two economies", noting how the headline economic figures aren't being reflected in the hip pocket of the average punter, who is just seeing rapidly rising food and energy prices (and possibly further rises in interest rates - didn't the Rodent promise to keep rates low before the last election ?).
Tale one: The big picture

* Since 1996, the Australian economy has grown 3.5% on average per annum. Growth is expected to comfortably exceed 4% this year.
* Australia is experiencing near full employment. Only 4.3% of the workforce is jobless, with many wondering how future job vacancies are going to be filled.
* At 2.4%, the inflation rate is well under control. The Treasurer soberly characterised this as “consistent” with the Federal Government’s targets.
* Interest rates remain low -- 6.25% -- with yesterday’s job figures lowering the chances of another rate rise before this year’s federal election.
* The resource boom continues to drive employment, fill government coffers and supply handsome returns to investors.
* Despite concerns about the household budget, The Australian reports that "Consumer sentiment remains relatively strong, buoyed by a raft of solid economic fundamentals including a stable interest rates environment and falling petrol prices...".
* The Australian sharemarket continues climbing north. The All Ords has risen 1400 points in 12 months (from 4,943.80 on 13 July 2006 to 6,400.10 on 9 July 2007). The S&P 200 has followed suit, climbing from 4,966.10 a year ago to 6,363.40 on 9 July 2007.

Tale two: You and me

* Under-employed part time workers: 483,900
* The most recent national data (March quarter 2007) shows that the average housing mortgage repayment to household income (for first home buyers) ratio is 30.7%.
* More than a million households -- or 16.3% of all Australian households -- are now over the rental or mortgage “stress” threshold, which is defined as spending 30% or more on housing costs. In 2001, the figure was 11.6%. (Incidentally, the Coalition holds six marginal seats with more than 16.3% of households experiencing household stress, and another seven marginal seats with more than 13% of households experiencing housing stress.)
* The most recent data (March quarter 2007) shows that the total household debt to disposable income ratio was 158.7% nationally in seasonally adjusted terms. It has risen 117.4% since March 1997.
* Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that in the 10 years to March 2007, average full-time wages rose 47%. Over the same period:
o food prices rose 41.3%
o petrol prices rose 61.3%

* The Courier Mail reported yesterday: “Wages have increased 13.8% in the past three years, but have been left behind by soaring supermarket bills, which skyrocketed by a massive 28%.”

* According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
o Interest payments now soak up more than 11% of all household income, about 2 percentage points more than in 1989 when mortgage interest rates were 17%.
o Those in financial difficulty can apply to withdraw cash from their super account if they are in acute financial need. The amount released for this purpose jumped from $70 million in 2005 to $135 million last year.

* According to the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia:
o Total personal insolvency activity (31,964) increased by 16.9% in the 2006-07 year.
o 6,572 new bankruptcies in the June 2007 quarter, an increase of 15.2% against the June 2006 quarter (5,705). Overall, new bankruptcies increased by 13.2% during 2006-07.

On a local peak oil note, Energy Bulletin recently had an article on "Peak Oil Down Under" by Dave Cohen from ASPO-USA.
Australia serves as a microcosm of a world entering the peak oil era.1 It can be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that Aussie oil production has peaked. As their oil companies struggle to offset production losses as demand grows, Australians must face up to the stark choices these circumstances present. One road, taken by the United States long ago, creates dangerous, ever-growing dependencies on imported oil to fill the supply and demand gap. The other road, leading to energy independence and security, spawns alternatives that allow Australia to move beyond oil. Will the Land Down Under seize the opportunity they now have to make the right choice?

Official forecasts of Australia's future oil (= crude oil plus condensate) and gas resources and production (OGRA) are made by Geoscience Australia (GA), which is similar in function to the America's USGS. Their latest comprehensive report was issued in 2004. Figure 1 (click the graphic left to enlarge it and keep the page open) shows historical production along with GA's 10%, 50% and 90% probability cases for estimated oil production out to 2025, where "a production estimate at the X% probability (= PX%) level means that there is a X% chance of production being at least as high as the figure shown."

Figure 1 establishes the central fact about Australia's oil production: it has peaked according to the most probable future production scenarios. Only the 10% probability case shows a higher production level, so it necessary to assess how Geoscience Australia's forecast has fared since 2004 and take a look at projects coming on-stream to demonstrate that Australia is definitely past peak — and just in case John Howard's shortsighted government harbors some residual hope (APPEA) that the problem will just magically disappear.

Figure 2 gives the production trend (using EIA supply data) since the beginning of 2001 through March of 2007, along with a rough comparison with the GA's high, middle and low cases. Oil production has mostly followed, but is a little below, the P90% (low production) case. This is not good news for Australia.

The offshore Exmouth sub-basin of the Carnarvon Basin (Figure 3) off the northwest Australian coast is where the action is for new oil projects. Australia's production jumped from a low of 370 thousand b/d in June, 2006, to a highpoint of 510 thousand b/d in October. The increase was mostly due to the Enfield development coming on-stream in July, 2006. Enfield, which is operated by Woodside and Mitsui, was built with a production capacity of 100 thousand b/d using 5 producing wells along with 8 water and gas injection wells, all connected to a floating storage and offloading platform (FPSO). Figure 4 gives Enfield's production profile since then, indicating that production reached 74 thousand b/d in the early fall, a level which supported the October rise.

From November on, including an anomalous jump in February, 2007, Australian production has averaged only 469 thousand b/d. Part of the problem has been at Enfield, where "ENA-03, one of the major production wells, was shut-in due to unexpected sand production and early water breakthrough" in October. Woodside's guidance indicates that 2007 production is expected to average only 45 to 55 thousand b/d. It is doubtful whether Enfield will ever produce at or near capacity. ...

Australian energy expert Graeme Bethune's best estimate for 2010 is 600+ thousand b/d, some 100 thousand barrels below the peak year 2000. This forecast accords with Geoscience Australia's P50 case, but production at this level is now pushed out a few years into the future. The capacities of all the fields mentioned here add up to 321 thousand b/d, counting Vincent as 70 thousand and taking the problems at Enfield into account. Added to the latest March, 2007 figure of 466 thousand b/d, the tally would be 787 thousand b/d, exceeding Australia's year 2000 highpoint. How can this be?

Production uncertainties in the offshore fields of northwestern Australia are accompanied by steady declines in all their other major oil basins, as shown in Figure 5. Only the Exmouth sub-basin production has seen erratic growth since 1985, with the exception of a short-lived production spike from the Timor Sea in the 2000 - 2001 period. Both Timor and Carnarvan production have fallen off recently, but only the latter is capable of picking up the slack out to around 2010. Whether production will actually meet EnerygQuest analyst Graeme Bethune's expectation of 600+ thousand barrels a day at the end of this decade is anybody's guess.

Now that it has been established that peak oil Down Under has almost certainly come and gone, and that near term production increases may be disappointing, it is appropriate to ask what Australia is doing about it. Prime Minister John Howard's government is doing next to nothing, according to Bruce Robinson and Phil Hart of ASPO-Australia. The graph (left, click to enlarge) adds a projected oil demand line from Geoscience Australia to their P50 estimate. As consumption increases and production decreases steadily after the 2010 secondary peak, Australia must close the gap by importing more and more oil. ...

Unlike America, which has been traveling down the dangerous foreign oil dependency road for decades, Australia has a chance to fix the problem now. Is Australia's current inaction due to the fact that their oil production will increase a bit in the short term? Do Aussie policy-makers believe that oil imports will always be easily available at reasonable prices? Such myopic visions of the future ignore the global warning signs that peak oil is near. Rather than slip into a perilous import dependency, Australia can take the initiative toward energy independence that would guarantee their economic well-being for a long time to come.

Moving on to local energy news, Santos (a notable omission from the portfolio above) is making some interesting moves trying to push up local gas prices by threatening to build an LNG plant to ship out east coast coal seam methane production. Maybe my skepticism about us running out of gas within 30 years as some predict is misplaced - we not only missed out on piping in PNG's gas but we're also going to ship our own gas offshore. However I remain hopeful that the tech industry will eat the fossil fuel industry within a decade or so...
SANTOS and Arrow Energy have stepped up plans to build separate liquefied natural gas export plants in Queensland in a bid to help link eastern Australia's cheap gas prices to the international oil price. Santos yesterday revealed surprise plans to build a $5 billion to $7 billion LNG plant in Gladstone which would be based on its coal-seam methane resources. The 170 to 220-petajoule-a-year project, construction of which is set to be completed in 2014, would export around the same amount of gas as the failed Papua New Guinea pipeline project was supposed to bring into the east coast market.

Meanwhile, coal seam methane (CSM) producer Arrow Energy entered a trading halt to raise $125 million from institutions in part to help fund studies into a rival 55PJ-a-year LNG plant in Gladstone that would start production in 2010. Arrow chief executive Nick Davies said the announcement of Santos's larger project validated the use of CSM for LNG. "It also takes a huge amount of gas out of the market, placing more pressure on the supply/demand equation and the gas price in Queensland," he said. "That should lead to prices that are perhaps not at Western Australian levels but close to that."

Eastern Australian gas prices are among the cheapest in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member nations, and gas producers like Santos have long argued for a price rise. Santos spokeswoman Kathryn Mitchell said there was more than enough CSM in Queensland to meet demand in the domestic market and to sell overseas, even though her company has yet to prove up the reserves needed to make the LNG project viable. ...

Goldman Sachs JBWere analyst Anthony Bishop said the Santos announcement would be greeted with a degree of scepticism by the market, given LNG from CSM has not been done before in Australia and this could be "merely a stalking horse" for higher domestic gas prices. "This is likely to place upward pressure on eastern states gas prices irrespective of whether the project proceeds," he said.

In May Citigroup noted eastern Australia's gas prices were around $3.40 a gigajoule, compared to $10 in the US. It said gas prices had risen to more than $5 a GJ in some sales in WA because domestic buyers had to compete against LNG export prices. "Gas prices rise when a perception of a shortage can be created and, without the PNG pipeline project, our view has been this perception may be easier to create than the market currently thinks," Citigroup analyst Di Brookman said.

Another notable absence from my portfolio is uranium miner ERA, whose shares are soaring in spite of bad weather induced problems.
Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ERA) announced its first half net profit after tax has plunged 71.5% to $5.7 million for the half-year ended 30 June 2007 largely due to increased rainfall. The group noted this was above previous guidance of a loss of between $5 and $10 million.

The Northern Territory miner said the reduction in profit was largely due to the deferral of production and sales deliveries associated with the exceptionally heavy rainfall at its Ranger operation in late February and early March 2007 and a delay in a vessel arrival.

Another company striking trouble has been Oil Search, who have also been having difficulties obtaining equipment.
Oil Search has downgraded its full-year production forecast for calendar 2007, with equipment delays and slower than anticipated progress on two wells in Papua New Guinea taking its toll.

The oil and gas producer has cut its full-year forecast to between 9.5 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mmboe) and 10 Mmboe, down from 10.5 Mmboe to 11 Mmboe previously. Oil Search attributed the downgrade to the late arrival of equipment from the United States and Europe and the slow progress of the Juha and Kutubu 2 wells in PNG.

"The 2007 full-year production forecast has been revised to between 9.5 Mmboe to 10 Mmboe, with a similar production level expected in 2008," Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said.

Production is expected to improve in 2009, with Oil Search forecasting a 10 to 15 per cent rise in output. Oil Search delivered increased production in the second quarter of 2007, with record oil prices providing a significant boost to revenue.

I was in WA last weekend and the resource boom shows no sign of slackening off, judging by the bulging-at-the-seams airport and the fact that almost every engineer I know is now working for the big mining companies or oil services companies (and the guys at the oil services companies have plenty of tales of problematic offshore field geology and even more problematic constraints on obtaining resources like drilling rigs and offshore construction vessels).

One of the new projects that has kicked off is BHP's "Pyrenees" development off Exmouth, which is where most of the latest developments are being done.
BHP BILLITON has approved the development of the $US1.7 billion ($1.98 billion) Pyrenees oilfield 20 kilometres offshore of Western Australia as part of its push to increase its stagnant oil and gas production. BHP's petroleum production has been flat in the past few years due to natural field decline. The division, once BHP's top earner, is expected to rank fourth in terms of profits this year, after base metals, carbon-steel materials and stainless-steel materials.

There has been a long-running debate in the investment community as to whether BHP should sell or spin off the petroleum division to create more value for its shareholders. The debate could be resurrected once its incoming chief executive, Marius Kloppers, takes the helm in October, given his background is entirely in minerals, rather than petroleum.

However, the petroleum division's importance should be boosted over the next two years as BHP completes construction of several important petroleum projects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and offshore Western Australia. UBS forecasts petroleum will be BHP's most profitable division in 2009. The company is expected to start producing oil at its most important project, the Atlantis South joint venture with BP in the Gulf, by the end of this year or in early 2008.

Moving away from corporate news, Australio's first carbon trading market is now open, though this is unlikely to have a large impact for now as emissions trading is entirely voluntary (and larger participants like AGL currently trade on the Chicago Climate Exchange).

THE nation's first greenhouse gas market opened today, five years head of the federal government's plan for a market-based system.

The Australian Climate Exchange (ACX), a joint venture with niche emerging companies trader Australia Pacific Exchange, says it sets a market-based price for greenhouse pollution for the first time. The price of carbon opened at $8.50 per metric tonne. After a day's trading, 1600 tonnes of Australian Greenhouse Office-accredited “voluntary emission reductions” (VERS) had changed hands at a final price of $8.60 a tonne.

The exchange comes well ahead of the federal government's plan to establish a `cap and trade' system by 2012. Prime Minister John Howard has also said that emission reduction targets and a carbon price would not be decided until next year.

The ACX has also outpaced rivals NSX Ltd, which operates the Newcastle and Bendigo stock exchanges, and ASX Ltd, which operates the Australian stock exchange. ACX managing director Tim Hanlin said ACX was answering demand from business for a carbon price through a “transparent, credible and auditable” system. “There is no tax, no penalty, no target that backs up the trading of this emissions commodity,” Mr Hanlin said today. “What does back it up is the desire by companies to actually respond .. to their customers' needs and desires to reduce their emissions footprint.”

Under the ACX system, buyers and sellers trade the VERS in minimum lots of 100 tonnes. Each offset unit is certified by the government greenhouse watchdog and must be lodged with the ACX registry first before it can be traded. The registry tracks the traded offsets until they are extinguished - that is when an owner acquits the offset against emissions.

Mr Hanlin, who earlier worked for Woodside Petroleum Ltd, scouting greenhouse offset opportunities, said he expected the exchange would facilitate `spot' and `forward' selling of the abatement units in primary and secondary markets. ...

The NSX, which recently bought a water trading exchange used by farmers, has said it wanted to launch a carbon emissions trading platform next month. The ASX has said it would proceed with its scheme after the federal government's pricing details were known.

Several Australian companies, including electricity giant AGL Energy, are already trading carbon but on an exchange in Chicago.

The Australian also has a report on local companies "Cleaning up in water and energy".
GREEN is the new black, and the list of technologies described as clean is growing longer by the day. The rivers of capital flowing into the cleantech sector have refreshed a deep pool of startups eager to market their green credentials with energy, water, recycling, agricultural, biofuels and mining products all vying for a place in the line-up.

Venture capitalists, fund managers and industry proponents are struggling for consensus on what's cleantech and what's not, but there's agreement that energy and water efficiency systems are among the hottest prospects for Australia.

"Energy and water are the two big ones," Starfish Ventures investment director Ivor Frischknecht said. Australia and Israel are regularly pegged as the two leading developers of water efficient technologies, and Clean Technology Australasia chief executive Jeffrey Castellas said the country's clean energy startups were also well-placed.

In particular, he thinks that clean coal companies have opportunities in India. "The market size for energy efficient technologies in India right now is about $3 billion per annum with a 15 per cent growth rate," Mr Castellas said.

Even in the area of energy efficient cleantech, some developments are leading industry watchers to scratch their heads. One is the Australian IPO market for so-called hot rocks startups tinkering with geothermal energy systems. "The Australian market has been very receptive to the hot rocks technology," Mr Frischknecht said. "I don't know what's driving it, frankly."

I'm not sure why this is a mystery - there is a huge hot rock resource available and Australians are used to punting on small resources companies that go digging speculative holes in the desert - its a match made in heaven.

Another report in The Australian on slowly emerging local cleantech investment is "Money pours into green tech".
DOTCOM entrepreneurs are beating a path to the clean technology sector as cashed-up super funds open the spigot for ventures targeting green concerns ranging from energy to drought and global warming.

Venture capitalists who raked in big bucks during the 1990s internet boom are also setting their sights on cleantech, with plans to funnel tens of millions worth of general technology funding into green startups. Worldwide, investment in clean technologies designed to reduce consumption, increase industrial efficiency and slash emissions, has exploded in the past three years.

The Cleantech Venture Network reports that North American and European venture capital investment in cleantech hit $US3.6 billion ($4billion) last year, up 45 per cent from 2005 and more than double the $US1.7 billion pumped into the sector in 2004.

Similarly, industry development group Clean Technology Australasia has tracked a surge in the number of deals in the local cleantech sector. "In 2004-05 we tracked just over 200 deals in Australia. We did the same report again in 2005-06 and we tracked just over 300 deals," Clean Technology Australasia chief executive Jeffrey Castellas said. "This is an area that is certainly undercapitalised and the market opportunities and growth opportunities for these technologies are big."

The opportunities are tantalising traditional technology venture capitalists, who have earmarked big chunks of their investment funds for the sector. High-profile dotcom venture capitalist Bob Christiansen has said a slice of his new $170 million Southern Cross Fund would go to green investment opportunities.

Melbourne venture capitalist Starfish Ventures, meanwhile, says about a third of the $200 million it had under management was intended for cleantech deals. The fund was also targeting IT and life science plays. "There's interest growing across multiple dimensions," Starfish investment director Ivor Frischknecht said. "Firstly, the number of startups is growing, so that's the ultimate driver. Along with that, and this is a really, really positive trend, there are quite a lot of accomplished, experienced startup professionals coming into cleantech from the IT sector."

Starfish has already staked out positions in two cleantech startups: soil moisture sensor developer Senviro; and energy efficient welding technology developer MIGfast.

MIGfast is also backed by Cleantech Ventures, a new breed of dedicated clean technology venture capitalist emerging in Australia. Last month Cleantech closed a $50 million early stage fund with $20million in federal Government Innovation Investment Fund money and a $30 million injection from VicSuper. Private equity player CVC is also in the market, raising $30 million for its Sustainable Investments fund.

Cleantech investment principal Jan Dekker said he expected more cleantech-focused funds to emerge in the future because the commercialisation channels differed from IT and life sciences. ... has a report on a New Zealand company (with mysterious foreign backers) who are developing an algae derived aviation fuel - "World first: Flying high on pond scum".
Air New Zealand and airliner manufacturer Boeing are secretly working with Blenheim-based biofuel developer Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation to create the world's first environmentally friendly aviation fuel, made of wild algae.

If the project pans out the small and relatively new New Zealand company could lead the world in environmentally sustainable aviation fuel. It's understood Air NZ is undertaking risk analysis. If everything stacks up it will make an aircraft available on the Tasman to test the biofuel.

The fuel is essentially derived from bacterial pond scum created through the photosynthesis of sunlight and carbon dioxide on nutrient-rich water sources such as sewage ponds. Air NZ would most likely test the fuel on one engine while normal aviation fuel would drive the other engine. Fuel is held in cells on the aircraft that can be directed to a specific engine.

None of the parties involved will talk about the joint venture development because of confidentiality agreements but whispers about the project were circulating at the roll-out of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Seattle in the US last week. Local Marlborough media reported a visit by Boeing to Aquaflow earlier this year and Boeing has stated publicly since then that it believes algae is the airline fuel of the future.

The New York Times has an editorial on Dick Cheney's secretive energy taskforce meetings - "How the Energy Dice Were Loaded". Unsurprisingly, some of the few documents to leak out of these meetings were maps of Iraq, dividing up the regions containing Iraq's "undiscovered" oil that the proposed Iraqi oil law will hand over for development by foreign companies. And then a couple of later, Iraq was coincidentally invaded - Mr Cheney must have been a boy scout when he was younger...
The names of some of the corporate big shots and industry lobbyists who helped shape the deliberations and conclusions of the super-secret Cheney energy task force in 2001 are now beginning to surface, thanks to a former White House aide who provided a list to The Washington Post.

It’s interesting to discover that Kenneth Lay, Enron’s chairman, was favored with two audiences. But the rest is sadly familiar. The task force, which developed a national energy policy, had all the time in the world for the big energy producers — some 40 meetings with the oil, gas and coal companies and their trade associations — but barely a moment for environmentalists. It’s hardly surprising that its report favored producers of fossil fuels at the expense of conservation and alternative fuels.

What this list really does is remind us how and why this administration has squandered six years that should have been devoted to finding innovative answers to the big questions of oil dependency and global warming.

Bruce Sterling's latest Viridian Note is out, with the body of this one written by his wife - "Viridian Note 00495: Serbia and the Flames" (MonkeyGrinder also has a look at wild weather in China, Texas and England).
Today was the hottest day ever recorded in Belgrade, Serbia. Broke the previous heat record by two-and-a-half degrees Celsius.

Naturally, I was there. Hey, I could have been worse off in Tewksbury.

I'd be betting that when they start counting the elderly ex-Communist dead in this region, they're going to stack up in surprising, French-heat-wave style numbers. Although we Viridians have been predicting and describing these calamities for years now, surprisingly, nobody in power seems used to them yet. Even the victims still act a little surprised.

I try not to yield to the temptation to repeat the obvious to 2,000 people day after day, though, when mayhem arrives on my doorstep, I still feel that Viridian urge. Nevertheless, I have to shut this list down soon. It makes no sense to mimic news that's on the front page of Google News every day. And it's getting louder. Every year. All those NGOs, corporate-funded professionals, energy speculators... let them do the heavy lifting, dammit!

It's not like the climate crisis is news to people in power; they all know it's there, like AIDS, or a fire in the basement; they just wonder what they can possibly do about their drowning, baking constituents.

Besides, I've now come up with a new,
non-Viridian design-journalism scheme which is going to occupy all my efforts for about six months! Rather than being global and theoretical and involving a lot of eco-handwringing, it's going to involve stuff like heavy industry and lots of cool conventions and glamorous parties! Furthermore, rather than being parochial, Texan and American, it will have a decisively Italian flavor! Did you know that Torino, Italy, is the official 'world capital of design' for 2008? Well, neither does anybody else, and I plan to help change that. Link:

You can help, too. There will be more news in September. In August I'm fleeing the heat by heading into the hills to finish my novel. Hey, somebody's gotta write 'em.

In the meantime, here is an article by Viridian guest star Jasmina Tesanovic.


Serbia and the Flames

Today was the hottest day in Serbia ever since the temperature has been measured, 45 C.

If we Serbs were truly interested in our survival as a nation, we'd be scrambling to get some modern hardware for dealing with ecological catastrophes. It's been ten years since Milosevic sold off our forest fire-fighting aircraft and pocketed the money.

We would talk together seriously about last year's massive floods throughout the Danube basin, about this year's deadly heat wave in Serbia and throughout the Balkans, about the state of emergency in our neighbor Greece, about the electricity shortages and blackouts throughout the region, about the woods of our homeland set on fire.

Even tidy Britain is being overwhelmed with their flood catastrophes, while here in Serbia we lack any organized emergency-response because the Serbian state is, by its nature, in an emergency situation all the time.

Instead, the Serbian Parliament spent this day discussing Kosovo: angling for Russian friendship to fend off the US demands, while dodging EU pressure to simply let go of that long-lost province. They have no air conditioning inside the Serbian Parliament, so delegates were comically fanning themselves with official papers while the presidents were sweating in their stuffy official suits.

The Russians promised us practical help for the smoldering forests of the border, but they have yet to send a single Russian helicopter. Meanwhile the firemen and local peasants are saving our burning forest heritage with raw courage and mostly hand-tools.

When will we overcome our local obsessions and realize we are part of a world in a general crisis? The climate crisis isn't for rich countries, it's for every country. Especially us. We had Floods in 2006, now Fires in 2007 == the cause is in the Air, and we will end up with no Earth.

Global warming is invisible... it steals up on us like a slow fever, but our daily lives are being transformed by it. Kids can't get milk at school, eggs might be poisoned with salmonella, the crops are wilting in the fields.

My friend, a pianist, sews clothes by her air-conditioner instead of playing her piano.

I am singing after dark instead of writing at noon.

My friend is writing a book about the future but is not sure if it is the same book he started anymore.

My young friend, the web designer, had her computer collapse. So she went out to walk her three dogs and collapsed from the heat in two hours.

My friend activist from inner Serbia is sleeping in an office where there is an air conditioner. Two weeks ago before, she condemned air conditioners because they burn fossil fuels and make the global warming worse. She also has the very Serbian superstition that cold drafts of air are not good for your bones. Well, any hot draft of air over 40C does not cool your body == it heats your body and can kill you from heatstroke.

My pregnant Albanian friend from Pristina sleeps heavily day and night while her friends in Kosovo demonstrate for some unilateral declaration of independence.

If there is any justice in this injustice, it is that global warming has no borders or nationality, and yet it has guilty and victims. Guilty: all of us who ignored inconvenient truths and sacrificed the ecological conscience for other more or less legitimate priorities. Victims: everyone yet to be born on our damaged planet; when crops wilt and forests burn down to black stumps, does it matter if that wasteland is called Kosovo or Serbia?

Year by year, mankind is becoming justly afraid of our vengeful climate. I have an epiphany: our world in 1999 is becoming all the world. No electrical, no water, no business-as-usual: fear. I remember those bombing days of Serbia and Kosovo when everyone in this land, without exception, was a refugee under a scowling enemy sky.

O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O

A few links from the fringes to close, as I'm sure you've all been missing your fringe politics and tinfoil (especially you guys who only read this blog for the conspiracy theories).

* Beyond The Beyond - Off the Bottle-Hurling Barricades and Back to the Heretic-Leftist Websites (PINK, BLACK, PIRATE: TAKING STOCK OF ROSTOCK). Where Bruce finds this stuff I can't imagine, but I found it entertaining, and it does demonstrate just how marginalised the left has become - the pinks and blacks seem to have purely nuisance value politically. The pirates are a little more interesting though.

* The Village Voice - The Teapot Dumb Scandal. On Bush, Vlad "the Paler" Putin, Siberian Oil and the Hydrogen Economy.

* Cryptogon - White House Denies Congressman’s Request to See Continuity of Government Plans. Even the American Enterprise Institute is starting to get uneasy.

* Crypogon - Old-Line Republican Warns ‘Something’s in the Works’ to Trigger a Police State. Protest against the Iraq war, lose your house.

* Energy Bulletin - The seven habits of highly subversive people. Glad to see someone understands what Harry Potter is about. "And to JK Rowling for reminding me that children innately understand totalitarianism, thus the subversive and imaginative nature of the Harry Potter series in the grand tradition of child empowering childrens books". Put simply, Voldemort is a Republican (though to be fair, not all Republicans are death eaters - and that's Ron Paul I'm thinking of - just most of them).

* Ron Paul rEVOLution - Ron Paul Profiled in the Los Angeles Times

* Detroit News - Ron Paul emerges as GOP's unlikely rock-star candidate. "Freedom is popular".

* TechCrunch - Ron Paul: A Distributed Web 2.0 Campaign. I never expected to se Mr Paul on TC - or speaking at Google for that matter (imagine Bush speaking as coherently or passionately as this)...

* Rigorous Intuition - Blackshirts and Skins. Some self awareness appears. Having never read any tinfoil before I came across the peak oil world, it took me a long time to get my bearings - the conspiracy theories of the far left seemed to merge with the conspiracy theories of the far right once I'd read read enough of them - the same plot lines and often the same villains (something my recent experiment investigating Club Of Rome tinfoil demonstrated perfectly). It seems that this is mostly because the left is a lot less mature than the right when it comes to conspiracy theorising, and has absorbed a lot of the illuminati / freemason / "international banker" stuff without fully understanding its origins (my mind always boggled whenever RI did freemason tinfoil without acknowledging past masters like Pat Robertson and his ideological predecessors). Hopefully the lines between the communist new world order and the fascist new world order will be drawn a little more clearly in future and I'll be able to tell the right black hand from the left (for balance, here's some traditionalist NWO tinfoil)...

* Transition Culture - Amusing Nonsense on YouTube

* 10 Zen Monkeys - Don’t Call It a Conspiracy — the Kennedy Brothers. RU and Jamais Cascio talk to David Talbot about the parahistory of the Kennedy brothers. I knew Jamais had to be a tinfoil hound deep down...


I think you need to add a link about Russian Oil production topic. This report details the countries and companies that are involved...

Russian Oil Production Report


Dear Bloggers:


WHAT WE NEED IS AN International Public Prosecutor Intervention.

Thank you.


Basil Dimitropoulos
Electrical Engineer
104 - 106 Kremou Street, Kallithea, Athens 176-76 GREECE
TEL: +30-210-9590530

Post a Comment


Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews




Blog Archive


australia (618) global warming (423) solar power (397) peak oil (355) renewable energy (302) electric vehicles (250) wind power (194) ocean energy (165) csp (159) solar thermal power (145) geothermal energy (144) energy storage (142) smart grids (140) oil (139) solar pv (138) tidal power (137) coal seam gas (131) nuclear power (129) china (120) lng (116) iraq (113) geothermal power (112) green buildings (111) natural gas (110) agriculture (92) oil price (80) biofuel (78) wave power (73) smart meters (72) coal (70) uk (69) electricity grid (67) energy efficiency (64) google (58) bicycle (51) internet (51) surveillance (50) big brother (49) shale gas (49) food prices (48) tesla (46) thin film solar (42) biomimicry (40) canada (40) scotland (38) ocean power (37) politics (37) shale oil (37) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) arctic ice (33) concentrating solar power (33) saudi arabia (33) queensland (32) california (31) credit crunch (31) bioplastic (30) offshore wind power (30) population (30) cogeneration (28) geoengineering (28) batteries (26) drought (26) resource wars (26) woodside (26) bruce sterling (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) ctl (23) limits to growth (23) carbon tax (22) economics (22) exxon (22) lithium (22) buckminster fuller (21) distributed manufacturing (21) iraq oil law (21) coal to liquids (20) indonesia (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) santos (18) ausra (17) collapse (17) electric bikes (17) michael klare (17) atlantis (16) cellulosic ethanol (16) iceland (16) lithium ion batteries (16) mapping (16) ucg (16) bees (15) concentrating solar thermal power (15) ethanol (15) geodynamics (15) psychology (15) al gore (14) brazil (14) bucky fuller (14) carbon emissions (14) fertiliser (14) matthew simmons (14) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) public transport (13) big oil (12) biochar (12) chile (12) desertec (12) internet of things (12) otec (12) texas (12) victoria (12) antarctica (11) cradle to cradle (11) energy policy (11) hybrid car (11) terra preta (11) tinfoil (11) toyota (11) amory lovins (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) severn estuary (10) volt (10) afghanistan (9) alaska (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) four day week (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) methane hydrates (9) pge (9) sweden (9) arrow energy (8) bolivia (8) eroei (8) fish (8) floating offshore wind power (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) saul griffith (8) stirling engine (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) airborne wind turbines (7) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) scenario planning (7) vinod khosla (7) apocaphilia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) global energy grid (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)