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Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund Drops Coal and Tar Sands Investments


Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), worth $850bn (£556bn) and founded on the nation’s oil and gas wealth, revealed a total of 114 companies had been dumped on environmental and climate grounds in its first report on responsible investing, released on Thursday. The companies divested also include tar sands producers, cement makers and gold miners.

As part of a fast-growing campaign, over $50bn in fossil fuel company stocks have been divested by 180 organisations on the basis that their business models are incompatible with the pledge by the world’s governments to tackle global warming. But the GPFG is the highest profile institution to divest to date.

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Preparing For The Long Term Consequences In Texas And Western Canada


The growing downturn in the fossil fuels industry has extraordinary implications globally. While some are proposing theories that this downturn will be short-lived, there simply isn’t much evidence to support an optimistic forecast. Saudi Arabia is openly executing a long term strategy to squeeze “high cost oil producers,” using its unquestioned leverage and the lowest production costs in the World. Europe is facing potential deflation, and the current European recession is forcing the European Central Bank to begin “quantitative easing,” beginning this week, essentially printing money. The Russian economy is in shambles as the ruble weakens, something Putin did not plan on occurring. The Chinese economy has weakened sharply and will likely remain weak into the near foreseeable future. Meanwhile Canada is at the mercy of these global forces, with little in the way of economic reserves to defend its economy, having bet the entire Canadian economy on oil.

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To See The Future Of The Western Canadian Economy Look To Texas


UPDATE: May 21, 2015.  Goldman Sachs has just released an oil price forecast suggesting that North Sea Brent crude will still be $55 in 2020, five years from now.  As Alberta’s Western Canadian Select (WCS) bitumen is valued lower on commodity markets this is extremely bad news for Canada. Further, the well-known Canadian economic forecasting firm, […]

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Norway Deals With Its “Natural Resource Curse” While Canada Does Nothing


CBC’s The National has tonight broadcast a public debate titled “The Politics of Oil” on the current oil economy crisis in Canada. A key issue exposed tonight was the contrast between Canada’s national policies on oil wealth and Norway’s. In the 1990’s both Canada and Norway debated how to manage oil wealth and created funds to invest for future economic development. Today, Norway’s national saving fund is worth $1.03 Trillion while Canada’s, actually Alberta’s fund, is worth only $17 Billion, and has barely increased since the late 1990’s.

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Canada’s Economy Battered Like A 3rd World Country By Forces Entirely Out Of Its Control


Ironically, in the now numerous accounts of how the current oil market came to collapse over the last few years and months, there are almost no references to Canada despite the importance of the oil economy to the nation. We have been mere bystanders in all of the complex series of events, and yet the […]

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Canada’s “Natural Resource Curse” Will Wreak Economic Havoc For A Decade


Those following international events have probably already seen the stories on Putin’s Russia, and the combined impact international economic sanctions, and now, the unexpected and unwelcome plummet in World oil prices. The Russian economy in 2015 will likely see a budget deficit of $20 Billion or more as the ruble collapses and oil prices plummet. The problem is global and expected by analysts to persist for the foreseeable future. Lesser developed countries like Venezuela and Nigeria, which are more dependent on their oil economies, are expected to see even greater impacts. Economists commonly refer to this as the “natural resource curse.”

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Why Venezuelans are taking to the streets: their “natural resource curse” is killing the economy


Venezuela is now paying the price for its “natural resource curse”

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Neil Young Confronts Canada’s “Natural Resource Curse” Head On


Years ago, when Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia, on May 1, 1970, four students demonstrating against the war were essentially murdered by the Ohio National Guard. David Crosby, Graham Nash, Steven Stills and Canadian Neil Young were driven to record the song “Ohio,” in a rushed recording session. The song went viral before “viral” was even a concept. The Internet did not exist. In less than 24 hours “Ohio” was being played on FM radio stations all across the United States. That CSNY song, IMHO played a crucial role in Nixon’s demise, and accelerated the end of the Vietnam War. I see Yogi Berra’s “deja vu happening all over again” with Neil Young and the tar sands.

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More on Utility Industry Myopia: Utilities are Dinosaurs Waiting to Die


As if to underscore my previous posts on the extraordinary rapidity of disruptive change for the utility industry, This is turning out to be potentially more significant than the smart mobile phone revolution. Issues here include the utility industry’s failure to recognize a strategic change caused by disruptive technological change, and to respond to it, and the rapid acceleration in Adizes’ corporate life cycle model. Citibank is now predicting severe consequences for utility companies if they do not grasp the massive changes confronting them.

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Industry Analysis: Utilities Dig In Against Distributed Rooftop Solar


This is another of my Industry Analysis discussions for UBC students. This time it is perhaps as big an industry issue and clash of competing values as big as the smart mobile phone market, which I call the Mega Market War of Titans. It is about the intersection between two industries, which has recently morphed into a contentious clash. This is about disruptive new technology and strategic inflection points. So what has happened?

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