Links for the Week Ending 7 February 2014

  • Now is the time of year when a young (and not so young) person’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of skiing (not least because of the Sochi Winter Olympics). Few, however, like to talk about the threat that climate change poses for winter sports. This spectre at the feast is met with passive denial—if we pretend it isn’t there, perhaps it will go away. So it is rare to hear a voice from within the industry itself, such as that of Powder Magazine‘s Porter Fox in an Op-Ed piece titled ‘The End of Snow?”  in The New York Times, calling for action.
  • Fox references a paper by the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) called “Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States” if you like to dig into data.
  • Two weeks ago, I referenced a Mark Lewis article in The Financial Times disputing the peak demand theory for oil (here, free registration at the FT). As a contrast, I thought it worthwhile referring back to a 2013 Steve Kopits interview on which gives the opposing argument (here). Personally, I believe that the intersection between price, demand destruction and supply response  is too complex to forecast accurately, particularly as these factors all play out over different time horizons. That said, my gut feeling is that oil is already putting a break on GDP growth at the margin, with more turbulence to come.
  • The U.K. has been plagued by floods over the last couple of months, with the head of the Environment Agency Lord Smith becoming the fall guy for middle England’s frustrations. In a frank letter to The Daily Telegraph, Smith had the temerity to argue that difficult choices have to be made, but this position has produced outrage in the shires. I always find irony in the fact that the political right argues for self-reliance yet runs crying to the state whenever it finds itself on the wrong end of climate change.
  • Southern Europe has become Ground Zero for the collapse narrative. And here is a post by one of my favourite bloggers Ugo Bardi of Cassandra’s Legacy looking at the situation in Italy. And a conversation between Bardi and Dmitry Orlov on the same topic can be found here.

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