- NYT dates the start of the Great Recession from Q4 2007 and 5 years on has a great graphic showing the current state of play. No recovery to pre-recession levels in Britain, Japan, France, Italy and Spain. Has the end of growth already arrived in these countries?
- The knock-on effect of earlier-than-expected Arctic sea ice melt will be greater-than-expected absorption of sunlight and, therefore, higher Arctic circle temperatures and faster-than-expected permafrost thaw. NYT highlights a study (here) confirming the first part of this causation chain.
- National Geographic has a nice piece all about methane.
- Since the economist Robert Gordon came out with his technological stagnation thesis earlier in the year, the flood gates have opened for economic comment in this area. The FT’s Izabella Kaminska has put together a wonderful linkfest on the subject at her blog Towards a Leisure Society.
- The Oil Drum (TOD) is reposting its top 10 articles for 2012. Among them, I recommend Art Berman’s take on shale here and Ron Rapier on tight oil, shale oil and oil shale here.
For a politician, optimism sells. As a student of history, President Obama appears painfully aware that the tired-looking doom of Jimmy Carter turned off a whole generation of US voters.
In February 1977, two weeks into his presidency, Carter told the American people in a fireside chat that “we must face the fact that the energy shortage is permanent”. In April 1977, in another address to the nation, Carter’s opening words were “Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you”. Carter then went on to talk about the potential of the energy crisis to “overwhelm us” and that if the country didn’t act on energy “the alternative may be a national catastrophe”. Over 30 years later, to hear a politician deliver such an unrelenting stream of bad news appears almost shocking.
Fast forward a mere seven year, and the Carter gloom had the character of a long-forgotten bad dream. Ronald Reagan played against it constantly, most blatantly in his “It’s morning again in America” campaign. Continue reading