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26 April 2014

Press review 26-04-2014 - The IPCC Cornucopia

These past weeks the release of the seventh IPCC assessment report has pretty much dominated energy discussions. There is nothing really new about it, relying on the same old energy galore forecasts. After two decades of failed forecasts the panel relies now more than ever on extraordinary coal reserves that no one has ever seen. Interestingly, this cornucopian stance on energy resources extends even to non-fossil energies.

Nebojsa Nakicenovic was present at the 2012 ASPO conference in Viena. He is responsible for the forecasts produced at the IIASA to be used by the IPCC and IEA. The Q&A after his presentation was remarkable, not all that different from talking to a rock. He kept insisting the reserves figures he uses are backed by peer review literature and as soon as his session ended left the building in haste. With this latest report it becomes obvious that the IIASA (and the IPCC) are in fact ignoring the growing number of peer reviewed studies with realistic fossil fuel reserves assessments.

The persistent failure of the IIASA forecasts have forced the IEA to use alternative scenarios for the short term, but long term they are still used for CO2 emissions. These are also the scenarios used by pretty much every government of OECD. They are, unfortunately, the best example of demand side energy modelling, brilliantly exposed by Steven Kopits some months ago.

12 April 2014

Press review 12-04-2014 - Russia calls the bluff (2nd edition)

An unfinished version of this review was inadvertently left for automatically publication last night. Appologies for the mess up; there are a few more stories below the fold.

This week Russia has passed on the offensive over Ukraine. The Russian press issued clear hints of a definitive move away from the US dollar in the country's foreign economic relations. These news frame these actions within the design of a new world monetary system, together with the remainder of the BRICS. And Thursday came a letter furnished through diplomatic channels to 18 European leaders simply stating that if no one is willing to foot the bill for the gas Ukraine gets from Russia valves will be eventually closed.

Meanwhile Kiev seems to go from bad to worse, with Parliament paralysed and political institutions disaggregating. In eastern regions of the country unrest grows, russophone populations disprove the coupe d'état and are weary of the political and economic disarray the country has fallen into. In spite of repeated claims of a Russian military build up along the Ukraine border by the western media, Russia does not seem that willing to get further involved in the field, at least for now. The fact to no one is clearly taking responsibility for the survival of Ukraine may actually be the problem at this stage.

05 April 2014

Press review 05-04-2014 - Back to Iraq

This week the highlight goes once again to Iraq, I stumbled upon a remarkable article that gave me lot to think. The writing is politically charged, but raises questions I was frankly unaware of. In essence, the exploration of Iraqi petroleum by foreign (European and American) companies is completely outside of any law; the government has repeatedly failed to force privatisation through parliament. Any doubts I had on the Al Maliki government lack of legitimacy were dissipated with this information, not even the Shiia representatives seem to align with this management of vital resources. And naturally, it puts the Sunni uprising of recent months into a completely new perspective.

And the deeper question is why has the western media been silent on this? More important than the propaganda feed us everyday is what is left told, opinion control through censorship. Luckily today there's the internet, that allows for diligent citizens to seek out information and the broader picture.

03 April 2014

A story of TheOilDrum

This post is a story of TheOilDrum, as I lived it. It is a collection of loose memories patched together into some sort of chronological order. Memory is not fully reliable, same dates or periods may not be precise. This is above all a personal account of the most important events during the website life time.

Certainly a lot is left untold. I was never part of the editorial or administrative boards, thus plenty of the behind scenes events escaped me. The same story told by someone else will surely be different. In spite of being a personal retrospection, I hope it can still provide an holistic view of what TheOilDrum was and point the potentials that this fantastic experiment unleashed.

This post has been in the making for long. The idea came up immediately after the announcement of the website closure, but other commitments kept it at bay. The ninth anniversary of TheOilDrum foundation passed just weeks ago, but still not that late to celebrate. Grab a portion of your favourite ingestible liquid and let yourself go in this journey through time.