Monday, January 08, 2007

Global Warming: Cherry Blossoms/Brooklyn; Oil Volatility; Dollar; Japan: Conservation/Post-War Taboos; Venezuela: Oil Smuggling/Financial System

January 2: Cherry Blossoms in Brooklyn

Global Warming Adds to Oil Volatility

Tiptoeing Away From the Dollar

Land of Rising Conservation
Looks like somebody's been reading Heinberg's Oil Depletion Protocol.
Mike Ruppert

Japan Breaking Post-War Taboos

Venezuela Dismantles Oil-Smuggling Gang

Venezuela Consolidates Presence in National Financial System


gaelicgirl said...

Tom Whipple with an overview of Peak Oil for 2006, and thought on 2007:

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, Gaelicgirl.

Re: Japan conservation
Japan has had flat to declining oil imports for the last ten years. After the 1973 oil shocks, they managed to reduce the use of oil for electical production from 77% of the total to around 50% today.

Last summer, the government started pushing for even more efficiency in a number of areas due to a disturbing 14% rise in oil consumption in the first months of 2006. This was due in part to a record cold winter, but also to the fact that consumers here have used appliance efficieny (such as that of refrigerators) to buy bigger ones, rather than save energy. There has also been a trend toward bigger cars, though not nearly as bad as in the US. However, I did see a Hummer on the road the other day!.

Japan wants to reduce its oil needs by another 20% by 2030. It also heavily reliant on coal, buying about 25% of the world market, and natural gas, where Japan buys about 40% of world LNG.

Japan is better than the US at taking effective action in this arena, but the energy problems facing the country are still much larger than the government is as yet willing to acknowledge - at least publicly.

Pandabonium said...

re: post-war taboos....

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe comes to fascism naturally. His maternal grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was a top offical in Japanese occupied Manchuria in the 1930’s and during WWII, was Minister of Commerce and Industry under Hideki Tojo. After the war, Kishi was held as a Class A war criminal until 1948, when the cold war got going and the US lost interest in prosecuting such cases. He later became a Prime Minister of Japan after helping to create – with a little help from his friends at the CIA – the conditions which has allowed the right wing LDP to control Japan almost unchallenged since 1955.

Abe’s father, Shintaro Abe, was also a top LDP member and may have made PM himself had he not been caught in an insider stock trading scandal in 1988. Gee, based on behavior, one might thin they were related to the Bush family

Rice Farmer said...

Nice Japan roundup by Pandabonium. I too have seen one Hummer, a couple of months ago. But for the last two years the overall trend in car sales is toward the subcompact "kei" cars. These get about the same mileage as hybrids.

Pandabonium said...

I've read conflicting reports on sales vy vehicle size. Through 2003 people were buying K-cars for the tax break. However, the stats from the Japan Automotive Manufacturers Association for 2004 (the latest I can find) show large vehicle (over 2 liter engines) sales up 87% and small vehicle sales down 17% over 2003. I admit I tend to look for gas guzzlers, but these stats back up my personal observation of more and more big family vans and big 4 wheel drive vehicles on the road here in Kashima City over the last few years.

The Japanese government is now proposing increasing efficiency standards to require a 23% improvement by 2015, but if people keep buying bigger engines, it kind of defeats the purpose.

I hope I'm mistaken. (My wife often says so). :P

Rice Farmer said...

Today's newspaper happens to have an article on 2006 car sales: The top selling passenger car was the Toyota Corolla at over 140,000 units, but the top-selling "kei" was Suzuki's Wagon-R model at well over 220,000 units. For the third year in a row kei car sales have grown, and sales of passenger cars continue to languish. Sales of kei cars were so strong that they broke into the 2-million-unit bracket for the first time. Meanwhile, sales of imported cars declined for the third year running.

Pandabonium said...

Thanks Rice Farmer. I've been looking for stats like that - a bit difficult as I'm limited to English language papers. Now I see a Business Week article on the same topic. Happy to wrong in this instance.

Rice Farmer said...

You're welcome for the info -- not that I think it's going to save the car culture. But it does show that higher energy prices force people to install their conservation modules.