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Dark Winter Looms For Pennsylvanians As Power Bills Set To Soar 

Dark Winter Looms For Pennsylvanians As Power Bills Set To Soar  Power prices in some parts of Pennsylvania are set to jump as much as 50% beginning this month, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). "Most Pennsylvania regulated electric utilities are adjusting the price they charge for the generation portion of customers' bills on December 1 for non-shopping customers, also known as the 'Price to Compare' (PTC). The PTC averages 40% to 60% of the customer's total utility bill. However, this percent varies by the utility and by the level of individual customer usage," PUC said in a press release. PUC lists power increases for residential customers. The most significant increase comes from Pike County Light & Power, which serves nearly 5,000 customers, is expected to raise power prices by 50%. The second highest is PPL Corporation, serving about 1.4 million customers in central and eastern parts of the state, which is expected to raise power prices by 26%.  Citizens' Electric, up from 6.9777 cents to 7.9476 cents per kWh (13.9%); Duquesne Light, up from 7.41 cents to 7.98 cents per kWh (7.7%); Met-Ed, up from 7.114 cents to 7.414 cents per kWh (4.2%); PECO, up from 6.597 cents to 7.021 cents per kWh (6.4%); Penelec, down from 6.761 cents to 6.507 cents per kWh (3.8%); Penn Power, down from 7.657 cents to 7.593 cents per kWh (less than 1%); PPL, up from 7.544 cents to 9.502 cents per kWh (26%); Pike County Light & Power, up from 6.5234 cents to 9.796 cents per kWh (50.2%); Wellsboro Electric, up from 7.2596 cents to 7.5051 cents per kWh (3.4%); and West Penn Power, up from 5.447 cents to 5.698 cents per kWh (4.6%); A PUC spokesperson told Fox News that rising energy prices are due to "market forces."  Many Pennsylvanians will be in for a sticker shock this winter as the Northern Hemisphere winter approaches. Customers are already stretched thin with soaring food, fuel, and shelter inflation. It's a good thing Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday that he would "retire" the "transitory" narrative to explain the inflationary environment that continues to crush the working poor.  We noted last week that Americans, already preparing for one of the darkest cold seasons in years, have been panic buying cords of firewood and stoves as they seek alternative methods to heat their homes to mitigate soaring power prices.  Persistent inflation this winter will continue to increase discontent for President Biden and could be favorable for Republicans ahead of midterm next year.  Tyler Durden Sat, 12/04/2021 - 19:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 4th, 2021

Rabobank: "When Are The Locusts Due To Arrive?"

Rabobank: "When Are The Locusts Due To Arrive?" By Michael Every of Rabobank This is the end of the Jewish festival of Sukkot, one of the less well-known holidays. (Also known as ‘The Feast of the Tabernacles’, it involves eating dinner in an outdoor booth, and waving palm, myrtle, and willow branches, with an etrog, a lemon-like citrus fruit. Really.) However, the Governor of the BOE seems to think it is another Jewish holiday, Passover, where the ceremony involves dipping one’s finger into a glass of red wine, naming the 10 plagues that afflicted ancient Egypt, and saying “dom” as a drop of wine is splashed onto one’s plate for each of: Blood; Frogs; Lice; Flies; Livestock sickness; Boils; Hail; Darkness; and the Killing of the First Born. (There is also usually matza-ball soup, so it gets better.) Governor Bailey’s speech last night argued so many economic plagues are hitting the UK economy, that either Covid was responsible for amplifying them, “...or the gods really are against us,” before asking “When are the locusts due to arrive?” He noted the switch from spending on goods back to services “has not taken place to date on the scale expected”; “the number of high profile supply bottlenecks appears to be increasing”; energy prices are soaring; the labour market is a puzzle; and while inflation is “transitory”, it is still seen at 4% this year (as taxes are also rising); and, “It follows that the monetary policy response, if we need to make one,...should involve Bank Rate not QE. There is no reason to beat about the bush on this point.” In conclusion, “the yards will be hard I’m afraid, and we must stick to the task.” And *I* get accused of being a pessimist! Of course, we have already have the locusts – just not in the UK, but in economies that can afford to see them least, and as food prices already soar. We are hurtling towards Hail, because it’s the UK and winter is coming. Moreover, Darkness looms – because there is no sign of the global energy crisis abating. Indeed, dom, dom, dom! Logically, if supply vs. demand is now the underlying energy issue, this crunch cannot be resolved until natural gas production increases, taking us further away from 2030 targets, or green energy is brought on-line far more rapidly (where it can be), or we cut demand via a recession. Hard yards indeed – and not just for the UK, but for all of us. Indeed, the PBOC says the recovery is “shaky and unbalanced” and will push real rates to fall further (via rate cuts or higher CPI?); the Evergrande-related slump in property is hitting a sector worth 1/3 of GDP; factories are forced to shut down for days each week because coal prices have soared, and electricity prices are fixed, so power plants are losing money; and expectations for China’s Q3 GDP growth are now slashed to zero. That’s exactly the kind of production backdrop which will exacerbate global bottlenecks and supply-chain problems, as now is peak demand for retailers trying to stock up for Black Friday and Xmas against a backdrop of ludicrous shipping rates, crazy energy bills, crippling labour shortages, and consumers facing higher taxes and prices. Someone is going to be eating a lot of unleavened bread ahead, so to speak. (If not for Xmas.) It won’t be the “arrant nonsense” economists at the Fed, who *yet again* did not see any of this coming, but get to shrug and say “whocouldanooed?” Yet their bosses are going, as Rosengren, from the Boston Fed, and Kaplan, from the Dallas Fed, both resigned over stock-trading ethics violations. Fed Chair Powell has not resigned for doing the same with muni bonds, but the decision on who gets the top FOMC job still looms: do the other two resignations suggest a clean sweep, or two sacrificial lambs? US Treasury Secretary Yellen (whose own trading activity when Fed Chair, if any, has not been made public) is also refusing to take the calls of IMF Chief Georgieva, who is herself embroiled in a different ethics scandal. Does the White House really want to see new blood at the IMF and the Fed? To what purpose if so? While waiting for ‘the call’, Powell is to deliver a speech to the Senate Banking Committee today that while far less colourful than the BOE version, will also stress that supply bottlenecks have been larger and longer lasting than anticipated, and that inflation pressures will remain high in coming months - before they ‘naturally’ “abate”. So, not as colourful as the BOE: and not as realistic? ‘This too shall pass’ is the eternal message from the gang who never see what is about to come to pass (except when it helps them trade their own portfolios). Williams from the New York Fed also warned of an “extreme” market backlash if the US debt ceiling is not raised (hitting even FOMC members’ wealth!) - as Republican Senators blocked a Democratic Bill to raise it. This is of course all political posturing tied to the $1.2trn infrastructure bill and the $3.5trn Build Back Better bill, the Byzantine twists and turns of which do not look auspicious at the time of writing given one of the Democrat’s progressive members just stated: “We obviously didn’t envision having Republicans as part of our party,” when referring to Senators Manchin and Sinema, suggesting those two key votes are not there for at least the $3.5trn package – which the progressives insists is a prerequisite for the passage of the $1.2trn bill. Manchin’s reply: “I’m not really good on threats.” We shall find out more over coming days as we build towards what was promised as a Thursday vote. In Europe, the German election looks like, perhaps, we will end up with a coalition of the SDP, FDP, and Greens. As Stefan Koopman notes, if the FDP’s Lindner becomes Finance minister, implications for the EU’s fiscal policy are large (and not expansionary); and he expects Germany to adapt to the harsh geopolitical environment slowly and reluctantly. The same could be said in a different sense of the French. Reportedly, ahead of the key first EU-US Trade and Technology Council tomorrow --and days after the Quad announced a tech/resources tie-up that makes a huge new block with all the green supply-chain inputs required, which Europe does not have secured from anywhere-- Paris is demanding a watering down of the conclusions to develop joint standards in favour of EU “Strategic autonomy”. Quelle mouche t’a piqué? So what are markets making of this all? Well, benchmark US 10-year yields are up 8bp since Friday morning, while 2-year yields are up 4bp. That move and steepening bias says “Morning in America” more than “Darkness” – but is it a bet on US fiscal stimulus and then rate hikes, or just a reflection of entrenched global stagflation? The S&P isn’t at a record high for once – but then again, it’s well off its recent low; and in a world where so much appears to be capable of going wrong so fast, do you want to put your money as an inflation hedge in EM, or the US? Likewise, the USD is hardly stumbling, with EUR now below 1.17, for example, and USD/JPY over 111, although AUD is off its recent low due to commodities, and CNY is still doing its tired “none shall pass” shtick as if nothing serious is happening in its economy. When you hear a buzzing sound it can be a busy, happy market. Or the beating of billions of tiny wings heading your way. Or unhappy consumers in long lines for fuel. Or, most terrifying of all, millions of Western children without the exact Xmas presents they wanted. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/28/2021 - 09:14.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 28th, 2021

Europe"s Energy Prices Hit New Record Highs As Cold Snap Arrives

Europe's Energy Prices Hit New Record Highs As Cold Snap Arrives Update (0853ET): Europe's energy crisis worsened Monday as the Northern Hemisphere winter is about to begin. Colder weather plagued parts of Europe with zero degrees Celsius, straining electricity grids already dealing with unreliable green energy sources (such as low wind power generation) and nuclear power plant outages in France.  Let's begin and take a look at soaring day-ahead electricity prices across Europe. Bloomberg's Chief Energy Correspondent Javier Blas pointed out, "electricity prices across much of Europe set fresh and frightening record highs." Blas pointed out that German day-ahead electricity prices are at 431 euros per megawatt-hour, a record high.  EUROPEAN ENERGY CRISIS: Day-ahead electricity prices across much of Europe set fresh and frightening record highs. Germany jumps to an incredible €431 per MWh. At current prices, energy-intensive industries will rather shut down and re-sell their power on the spot market pic.twitter.com/GZFaxLEJei — Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) December 20, 2021 Germany is an economic powerhouse on the continent, and high power prices could force energy-intensive industries to shutter operations and re-sell their power on spot markets.  In France, several nuclear power plants have reduced output due to safety woes and a worker strike, straining the grid and sending power prices to decade highs.  This year, energy prices have soared, with European natural gas prices surging more than 600%. The region's benchmark gas contract rose by 8.8% early Monday.  With more nuclear power plant outages and unreliable green energy, electricity producers will use more gas to produce energy. However, supply constraints persist as the amount of gas entering Germany at the Mallnow compressor station collapsed over the weekend; storage tanks on the continent are only 60% filled, a record low for this time of year. While gas prices in Europe remain at record levels, there's been an entirely different situation in the US with warm weather and abundance of gas have depressed prices. Europe's energy crisis appears far from over as market tightness and colder weather will continue pushing up power prices that will strain households and businesses.  * * *  Bloomberg's Chief Energy Correspondent Javier Blas tweeted a disturbing map of European day-ahead electricity prices that will hit record highs on Monday.  "EUROPEAN ENERGY CRISIS: Wow, wow, wow... I'm running out of words to describe the European short-term electricity market," Blas said.  He continued, "Multiple records breached for Monday. With the exception of Poland and Scandinavia, all Europe is above €300 per MWh (France and Switzerland near €400)." The continuation of surging power prices, as Blas explained, is due to "Lots of nuclear reactors are down, demand is high (electricity used for heating), so it's burning gas to bridge the gap."  Days ago, we told readers multiple nuclear power plants in France were taken offline due to routine safety inspections that found cracks at one power plant.  European daily power demand continues to soar as colder-than-normal temperatures are present across the continent. Benchmark natural gas prices surged to a new high last week, up more than 650% on the year, on concerns of declining gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline that runs across Belarus and Poland to Mallnow, Germany; low storage on the continent, and geopolitical risk.  European natural gas prices hit a new record high.  The amount of gas entering Germany at the Mallnow compressor station collapsed. The pipeline only booked for 4% of space for Dec. 20.  The latest geopolitical flare-up occurred last week when Germany's federal network agency, Bundesnetzagentur, said Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline won't be cleared until July. On Sunday, Germany said they could entirely block the Nord Stream 2 if a possible conflict between Russia and Ukraine erupts.  Europe's energy crisis worsens and risks sparking discontent among many Europeans. How long until politicians order utilities to implement price caps on power rates? If politicians want to stay in power, they might also have to subsidize people's power bills as energy inflation runs wild.  Tyler Durden Mon, 12/20/2021 - 08:53.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 20th, 2021

The Taliban are courting Iran and China, hoping to avoid blackouts if other countries cut off power to Afghanistan for non-payment

Afghanistan is reaching out to Iran and China for help as its Taliban-controlled power company faces an ongoing crisis of billing and crippling debt. A Taliban fighter stands at a checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan on November 27, 2021Ali Khara/Reuters Afghanistan's state power company DABS contacted Iran and China over electricity shortages. DABS has run up massive debts with neighboring Tajikistan, which opposes the Taliban regime. Afghanistan faces power cuts through its frigid winter if it cannot resolve its issues. The Taliban opened talks with Iran and China over electricity supplies with Afghanistan, a new attempt to stave off the possibility of a frigid winter without power.The state's embattled power company has struggled to repay other countries for imported power, according to reports in the months since the last government fell to the Taliban.Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the state power company, has spent the last months under threat of being cut off by Tajikistan, a major supplier. The risk of blackouts from non-payment was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. According to the outlet, the Taliban replaced the former DABS COO with one of its clerics in October, part of a trend of installing officials with little technical experience but strong ideology.Tajikistan is a staunch opponent of the regime, likely complicating the situation.The board of Afghanistan's state power company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) on October 4, 2021DABSDABS said it has struggled to pull in 26 million afghani ($270,000) in unpaid bills, and set a one-month deadline for companies and individuals to pay before it pursues legal action, local outlet TOLO News reported.On December 1, DABS spokesperson Hikmatullah Noorzaihas also said the company has been in touch with Chinese government-affiliated companies about power production, TOLO said. It came after a mid-November deal between Afghanistan and Iran for 100 megawatts of power, which was also noted by TOLO. It is unclear what terms were discussed for these deals. DABS still needs to source 350 megawatts to meet the country's demands, TOLO said.Afghanistan imports a majority of its power. With winter looming, rolling blackouts could return the country to the "dark ages," former DABS CEO Daud Noorzai told The Wall Street Journal in October. No country has formally recognized the Taliban government since their takeover, according to Reuters.However, Taliban officials claimed in October that China was readying to invest billions of dollars as long as security could be guaranteed for its workers, Voice of America News reported. Chinese mining executives visited the country in recent weeks to scout out opportunities to secure the country's rich lithium and copper reserves, according to the Financial Times. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 6th, 2021

Rabobank: Whatever Powell Does From Here Is Going To End Very, Very Badly

Rabobank: Whatever Powell Does From Here Is Going To End Very, Very Badly By Michael Every of Rabobank 'The Powell of the Powerless'?! Jerome Powell got the renomination for a second stint as Fed Chair despite an ethics scandal and criticism from some Progressives that he is too pro-bank and not pro-environment enough. There was no “Let’s go Brainard”, but the candidate associated with MMT and a digital Dollar is nominated for the powerful Vice-Chair. Our Fed Watcher Philip Marey notes the decision was for continuity but adds: “The choice between Powell and Brainard was a choice between two Fed insiders who share the Fed’s groupthink. Biden’s advisors should realize that while the President is pursuing expansive left-wing fiscal policies to redistribute income and wealth from the rich to the poor, they have advised him to maintain a monetary policy approach that is increasing wealth inequality. Instead of spending trillions through fiscal policy, Biden could have started the reversal of monetary policies that have led to a rapid increase in wealth inequality since the global financial crisis spurred the Fed into quantitative easing, which is boosting the assets of the rich. A missed opportunity for the ‘social justice warriors’, another victory for the stock markets. Happy Thanksgiving!” However, it was the US Dollar, especially versus the struggling Euro, and not US stocks that was immediately lifted by the Powell news. Indeed, while Powell retained his job, he has also been given a poisoned chalice. Inflation is a serious problem; rent, food, and energy are all rising; the White House solutions being offered are not helping (oil prices went up despite the US saying it will sell some of its strategic reserves); and whatever Powell does from here is going to end very, very badly. Given he and Brainard both zeroed in on inflation in their thankyou speeches, perhaps sooner than markets think: US 2-and 10-year yields both jumped 8bp on the day. Allow me to expound a little beyond saying ‘Higher yields, higher dollar’. A few weeks ago I mentioned the 1978 essay “The Power of the Powerless” by then dissident and future Czech President Vaclav Havel. It begins mockingly that “A SPECTRE is haunting Eastern Europe: the spectre of what in the West is called ‘dissent.’ This spectre has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting.” Well, today the West has polarisation, mass protests, riots, talk of obligatory vaccinations in Europe, and Yanis Varoufakis arguing capitalism is *already* dead and techno-feudalism looms. Havel also argues ideology disengages itself from reality without private power to keep it in check. Consider the army of economists who sung the praises of ‘no banks or money’ models and the Fed in the pre-GFC Ponzi scheme; then the socialism-for-the-rich of Fed QE; and who now purr the Fed is fighting inequality(!) Professionally-corralled academics, analysts, and central bankers all believing what they are doing works and is good – as dissent soars around them. Private markets exist to allow price discovery in order to tell the Emperor his clothes are worth less than he thinks, or the blue-collar worker their labor is worth more. They protect us from the follies of ideology. But central banks now ensure stock and bond prices have little relation to ‘truth’. You don’t need to make profits to see stocks rise - you don’t need to produce anything in fact; and functionally bankrupt governments have the lowest borrowing costs in their history. The financial economy and the real economy are divorced. And when the former wobbles, it gets bailed out by those fighting for social justice. Every. Single. Time. Yet “transitory” inflation shows us an Emperor who wears no clothes. Yes, it is still on the supply, not demand side, but there is no clear indication how long the supply side will remain a problem - and the longer it is, the greater the likelihood something structural shifts. A recent survey shows 58% of food industry C-suite leaders believe the crisis will last more than a year, and 33% fear three years – is that “transitory?” Wheat prices are at Arab Spring levels again already. As I keep repeating, supply chains are a reality check to central bank --and central government-- power. The Fed can create as much liquidity as they want via QE. We already know they cannot make it flow anywhere productive, just into socially destabilising asset and commodity prices. Even if they join hands with governments via fiscal policy, they still cannot do any good if there are no products to buy. If that weren’t the case, any frontier market with zero resources could tell its central bank to print $10 trillion Thingies and import everything needed to leap up the development ladder. Why doesn’t this happen? A different way to present the same issue, as @ektrit notes, is that while Milton Friedman argued “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon,” what is actually true is that “Inflation is always and everywhere a goods phenomenon”. If you produce enough to match money supply growth, fine. It’s like Wittgenstein’s logic that if you use a ruler to measure a table, you may also be using the table to measure the ruler. Central bank reality-defying ideology looks at the money side of things and assumes goods just flow: now they don’t. Or only some have the power to say if/when/where they do. Some rulers get that --the mercantilist net exporters-- and some others are now trying to turn the tables - the net importers saying “resilience,” and “trade is about values, not price.” Or “Peppa Pig World,” for some strange reason. To reiterate, central banks, led by the Fed, are being slapped in the face by a reality they can no longer deny – but this also exposes that their ideological omnipotence, which is true for financial assets, means nothing for physical goods: they have no power there, because they have spent decades letting capital flow into assets and not productive investment! As such, if they raise rates, we know where that leads a financialized, indebted economy driven by crypto/NFT/property and stock bubbles, and where it leaves EM FX and external debt (and EUR?) vs. the US Dollar. Yet if they don’t raise rates, while proclaiming to be ‘The Powell of the Powerless’, then they, and some rulers, should start getting nervous. Expect higher prices, and louder dissent. Meanwhile, the Fed may soon have other issues to grapple with. CNN reports the US is considering sending extra weaponry to Ukraine as fears mount over potential Russian invasion; and Russia is accusing the West of building up forces near its borders, which it has long stressed is a casus belli. One can see how this can easily go wrong: and by arming Ukraine, but with nowhere near enough to stop a determined Russian invasion(?), the West can be seen as incentivizing such action. Pray tell, what is the correct monetary-policy response if the worst happens, and energy and food prices soar further, while the US finds itself dragged into an expensive conflict? While Europe of course won’t fight in its own backyard (the very thought of it!), one hopes they have enough thick jumpers and blankets to get through a winter with no Russian gas while locked down. Don’t worry: the ECB will keep you warm. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/23/2021 - 13:27.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 23rd, 2021

New York Preps To Avoid Repeat Of Texas" Grid Mayhem As Winter Looms

New York Preps To Avoid Repeat Of Texas' Grid Mayhem As Winter Looms New York's grid operator modeled a scenario that was equivalent or greater than the Texas cold snap earlier this year that nearly collapsed the entire power grid and left millions in the dark, according to Bloomberg.  Wes Yeomans, vice president of operations for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), said electricity demand would soar to record highs under such a scenario. At the same time, deliveries of natural gas to power plants would be disrupted, he added.  The disruption would cause power reserves to plummet by 90% to 526 megawatts, the model revealed. Yeomans said that NYISO had identified electrical circuits required to keep gas flowing through pipelines to prevent a grid collapse. Notice most of the fossil fuel generation is downstate.  One of the critical failures of the Texas power grid, besides declining renewable energy power, was outages at gas wells and processing plants that led to fuel shortages at power plants and ultimately left millions of Texans in the dark for nearly a week in February. Modeling has helped NYISO better prepare its grid and protect customers against periods of colder weather that could boost demand for energy and strain grid operations. The grid operator doesn't want to repeat what happened in Texas earlier this year. NYISO's modeling and grid preparations come as a 'double-dip La Niña' has formed. So what does this mean for the Northeast's climate this winter? Explaining more on the subject is Bob Larson, expert senior meteorologist for Accuweather, recently told Daily Mail, "the snowfall forecast for New York City is, on average, 29.8 inches, but our predictions up to 32 inches."  So it comes as no surprise that NYISO is preparing for what could be a brutal winter.  Tyler Durden Wed, 11/10/2021 - 23:05.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 10th, 2021

Green Policies Return The World To Coal

Green Policies Return The World To Coal Authored by Clarice Feldman via AmericanThinker.com, There’s scarcely a place in the modern world that will not be feeling the high cost and discomfort of a shortage of energy supplies and their increasingly soaring prices. Lebanon already is. Due to a shortage of oil, the two power plants that supply 40% of that country’s electricity shut down. There is no electricity in Lebanon and will not be any for some days. It’s an extreme case, but even the United Kingdom, the EU, the U.S., and China are running up against diminishing ability to obtain the necessary energy supplies to keep things running smoothly. Some of the shortages are due to accidents, like the cutting of an undersea cable to the UK, but most are due to green policies and stupid political choices, ironically shutting down oil and gas-fired power plants and fossil fuel exploitation and transport at the demand of the greens, who grossly overestimate both global warming and the ability of air, sun and water to take their place. Ironically, this means coal -- the dirtiest possible fuel -- is back in huge demand, Despite an import ban on Australian coal, China relented and has begun unloading Australian coal because of an extreme power crunch. Coal is now in demand in Europe as gas prices soar and the EU’s energy policies are in large responsible:  The ideological split will drive a wedge between the European Union, a long-time champion of a coal phaseout, and corporate interests as market conditions favour gas-to-coal switching. The switching ratio has slid in coal’s favour in the last weeks of June 2021 and judging by the current futures structure, it will stay in place until at least Q2-2022 [snip] Given the natural limitations to further coal utilization, in Germany the main interaction in the upcoming weeks will be between coal and wind. Coal-fired electricity generation rose to multi-year highs in the first weeks of September when every single day saw wind generation only a fraction of its usual strength and speed. Now, the situation has changed somewhat as wind started blowing again, dropping hard coal generation to an average generation rate of 7.5-8 GWh, still some 30-35% higher than at this time of the year in 2020. Yet still, Germany’s travails are far from over, especially with December looming large on the horizon. According to preliminary plans, that month alone three nuclear plants will stop operating in Germany -- Brokdorf, Grohnde and Gundremmingen -- with a combined (non-intermittent) capacity of 4 GW, representing the penultimate wave of nuclear phase-out closures before 2022 sees the last 3 reactors decommissioned. Such substantial capacity would need to be replaced with either coal or gas, with profitability skewed overwhelmingly towards the former. [snip]  The current coal demand surge should force the European Union to reconsider its position on coal -- as polluting as it might be, it could still help alleviate energy crunches across Europe when the situation demands it. As things stand today, the upcoming four years would see at least seven countries phasing out coal: Portugal (2021), France (2022), UK (2024), Hungary, Italy, Ireland and Greece (all 2025). As Europe has seen nine consecutive year-on-year increases in aggregate coal burns, perhaps more switching flexibility and less bans could still be the way forward. It’s no secret that the cleanest most reliable fuel – nuclear -- was murdered by the greens. Then natural gas, the second cleanest, became their target, so now many places are desperate for coal, the dirtiest option. Noah Rothman agrees with me -- the greens are largely responsible for the present energy crunch and its consequences: The intended consequence of these [Biden] policies was to create artificial energy scarcity and incentivize alternative fuel producers to enter the marketplace. “If you restrict the supply (of oil and gas), you alter the market and you create a better environment for more sustainable fuels,” New York University professor Max Sarinsky told the Associated Press. This was all part of the plan, to the extent there was a plan. So, yes, there’s a lot of blame to go around if what Friedman forecasts to be a dark, cold, and scary winter materializes. No small share of that blame should be apportioned out to the central planners who sought to kneecap the existing energy market in favor of an insufficient alternative. Was there any point to the war on fossil fuels? Probably not. Judith Curry, one of the most reliable climate researchers, explains how even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits finally that the dire climate models off of which they were working were in substantial error.  The latest report (AR6) from the IPCC indicates previous models were predicting a hotter climate than warranted. A substantial number of the CMIP6 models are running way too hot, which has been noted in many publications. In its projections of 21st century global mean surface temperatures, the AR6 provides ‘constrained’ projections (including climate models with reasonable values of climate sensitivity that reasonably simulate the 20th century). [snip] With regards to fitness for purpose of global/regional climate models for climate adaptation decision making, an excellent summary is provided by a team of scientists from the Earth Institute and Red Cross Climate Center of Columbia University: “Climate model projections are able to capture many aspects of the climate system and so can be relied upon to guide mitigation plans and broad adaptation strategies, but the use of these models to guide local, practical adaptation actions is unwarranted. Climate models are unable to represent future conditions at the degree of spatial, temporal, and probabilistic precision with which projections are often provided which gives a false impression of confidence to users of climate change information.”  (Nissan et al.) GCMs [Global Climate Models] clearly have an important role to play particularly in scientific research.  However, driven by the urgent needs of policy makers, the advancement of climate science is arguably being slowed by the focus of resources on this one path of climate modeling.  The numerous problems with GCMs, and concerns that these problems will not be addressed in the near future given the current development path, suggest that alternative frameworks should be explored.  This is particularly important for the science-policy interface. Worldwide fuel shortages and rising costs aren’t the only concerns this winter, and they aren’t the only concerns of China, whose aggressive air flights near Taiwan and marine actions in the South China Sea have unnerved many. The CIA has been secretly training Taiwan forces to respond to any Chinese attacks.   Marines and Special Forces have been training Taiwan troops for a year. About two dozen members of U.S. special-operations and support troops are conducting training for small units of Taiwan’s ground forces, the officials said. The U.S. Marines are working with local maritime forces on small-boat training. The American forces have been operating in Taiwan for at least a year, the officials said. The U.S. special-operations deployment is a sign of concern within the Pentagon over Taiwan’s tactical capabilities in light of Beijing’s years long military buildup and recent threatening moves against the island. Japan seems to be back constructing carriers to defend itself and its allies. The situation at the top of China and the U.S. makes these aggressions very fraught with danger to the world.  Xi’s efforts to deny the country’s oligarchs power have melted down its markets. Its power shortages have compelled Xi to order energy diverted from factory production to homes this winter. And this is having a ripple effect throughout the economically globalized world. The China power crunch also risks heaping further pressure on global supply chains by pushing up prices for raw materials and essential components. “Global markets will feel the pinch of a shortage of supply from textiles, toys to machine parts,” wrote Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings, in a note to clients on Monday. He added that the resulting supply shock will likely further push up global inflation, especially in developed markets such as the U.S. The power curbs have hit parts of China’s manufacturing bases, including those that produce semiconductor-related goods. A global shortage of semiconductors this year has already hit car makers and other industries. Steve Cooke, managing director of Cre8tive Brand Ideas Ltd., a Solihull, England-based distributor of promotional merchandise such as branded bags, clothing, pens and computer accessories, said he relies on suppliers who source 80% of their products from China. Already this year, rising freight costs and supply-chain bottlenecks have pushed up his costs and lengthened delivery times for his customers. He said he expects those pressures to intensify as the power crunch squeezes production. “We rely so much on China, it’s incredible,” he said. Over at Gates of Vienna, H. Numan has a well-considered essay on why the current situation is so dangerous to the world: China has no combat veterans and its leadership is largely people who paid for their positions. Its military equipment is just adequate, mostly reverse-engineered copies of stuff developed elsewhere. The worldwide pandemic was caused by the CCP. The coal shortage is entirely Chinese. The CCP embargoed Australia when it asked questions about what China would do to compensate for the pandemic. They hoped to beat Australia into submission. It didn’t work, and now major industries and half the country face enormous blackouts. The winter (-20 C) has yet to come. Incidentally, the embargo also covers Australian grain. Really clever, when you already have severe food shortages. The Chinese long-term policy is equally bad. The Belt and Road Initiative proved to be a very costly failure. For two very obvious reasons: shipping goods by rail isn’t going to replace shipping by sea. One single container ship can carry more freight than a rail link between Beijing and Rotterdam can carry in a full year, at a much lower cost. The cutthroat negotiations and mafia tactics warned some nations not to fall for it. Sri Lanka lost a port they had build by the Chinese to the Chinese when they defaulted on payment. Piraeus in Greece and the port of Darwin are/were Chinese owned. Piraeus still is, Darwin was canceled. They even tried to buy the port of Rotterdam. Right now China is in the same position as Germany was before starting WW2. Not enough money, and too many ambitious goals that cannot be met. There are more than enough grudges from the past that only need a little kindling before becoming a raging fire. [snip] The problem with salami slicing is that you do get what you want, but it is very expensive and takes a very long time. And you run the real risk of losing it all. Germany sliced itself into Austria, Czechoslovakia, and lost everything when they tried to slice the Danzig corridor. China sort of has the same problems. And it ran out of peaceful options. We’re in a very dangerous situation with Chinese characteristics. In Europe, only tiny Lithuania has taken on China, which may force the EU’s hand on Taiwan. On Tuesday, the 27 EU leaders gathered for a dinner that involved a discussion on EU-China relations, in which Lithuania's President Gitanas Nausėda called on his peers to send a message of "unity" in the face of China. The dinner ended up with what Borrell called "a very interesting debate." “There is a big bipolarity between China and U.S. on one side, and on the other side there’s a multipolarity of actors," he said. "And Europeans have to act; Europeans have to create a common strategic culture to share the challenges they’re facing.” While the EU's strategic compass is still being drawn up, one thing is clear: In facing off against Beijing, Lithuania -- population 2.8 million -- has pushed the subject of Taiwan and relations with China more prominently onto the EU’s agenda in a way that leaders in Beijing and many European capitals have been avoiding for years. And, for the moment at least, Vilnius shows no signs of backing down. As for the U.S. Stephen Bryen details President Biden’s puzzling mumbles about his conversation with Xi on Taiwan. President Joe Biden, on Tuesday, October 5th, said that he had spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping and both of them had agreed to “stick to” the “Taiwan agreement.” The only known recent conversation between Biden and Xi took place on September 9th.  The “read out” provided by the White House says nothing either about Taiwan or the Taiwan agreement.  So we are left rather in the dark about what transpired. Even so, given Mr. Biden’s statement about the “Taiwan agreement,” his statement is extremely worrisome. The nature of that conversation and Mr. Biden’s description was not lost on the Taiwanese or the Japanese, so much so that the State Department moved immediately to clarify its meaning to Taiwan’s President.  That would not have been necessary if the State Department was not alarmed by what President Biden said. Japan also announced that it would come to Taiwan’s aid if Taiwan was attacked. [snip] Mr. Biden has to be put straight on U.S. policy.  He should also be clear in speaking to the Chinese that their incursions by air and sea around Taiwan are unacceptable and will be met firmly by counter action by the United States.  If Mr. Biden fails to do that, it will cause major problems for America’s posture in east Asia and will be damaging not only to Taiwan, but also to Japan and other U.S. friends in the region.  In fact, if we do not deter China, the risk of war escalates. Greg Gutfeld has a point. Watching Biden on energy policies and relations with China, Biden is a unifier, ”We all think he’s nuts.”  Tyler Durden Mon, 10/18/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 18th, 2021

China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Across The Country

China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Across The Country One week ago we discussed why the "worst case" scenario for China's property crisis is gradually emerging; to this we can now add that China's worst case energy crisis scenario is also about to be unleashed as cold weather swept into much of the country and power plants scrambled to stock up on coal, sending prices of the fuel to record highs. Electricity demand to heat homes and offices is expected to soar this week as strong cold winds move down from northern China, according to Reuters with forecasters predicting average temperatures in some central and eastern regions could fall by as much as 16 degrees Celsius in the next 2-3 days. Shortages of coal, high fuel prices and booming post-pandemic industrial demand have sparked widespread power shortages in the world's second-largest economy. Rationing has already been in place in at least 17 of mainland China's more than 30 regions since September, forcing some factories to suspend production and further disrupting already broken supply chains. On Friday, the most-active January Zhengzhou thermal coal futures closed at a record high of 2,226 per tonne early. The contract has risen almost 200% year to date. China's three northeastern provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning - also among the worst hit by the power shortages last month - as well as several regions in northern China including Inner Mongolia and Gansu have started winter heating, which is mainly fuelled by coal, to cope with the colder-than-normal weather. Meanwhile, even though Beijing has taken a slew of measures to contain coal price rises including raising domestic coal output and cutting power to power-hungry industries and some factories during periods of peak demand, so far all measures have failed with coal surging by 40% in just the past three days. Beijing has also repeatedly assured users that energy supplies will be secured for the winter heating season, and went so far as to order energy firms to "secure supplies at all costs." Well, the energy firms heard it, because on that day, thermal coal closed at 1,436 yuan. Two weeks later it is some 800 yuan higher. Unfortunately for Beijing, the power shortages are expected to continue into early next year, with analysts and traders forecasting a 12% drop in industrial power consumption in the fourth quarter as coal supplies fall short and local governments give priority to residential users. Earlier this week, we reported that China undertook its boldest step in a decades-long power sector reform when it allowed coal-fired power prices to fluctuate by up to 20% from base levels from Oct. 15, enabling power plants to pass on more of the high costs of generation to commercial and industrial end-users. read more Steel, aluminium, cement and chemical producers are expected to face higher and more volatile power costs under the new policy, pressuring profit margins. Meanwhile, the latest Chinese "data" on Thursday showed factory-gate inflation in September hit a record high; but since thermal coal is the one commodity that correlates the closest to PPI, absent a sharp drop in coal prices in the next few weeks, expect the next PPI print to be far higher. Meanwhile as the power crisis leads to further shutdowns in domestic production, some banks - such as Nomura - have gone so far to predict that China's GDP is set to shrink in coming quarters. China, which laughably aims to be "carbon neutral" by 2060 even as its president announced he will skip the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, has been "trying" to reduce its reliance on polluting coal power in favor of cleaner wind, solar and hydro. But coal remains the source for some 70% of China's electricity needs. Of course, China is not the only nation struggling with power supplies, which has led to fuel shortages and blackouts in many European countries. and threatens to send US heating bills up as much as 50% this winter. he crisis has highlighted the difficulty in cutting the global economy's dependency on fossil fuels as world leaders seek to revive efforts to tackle climate change at talks next month in Glasgow. China will strive to achieve carbon peaks by 2030, Vice Premier Han Zheng said in a video message at the Russian Energy Week International Forum, according to state-run news agency Xinhua late on Thursday. He also said that China and Russia are important forces leading the energy transition and they should cooperate and ensure smooth progress of major oil and gas pipeline and nuclear power projects. Translation: Russia better save that nat gas and not ship it to Europe as China will soon be needed even BCF Russia an provide. As for China   Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 22:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 16th, 2021

China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Cross The Country

China Coal Prices Soar To Record As Winter Freeze Spreads Cross The Country One week ago we discussed why the "worst case" scenario for China's property crisis is gradually emerging; to this we can now add that China's worst case energy crisis scenario is also about to be unleashed as cold weather swept into much of the country and power plants scrambled to stock up on coal, sending prices of the fuel to record highs. Electricity demand to heat homes and offices is expected to soar this week as strong cold winds move down from northern China, according to Reuters with forecasters predicting average temperatures in some central and eastern regions could fall by as much as 16 degrees Celsius in the next 2-3 days. Shortages of coal, high fuel prices and booming post-pandemic industrial demand have sparked widespread power shortages in the world's second-largest economy. Rationing has already been in place in at least 17 of mainland China's more than 30 regions since September, forcing some factories to suspend production and further disrupting already broken supply chains. On Friday, the most-active January Zhengzhou thermal coal futures closed at a record high of 2,226 per tonne early. The contract has risen almost 200% year to date. China's three northeastern provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning - also among the worst hit by the power shortages last month - as well as several regions in northern China including Inner Mongolia and Gansu have started winter heating, which is mainly fuelled by coal, to cope with the colder-than-normal weather. Meanwhile, even though Beijing has taken a slew of measures to contain coal price rises including raising domestic coal output and cutting power to power-hungry industries and some factories during periods of peak demand, so far all measures have failed with coal surging by 40% in just the past three days. Beijing has also repeatedly assured users that energy supplies will be secured for the winter heating season, and went so far as to order energy firms to "secure supplies at all costs." Well, the energy firms heard it, because on that day, thermal coal closed at 1,436 yuan. Two weeks later it is some 800 yuan higher. Unfortunately for Beijing, the power shortages are expected to continue into early next year, with analysts and traders forecasting a 12% drop in industrial power consumption in the fourth quarter as coal supplies fall short and local governments give priority to residential users. Earlier this week, we reported that China undertook its boldest step in a decades-long power sector reform when it allowed coal-fired power prices to fluctuate by up to 20% from base levels from Oct. 15, enabling power plants to pass on more of the high costs of generation to commercial and industrial end-users. read more Steel, aluminium, cement and chemical producers are expected to face higher and more volatile power costs under the new policy, pressuring profit margins. Meanwhile, the latest Chinese "data" on Thursday showed factory-gate inflation in September hit a record high; but since thermal coal is the one commodity that correlates the closest to PPI, absent a sharp drop in coal prices in the next few weeks, expect the next PPI print to be far higher. Meanwhile as the power crisis leads to further shutdowns in domestic production, some banks - such as Nomura - have gone so far to predict that China's GDP is set to shrink in coming quarters. China, which laughably aims to be "carbon neutral" by 2060 even as its president announced he will skip the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, has been "trying" to reduce its reliance on polluting coal power in favor of cleaner wind, solar and hydro. But coal remains the source for some 70% of China's electricity needs. Of course, China is not the only nation struggling with power supplies, which has led to fuel shortages and blackouts in many European countries. and threatens to send US heating bills up as much as 50% this winter. he crisis has highlighted the difficulty in cutting the global economy's dependency on fossil fuels as world leaders seek to revive efforts to tackle climate change at talks next month in Glasgow. China will strive to achieve carbon peaks by 2030, Vice Premier Han Zheng said in a video message at the Russian Energy Week International Forum, according to state-run news agency Xinhua late on Thursday. He also said that China and Russia are important forces leading the energy transition and they should cooperate and ensure smooth progress of major oil and gas pipeline and nuclear power projects. Translation: Russia better save that nat gas and not ship it to Europe as China will soon be needed even BCF Russia an provide. As for China   Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 22:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 15th, 2021

Mitch McConnell reverses on the debt ceiling as Congress poised to get another two months to avoid a government default

Senate Republicans were in disarray earlier as they struggled to come up with enough support to clear an initial procedural vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives to speak to reporters ahead of a test vote scheduled by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York on the bipartisan infrastructure deal senators brokered with President Joe Biden, in Washington, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite The Senate approved a short-term debt limit extension through early December, sending it to the House. The move marks a reversal for Sen. McConnell, who previously urged the GOP to block Democrats' efforts. The deal punts the risk of a government default to December, when Congress will have to raise the ceiling again. See more stories on Insider's business page. The Senate approved a measure to extend the debt limit through early December, defusing a perilous showdown that brought the US to the edge of default. The bill now goes to the House for a vote sometime next week.The tally was 50-48 with every Senate Republican opposed to the measure during final passage. But 11 GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Democrats to cut off debate and break the filibuster's 60-vote threshold in an initial procedural vote."Republicans played a risky and partisan game, and I am glad their brinkmanship didn't work," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a floor speech.McConnell caved Wednesday afternoon, offering Democrats a short extension to avoid a looming government default as . The senator from Kentucky had been blocking Democrats' efforts to raise the ceiling since early last week. Thursday's vote marks a reversal from that stance and arrived just 11 days before the government's estimated deadline.It raises the debt ceiling by $480 billion, letting the government continue borrowing freely until December, according to Treasury Department estimates.Many Republicans were unhappy with McConnell's olive branch and the party struggled to scrounge up enough votes to cross the 60-vote threshold to end debate."We need to be able to get on this," Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told Insider. "The only way we're gonna be able to get on this is if we can get 60 votes. I'm gonna be one of those 60."Most Senate Republicans were lined up in opposition to the debt limit extension. "Debt is not the friend of the American public and we should resist it," Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told Insider.The debt ceiling is the statutory cap on how much the government can borrow to repay its bills. Suspending the limit gives the US more time to pay its bills for pandemic stimulus and other key aid programs from the last two years. If Congress fails to raise the limit, the government can default on its debt and plunge the US into a new economic crisis.Thursday's deal essentially kicks the can down the road, leaving Congress where it started heading into the holiday season. Democrats are still reluctant to use the time-consuming reconciliation process to lift the limit on their own. And McConnell was adamant on Wednesday that Republicans won't offer any more support."This will moot Democrats' excuses about the time crunch they created and give the unified Democratic government more than enough time to pass standalone debt limit legislation through reconciliation," he said in a statement.Senate Republicans had maintained that Democrats must unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, arguing the GOP wants no part in financing the $3.5 trillion social spending plan. But Democrats argued that raising the ceiling is a bipartisan responsibility. Doing so would cover debt incurred from both the Trump and the Biden administrations, including President Donald Trump's $900 billion stimulus package from last December.Democrats ramped up the pressure on the GOP throughout the week. President Joe Biden lambasted Republicans for their obstruction on Monday, and spoke with business leaders on Wednesday about the harm of a potential government default."Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job, they're using their power to prevent us from doing our job of saving the economy from a catastrophic event," Biden said during the Monday press conference. "I think, quite frankly, it's hypocritical, dangerous, and disgraceful."Brace for December deadlinesThe GOP started to blinked on Wednesday as Democrats explored several options for raising the ceiling on their own. One solution to emerge was a one-time change to the filibuster that would let Democrats raise the limit with a party-line vote. Biden floated blowing a hole in the filibuster on Tuesday, telling reporters it was "a real possibility" to avoid a federal default.It may very well have forced McConnell's hand. "It's not an insignificant part of the calculation, I'm quite sure," Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told Insider in an interview.The minority leader has long warned that eliminating or weakening the filibuster would plunge the Senate into chaos. Moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema were strongly opposed to any filibuster changes, but pressure on them to reverse course would likely intensify as the country hurtled toward the October 18 deadline.While the deal only delays an inevitable debt-ceiling battle until the winter, it also staves off a horrific economic threat. Failure to raise the ceiling would be calamitous. Government funding would quickly freeze for Social Security beneficiaries, members of the armed services, and public workers. The country would slide into a recession and lose nearly 6 million jobs, Moody's Analytics estimated. American household wealth would plummet by $15 trillion as fears of a government default could tank stocks.Hitting the ceiling would also be disastrous for the country's global strength. The US dollar serves as the world's reserve currency, and its power relies on trust in the government to pay its debt.Nothing would be "more harmful" to the currency than a default, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned September 27. The dollar would quickly lose its relevance, interest rates would shoot higher, and Americans' payments on everything from credit-card bills to home loans would soar, she added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

Dutch Greenhouses Go Dark As Energy Crisis Worsens; Food Inflation Fears Mount For Europe

Dutch Greenhouses Go Dark As Energy Crisis Worsens; Food Inflation Fears Mount For Europe Soaring European gas and electricity prices are getting worse by the day, forcing a vast network of Dutch glasshouses, the largest on the continent, to limit output or go entirely dark, according to Bloomberg. This could have a devastating impact on food supplies and boost prices ahead of the holiday season.  The Netherlands has become an agricultural giant and is the world's second-largest exporter of food by value, primarily thanks to its 25,000 acres of greenhouses that supply Europe with vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers, and flowers. In 2020, Dutch exports of greenhouse-produced farm products amounted to $10.7 billion, but this year could be much less as expensive natgas and power prices result in some operations to go dark.  Cindy van Rijswick, a senior analyst at Rabobank, said the hyperinflation in European gas and electricity prices is having a "massive impact" on greenhouses and has forced some producers to reduce lighting, end the growing season early, or plant in spring when natgas prices subside.   "These are drastic measures that reduce production and yield and have major economic consequences for the companies," according to industry association Glastuinbouw Nederland. "We cannot rule out whether consumers will also pay more for their vegetables, flowers and plants." One Maasdijk-based tomato grower, called Lans, which produces 80 million pounds of vegetables per year, has already reduced output. Erwin van der Lans, the company's operational director, said energy bills have dramatically increased, and greenhouse capacity is running at 50%-80%.  "Eventually, you will produce less," said Lans. "That is starting now. Our production is now cut by about 10%, that may go to 20%. Eventually, the customers little by little will start paying more." A flower business called Marcel van der Lugt of Lugt Lisianthus said power prices have quadrupled and raised costs by 20%-25%. Flowers are exported to Germany, France, and Russia.  Europe is struggling to respond to the energy crunch as natgas prices soared again after Russia unexpectedly cut supplies. The continent is not sufficiently stocked ahead of the winter, which suggests the energy crisis will continue.  More importantly, the energy crisis has so far impacted the food supply chain from UK fertilizer plants to Dutch glasshouses is adding to food inflation as global food prices are already at decade highs. There is very little central bankers can do besides tweeting or making statements in mainstream media to calm everyone down that soaring inflation is nothing more than "transitory."  Tyler Durden Sat, 10/02/2021 - 08:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 2nd, 2021

Congress needs to stop day trading, says Senator Mark Warner, a former VC and entrepreneur

Day trading is a conflict of interest and can violate the Stock Act, as members of Congress know what will affect the market before the public. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia.SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Big Technology is a newsletter about tech and society by independent journalist Alex Kantrowitz. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner says members of Congress shouldn't be allowed to trade individual stocks. He says doing so is a major conflict of interest as members often know of upcoming events that will affect the market. Mark Warner has a different background than his colleagues in the Senate, one more common in Silicon Valley than Washington's halls. Before Virginians elected him US Senator in 2008, and governor six years before that, Warner was a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. He cofounded Nextel, a wireless company now owned by Sprint, and invested in hundreds of startups. Today, he's worth hundreds of millions of dollars.When I sat down with Sen. Warner this week for Big Technology Podcast, I wanted to learn why his colleagues talked a big game about regulating Big Tech but had done little so far. They risked losing credibility by persistently calling out tech executives and then sitting on their hands. And given Warner's background, he was the perfect person to ask.Our conversation covered familiar territory — techno-optimism, tech illiteracy, and lobbyists — but then turned to stock trading. Members of Congress can trade individual companies' stocks while professing to check their excesses, a stunning conflict of interest that pits their portfolios' prospects against the country's. The practice is commonplace, supported by party leadership, and may influence the legislative process. Warner said it should end."Members ought to restrict themselves from playing in the market," he said. "If you take these jobs of responsibility, you have to be willing to give up something."Warner is part of a broader awakening inside Congress around trading individual stocks, an issue that looms over the federal legislature's push to regulate Big Tech, and its relationship with big business overall. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, known as the House's best trader, has long favored members being free to trade. But after years of acceptance, there's finally a movement inside the building to stop this legalized form of corruption. Among stock traders, it's common knowledge that you can't consistently beat the market if you don't have an edge. Firms that do it regularly tend to find themselves in hot water for insider trading, like Steven Cohen's SAC Captial, or on top of a Ponzi scheme, like Bernie Madoff. Then there's Congress. Federally elected legislators are often privy to the details of big-spending packages and potentially catastrophic events, like COVID-19, well before their constituents. They have an edge. They're not supposed to trade on that knowledge but — wink wink — they do. "There were members of Congress day trading from their congressional office, and day trading in large volumes," Brian Baird, a former member of Congress who served from 1999 to 2011, told me. "The idea that, in no way, shape, or form did the knowledge acquired from their public servant role influence their trades — it's just absurd. Human beings don't work that way."Some of the most egregious stock trading in Congress occurred when several Senators dumped large volumes of stock in winter 2020, right after Congress was briefed on the magnitude of the COVID threat. Sen. Kelly Loeffler sold millions in stock. Her fellow Georgia Sen. David Purdue made a windfall by dumping and buying back stock. Sen. Richard Burr offloaded more than $1.6 million in stock ahead of the market crash (and then made a suspicious call to his brother-in-law, who promptly called a broker). Loeffler and Purdue lost their races, the Department of Justice investigated Burr, and the public became more attuned to their representatives' trading habits.Loeffler, Purdue, and Burr disclosed their investments in compliance with the Stock Act, a law Baird originally introduced in 2006, which requires timely disclosure of trades by federal representatives. The law didn't prevent members of Congress and the Senate from trading individual stocks — that seemed too aggressive at the time — but it ensured the public would learn about their behavior. In that regard, it worked. Nobody's missing it now."The ability to trade, and particularly on a day trade basis, even if you're not doing anything wrong, it looks bad," said Sen. Warner. He said he keeps his investments in a trust that doesn't buy individual stocks. Today, momentum is building to finish the job Baird started. Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who replaced Purdue in the Senate, introduced legislation this week along with Sen. Mark Kelly to ban members of Congress and their families from trading stocks. The bill would force them to put their assets in blind trusts. And if they violated the law, they'd be fined their entire salaries. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, after failing to unite with Ossoff, introduced his own stock trade ban for members of Congress. Bridging the gap between parties won't be easy, but the bipartisan interest is a radical change from just a few years ago, where such bans were inconceivable. Nancy Pelosi's argument for allowing stock trading is that federal representatives should not be restricted from participating in the economy. "We are a free-market economy," she said in December. "They should be able to participate in that."But as Pelosi's colleagues consider regulating the tech giants, her family's been trading their stocks. Last July, her husband Paul Pelosi made $5.3 million by exercising call options to buy shares of Alphabet. His transactions took place just a week before the House Judiciary Committee advanced its slew of antitrust bills aimed at Big Tech. The market didn't think much of the bills, sending Alphabet's stock up, and Pelosi cashed in."The speaker has no involvement or prior knowledge of these transactions," Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said at the time.Congress can participate in a free market economy without this apparent conflict of interest. Putting their assets in blind trusts, as Ossoff proposed, would solve the problem while allowing them to participate in the market. Even limiting federal representatives to broad index funds would help.The S&P 500 returned nearly 27% in 2021, for instance, a fine result for anyone. Restricting members to more general funds could give them the market's upside, help them focus on the entire economy, and remove the temptation for impropriety. As he leaned back in his chair in his Washington DC office, Sen. Warner, a seasoned investor, brought the point home. "The stock pickers, you look at their averages against the actual returns of the market over the last five or 10 years, and time and again picking a market-based fund is both cheaper and probably has a better return." And that is exactly why Congress should limit itself to that option, unless it has something to hide. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

Enphase (ENPH) Extends Its Product Offerings to Colorado

Enphase Energy (ENPH) reveals the expansion of its Enphase Energy System in Colorado, thus capitalizing on the rising residential battery storage capacity in the region. Enphase Energy, Inc.ENPH recently revealed that it has recorded the increased adoption of its Enphase Energy System, comprising IQ Microinverters and IQ Batteries in Colorado. The increased deployment of IQ Microinverters and IQ Batteries exemplifies Enphase Energy’s ability to capitalize on the improving demand in the residential battery storage market.What’s Favoring Enphase Energy’s Growth?The increased adoption of Enphase Energy’s product offerings worldwide reflects its capabilities in offering the best standard and technologically advanced products to its customers. Also, Enphase Energy’s continuous efforts to improvise on its product offerings to provide homeowners with an excellent experience and improve customer reliability have resulted in huge demand for its products.Additionally, extreme weather conditions resulting in prolonged power outages in some regions have propelled demand for an efficient battery storage system. In this context, it is imperative to mention that the recent surge in the deployment of its products in Colorado is supported by homeowners’ hunt for a reliable and durable alternative, which will lower dependence on the power grid. Battery storage and microinverters of ENPH will support customers’ electricity needs during the extreme winter days that bring extended power outages.Colorado exemplifies massive growth potential for renewable sources of energy as the region enjoys sunny skies almost throughout the year, exhibiting immense opportunities for solar companies to develop solar projects and shine on the same.This also adds impetus to the growth of the battery storage market in the region as it enables homeowners to store the energy when not in use. This, in turn, provides a huge growth platform for companies like Enphase Energy to prosper through its innovative products.Moreover, per the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report from the Energy Storage Association and Wood Mackenzie, Colorado may witness two times more deployments in 2022 in residential battery storage while boasting 12-fold growth rate momentum in deployments over the next six years.Considering the solid growth prospects in the battery storage market in Colorado going forward, Enphase Energy may further witness the increased adoption of its products, which may boost its revenues from the Enphase Energy System line of business in the long haul.U.S. Battery Storage BoomThe United States zero-emission target is impelling the adoption of various renewable sources of energy. Underpinned by growth in renewable sources of energy, the battery storage system is also gaining momentum as it reduces dependence on the grid and supports its proper functioning.Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States is likely to witness an addition of 10,000 megawatts of large-scale battery storage projects to be installed between 2021 and 2023.Such compelling growth projections of the U.S. battery storage market embody ample opportunities for companies like Enphase Energy to flourish on the growing trend. Prominent solar players like SolarEdge Technologies SEDG, SunRun RUN and SunPower SPWR have also capitalized on the bright prospects of the U.S. battery storage market with their product range.For instance, SolarEdge’s StorEdge battery storage system helps meet energy demands with less or cheaper electricity. The company recently strengthened its presence in the United States by launching its SolarEdge Energy Bank residential battery and SolarEdge Energy Hub inverter with enhanced backup power.The long-term (three-five years) earnings growth rate of SolarEdge stands at 20.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SEDG’s 2022 sales entails an improvement of 35.6% over the prior-year estimated figure. Shares of SolarEdge have returned 8% to its investors in the past six months.SunRun’s Bright Box battery storage system offers the flexibility to generate, store and manage clean, affordable solar energy. Brightbox can buffer homeowners from increasing energy costs so that they have power when they need it the most, thus enabling homeowners to take charge of their electric bills and get control of energy needs now and in the future.In the last reported quarter, SunRun delivered an earnings surprise of 120.00%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for RUN’s 2022 sales indicates an improvement of 13.1% over the prior-year estimated figure.SunPower’s Equinox system with SunVault Storage solution offers an effective storage solution to homeowners by collecting excess energy in the daytime and distributing it as needed to power essential devices during an outage. This reduces reliance on grid electricity. This also reduces peak-time charges.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SunPower’s 2022 sales implies an upward revision of 4.4% in the past 60 days. The long-term earnings growth rate for SPWR stands at 15.6%.Price MovementIn the past three months, shares of Enphase Energy have decreased 17% compared with the industry’s 19.8% decline.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankEnphase Energy currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report SunPower Corporation (SPWR): Free Stock Analysis Report Enphase Energy, Inc. (ENPH): Free Stock Analysis Report SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. (SEDG): Free Stock Analysis Report Sunrun Inc. (RUN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

We Analyzed the Emissions 4 Families Generated in a Week. Here’s What We Learned About Living Greener

If 2021 was one of our last, best, chances to save the planet, it was also the year that we bought lots and lots of stuff, cooped up at home and frustrated with the pandemic. That shopping acted counter to the goal of reducing our carbon footprint; consumption drives about 60% of greenhouse gas emissions… If 2021 was one of our last, best, chances to save the planet, it was also the year that we bought lots and lots of stuff, cooped up at home and frustrated with the pandemic. That shopping acted counter to the goal of reducing our carbon footprint; consumption drives about 60% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, as the factories that make our stuff and the ships and trucks that bring it to us generate emissions, not to mention the emissions caused by mining for raw materials and farming the food we eat. Amazon alone reported in June that its emissions went up 19% in 2020 because of the boom in shopping during the pandemic. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Still, it can be hard, as an individual or a family, to care enough to change habits. Buying things has become one of the few sources of joy for many people since COVID-19 began sweeping the globe—and shopping online has become necessary for people trying to stay at home and avoid potential exposure. But goods are so cheap and easily available online that it feels harmless to add one more thing to your shopping cart. Convincing yourself to be environmentally conscious in your shopping habits feels a bit like convincing yourself to vote—obviously you should do it, but do the actions of one person really matter? As I kept buying things that I thought I needed while cooped up at home, I wondered: how much was my shopping, individually, contributing to climate change? Those pairs of extra-soft sweatpants, those reams of high density rubber foam that I use to baby-proof my apartment, those disposable yogurt bins and takeout food containers, all made from plastic and paper and other raw materials; was I—and other U.S. families spending so much money on stuff—making it that much harder to reach the COP26 goal of preventing warming from going beyond 1.5°C? Read more: Our Shopping Obsession is Causing a Literal Stink In order to estimate the carbon footprint of the shopping habits of families like mine, I asked four families in four cities—Denver, Colo., Atlanta, Ga., San Francisco, Calif., and Salem, Mass.—to track their spending the week beginning on Cyber Monday, Nov. 29, so I could try to determine what parts of their holiday spending were most harmful to the environment. I chose to calculate their carbon footprint rather than other impacts like the amount of water used to make the products they bought because scientists agree on the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to protect the planet’s future.   Courtesy photoThe baby in the Salem family opens a holiday gift. Measuring one’s carbon footprint is difficult, especially because much of the environmental impact from spending is upstream, at the factories that burn fossil fuels to make cars, for example, and at the farms that raise cows for our consumption and release methane. So I asked for help from David Allaway, a senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, who has been working for years to calculate the carbon footprint that comes from consumer spending. To figure out how much the consumption habits of Oregonians contribute to climate change, and what the state should be doing to remedy this, Allaway commissioned the Stockholm Environment Institute to produce the first state-level analysis of the environmental footprint of Oregon’s consumer spending in 2011. This analysis, called consumption-based emissions accounting, roughly estimates the emissions that come from consumer purchases in 536 different categories, including things as specific as beef cattle, books, and full-service restaurants. It counts the emissions of all purchases by consumers, regardless of where those emissions were created—in Mexico, picking, packing, and shipping bananas; in Saudi Arabia, drilling for and refining petroleum. Allaway has refined the analysis since then and completed it again in 2015. Allaway agreed to use the model he has honed to calculate the carbon footprint of these four families, based on how much money they spent in each category. The families sent me their expenses, excluding housing, and I entered them into the categories in Allaway’s model. This is, of course, an inexact model: The families only tracked one week of spending, and their spending was self-reported, so it’s possible they missed an expense or two. Still, the estimates give a good overview of the emissions driven by the behavior of different families. They only tracked one week of spending, and I prorated their electricity and power costs, so this is still an inexact calculator. A family might spend a lot one week and not much the following week. Still, the estimates give a good overview of just how much of a difference individuals can make in reducing their carbon footprint, and they shed light on exactly how our spending drives emissions. Although many consumers have a lot of guilt about disposing of things once they’re done with them, whether it be plastic packaging or a shirt that they’ve worn a few times and then stained, we just looked at consumption. That’s because the emissions from the disposal of goods is tiny compared to the emissions created from producing something in the first place. “By the time you purchase something, 99% of the damage has already been done,” Allaway told me. This means that the “reduce” part of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” is the most important. Read more: How American Consumers Broke the Supply Chain Buying less stuff is a piece of reducing emissions, but families can most reduce their carbon footprints through their eating and travel habits. The Denver family, which is vegetarian and has solar panels on their roof, had a significantly smaller footprint than the others. The families that ate beef and dairy and that bought plane tickets were responsible for the most emissions. There’s a reason the Swedish have a word “flygskam,” or “flight shame”: one flight can cancel out the most tightfisted family’s progress for a week. In general, spending on services and experiences, like concert tickets or museum subscriptions, is more environmentally friendly than spending on goods, because part of what you are paying for is labor. Allaway estimates that every $100 spent on materials accounts for about three times more emissions than $100 spent on services. Of course, there are exceptions—spending $100 on a steak dinner for two could have higher emissions than spending $100 on groceries to make a vegan meal at home. A few more quick caveats: these are all families with annual incomes of more than $100,000, and I sourced them from friends of friends and social media. They are all white, which is the group that is responsible for the highest levels of consumption in the U.S., and as a result, the most emissions. TIME agreed to use only their initials and the cities in which they live in order to encourage them to openly share their consumption habits without fear of being shamed for their purchases. The results varied widely, from a family in San Francisco that had a weekly carbon footprint of 1,267 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent—about the same as driving from New York to San Francisco in a gas-powered car—to the family in Denver whose weekly carbon footprint was just 360 kgCO2, the equivalent of driving from Denver to Tucson. Here are their detailed weekly breakdowns. The Family That Spends a Lot Online A.S. + W.H. Location: Salem, Mass. Children: 1-year-old Combined household income: about $200,000 Total emissions: 819 kgCO2e   This family spent about $2,800 for the week and had a carbon footprint of 819 kgCO2e, the equivalent of a passenger car driving 2,058 miles, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. That’s the same as they would have emitted from driving from Salem, Mass. to Charleston, S.C., and back. A.S and W.H. own their home in the coastal community of Salem, Mass. and have a baby daughter. Before becoming parents, the couple was used to buying things and using them for years. But they’re finding that as their daughter grows, their pace of shopping has sped up. “One of the things that makes having a baby so wasteful is that you need something, and when you need it, you need it urgently,” A.S. told me. “You need it for three weeks, and then you don’t need it anymore.” Online shopping has been a source of contention for the couple; W.H. buys almost everything online, which his spouse thinks creates needless waste. The two have asked their extended family to cut back on buying goods and to gift them experiences or services instead, but relatives have been resistant to change. Their biggest single source of consumption-based emissions from the week, 138 kgCO2e, came from buying stuff online. They spent $298.99 for gifts for two family friends: two subscription boxes from Little Passports, which will send the recipients crafts, puzzles and books about different locations around the world for a year. This falls into the “dolls, toys, and games” category, which means the emissions-per-dollar would have been calculated the same regardless of what dolls, toys, and games they bought. Most of the emissions in this category come from the factories that make this stuff, rather than the materials mined or produced to create them, Allaway said, so it wouldn’t really matter environmentally whether they bought these toys at Amazon, Walmart or at a local toy store. They also bought a $269.20 wall sconce, a purchase that created 105 kgCO2e. Aside from those purchases, their biggest emissions came from the food they ate—specifically beef and dairy products. A.S. and W.H. had a pizza dinner with family during the week and a few snacks and coffees at local restaurants; all meals out, whether sit-down or take-out, are categorized as services. But they did buy around $40 worth of ice cream, yogurt and cheese, and they participated in a food share that provided them with around $28 of red meat (the protein changes every week.) Dairy and beef cause a lot more emissions than vegetables; the family spent roughly the same amount on vegetables and on dairy products, but the dairy was responsible for more than double the emissions as their veggies. The couple told me that they’ve been trying to cut back on dairy but have had a hard time finding an environmentally-responsible alternative; almond milk uses up crucial water, for example, and coconut milk requires a lot of emissions-heavy transport to get from where coconuts are grown to New England. They also wonder whether cutting back on things they enjoy is worth the sacrifice. Spending $30 on beef produces about 47 kgCO2e, which is the same as driving about 120 miles. Why should they stop buying cheese if their neighbor is driving that far to commute to and from work every week? “That’s one of the big pieces of friction between me and my husband,” A.S. told me. “I think he sees this as too big of a problem for any individual behavior to change.” The Family That Eats Out a Lot M.C. and N.A. Location: Atlanta, Ga. Children: 14 months and 3 ½ years old Combined household income: $100k-$200k Total emissions: 757 kgCO2e   This family spent about $1,361 for the week and had consumption-based emissions of 757 kg CO2e, the same as if they’d driven a car 1,902 miles, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. That’s the distance from Atlanta to Las Vegas. The Atlanta family’s emissions came in slightly lower than the Salem family’s. M.C. told me that this week was atypical for them because they usually buy diapers and fill up on gas, and they didn’t do either this week. They did eat out a lot—they were surprised by how much, once they started counting, but because of the way Allaway’s model works, restaurants are a lower-emissions way to spend money than buying a lot of goods. (The model doesn’t account for what you eat at a restaurant, but since so much of a restaurant’s bill is for service, rather than a tangible product, the spending often creates lower emissions.) M.C. told me that because they’re in their car so much, they often stop by quick-service restaurants like Chick-Fil-A to get a fast dinner if they don’t have time to prepare something at home. The pandemic has made them feel guilty about the environmental repercussions of eating out so much, because even sit-down restaurants serve food on disposable plates, with plastic utensils. But their biggest source of emissions for the week was something out of their control—electricity generation. Their electricity bill is about $200 a month but can be as high as $500 in the summer and winter, the family told me. I prorated that to $50 a week, which led to 254 kg CO2e, one of the highest single weekly sources of emissions for any family. (That’s the equivalent of a car driving from New York to Detroit.) The Atlanta and Denver households had higher emissions from their electricity and natural gas bills than the other two families in part because these regions are more reliant on coal-fired power plants, Allaway said. N.A., who works in finance, takes public transit to work, and the family has been trying to move away from spending money on things and toward spending on experiences. But something like cutting back on red meat or being more conscious about the products they buy can be hard, M.C. said. She has enough going on already. “With two little kids, I don’t think about it,” she said. The Family That Travels A.A. and M.T. Location: San Francisco Children: 18 months Combined household Income: more than $300,000 Total emissions: 1,267 kg CO2e   The wealthiest families create the most emissions, and that was certainly true with the San Francisco family, which was the highest-earning of the four families and which generated the highest emissions: the equivalent of driving from San Francisco to Miami. A.A. told me she thought the family had been buying way too much stuff online, and they did buy more stuff online than any of the other families —$60 on clothes from Target, $23 for a baby float on Amazon, $48 for diapers on Amazon, $21 for baby wipes. They also shopped at brick and mortar stores—$26 at a local bookstore, $37 at CVS for razors and snacks, $18 at a local hardware store. And they spent a lot on restaurants—about $300 in total. But none of those purchases drove the bulk of their emissions. Instead, that came from a $400 purchase of two round-trip airline tickets from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which created 436 kg CO2e, the single largest emissions from any purchase of the four families for the week. Because prices were discounted when they bought the tickets, that’s probably a low estimate of the emissions from their flight; the emissions calculator run by myclimate, an international nonprofit, estimates that a roundtrip flight for two between those two cities would generate 614 kg of CO2e, more than the 333 kg the family would have created by driving. (Taking a train would have lowered their emissions further, but also would have taken 12 hours one way.) They also spent $400 on hotel reservations, leading to 123 kg CO2e. This is intuitive—we all know that flying creates a lot of emissions. But it was illuminating to see just how much more it creates than other things do. That one trip to LA bumped the family’s emissions from 708 kg in the week to 1,276. A.A. told me they haven’t flown much since the pandemic started and bought the tickets to attend a close friend’s wedding. In the last two years, they’ve flown far less than they did before the pandemic and before having children. Instead, they’ve stayed home and explored San Francisco, or driven to destinations within an hour or two. They say they feel lucky to be able to do that where they live and will think twice before buying plane tickets on a whim going forward, but that unless costs go up, it may be hard to resist a getaway. The Family That Buys Used M.C. and N.A. Location: Denver Children: 9, 7, and 4 years old Combined household income: More than $200,000 Total emissions: 360 kg CO2e The Denver family has been trying to be more environmentally-conscious for years, and they had the lowest emissions, despite having the most family members (although they were the only family without a kid in diapers.) Their emissions were far lower than those of the other three families, adding up to the equivalent of a drive from Denver to Tucson. They do just about everything they can do to reduce emissions: M.C. doesn’t eat meat or cook it at home; her husband and children only eat meat if it’s served at a friend’s house. The family tries to avoid dairy products (one of the items they bought this week was vegan “egg”nog); they buy used clothes from ThredUp; their home has solar panels. M.C. said the family has always been conscious about reducing waste but became more serious about it a few years ago; when all their friends were moving to the suburbs, they moved to a more urban area of Denver, where N.A. could walk to work. “The driving we were doing was more impactful than the plastic wrap on a bag of pasta,” M.C. said. The couple knew they would have to make some sacrifices when they had children, but they didn’t want to give up on their environmental goals. They decided to wrest control over what their life looked like. “We realized that we could make some more intentional choices, set up our life in a way that not only decreased environmental impact, but also made our life happier,” she said. They enjoy being able to walk to so many places. M.C. has really never liked meat; she would occasionally cook it for her kids but stopped doing so three years ago. They’ll treat themselves to real cheese or real eggnog occasionally, but usually they go vegan. Their biggest emissions came from their use of natural gas—they spend about $44 a month on natural gas, despite their solar panels. Because solar power is so variable—it may be sunny one day, and then cloudy for a week—most systems that run on renewables like solar also use some natural gas. Still, the Denver family avoided a lot of emissions in places where other families didn’t. They spent $156 on clothes, but all from ThredUp, a used clothing site, which generated only 17 kg CO2e, according to Allaway’s estimates. The San Francisco family, by contrast, spent $61 on new clothes, which resulted in 26 kg CO2e. (Allaway’s model treats used goods as having a very low carbon footprint because it assigns the carbon footprint to the previous user, who bought them new; but buying used clothes does have some carbon footprint since the clothes are transported from the warehouses where they’re stored.) M.C. said she knows her kids might resist wearing used clothes as they get older and that there may be a day when they don’t want Christmas gifts from the thrift store. But they’re trying to teach their children not to be consumed by materialism, she said. She wants them to find happiness from something other than new things. When I asked M.C. if she thought her sacrifices were worth it, she said yes. Her family’s choices allow the couple and their children to focus on relationships, she said. She hopes she has motivated some friends and family to change their behavior, too. But ultimately, it’s about being aware of the urgency of environmental awareness, she said. “By trying to reduce my own emissions, that helps me stay in touch with the broader issues and think about the ways I can be an advocate for change in the areas that really will have an impact,” she said. What Your Family Can Do Of course, the emissions that the Denver family saved compared to the San Francisco family would be wiped out by one individual taking an hourlong flight on a private jet. It can be hard to rationalize making dramatic behavioral changes when reducing individual emissions can feel fruitless. Even the annual emissions of the San Francisco family—around 66 metric tons of CO2—pale in comparison to the electricity use of just one U.S. supermarket over the course of a year: 1,383 metric tons of CO2. But changing your behavior is not fruitless, Allaway says. Individuals by themselves might not be able to make enough of a difference to prevent the worst effects of climate change, but collective action—lots of individuals working together—might. Still, many of our preconceived notions about what to buy can be wrong. In the winter, Oregon consumers who buy tomatoes from nearby British Columbia have a bigger carbon footprint than those who buy tomatoes from faraway Mexico, because the Canadian tomatoes are grown in power-hungry greenhouses, Allaway has found. Out-of-season apples from New Zealand may have less of a carbon footprint than local apples that have been put in cold storage for months. Coffee beans delivered in a fully recyclable steel container have a higher climate impact than beans delivered in non-recyclable plastic because of the steel container’s weight. There are behavioral changes you can make that will almost certainly lower your emissions. You can reduce your driving and flying. You can switch to renewable energy. You can buy lighter goods, which use less materials than heavyweight goods, and buy things that have to travel a smaller distance to get to your home (although that in itself is hard to parse out, because a “locally-made” toy may have been created from materials imported from China, which negates the benefits of buying something local). You can buy things that are made from plants rather than animals, and buy used goods whenever possible. (Of course, there’s a caveat there, too—buying a used car that is a gas guzzler would be worse than buying a new electric vehicle.) But if you’re trying to choose individual products that were created with lower emissions, you’ll have a tough task ahead of you. Right now, one of the only ways to know which products have the lowest carbon footprint is to read their life cycle assessment, which is a document that measures their environmental impact from cradle to grave. In Europe, many companies also offer Environmental Product Declarations, which are abbreviated versions of life-cycle assessments, says Sarah Cashman, director of Life Cycle Services at ERG, an environmental consulting group. These documents are hard to decipher, dotted with words like “eutrophication potential,” (the nutrient runoff from farming or manufacturing). EPD InternationalA chart in a 49-page diaper environmental product declaration document There is no report card that lets customers easily see which products are made, transported, and sold with lower emissions than others. Amazon has tried to start labeling some products as “climate-pledge friendly” so that shoppers can choose green products that have received a third-party sustainability certification from a qualifying organization. But even that puts a lot of burden on a consumer to read every label on every item that they buy. So much responsibility for creating less waste has already fallen onto the consumer that asking them to take one more step, as the families above said, is too much. There is a solution, though. Consumers can demand more from companies, who can take on the responsibility of lowering emissions for the products they make every step of the way. The supply chains of eight global industries account for more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Boston Consulting Group. There are companies that already have a head start. Patagonia says that 86% of its emissions come from the raw materials it uses and their supply chains, and through its Supply Chain Environmental Responsibility Program, it is aiming to use only renewable or recycled materials to make its products by 2025. Most companies won’t do this unprompted, but if consumers start shopping at places that are reducing emissions in their supply chain, companies will start looking at their supply chains in order to stay in business. A database of companies that are legitimately working on this would be a good first step. It may feel like there’s nothing you can do as an individual or as a family, but collective action could look like millions of families preferring to shop at places that are working to dramatically reduce emissions in their supply chain. Buying less may not be an option for many families, but Americans have proved, if nothing else, that they know how to shop smart.  .....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 6th, 2022

COVID Is Dead. Energy Is The New Crisis

COVID Is Dead. Energy Is The New Crisis Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “Trying to fire-up the induction hob by rubbing two sticks together proved a waste of time..” Markets are welcoming victory versus COVID, but the next crisis is upon us: Energy instability. The consequences could be dramatic.. Back to the grindstone with a vengeance today – holidays are over and the Christmas decorations are back in their boxes. Time to get serious about 2022. Time to buy or time to sell? I am unconvinced many market participants understand just how much the ground has shifted over the last quarter – particularly in relation to Energy pricing. The first few months of 2022 are going to be about the market learning what the new landscape looks like, and how it adapts to a new and changing economic reality. This new year is going to be fundamentally different and more challenging in terms of how to invest “smart” in a new and utterly changed financial market environment. On the plus side, the outlook for 2022 has rosy overtones: Increasingly it looks like the back of Coronavirus has been broken. Infections of the new Omicron might be running out of control around the globe, but new variant hospitalisations and deaths are way down. The crisis is now coloured by issues such as the number of workers off sick – or more likely isolating at home with positive test results and minor symptoms. Official UK vaccine numbers (rather than dubious source material from the University of Facebook) show booster shots are 88% effective against Omicron, and the hospitalisation risk of the new variant is 1/3rd of the previous Delta. Hallelujah! Ding-Dong! Yippee… The market bulls are predicting a massive economic boost from the global economy reopening. We’ll see that confirmed by a host of new supply chain blockages, rising job vacancy numbers, short-term pressure on wages and increasing consumer confidence as the pandemic scales down from end-of-the-world contagion to a bad flu. That is the way viruses evolve and mutate – we learn to co-exist. Even if interest rates start to rise as central banks address the “transitory” inflation effects caused by supply chain bottlenecks, and scale back asset buying programmes, the market bulls believe normalised interest rates will not prove an insurmountable barrier to continued market upside on the back of 2 years of covid-repressed demand. (Central Banks are hoping a post-pandemic boom will prove their stay-out-of-jail card..) But, but and but again… Things are seldom so simple. Contain your enthusiasm. The big issue will be Energy – a factor I’ve commented upon many times in the Porridge. This new energy crisis has been a long-time brewing – unnoticed by the markets, and hidden under a bushel of ESG wokery, underinvestment, and neglect of energy security by governments. (The UK government’s blithe assumptions future energy security could be safely covered by the markets now look bumptiously foolish.) Energy prices will remain volatile on the back of increasing shortage – and the effects of a Gas Shock (in particular) will rock markets. Fixing energy security is a long-term issue, and will be made more complex and expensive by green politics. Energy matters. It is one of the 3 core ingredients of economic growth. To make economies work you need a willing workforce to make and buy stuff, access to capital to build the economy, and energy to transform raw materials into finished goods. Long-term inflation and economic destabilisation will occur when any of these become prohibitively expensive. If you want to know how an energy crisis impacts markets, go do a Wiki search on the 1973 Oil Shock. When I was clearing out my parents house last year I found petrol rationing coupons from 50 years ago hidden at the back of a drawer. Markets are serious underestimating just how painful and economically destructive sustained energy price and supply volatility could be. Thus far we’ve had an incredibly mild European winter – simply delaying the impact. We’re all going to feel it in Q1 when the power bills tumble through the letterbox. The short-term outlook the market is taking to the bigger Energy crisis was illustrated y’day in the price action on Tesla. The stock rocketed 13.5% higher – up $144 bln in market cap – on the back of Tesla’s success in overcoming the supply chain issues that have so blighted the rest of the autosector. It delivered a record 308,600 electric cars in Q4, confirming is got the manufacturing ability to deliver. It nearly doubled 2021 production (to 936k cars) from 510k in 2020! Respect…. But…. Increasing production is retrospective news. Surely, Tesla’s already massively bloated market valuation included the expectation Musk was going to deliver his promised 1 million cars? Musk promises much – and gradually, very gradually, he is now delivering cars. They are, apparently, good cars and I won’t dwell on stories about people driving them over cliffs, or blowing them up because of repair costs. (Finland: where the owner unsurprisingly found his battery didn’t last long in sub-zero conditions, and when faced with a $15k bill for a new battery pack, simply dynamited the car instead)! Tesla is now a good auto manufacturer with a very valuable franchise value garnered through its lead in the EV sector. It now faces growing competition in the EV space, which it will counter from its first mover status. It promises, and promises and promises, autonomous driving – just like everyone else. While Musk seems impervious to the delivery delays on his self-driving car, what happens as the price of lithium batteries becomes unsustainable, and folk start to realise the charging costs of an EV have risen by a factor of 4? Or when someone launches a non-lithium battery? Energy costs will impact across the economy. Energy inflation will impact consumer spending – which probably explains the briefness of Apple’s flirtation with a $3 trillion valuation. How many bright shiny things can we afford to buy when we can’t heat the house? Never forget the old story about 70% of American workers being one pay-check from penury – what happens when their pay-checks stretch half-as-far. There are, of course, a host of other energy-inflation consequences I haven’t mentioned this morning – particularly what happens in high-yield bond markets when higher-energy bills come due this quarter.. just saying, but Slaughter on Junk Avenue is a theme I expect to write about soon. The knock-on effects and consequences of higher energy prices are only dimly understood by markets… *  *  * An aside – Crimes against women. Through the holiday I followed the saga of the Maxwell trial. After 500 days of speculation and solitary she was found guilty. The papers are full of tributes to the bravery of the women who testified and are now able to bury the hurt and damage done to them. I couldn’t help but wonder at the media circus around it. Sexual abuse doesn’t stop at Epstein. It happens across the globe. There are multiple cases of Sexual Grooming, Pimping, and Rape being perpetrated by gangs of Asian men on vulnerable girls in UK cities. We’ve known about it for decades, but the police still don’t record the ethnicity of perpetrators (for fear of upsetting minorities). There have been few successful prosecutions. The lives of literally thousands of young girls are being blighted in perpetuity – but you ain’t seeing any of them receiving a penny and definitely not multi-million dollar payoffs, or supported by the press to pursue their abusers. There is something distinctly unsavoury about the whole Maxwell trial. One law for the rich and wealthy, versus none for the poor? Something has to change. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2022

Deja Vu? Texas NatGas Output Plunges Amid Cold Snap

Deja Vu? Texas NatGas Output Plunges Amid Cold Snap U.S. natural gas futures rose late in the session on new data that showed a plunge in pipeline gas flows in Texas, which indicates the state's power grid could be susceptible to failures amid a cold snap.  Front-month gas futures are up more than 3% to $3.84 around 1445 ET as commodity traders assess the situation in Texas.  "Production of the heating and power generation fuel in Texas fell on Sunday to the lowest since February's freeze -- when millions were sent into the dark for days -- after temperatures plunged," BloombergNEF pipeline data showed. Flows are expected to rebound when temperatures rebound.  Temperatures in The Lone Star State are expected to rebound in the coming days.  However, warmer weather might not return to much of the U.S. until next Tuesday. Mean temperatures will oscillate around a 30-year average for the next eight days, occasionally dipping to below-average levels. The coldest point is between Jan. 8-11.  Heating degree days for the U.S. show cold weather will increase the demand for energy to heat building structures.  A plunge in gas supplies comes right after the Electric Reliability Council (ERCOT) of Texas said the power grid is "winterized and ready to provide power."  Last February, a cold snap froze wellhead across the state that parazyled gas flows. Power plants couldn't get enough fuel to spin turbines, and combine that with extraordinarily high power demand from customers to stay warm, the grid was minutes from collapse -- forcing ERCOT, the grid operator -- to implement rolling blackouts.  Despite ERCOT's confidence that grid stability can be achieved this winter, keep an eye on Texas and pray for warmer weather; if not, another energy crisis could be nearing.  Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 22:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

Uranium Stocks Soar After EU Seeks Green Light For Nuclear Projects

Uranium Stocks Soar After EU Seeks Green Light For Nuclear Projects Long before European energy prices went stratospheric, in December 2020, we predicted that Uranium stocks were set to surge as it was only a matter of time before the Green lobby lumped the Uranium sector along with the rest of the ESG space (see :"Uranium Stocks Soar: Is This The Beginning Of The Next ESG Craze"). So it would be stand to reason that the case to "bless" nuclear power was that much more powerful when European energy prices just went through a period of unprecedented hyperinflation. That's exactly what happened on the first day of the year, when uranium companies surged higher, extending on one of the best trades in the past year (the Uranium URA ETF is double since we first recommended the space in early Dec 2020), after the European Union said it is planning to allow some nuclear energy projects to be classified as sustainable investments, a proposal that sparked immediate criticism from the Greens who would rather freeze to death and spend all their money to keep warm during the winter than allow a few nuclear power plants to restart. According to the draft, sent on Friday to EU national governments for review, nuclear energy could be classified as sustainable as long as new plants that are granted construction permits by 2045 meet a set of criteria to avoid significant harm to the environment and water resources, Bloomberg reported. “The Commission considers there is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future,” the EU executive arm said in a statement on Saturday. The reason why global uranium stocks spiked is because the design of the EU investment classification system - known as the taxonomy - is closely watched by investors worldwide and could potentially attract billions of euros in private finance to help the green transition. The challenge is to ensure the decision on nuclear and gas gets political support, while avoiding the risk of greenwashing, or overstating the significance of emissions cuts, something that has plagued virtually every other aspect of ESG. Europe wants to reach carbon neutrality by the middle of the century under the Green Deal, a sweeping overhaul that aims to accelerate pollution cuts in all areas, from energy production to transport. Yet for some lawmakers, investors and activists, classifying gas or nuclear projects as green would harm the entire sustainable investment rulebook. “Including nuclear power and gas in the EU taxonomy is like labeling a caged egg as organic,” said Michael Bloss, a German member of the Green group in the European Parliament. “Instead of channeling money into investments in the solar and wind industries, old and extremely expensive business models can now be continued under false guise.” On the other hand, considering that it will take years if not decades for solar and wind to be viable alternatives to coal, nat gas or nuclear, it really doesn't matter whether the egg is caged or organic as long as Europeans don't freeze, and one more winter like this one and Europe's parties of "Green" hypocrites will be kicked out of parliament permanently, as the locals decide they'd rather have at least nuclear power than spend their entire paycheck on heating and power bills. As Bloomberg notes, the taxonomy aims to guide investors to clean projects. The decision on whether it should include gas and nuclear power was delayed in April following criticism that such an addition could undermine the credibility of the system. Giving a temporary green label to certain gas projects gas projects could facilitate investments in cleaning up coal-based heating systems in countries such as Poland. That’s an argument often raised by East European politicians. Meanwhile, the inclusion of some nuclear energy projects would help attract private finance in nations from France to the Czech Republic, which plan to rely on atomic power in their transition to net-zero emissions. The Commission is also planning to ensure a high degree of transparency to investors concerning gas and nuclear energy, introducing specific disclosure requirements for non-financial and financial undertakings. Member states and the Platform on Sustainable Finance have until Jan. 12 to provide feedback. The Commissions will then adopt the delegated act later this month. In the next step, it will be sent to EU nations and the European Parliament for scrutiny. And while we wait, the market is clearly looking for a favorable outcome, leading to surges across most uranium sector names including: Uranium Energy up 7.5% Uranium Royalty up 8.2% Energy Fuels up 7.9% Denison Mines up 7.3% NexGen Energy up 5.9% Cameco up 4.0% Global X Uranium ETF (URA) gains 5.00% If the European outcome is favorable, expect much more upside as our core thesis plays out. Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 15:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

European Nuke Plants Offline As Power Prices Hit Record 

European Nuke Plants Offline As Power Prices Hit Record  Bloomberg's Chief Energy Correspondent Javier Blas tweeted a disturbing map of European day-ahead electricity prices that will hit record highs on Monday.  "EUROPEAN ENERGY CRISIS: Wow, wow, wow... I'm running out of words to describe the European short-term electricity market," Blas said.  He continued, "Multiple records breached for Monday. With the exception of Poland and Scandinavia, all Europe is above €300 per MWh (France and Switzerland near €400)." The continuation of surging power prices, as Blas explained, is due to "Lots of nuclear reactors are down, demand is high (electricity used for heating), so it's burning gas to bridge the gap."  Days ago, we told readers multiple nuclear power plants in France were taken offline due to routine safety inspections that found cracks at one power plant.  European daily power demand continues to soar as colder-than-normal temperatures are present across the continent. Benchmark natural gas prices surged to a new high last week, up more than 650% on the year, on concerns of declining gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline that runs across Belarus and Poland to Mallnow, Germany; low storage on the continent, and geopolitical risk.  European natural gas prices hit a new record high.  The amount of gas entering Germany at the Mallnow compressor station collapsed. The pipeline only booked for 4% of space for Dec. 20.  The latest geopolitical flare-up occurred last week when Germany's federal network agency, Bundesnetzagentur, said Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline won't be cleared until July. On Sunday, Germany said they could entirely block the Nord Stream 2 if a possible conflict between Russia and Ukraine erupts.  Europe's energy crisis worsens and risks sparking discontent among many Europeans. How long until politicians order utilities to implement price caps on power rates? If politicians want to stay in power, they might also have to subsidize people's power bills as energy inflation runs wild.  Tyler Durden Mon, 12/20/2021 - 04:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 20th, 2021

Not Only Gold Lacks Energy – We All Do Now

First a pandemic, then inflation, and now an energy crisis. Should you buy gold when preparing for the winter? Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Global Energy Crisis Brace yourselves, winter is coming! And this time I’m deadly serious, as there is a global energy crisis. Not only does gold lack energy to […] First a pandemic, then inflation, and now an energy crisis. Should you buy gold when preparing for the winter? if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Icahn eBook! Get our entire 10-part series on Carl Icahn and other famous investors in PDF for free! Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet or print it! Sign up below. NO SPAM EVER (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Global Energy Crisis Brace yourselves, winter is coming! And this time I’m deadly serious, as there is a global energy crisis. Not only does gold lack energy to fuel its rally right now, but people from all over the world lack it to fuel their operations and to heat their houses. Apparently, the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t enough, so we also have to deal with inflation, supply bottlenecks, and the energy crisis. I guess there is nothing else to do now but wait for the frogs to start falling from the sky. But let’s not give the gods ideas and focus on the energy crisis today. What is it about? A picture is worth a thousand words, so please take a look at the chart below, which presents the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, Europe’s leading benchmark for natural gas prices. As you can see, future prices for European natural gas have skyrocketed to a record level in October 2021, surging several times from their low in May 2020. The persistence and global dimension of these price spikes are unprecedented, as natural gas prices have also surged in Asia and America (although to a lesser degree). What caused such a spike? Well, as a trained economist, I cannot resist answering that it’s a matter of demand and supply! Yeah, thank you, Captain Obvious, but could you be a little more specific? Sure, so on the demand side, we have to mention a fast recovery from the epidemic and cold fall that increased the use of energy. Oh, and don’t forget about the ultra-low interest rates and the increase in the money supply that boosted spending on practically everything. The increased demand for energy is hardly surprising in such conditions. On the supply side, there were unpredictable breakdowns of gas infrastructure in Russia and Norway that decreased deliveries. The former country reduced its exports due to political reasons. What’s more, the reduction in the supply of CO2 emission rights and unfavorable weather didn’t help. The windless conditions in Europe generated little wind energy, while drought in Brazil reduced hydropower energy. More fundamentally, the decline in energy prices in response to the economic crisis of 2020 prompted many producers to stop drilling and later supply simply didn’t catch up with surging demand. You can also add here the political decisions to move away from nuclear and carbon energy in some countries. Last but not least, the butterfly’s wings flapped in China. Coal production in that country plunged this year amid a campaign against corruption and floods that deluged some mines. Middle Kingdom therefore began to buy significant amounts of natural gas, sharply increasing its prices. China’s ban on importing coal from Australia, of course, didn’t help here. Great, but what does the energy crisis imply for the global economy and the gold market? First, shortages of energy could be a drag on global GDP. The slowdown in economic growth should be positive for gold, as it would bring us closer to stagflation. Second, the energy crisis could cause discontent among citizens and strengthen the populists. People are already fed up with pandemics and high inflation, and now they have to pay much higher energy bills. Just imagine how they will cheer when blackouts occur. Third, the surge in natural gas prices could support high producer and consumer inflation. We are already observing some ripple effects in the coal and oil markets that could also translate into elevated CPI numbers. Another inflationary factor is power shortages in China, as they will add to the supply disruptions we are currently facing. All this implies more persistent high inflation, which should provide support for the yellow metal as an inflation hedge, although it also increases the odds of a more hawkish Fed, which is rather negative for gold. It’s true that a replay of the 1970s-like energy crisis is remote, as today’s economies are much less energy-consuming and dependent on fossil fuels. However, the worst is possibly yet to come. After all, winter hasn’t arrived yet – and it could be another harsh one, especially given that La Niña is expected to be present for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, gas stocks are unusually low. You can connect the dots. Implications For Gold So far, gold has rather ignored the unfolding energy crisis, but we’ve already seen that market narratives can change quickly. It’s therefore possible that prolonged supply disruption and high inflation could change investors’ attitude toward the yellow metal at some point. The weak gold’s reaction stems from the limited energy crisis in the US and from the focus on the Fed’s tightening cycle. But investors’ attention can shift, especially when the Fed starts hiking federal funds rate. Brace yourselves! Thank you for reading today’s free analysis. We hope you enjoyed it. If so, we would like to invite you to sign up for our free gold newsletter. Once you sign up, you’ll also get 7-day no-obligation trial of all our premium gold services, including our Gold & Silver Trading Alerts. Sign up today! Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care. Updated on Dec 17, 2021, 10:13 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 17th, 2021

Germany Won"t Approve Nord Stream 2 Until July; EU NatGas Soars To New Record High

Germany Won't Approve Nord Stream 2 Until July; EU NatGas Soars To New Record High European gas futures surged to a record high Thursday after Germany said natural gas flows to Europe via Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline won't be made before July, according to Bloomberg.  Germany's federal network agency, Bundesnetzagentur, halted Nord Stream 2's certification process in mid-November. The regulator requested the Swiss-based operator of the pipeline, Russia's Gazprom PJSC, to set up a German subsidiary to comply with European regulations.  As soon as that happens, the certification process will resume. Speaking at a press conference, Bundesnetzagentur President Jochen Homann said, "a decision won't be made in the first half of 2022."  Following Homann's comments, the Dutch month-ahead gas, the European benchmark, soared to a new record high of 135 euros, up more than 650% year on year.  The Nord Stream 2 was completed in September and is supposed to come online in early 2021, but that appears not the case anymore. Europe is dealing with winter supply concerns as the state of gas storage stocks dwindles.  Russian gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline that runs across Belarus and Poland to Mallnow, Germany continue to run at depressed levels -- another reason for elevated gas prices.  We must point out the region's low stockpiles, depressed gas flows into the country, geopolitical concerns, and cold weather will likely bid gas prices throughout the Northern Hemisphere winter. However, the situation in the US is entirely the opposite -- warm weather and abundance of gas have depressed prices. European natural gas has never been more expensive relative to US prices.  While record-high prices are enough of a problem, for context, this is equivalent to a $270 price for a barrel of crude oil... strongly suggesting the pressure to switch must be building (and with it demand for crude, which could scupper Biden's cunning plan to lower US gasoline prices)... Without the Nord Stream 2 flowing, power prices across the continent will continue to soar.  EUROPEAN ENERGY CRISIS: A map is worth a thousand words (and in case a few words are needed: that day-ahead electricity price is a record for Germany and much of the rest of Europe) | #EuropeanEnergyCrisis pic.twitter.com/m8SFhWoS6K — Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) December 15, 2021 Germany is shooting itself and the rest of Europe in the foot by not allowing the Nord Stream 2 to come online as winter is just five days away.  Tyler Durden Thu, 12/16/2021 - 13:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 16th, 2021

Greenwald: Corbyn Leads British Left In Opposition To Vaccine Mandates As Anti-Worker And Repressive

Greenwald: Corbyn Leads British Left In Opposition To Vaccine Mandates As Anti-Worker And Repressive Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, The shorthand label “anti-vax” once had a clear and concise meaning: namely, those who reject the prevailing western scientific orthodoxy that vaccines are a safe and effective means of protecting humans against infectious diseases by training the immune system to combat a pathogen in advance. As vaccines become more prevalent against an increasingly wide range of diseases — measles, mumps, polio, chickenpox — a dissenting political and scientific movement has emerged which rejects the scientific premises of vaccines and attempts to persuade others not to vaccinate themselves or their children on the ground that they are ineffective, dangerous and/or motivated by corporate profit rather than legitimate concerns about public health. Former UK Labour Party Leader and current independent MP Jeremy Corbyn argues against vaccine mandates for health care workers and vaccine passports for all citizens, Dec. 13, 2021 But exactly as we have seen with so many other political labels — terrorist, racist, fascist, white nationalist, anti-Semite — this once-descriptive, precise and useful phrase has metamorphized far beyond its original meaning into something barely recognizable or cogent. That transformation has been deliberate, with a clear motive: to weaponize the term into a potent political insult designed to compel submission to decrees from institutions of authority and stigmatize dissenters, threatening them with reputation destruction. The rapid expansion of the term “anti-vax” into a coercive political weapon has been years in the making, but the COVID pandemic was the steroid it needed to blossom into one of the most reputation-crippling labels one can affix to a political target. Just as is true of accusing people of being terrorists, white nationalists, fascists or anti-Semites not because one espouses views traditionally designated by those terms but as punishment for any sort of dissent, the destructive power of the COVID iteration of “anti-vax” resides precisely in its vagueness, its lack of precise contours, its emptiness and meaninglessness. A term that means nothing can, by definition and by design, encompass anyone and everyone depending solely on the needs of the moment. The utter obliteration of any coherent definition is evidenced by the fact that one can now be labelled “anti-vax” even though one a) believes in the foundational science of vaccines, b) is themselves vaccinated for COVID and makes the decision that one's children will be as well, and c) states publicly that they have chosen to be vaccinated. How is it possible to pull off such a seemingly inane and internally contradictory attack: namely, malign people who have taken the vaccine and publicized their choice to do so as “anti-vax"? This is accomplished by twisting and distorting the term “anti-vax” away from its scientific meaning (“one who rejects the efficacy of vaccines”) into a term of political disobedience. Thus, the operational definition of the term has become: one who questions any of the decrees of public health authorities on any matters or who believes that adult citizens should retain the choice to decide for themselves whether to be vaccinated. In other words, the term “anti-vax” now means nothing other than: one who questions any policies adopted by state officials in the name of fighting COVID. Unfortunately for the liberal-left which has constructed this manipulative and coercive framework, this now requires that the term “anti-vax” be applied to one of the international left's most beloved political figures: former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. They must also now apply this term of shame to the most admired left-wing members of the British Parliament along with leading trade unions in the UK. That is because the British Left — not just Corbyn and leftist MPs but also leading labor unions — have united to emphatically oppose vaccine mandates and vaccines passports on the ground that 1) it is immoral and profoundly anti-worker to fire health care front-line workers and other workers for refusing a vaccine they have not been convinced is safe and effective, and 2) persuasion is a far more effective and ethical means of administering public health policy than coercion, dictate and punishment. On Tuesday night, the UK Parliament approved a proposal by conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson to require proof of COVID vaccines — a COVID passport — to enter any venues with large crowds such as nightclubs and stadiums. The vote was 369 to 126. But the opposition was composed of a mix of populist right-wing Tories and the anti-establishment left-wing members of Labour and other leftist parties. Close to one hundred conservatives, and more than 20 leftist Labour members (along with Corbyn, now technically an “independent” after being expelled by his successor, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer), voted against Johnson's vaccine passport law. Vote breakdown in UK Parliament on vote to require proof of vaccines to enter large venues, Dec. 15, 2021 A similar vote, and similar breakdown, emerged on a separate bill from Prime Minister Johnson to require workers of the UK's National Health Service (NHS) to be vaccinated or be fired. The vote in favor of that vaccine mandate bill was 385-100. Conservative opposition to these two bills was — despite being advocated by the Tory Prime Minister — unsurprising. Their rationale was similar to right-wing opposition to such COVID-era coercive measures around the democratic world. Tory opponents depicted such mandates as an infringement of individual liberty as well as unnecessary, in light of the UK's vaccination rates for all adults, which exceeds 70%, and is at least on par with most other western European countries. But what is particularly notable — and most definitely out of the ordinary when it comes to Western politics — is the steadfast opposition to vaccine mandates and passports from the British left. Labour unions have adamantly denounced the threat of termination for employees who refuse the vaccine as “anti-worker” and a violation of the autonomy of workers. They have argued that it is particularly cruel to threaten health care workers — the same people the world has been applauding for their brave work on the front-line of the pandemic — with loss of their job for their belief that vaccination is not the right choice for them and their family. In October, for instance, the BDA Trade Union announced what it called “a clear and definitive position in opposition to any attempts to make the take-up of the vaccination mandatory.” While the union encouraged its members to be vaccinated, they argued that firing employees who refused would be illegal: “Mandatory vaccination could potentially discriminate against staff with protected characteristics as contained in the Equality Act 2010” based on race, age, disability, sex and religious belief. The British trade union UNITE, which represents more than 100,000 health care workers, has similarly and repeatedly opposed such mandates, with its leader saying in October: "Unite strongly opposes forcing any health and social care workers to have a vaccine or risk sacrificing their job. Encouragement, not compulsion, is the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the very good reason that such an approach is shown to work." Corbyn has spent weeks echoing the views of labour unions. On Tuesday afternoon, the leftist icon announced his opposition to both vaccine mandate and passport bills: Tonight I will oppose both compulsory vaccines for NHS staff, and the introduction of vaccine passports. Both measures are counterproductive and will create division when we need cooperation and unity. — Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 14, 2021 In an interview he gave on Monday to LBC, the radio call-in network, Corbyn was adamant that mandating vaccines was a completely unjustified intrusion into the right of individuals to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies. Citing the sacred right of bodily autonomy, he added that other, less intrusive measures — such as requiring testing for entrance to nursing homes and other places where “vulnerable populations” were found — was a far more reasonable and balanced approach to COVID: Other prominent British leftists have been similarly steadfast about the injustice of vaccine mandates and passports. The Corbyn-supporting MP Zarah Sultana, who represents the Coventry South constituency in Parliament, published a lengthy statement on Tuesday saying she "shares concerns by human rights organizations such as Liberty on COVID passes, with fears that they are ineffective and will lead to to the further marginalization of minority groups.” MP Sultana also cited the opposition of British trade unions to such mandates, arguing that they “will be counterproductive, entrenching vaccine hesitancy, and may worsen staff shortages” (despite this ringing opposition, Sultana apparently lacked the courage to defy party leadership as she failed to vote on the bill to require passports). But perhaps the most stirring opposition was expressed by left-wing MP Rachael Maskell, a former shadow minister under Corbyn and also a former health-care worker and trade unionist. On the floor of Parliament, Maskell stood to note the dark irony that the same health care workers who were heralded as essential heroes were now under threat of termination for failure to obey a vaccine mandate, and emphasized what had been a long-standing left-wing value: bodily autonomy. Is the U.S. liberal-left now going to disparage Corbyn, trade unions and left-wing members of the Labour Party as being “anti-vax” and “anti-science" and recklessly risking lives? Are they going to claim that these leftist stalwarts, speaking for workers, are somehow placing extremist libertarian values of individual rights over public health and the collective good? Will they say that these left-wing “anti-vaxxers” have blood on their hands because they refuse to force people upon pain of losing their jobs in a pandemic to take a vaccine into their body that they do not believe is safe or effective rather than attempting to persuade them that it is? This defiant and courageous stance on principle by Corbyn, labour unions and the British left highlights the obscenity of labelling anyone who dissents from or questions endless attempts to further empower the state as “anti-vaxxers.” But it also highlights one of the hidden truths about vaccine hesitancy: namely, who composes the "vaccine hesitant” and what their motives are. As we have repeatedly covered here, a false narrative was manufactured from the start: namely, that the only people doubting the vaccine were right-wing Trump supporters, which enabled condescending employees of media corporations to malign anyone who sees the world differently than they do as primitive, deplorable racists. The truth, from the start, was far more complex: many of those who were in doubt about the vaccine were not only Trumpian "white nationalists" but disproportionately brown and black people, along with a higher percentage of Republicans. Indeed, many of the most outspoken celebrities in culture and sports expressing vaccine hesitancy were Black. That is why vaccine mandates for workers with a punishment of firing for noncompliance can lead to racist outcomes, as these British trade unionists noted: because such punishment will fall disproportionately on black and brown workers. And labor unions representing health care workers and workers in other sectors around the world — in the U.S., in Europe, and on other continents including Africa — were vehemently opposed from the start to the liberal demand (now joined in the UK by the politically desperate Tory Government) that workers be fired for refusing to be vaccinated. Now that one of the world's most admired leftist icons, Jeremy Corbyn, has not only spoken out but voted against vaccine mandates for health care workers and vaccine passports for the citizenry — joined by labor unions and other leading British leftists — this sham narrative will be harder to maintain. Will the liberal-left now shift to applying to their own leaders one of the most shameful and reputation-crippling titles that can now be bestowed in left-liberal circles: anti-vaxxers? Or will the British Left's principled stance finally force the recognition that long-standing left-wing values of bodily autonomy and anti-authoritarianism are often the grounds for the view that it is long past time to keep increasing the power of the state over our lives and bodies in the name of stopping a disease that will almost certainly be with us into the indefinite future? To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Thu, 12/16/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 16th, 2021