Its customary at this time of year for some end of year thoughts. Like many pundits I cannot wait to see the back of 2014 and hope 2015 will be better for not just me but more importantly many of those struggling against a background of war, disease and poverty (often all three). Having cheered you all up its time for some hopefully positive end of year thoughts on some of the stories this blog has attempted to cover this year…
- The biggest story of the year is the most recent, that is the collapse in the oil price. I think it fair to say its caught everyone by surprise and is continuing. As a blog we have covered this story several times to work out what’s going on. To all the theories I’d like to add two more one of my own and one other. First, I heard a theory from an economics company on the radio. They suggest that its all down to the economy slowing in China. Having looked at Chinese data such as freight movements and electricity consumption they reckon the Chinese growth rate is half what its said to be. As evidence they cite the fact that so far lower oil prices have not lead to higher consumption. My own thought was perhaps the Saudis have worries about maintaining their production and want to finish rivals off before their fields go into decline. Just an idea, watch this space. Whatever happens this does not mean peak oil theory is dead.
- The next big story for our end of year thoughts in the UK at least (and its still a big deal in the USA judging by social media) is fracking. Going by the large number of blog posts on it we have done (greater at present than fracking wells in the UK) this is the story that just keeps giving (more than shale gas production). Fracking for oil and gas needs high energy prices and it remains to be seen what will happen in the US and elsewhere now oil and gas prices are collapsing. The Saudis may or may not be trying to finish off fracking deliberately, but either way they are making a pretty good job of it.
- Talking of requirement for high energy prices… Another story that doesn’t go away is Hinkley C. This story was covered in our book and EDF has still not definitely signed up to building one. There are rumours its partners are pulling out and its looking for Arab money. I suspect end of year thoughts next year will still be saying the same as this year on Hinkley C.
- Another big story we keep coming back to has been the Energiewende in Germany. How is Germany coping with such huge increase in renewables? Are they using more coal. The data often seems contradictory. If Germany is having problems then they are ones I would like to have! My own country is following fast down this road and urgently needs to think about energy storage – although with the price of batteries falling this may happen of its own accord. These are stories that will crop up again next year.
- The last of our end of year thoughts is climate change. Again we have covered this story several times this year. The big story on this will of course happen in 2015 in Paris for the COP21 talks where we have to reach a binding agreement. The “oil lamp” is at the moment thinking of decamping to Paris in December to do some lobbying.
- This blog attempts to write from a Christian perspective on all the above, but also likes to bring you the quirky challenging stuff. Someone in my homegroup undertook a challenge last August to buy as little as possible for a month. Its well worth a read. This site will attempt to challenge and inform over the next year as well.