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Author Topic: Alignment/Conflict between Geopolitics, Energy Security and Climate Mitigation  (Read 6566 times)

rboyd

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This is the working title of my PhD dissertation (after many reviews and changes!), looking at the USA, China, Russia and India (55% of global GHG emissions) which have very divergent national attributes and geopolitical realities:

The USA: An oil deep-state (fossil fuel interests embedded in policy making institutions), the leading global power (works actively to negate challengers to its dominance). Approx. 15% of global emissions, #1 oil and gas producer, #2 coal producer. "Capitalist Democracy with a high degree of elite dominance"

China: A close to high-income country with a state NOT predominantly captured by fossil fuel interests and an ascending second place global power. Highly dependent upon fossil fuel imports (esp. oil) that can be subject to interdiction. 28% of global emissions, #5 oil producer, #1 coal producer. "Autocratic Bureaucracy (the Communist Party of China) with State Directed Capitalism"

Russia: A developed state with a very high reliance upon fossil fuels revenues, and a significant regional power. 5% of global emissions, #2 oil and gas producer, #6 coal producer. "Mixture of oligarchy and state power, with democratic institutions".

India: A medium income country with a state NOT predominantly captured by fossil fuel interests, a significant regional power (balancing between China and the USA, while trying not to be dominated by either), and with a very low per capita usage of fossil fuels. An exponentially increasing level of emissions which constitute 7% of global emissions, #3 coal producer. "Oligarchic power structure with democratic institutions"

The general thesis is that geopolitics and concerns about energy security may align with, alter, or be opposite to climate friendly policies. For example, the escalating conflict between the USA and China may put an increased focus on continued economic growth as relative economic size tends to be highly correlated with relative geopolitical power. How this focus is answered may then be affected by factor endowments and energy security considerations - the US has greatly expanded oil and gas production recently removing its concern about import reliance, while China is rapidly expanding oil imports which incentivizes it to look for alternatives (e.g. EVs powered by renewables, nuclear and coal plus more oil and gas imports across land from "friendly" countries such as Russia).

I plan to regularly post interesting readings, news items etc. as I find them plus some of my own work. I am currently working on a paper looking at the policy alternatives for China, so will probably focus on that to begin with.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2019, 10:17:59 PM by rboyd »

philopek

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This and a few additional topics are what all is about, good thread and I hope that it will become a fruitful discussion, not too much spoiled and derailed by the usual .... !

 :)

cognitivebias2

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Fascinating dissertation topic... I'm very much looking forward to this one.

TerryM

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Eagerly waiting future reveals!
Terry

rboyd

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China: EV's climate change and geopolitical advantage

China does seem to have the best alignment for positive policies with respect to climate change. With its domestic oil and gas production falling rapidly behind demand (and their shale production forecasts being reduced repeatedly) any increases in conflict with the US will increase the incentives to cut sea-borne oil imports as quickly as possible.

A move to EV's, even if predominantly powered by coal, will create a net reduction in emissions. The cut off for a benefit is 80% coal share of electricity generation and China is at less than 60% coal share and falling. So a switch from imported oil for ICEs to electricity for EV's using even the current electricity generation mix will produce many, many benefits:

- A reduction in sea-based oil imports vs trend:
   - As most Chinese cars are net new additions to the fleet, ie not replacing older ones, an
     absolute reduction will take somewhere close to 75%+ EV share together with other ICE
     efficiency gains. If there are incentives for high consumption users (taxis, buses, trucks),
     plus strict ICE efficiency improvement rules (perhaps even "cash for inefficient clunkers"),
     then an absolute reduction could be reached a lot sooner.

- A reduction in GHG emissions, providing China with increased national prestige (especially against the climate unfriendly US). Add in the energy efficiency and low-carbon energy targets in the latest Chinese 5 year plan and emissions could be peaked within a few years - much earlier than the 2030 target.

- Increased dominance in the clean energy industrial realm: EV's, batteries, related electronics etc. An area where China is capable of leaving the US behind given US policies. Also increases Chinese prestige as a "clean economy" with advanced future technology, when added to their solar, wind and other high tech industries, plus high speed trains. China starts to become the epitome of a "future economy" that the US was in the 1950's.

- With VW (40%) and BMW (50%) selling such a high proportion of their cars in China they would be forced to go EV even faster, impacting an EU market which is predominantly a replacement one and therefore directly reducing oil demand. Apart from Tesla, the big US car manufacturers are not well placed and the cost of scrapping current ICE manufacturing facilities would be immense. Japan, currently a direct competitor to China, is also not well placed with respect to EV's.

- With oil having an inelastic production response to changes in demand (ie production tends to be "sticky" given a number of states reliance on oil revenues - they have to keep pumping at lower prices), a relatively small drop in demand creates a big drop in prices. The high cost "swing" producer is the US (plus Canada Tar Sands and Deep Sea), so will impact them the most. At the same time the Chinese oil import bill drops, freeing up revenues for internal demand/investment. The negative is the effect on China's ally Russia.

China ICE Free After 2025 Announcement

If China announced that the last sale of ICE's in China will be at the end of 2025 it would produce absolute chaos in car manufacturing and oil sectors, probably crushing the shares prices of the US oil majors (based on downward forecasts of future oil sales), and greatly benefitting Chinese manufacturers who have much less ICE capacity to scrap and will get government support for the transition (industrial policy).

Chinese EV market share will probably be between 8% and 10% at the end of this year, so 100% in 2026 is actually a doable target (40% growth in 2020, then 30% declining to 20% by 2025). Currently ~95% of EV's sold in China are made by Chinese manufacturers, so they have an incredibly strong position vs. foreign manufacturers. Any drop in car imports (the majority of ICE cars are imports) benefits the trade balance - helps negate the effect of less exports to the US (tariff trade war) and causes significant problems for the US (and Japanese) car and US (and Canadian) oil industries.

Sidenote: in this scenario Canada (my country) is completely f**ked. Oil price below Tar Sands operating break even, no natural gas sales to China (replaced with gas from Russia, the "Stans" and Iran), and China probably trying to import as little as possible from an avowed strong US ally who illegally (under international law) detained a senior Huawei executive and daughter of the Chinese elite. Oh, and then of course there are the remaining auto plants in Ontario ... Canada needs to go back to Daddy Trudeau / Chretien and practice balancing between superpowers but thats a whole other dissertation.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 06:22:55 PM by rboyd »

mitch

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China just announce that it would forgo the 10% purchase tax on Teslas:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-china-tax/china-to-exempt-tesla-cars-from-purchase-tax-idUSKCN1VK1AU

They seem to want to encourage EV's, and perhaps because Tesla is building a Shanghai factory.

rboyd

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China just announce that it would forgo the 10% purchase tax on Teslas:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-china-tax/china-to-exempt-tesla-cars-from-purchase-tax-idUSKCN1VK1AU

They seem to want to encourage EV's, and perhaps because Tesla is building a Shanghai factory.

All the local suppliers that Tesla uses will benefit, so very good for the Chinese advanced industrial sector and employment for skilled Chinese. Also gains China a US corporation with a stake in their economy, especially if the democrats get the presidency in 2020.

blumenkraft

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Yes, they see Tesla for what it is for them, Rboyd, a huge business opportunity.

Very interesting in this context:

How the US Auto Industry Destroyed Its Capacity to Compete w/ Joshua Murray

Refugees welcome

Ken Feldman

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I'd be interested to read what you find about the Chinese government's control over their "state run" corporations.  It seems that the Government is very good about saying one thing while doing another and using the excuse that it can't control the provincial governments or corporations.

On one hand, the Chinese Government claims it's interested in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, yet on the other hand, they allow provincial governments to expand coal mining and resume construction of coal power plants.  They even use so-called "Green funds" to pay for the coal projects.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-greenbonds-coal/china-provides-1-billion-in-green-finance-to-coal-projects-in-first-half-of-the-year-idUSKCN1V90FY

Quote
ENVIRONMENT AUGUST 18, 2019 / 11:42 PM / 12 DAYS AGO
China provides $1 billion in 'green'
finance to coal projects in first half
of the year

David Stanway

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese financial institutions provided at least $1 billion in “green” financing to coal-related projects in the first half of this year, a review of financial data showed, with fossil fuels still playing a major role in Beijing’s energy strategy.
According to Shanghai-based financial data provider Wind, 7.4 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) in green corporate and financial bonds were issued by 13 coal projects in the first half of the year. They involved power plants fueled by coal or coalbed methane as well as coal-to-chemical projects.

With the "Belt and Road" foreign policy, China is the number one financer of coal projects in less developed countries.

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/29/716347646/why-is-china-placing-a-global-bet-on-coal

Quote
China, known as the world's biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.
So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?
President Xi Jinping hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over the weekend, promoting his signature foreign policy of building massive infrastructure and trade links across several continents.
The forum, attended by leaders and delegates of nearly 40 countries, came amid growing criticism of China's projects, including their effect on the environment.

Quote
Yet China's overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines.

Ken Feldman

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Russia relies heavily on natural gas exports as a source of revenue.  Exports to Western Europe are decreasing, but exports to China will start next year.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Gazprom-Finally-Concedes-Tough-Times-Ahead-For-Gas-Exports-Prices.html

Quote
Gazprom admitted today that its gas exports to Europe will fall in 2019, Reuters reported on Thursday, meaning that its 200.8 billion cubic meters of gas it shipped in 2018 to Europe and Turkey is now a thing of the past.
Gazprom had previously said it would maintain this high level of exports. It will also ship gas at lower prices, Gazprom indicated, adding insult to the injury.
Gazprom revenues are responsible for 5 percent of Russia’s economy.

In 2018, Gazprom Export LLC’s website shows, Western European countries made up 81 percent of its exports, led by Germany, while Central European states accounted for 19 percent. Russia controls about 35 percent of Europe’s total gas market.
Prior to its bang-up year in 2018, Gazprom had exported 192.2 bcm in 2017. This is the level that Gazprom is expecting for 2019 as well. For prices, Gazprom is expecting a decrease of 13 percent this year, to $215 per thousand cubic meters.

Quote
Gazprom announced today that it had begun filling its pipeline to China, the Power of Siberia, with gas. Shipments are expected to start next year.

TerryM

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China just announce that it would forgo the 10% purchase tax on Teslas:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-china-tax/china-to-exempt-tesla-cars-from-purchase-tax-idUSKCN1VK1AU

They seem to want to encourage EV's, and perhaps because Tesla is building a Shanghai factory.
I believe you'll find that the 10% tax cut applies to many more EVs than those produced by Tesla.
TSLA got a big bump at the day's opening bell, then meandered south the rest of the day.
Terry

TerryM

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Russia relies heavily on natural gas exports as a source of revenue.  Exports to Western Europe are decreasing, but exports to China will start next year.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Gazprom-Finally-Concedes-Tough-Times-Ahead-For-Gas-Exports-Prices.html

Quote
Gazprom admitted today that its gas exports to Europe will fall in 2019, Reuters reported on Thursday, meaning that its 200.8 billion cubic meters of gas it shipped in 2018 to Europe and Turkey is now a thing of the past.
Gazprom had previously said it would maintain this high level of exports. It will also ship gas at lower prices, Gazprom indicated, adding insult to the injury.
Gazprom revenues are responsible for 5 percent of Russia’s economy.

In 2018, Gazprom Export LLC’s website shows, Western European countries made up 81 percent of its exports, led by Germany, while Central European states accounted for 19 percent. Russia controls about 35 percent of Europe’s total gas market.
Prior to its bang-up year in 2018, Gazprom had exported 192.2 bcm in 2017. This is the level that Gazprom is expecting for 2019 as well. For prices, Gazprom is expecting a decrease of 13 percent this year, to $215 per thousand cubic meters.

Quote
Gazprom announced today that it had begun filling its pipeline to China, the Power of Siberia, with gas. Shipments are expected to start next year.


Power of China isn't the first big pipeline into China, but it is a large addition to what has already been up and running.


Nord Stream II is about to double Gazprom's market in the EU and has entered it's final phase.
https://www.offshore-mag.com/pipelines/article/14038907/nord-stream-2-construction-enters-final-phases


Turk Stream has been on-line since Nov. 2018, and a 2nd phase of the Russian/Turkish pipeline that will connect to southern & south east Europe will be completed by the end of this year.


Both Northern and Southern Europe will find piped in Russian gas to be available, and if LNG is for some reason prefered the Yamal Facility came in ahead of time and under budget last year.


https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/08/30/heading-for-another-ukraine-russia-gas-fight/
Some (History?) from the Brookings Institute.
Terry

rboyd

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Yes, they see Tesla for what it is for them, Rboyd, a huge business opportunity.

Very interesting in this context:

How the US Auto Industry Destroyed Its Capacity to Compete w/ Joshua Murray

I have been following this slow motion train wreck from the 1990 publication of "The Machine That Changed The World" which was an incredibly eye opening report on the awfulness of US and Western European car manufacturers vs. Toyota. A fantastic read, covering their actual visits to auto plants around the world. The Germans very much worked to improve themselves, as did Ford.

The US manufacturers then discovered easy money with trucks (excluded from fuel efficiency standards) and minivans. They pretty much gave up on the small/medium car segment (to Japanese and then also Korean manufacturers) and also splurged on expensive foreign brands. Plus of course outsourcing (to the non-union US South and then other countries) and financialization and goosing earnings to get better bonuses/stock option payouts for the executives.

Very much the story of US manufacturing in general. The US Defence establishment is getting increasingly worried that the US does not have a viable machine tool industry to support basic manufacturing functions. The real back story of the Boeing 737 Max issues (Boeing merged with a military contractor and with a generic financialization CEO who knew nothing about building planes). Same issue with the $1 trillion "flying pig" F35, $30 billion not fit for service Littoral Class ship, and the latest US aircraft carrier where they cant get the munitions elevators working.

I was recently reading the "Collapse of British Power" by Correlli Barnett, such a parallel between the relative performance of British manufacturing from 1870 to 1930 (fell far behind after being the "workshop of the world") and the US from the 1970's to today. Its as if you could just replace Britain with the US and Germany/US with China/South Korea/Japan etc.

The Machine That Changed The World

https://www.amazon.com/Machine-That-Changed-World-Revolutionizing/dp/0743299795/ref=sr_1_1?crid=14X38RM5D0HTS&keywords=the+machine+that+changed+the+world&qid=1567271718&s=gateway&sprefix=the+machine+that+%2Caps%2C334&sr=8-1

The Collapse of British Power

https://www.amazon.com/Collapse-British-Power-Correlli-Barnett/dp/0391034391/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=collapse+of+british+power&qid=1567271753&s=gateway&sr=8-1

When Pork Flies  - F35 $1.1 trilion money pit

When pork flies: The F-35, the Pentagon's $1.1 trillion flying money pit, is (sort of) ready for duty

Floating Train Wreck: The Navy's Littoral Combat Ship Is a Disaster

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/floating-train-wreck-navys-littoral-combat-ship-disaster-62127

Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787 The problems started a lot earlier than the 737 Max. The guilty CEO is happily retired with all the bonuses and stock options payouts in the bank, and a huge pension.

Quote
A complete disconnect between .. the people building the plane ... and the executives

https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/broken-dreams-boeing-787/

The Navy's Troubled New Carrier Still Only Has Two Working Weapons Elevators

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/29222/the-navys-trouble-new-carrier-still-only-has-two-working-weapons-elevators

Epic Fail: The U.S. Army Spent $30 Billion on These 5 Weapons (For Nothing)

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/epic-fail-us-army-spent-30-billion-these-5-weapons-nothing-46142

Russia, and now China, are starting to be really successful at foreign arms sales as their weapons tend to be much cheaper and more reliable (like the workhorse AK47 machine gun that just kept on going while the M16 just kept on jamming).

Also, watch the documentaries on China building huge chunks of infrastructure effectively (the largest mileage of high speed trains in the world, done in about a decade etc.) and compare to things like the Californian attempt at a high speed trains and the repeated infrastructure failures in NY City (subway, tunnels etc.).

Someone killed a congressional inquiry into America’s sky-high transit construction costs

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/24/15681560/gao-report-transit-construction-costs

The U.S. Has Forgotten How to Do Infrastructure

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2017-05-31/the-u-s-has-forgotten-how-to-do-infrastructure

The New Workshop of the World - Shenzen?




« Last Edit: August 31, 2019, 07:47:12 PM by rboyd »

rboyd

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I'd be interested to read what you find about the Chinese government's control over their "state run" corporations.  It seems that the Government is very good about saying one thing while doing another and using the excuse that it can't control the provincial governments or corporations.

On one hand, the Chinese Government claims it's interested in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, yet on the other hand, they allow provincial governments to expand coal mining and resume construction of coal power plants.  They even use so-called "Green funds" to pay for the coal projects.

The CPC (Communist Party of China) is not a monolithic organization, its more like the English monarchial structure of the middle ages - the King/Queen had to keep good relations with enough of the powerful Barons/Dukes etc. to stay in power. That was with an English population of 2.5 million! China has 1.4 billion, with an individual province head controlling a society as big as Germany in many cases, even city heads with societies bigger than smaller countries (Shanghai has 30 million+). Richard III tried to be an absolute ruler through terror, but sucked at internal politics, and was quickly dealt with through the usual head chopping process.

So Xi Xinping has to play nice with the powerful beneath him, they in turn with the powerful beneath them ad infinitum. Those beneath him will cheat for their own short term benefit (keep coal plants going etc.) and he cant just "discipline" them but has to negotiate. SOE heads are the same. Xi is a multi-decade product of the CPC, so very much understands this dynamic. As long as he gets things generally moving in the right direction he will forgive short term cheating by powerful people within the party. The US helps Xi greatly by acting as the external enemy he can point to when calling for party discipline and cohesiveness.

A great documentary series on the Wars of the Roses that shows such dynamics so well. The brutally efficient, but politically awful (and arrogant) "Warwick the King Maker" and Richard III brought disaster upon themselves. The hero Trotsky that led the 1917 revolution and defeated the White Russian army against all odds was defeated by the devious Stalin (who was a terrible military commander but paranoidly scheming enough to keep power, including getting Trotsky years later with the ice pick assassin) - the dark comedy "Death of Stalin" shows this brilliantly.

Xi doesnt have the Stalin option given the nature of the CPC, the size and expectations of the population and the competition with the US.

Understanding China’s Political System

https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/4b73cd512.pdf

Note: Russia had only 100 million people in the 1920's and was a backward, mostly illiterate peasant, society. that had been destroyed by WW1 and then the Menshevik(White)/Bolshevik(Red) civil war.



« Last Edit: August 31, 2019, 08:30:19 PM by rboyd »

rboyd

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Russia - Heavily Dependent Upon Fossil Fuels

In 2017 over 50% of Russian exports were fossil fuels, and oil and gas revenues provided 35% of state revenues. Basic industrial materials (iron, steel and aluminum) and commodities (cereals, precious metals, wood) make up most of the rest. Machinery was only 2% of exports!

Much of Russian industry was destroyed by the asset stripping oligarchs (greatly aided by the West) and insane rapid liberalization (China learnt not to do this) of the 1990s. Putin stopped this and rescued what was left of the Russian manufacturing base (including many basic arms manufacturing concerns that were about to be totally lost) while deftly managing relationships with the oligarchs (destroy the bigger threats and make friends with the others). Russia dealt with US sanctions and lower oil prices by devaluing the ruble - so that foreign exchange earnings equal more rubles.

With geopolitical threats to oil and gas supplies to Europe (the Danish are still pissing around with planning permission for Nordstream 2 under US pressure), Russia is trying to pivot as much as possible to supply China's growing demand (which maps well to China's energy security needs). Also, working to be a pivotal transport hub for Belt and Road, thus diversifying foreign earnings. They also have a lot of experience in arms production that they are trying to grow (like India and Turkey's latest purchases), nuclear technology and software (Huawei using a Russian OS to replace Google in some cases).

With all of these attempts though, Russia is in a horrible position if fossil fuel  global demand gets reduced through climate change policies or Chinese energy security strivings. Hence its highly obstructive behaviour at the UN IPCC (allied with the likes of Saudi Arabia). The possibility is that it becomes a relatively poor resource colony, with limited high tech sectors, to China. The US/NATO has repeatedly shown Putin that they cannot be trusted (NATO expansion through Eastern Europe, Baltic nations etc., thwarted attempt for Georgia to join NATO, bombing of Kosovo, overthrow of Libyan government, attempted overthrow of Syrian government, support for Ukrainian anti-Russian government etc.) so he is forced into an unequal alliance with China. Up to about 2010, Russia was still trying to balance the US and China.

Energy Security for Russia means the ability to sell its energy products abroad. US sanctions against Russia, Venezuela and Iran and pressure on Europe to stop Nordstream 2 show that is under great threat - hence the pivot to supply as much as possible to China.

Nord Stream 2 pipeline can still be built on schedule: OMV

Quote
Denmark has been caught up in the political row between Germany, which backs the pipeline, and the United States and other European states which oppose the project because they say it will deepen European reliance on Russian gas.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gazprom-nord-stream-2-omv/nord-stream-2-pipeline-can-still-be-built-on-schedule-omv-idUSKCN1VJ0PD

EDIT: Russia could also be like ancient Sparta with its excellent military, with China helping to keep it financed as a counter balance to US military power.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2019, 09:30:46 PM by rboyd »

rboyd

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Thanks for all the great contributions so far!

gerontocrat

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A series of horror stories

Rename the thread to "Tears by BedTime"? or "The Twilight Zone" ?

"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

vox_mundi

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And you can add this to the carrier clusterfuck (... This happened Friday) ...

Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) is experiencing a malfunction of the ship’s electrical distribution system ahead of an expected deployment this fall ... The only other deployable aircraft carrier on the East Coast is USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)

... The Truman challenges highlight the fragility of the East Coast carrier fleet. With six carriers based in Norfolk, Va., now, only Truman and Eisenhower were deployable – and now IKE will be the only one unless Truman can be fixed quickly. It does not appear the situation will improve in 2020, either.

Like Russia, the US has limited ship maintenance capacity.

https://news.usni.org/2019/08/31/uss-harry-s-truman-suffers-major-electrical-malfunction-raising-questions-about-upcoming-deployment

And it's not like they would last very long in a real battle ...

... “Every aircraft carrier that we own can disappear in a coordinated attack,” Maine's Sen. King said. “And it is a matter of minutes. Murmansk, [Russia], to the Norwegian Sea is 12 minutes at 6,000 miles an hour.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN16G1CZ

In a combat exercise off the coast of Florida in 2015, a small French nuclear submarine, the Saphir, snuck through multiple rings of defenses and “sank” the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and half of its escort ships. In other naval exercises, even old-fashioned diesel-electric submarines have beaten carriers.

All told, since the early 1980s, U.S. and British carriers have been sunk at least 14 times in so-called “free play” war games meant to simulate real battle, according to think tanks, foreign navies and press accounts. The exact total is unknown because the Navy classifies exercise reports.

“Beyond a shadow of a doubt, a carrier is just a target,” -  defense analyst Pierre Sprey - former Sec. of Defense official. ... For the cost of a single carrier, he calculates, a rival can deploy 1,227 anti-carrier missiles.

A 2015 Rand Corporation report, “Chinese Threats to U.S. Surface Ships,” found that if hostilities broke out, “the risks to U.S. carriers are substantial and rising.”

DoD consensus opinion: in a major powers dust-up, all carriers would be gone in less than a week. ... $250 Billion in hardware - 55,000 crew.  ... Same as the whole Vietnam War.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

rboyd

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A series of horror stories

Rename the thread to "Tears by BedTime"? or "The Twilight Zone" ?

That would be more like "American (and perhaps Russian) Horror Story", not so much for the Chinese. India is a whole different story ...
« Last Edit: August 31, 2019, 09:31:55 PM by rboyd »

rboyd

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The US Military Industrial Complex is a profit maximizing (corporate and personal) set of institutions, with relatively little connection to thinking about how to effectively beat another major power. Knocking over pygmies like Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan did not provide useful lessons about fighting a major power and only led to baseless arrogance and self confidence.

Its been known for decades that Aircraft Carriers are just targets for subs (and now hypersonic missiles) and only good for power projection against weak opponents, but the inertia of the Navy (including "look at my aircraft carrier, bigger than yours" type bullshit plus careerism) plus the massive profits to be made got in the way of rational decision making. Then add financiers/bean counters/salesmen taking over management of defence contractors from engineers and you have a clusterf**k in the making.

Same for tanks against infantry with modern anti-tank weapons and tank-killer helicopters and planes like the A10 (strongly resisted by the military as it was "too slow", "too ugly" and too simple to be really profitable and useful for expanding budgets and related careers to make).

Air Force Leaders Deliberately Slow-Rolling A-10 Refurbishment

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To put this all in perspective, the Air Force leaders have repeatedly attempted to shrink or cancel outright the A-10 fleet for at least the past twenty-five years which is particularly striking since the A-10 has consistently proven its battlefield worth in every war since 1991. The reason for this is simple: Air Force generals don’t like the airplane because it lacks the complexity and expense to justify ever-expanding budgets. Furthermore, they despise the mission: it places them in a supporting role to ground forces.

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This attitude could be seen during an October 2015 F-35 hearing when then-program executive officer Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said he opposed an F-35/A-10 close air support fly off, preferring instead to test the F-35 by itself “in a realistic operational environment for the CAS mission that the Air Force intends the F-35 to do.”

That statement almost perfectly captures the longstanding, deeply ingrained cultural indifference to close support within the Air Force’s upper ranks that dates back well before WWII. In actuality, how the Air Force prefers to do close support is secondary; primary are the needs of actual ground combatants, a fact Air Force officials have been eager to suppress from early Army Air Corps days on.

At the end of the day, the efforts to keep the A-10 flying are simply part of a larger fight to maintain an effective close air support capability within the U.S. military. The A-10 will not be able to fly forever, although with proper maintenance and new wings, it will be able to fly well into the 2030s. That would be long enough to institute a new program to build a proper replacement for the A-10. This new effort should follow the best practices of the original A-X Attack Fighter Program.

https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2018/04/air-force-leaders-deliberately-slow-rolling-10-refurbishment/

Can the A-10 Warthog Defeat Its Toughest Enemy? THE US AIR FORCE

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/can-the-10-warthog-defeat-its-toughest-enemy-17413

Crazy that China is starting to build aircraft carriers, although they seem to be going for the cheaper options.

With respect to the decline is US military abilities - Andrei Martyanov is very illuminating:

https://www.amazon.com/Losing-Military-Supremacy-American-Strategic/dp/0998694754/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=losing+military+supremacy&qid=1567280135&s=gateway&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Real-Revolution-Military-Affairs-ebook/dp/B07WFLCHD5/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=losing+military+supremacy&qid=1567280235&s=gateway&sr=8-2

The RAND Corporation - Dominant US Strategy Think Tank - Thinks that US only has to about 2025 before it wont be worth militarily challenging China in South East Asia AND thats with a very optimistic view of the readiness of the US forces.

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Unless Both U.S. and Chinese Political Leaders Decline to Carry Out Counterforce Strategies, the Ability of Either State to Control the Ensuing Conflict Would Be Greatly Impaired. Both sides would suffer large military losses in a severe conflict.
- In 2015, U.S. losses could be a relatively small fraction of forces committed, but still significant; Chinese losses could be much heavier than U.S. losses and a substantial fraction of forces committed.
- This gap in losses will shrink as Chinese A2AD improves. By 2025, U.S. losses could range from significant to heavy; Chinese losses, while still very heavy, could be somewhat less than in 2015, owing to increased degradation of U.S. strike capabilities.
- China's A2AD will make it increasingly difficult for the United States to gain military-operational dominance and victory, even in a long war.[

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1140.html
« Last Edit: August 31, 2019, 09:48:29 PM by rboyd »

Archimid

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Crazy that China is starting to build aircraft carriers, although they seem to be going for the cheaper options.

Projecting power onto weaker opponents is a useful tactical advantage.

Fascinating stuff rboyd.
I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

rboyd

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The United States

Up to about 2010 the US was starting to go in the right direction with respect to climate change because of its increasing level of dependence on imported fossil fuels (and the increasing acceptance of the peak oil scenario). The shale oil and gas revolution put a stop to that, with the US now nearly self sufficient in fossil fuels (with Trump an extreme case of support for the FF industry, but Obama was the one who facilitated and supported the shale oil and gas expansion).

The US administration now explicitly sees this new position as a geopolitical weapon as it can attack oil exporting nations that do not accept its leadership without greatly increasing the oil price (and any increase would benefit US shale producers). Hence, the sanctions and aggression against Venezuela, Iran and Russia. The US administration sees the situation as a golden opportunity to be taken advantage of. This position only strengthens the position of the fossil fuel industry (oil and gas) within the US administration. The relatively minor industrial policy support for renewables and EV's has been limited as much as possible by the Trump administration, and regulations on fossil fuel producers significantly reduced.

From 2011 onwards China was identified as the main challenger to US global dominance, with Russia a secondary concern. The US will attempt to keep the size of its economy as close to that of China, as economic size is highly correlated with geopolitical power - resulting in it optimizing its energy resources as much as possible to support growth. It will attempt to stop China becoming a dominant regional power, as that is seen as a base from which China will develop into a global power (in the same way that the US used the western hemisphere as a base from which to become a global power). It will also attempt to retard China's technological development so that it maintains a technological lead - the outright attack on Huawei is much more about geopolitics and technology leadership than technology copying and net security (Huawei is years ahead in 5G for example and China now claims more technology patents per year than the US and produces many more technology engineering graduates per year).

What is missing in the US is a full blown industrial policy to reinvigorate US industry, apart from Defense Department outlays which are highly inefficient, due to the embedded beliefs in "free markets". Tariffs against China will not fix this, as production will simply move to other relatively cheap nations rather than the US. This position maps very well to that of the free-market (and free trade) blinded UK state in the period 1870 to 1939.

The US has a window of opportunity of maybe at the most 10 years (quite possibly a few years less) before the Chinese economy is significantly bigger than the US (in purchasing power terms it is already bigger, US$ measures are highly misleading), it is technologically independent of US producers, and Chinese weapons render a South China Sea engagement a losing proposition to the US. This is the "danger window" that hegemonic power theorists see as one power overtakes another. During this period, there will be absolutely no short/medium term incentives for the US policy elites to take any climate policy actions that retard its growth or reduce any of its advantages (like being self sufficient in fossil fuels). Quite the opposite. Geo-engineering, such as solar radiation management (SRM) will be the preferred solutions.

For the US there is a direct clash between geopolitical considerations of maintaing unchallenged global leadership and GHG emission reduction policies.

NOTE: The best policy for China is to avoid direct conflict until it has significantly surpassed the US, including desecuritizing its energy supplies by curtailing seaborne energy imports and rendering a South China Sea war untenable to the US. US corporate production facilities in China (such as Tesla's) will be supported as a means of gaining more leverage in Washington to delay such US state actions. The same goes with respect to a US absolute cutoff of access to technologies that China has not yet replicated or has access to through third parties. The result will be that the "2025" China plan for replacing US technologies will be quietly accelerated as much as possible (e.g. the Huawei use of a Russian OS to replace google in some markets).The possibility of such an accelerated replacement is why many high-tech US corporations have been pressuring the US government not to escalate the trade war.

rboyd

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Official US National Security Strategy 2017

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A strong economy protects the American people, supports our way of life, and sustains American power.

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Embrace Energy Dominance

Access to domestic sources of clean, affordable, and reliable energy underpins a prosperous, secure, and powerful America for decades to come. Unleashing these abundant energy resources—coal, natural gas, petroleum, renewables, and nuclear—stimulates the economy and builds a foundation for future growth. Our Nation must take advantage of our wealth in domestic resources and energy efficiency to promote competitiveness across our industries.

Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system. U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests.

Quote
Preserve Peace Through Strength

China and Russia want to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests. China seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacifi c region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favor. Russia seeks to restore its great power status and establish spheres of influence near its borders.

For decades, U.S. policy was rooted in the belief that support for China’s rise and for its integration into the post-war international order would liberalize China. Contrary to our hopes, China expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others. China gathers and exploits data on an unrivaled scale and spreads features of its authoritarian system, including corruption and the use of surveillance. It is building the most capable and well-funded military in the world, after our own. Its nuclear arsenal is growing and diversifying. Part of China’s military modernization and economic expansion is due to its access to the U.S. innovation economy, including America’s world-class universities.

The United States must retain overmatch— the combination of capabilities in sufficient scale to prevent enemy success and to ensure that America’s sons and daughters will never be in a fair fight. Overmatch strengthens our diplomacy and permits us to shape the international environment to protect our interests. To retain military overmatch the United States must restore our ability to produce innovative capabilities, restore the readiness of our forces for major war, and grow the size of the force so that it is capable of operating at sufficient scale and for ample duration to win across a range of scenarios.

Overall, a very illuminating read into the US policy elites position - "climate change on the back burner as we prioritize showing China who is boss and maintaining global dominance"

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NSS-Final-12-18-2017-0905-2.pdf


TerryM

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rboyd
You've laid out a very interesting peek at where your dissertation is headed. Thanks.


While you've noted the changes that America's energy independence has wrought, I think you're ignoring Russia's growing independence re. agriculture and manufacturing when coupled with her long history of self sufficiency in energy and mineral resources.
Rather than looking solely at exporting strengths, the Russian Federation's relative strength may rest on her increasing ability to minimize imports. Sanctions and tariffs don't bite so hard when external sales and purchases make up a shrinking percentage of GDP, but the reaction to these sanctions can have a much larger effect on those more dependent on exports, or relying more on imported goods.


I've a monthly dinner I must host, but will attempt to expand on these thoughts when I return.


You've chosen a difficult subject for your dissertation, particularly as this is something that is now fluid, the doors for propaganda are open wide, few have seen past the disinformation that has muddied the past, and many have strong emotional ties for or against all of the players.


I don't envy you defending whatever conclusions you reach. ???
Terry

rboyd

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Thanks for the very insightful comments Terry, you put forward a very interesting hypothesis. A policy of autarky, with the replacement of foreign goods with Russian (and perhaps Chinese) ones. The biggest area would be the high technology sector, but working with China which has the same concerns about the US, could be possible. It will be interesting if we see more moves like Huawei using a Russian O/S.

Russia has a phenomenal technical education system, but many graduates left for the west in the past decades - I hired quite a few when I was an IT executive (a BSc from Russia seemed to be at the western MSc level, and their math skills were always far ahead). Perhaps Chinese money can help develop the fledgling Russian private high tech sector?

It is interesting that in the "Collapse of British Power", Barnett notes that in WW1 the British state built a machine tools industry from the ground up in 2 years (then with the end of WW1 went straight back to laissez-faire and let their new creation wither). The Russian state must have already done some of this to be able to create their new high tech weapons. So perhaps between the Russian state and Chinese investments such a renaissance could be done. It would still probably take a decade at least though.

In the short term, pressure would be on to maintain foreign earnings to buy required technologies etc., and therefore the emphasis on fossil fuel exports would remain. At home, Russia is not driving very hard to replace fossil fuels, the current status is:
- 20% of electricity provided by renewables, overwhelmingly hydro and bio-energy
- Decree 449 (2013) provides some support to new renewables, but still very limited. It does require a high level of local content to help develop the local industry (what the Japanese challenge to the WTO made Ontario stop successfully doing)
- IRENA thinks that Russia could expand all renewables to 11% of final energy consumption (4.9% right now) with the right policies

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But exactly how Russia intends to achieve a dramatic acceleration in RES investment and deployment is still a mystery, and the central position of the country’s state-owned thermal energy companies in its exports, domestic power system and foreign policy presents a high barrier to the kind of renewable penetration that has been seen in world-leading countries like Germany and Norway

https://www.power-technology.com/features/russia-renewable-energy/

This is a very good 2019 paper assessment (paywalled unfortunately):
The future of Russia’s renewable energy sector: Trends, scenarios and policies
Liliana N. Proskuryakova, Georgy V. Ermolenko


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However, several factors significantly reduce generating and grid companies’ interest in solar, wind, and small-scale hydropower. First of all, there is a surplus of installed capacity in the
country (the load-to-installed-capacity rate is 0.69). Installing more capacity would only aggravate the situation further, despite the plans for dismantling inefficient outdated coal-fired heat and power
plants. Secondly, the predominant traditional management views are to have 100% back-up facilities for renewable-based power plants, conventional power plants’ flexibility must be stepped
up (such as nuclear power plants and older gas-based thermal power plants). At the same time, Russia’s national grid faces a problem of unloading power plants at night-time and summer
time, as well as low capacity factor at heat power plants (less than 49% of calendar time). Thirdly, the insufficient density of electric grids significantly limits the scope for a free flow of electricity.


Ken Feldman

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Thanks for your insights on China.  Very interesting comparison to feudal England!

As to US "energy dominance", we aren't even close.  The US has reached a new peak of oil production at around 12 million barrels per day, but that seems to be it as the shale plays decline and the sweet spots have been tapped first.  And while there have been some gains in average fuel efficiency and energy efficiency, we still import about 10 million barrels per day.  (For some reason, we also export crude oil, I suspect it's the majors' speculating in futures markets).  Almost half of our imports come from Canada.

Ken Feldman

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Speaking of Canada, while the Western supermajors have sold off a lot of their interests in the tar sands, the big three Chinese oil firms remain invested.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-Chinas-Oil-Majors-Arent-Leaving-Canadas-Oil-Patch.html

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China’s state-held oil majors are staying in Canada’s oil sands despite challenges in production growth, unlike major European and U.S. firms that have bailed out of the higher-cost Canadian oil patch.

The three giant Chinese oil companies—PetroChina, CNOOC, and Sinopec—tell Dan Healing of The Canadian Press that they are committed to their Canadian operations, while analysts say that the Chinese energy behemoths can afford to not make too much profit from their Canadian operations. The Chinese majors can afford to operate in the capital intensive and not spectacularly profitable Canadian oil patch, Jia Wang, deputy director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, told The Canadian Press.  

The Chinese oil majors want to stay and develop their operations in Canada despite some operational difficulties. This approach is in contrast to the exodus of oil supermajors from Canada’s oil sands in 2017, when large oil companies sold their oil sands operations or parts of them to Canadian operators.

rboyd

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Thanks for your insights on China.  Very interesting comparison to feudal England!

As to US "energy dominance", we aren't even close.  The US has reached a new peak of oil production at around 12 million barrels per day, but that seems to be it as the shale plays decline and the sweet spots have been tapped first.  And while there have been some gains in average fuel efficiency and energy efficiency, we still import about 10 million barrels per day.  (For some reason, we also export crude oil, I suspect it's the majors' speculating in futures markets).  Almost half of our imports come from Canada.

The US is a net importer of oil, at around 4 million barrels per day. There are some mismatches between refinery alignment and domestic production (heavy vs light oil) that results in offsetting exports and imports (light oil out; heavy oil in I think - e.g. Tar Sands oil), plus refined vs. unrefined, products. On a Canada+USA basis pretty much self-sufficient. The US is a net exporter of coal and natural gas.

I have been waiting for shale to hit the wall since 2015, and one day I am sure that it will but it continues to surprise me in its ability to keep growing in the face of such negative cash flows.

Stephen

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.....

Richard III tried to be an absolute ruler through terror, but sucked at internal politics, and was quickly dealt with through the usual head chopping process.

....

I hate to be pedantic but Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth Field, he was not beheaded.

Actually that's a lie, I really, really love being pedantic. ;)

He was the last English king to die in battle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_III_of_England
The ice was here, the ice was there,   
The ice was all around:
It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd,   
Like noises in a swound!
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vox_mundi

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“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

rboyd

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.....

Richard III tried to be an absolute ruler through terror, but sucked at internal politics, and was quickly dealt with through the usual head chopping process.

....

I hate to be pedantic but Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth Field, he was not beheaded.

Actually that's a lie, I really, really love being pedantic. ;)

He was the last English king to die in battle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_III_of_England

He did die in the battle and wasn't formally beheaded, but the skeleton showed some serious chops to the base of the skull!

beachykeen

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In "Oil, Power, and War", a part of the thesis is that War's energy requirements provide a reason to declare all reserves as well as active production capacity to be strategic resources.  Massive thermo-industrial capacity is wins wars.

rboyd

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In "Oil, Power, and War", a part of the thesis is that War's energy requirements provide a reason to declare all reserves as well as active production capacity to be strategic resources.  Massive thermo-industrial capacity is wins wars.

Yep: energy = industrial capacity = ability to wage war (both "hot wars" and "economic wars"), is one of the basic beliefs within Realist international relations thinking (e.g, Waltz, Mearsheimer, Zakaria).

The beauty of oil is that it is an easily transportable energy dense liquid, so refuelling tanks, planes etc. can be done quickly without much infrastructure (oil tanker trucks and planes). With batteries you would need an electrical infrastructure unless you can quickly swap out and replace batteries (maybe with tanks but you cant do that in mid air with a plane).

Will be interesting to see what happens during the next ten years, could we see battery driven or hybrid light tanks as battery ranges increase? The advantage of the latter would be no complex ICE to break down in the middle of a battle, no hot exhaust fumes and noise to give away a position, and if the batteries are at the bottom of the tank maybe fewer fires (although mines could be really dangerous).

One of my colleagues is studying the carbon emissions of the military, which are colossal. Governments try really hard not to disclose the scale of the military's GHG emissions.

Ken Feldman

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...

Will be interesting to see what happens during the next ten years, could we see battery driven or hybrid light tanks as battery ranges increase? The advantage of the latter would be no complex ICE to break down in the middle of a battle, no hot exhaust fumes and noise to give away a position, and if the batteries are at the bottom of the tank maybe fewer fires (although mines could be really dangerous).

One of my colleagues is studying the carbon emissions of the military, which are colossal. Governments try really hard not to disclose the scale of the military's GHG emissions.

I read somewhere that the US military GHG emissions would rank in the top 50 nations if they were a separate Country.  I think it's among the low lying fruit that a new President could tap if they want to immediately cut US GHG emissions.

They could by executive order:
- Require all military bases to be powered by green energy through PPAs.
- Require all new non-combat vehicles to be battery powered (there are a lot of sedans, pickups, vans and buses used to get around the huge military bases)
- Increase the amount of solar panels on military housing and buildings (there are already a lot, started under the Obama administration)
- Fund grid interconnection projects to strengthen the electrical grid against potential terrorist attack (and in the meantime alleviate intermittency problems that could occur with large amounts of solar and wind powering the grid)
- Fund research in solid-state batteries for ships and combat vehicles through DARPA and the other military research funds (it's a large budget)



rboyd

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China Is Pushing its Green Revolution for Geopolitical Reasons, Not Just for Sustainability

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China’s green revolution is changing the world. But while this revolution may aid the environment and advance sustainability, China’s primary reason for pursuing it is to promote its own geopolitical strategy.

That was the view advanced by Nobuo Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Sasakawa Peace Foundation and a former executive director of the International Energy Agency, at the Fortune Global Sustainability Forum in Yunnan, China.

China going green is one of four current energy revolutions that have global significance, Tanaka said. The others are the emergence of the United States as the world’s largest oil producer, via shale oil; solar energy’s move toward becoming the cheapest energy source available; and the use of renewables, electric vehicles, and digitization to make electricity production cleaner.

“China is leading in three of these revolutions, while the United States is leading in just one, the conventional one,’’ Tanaka said. “Who will win this great energy game?”

While many analysts focus on the transport networks for trade as the primary goal of China’s Belt and Road initiative, Tanaka believes the true aim is to create a massive transnational power grid.

“The energy issue is also a security issue,’’ he said.

https://fortune.com/2019/09/05/china-is-pushing-its-green-revolution-for-geopolitical-reasons-not-just-for-sustainability/

TerryM

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^^
Is China's motivation of any importance to anyone other than the Chinese?


I like to believe that Canada's motivations are noble, but what matters is that Canada produces some of the dirtiest energy available.


Rather than concerning ourselves with why the Chinese are doing good things shouldn't we be more concerned with motivating our own government to do fewer bad things?
Terry

rboyd

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The Chinese have an alignment between geopolitical and economic self-interest and policies that are climate friendly.

I think that the problem in Canada is that we have short-term interests (fossil fuel corporations, banks lending to them, high-paid Tar Sands workers etc.) that conflict with our long-term interests (the ability to be a major provider of renewable energy).

I don't think that it will be too long (10 years?) until the Canadian population will be disgusted at our current choices as the Tar Sands become uneconomic (and the massive clean up costs fall upon the state) and the cost of refurbishing the crappy Candu nuclear reactors in Ontario sky-rockets and the LNG projects get mothballed/cancelled. Quebec may well become the new Alberta, annoyed at its central government transfers being used to support the feckless Albertans.

I was talking with the Kitchener Green Party candidate recently, and we agreed on the idiocy of how the carbon tax was implemented - seemed designed to piss people (especially the poorer people) off while having a carbon tax set at a completely ineffectual level.A much higher carbon tax with a simple fee and progressive dividend structure (send government checks to people rather than the complex tax refund process) would have been much, much better. Probably far too successful for the fossil fuel interests.

apocalyps

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The hypothesis of OP is bacically the deathsentence to anyone thinking that we can stop AGW in this might-makes-right, machiavellian and nietzschean world.





rboyd

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Saudi Arabia Is in a Double Bind on Oil Prices: Chatham House

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According to the IMF, Saudi Arabia needs an oil price greater than $80 a barrel (and in the range $85–$87 for the current year) in order to balance its budget. As such, the economy has suffered as a result of lower oil prices since the latter part of 2014.

This is a huge issue for any movement away from fossil fuels, as a huge percentage of fossil fuel production (e.g. Middle East, Nigeria, Angola) could go offline well before it is no longer required, due to state collapse (or one state trying to take out another's production) as their revenues (needed to bribe and discipline their populations) collapse.

I can see the UN/NATO etc. being involved in dispatching large-scale military contingents to allow for the controlled run down in oil and gas production. Another way would be to "sanction" the usual list of US-defined "bad actors" (i.e. anyone that doesn't toe their line - Iran, Venezuela and Russia) to try to take competing supply off the market. Another would be for long-term contracts for some countries, it would make some sense for China to support the opponents of the US/West this way (i.e. the "bad actors" plus probably Iraq) and force the security issue onto the western nations.

The Saudi budget is bleeding cash, leading to a run down in their national wealth funds. This is why they are so desperate to sell a chunk of the national oil company: they need cash.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/saudi-arabia-double-bind-oil-prices#

vox_mundi

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Overcoming Weak Governance Will Take Decades With Implications for Climate Adaptation
https://phys.org/news/2019-10-weak-decades-implications-climate.html

Governance in climate vulnerable countries will take decades to improve, substantially impeding the ability of nations to adapt to climate change and affecting billions of people globally, according to new research involving the University of East Anglia (UEA).

... Even under the most optimistic development scenarios, it will take until around 2050 to overcome weak governance globally, the study finds. Under pessimistic scenarios characterised by regional rivalry, more than three billion people would still be living in countries with weak governance conditions well beyond mid-century.

"Governance is a key ingredient of a country's capacity to adapt to climate change," explained Marina Andrijevic from Climate Analytics and lead author of the study.

"For example, good governance is important for long-term planning, guidelines and regulations, and can be crucial for governments in successfully leveraging investments in adaptation projects. Conversely, a lack of transparency, high corruption or political instability could deprive a government of that much-needed finance."

The numerous interventions a government can make to adapt to climate change—such as prioritising policies, mobilising resources, coordinating efforts and decision making—are processes often contingent on the efficacy of institutional mechanisms. The level of corruption within a government, for instance, will impact on its ability to deal with a climate-related disaster. ...

Governance in socioeconomic pathways and its role for future adaptive capacity, Nature Sustainability (2019)
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

Ken Feldman

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Here's an interesting article about Chinese investments in renewable energy projects around the world.

https://time.com/5714267/china-green-energy/

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China Is Bankrolling Green Energy Projects Around the World
By Charlie Campbell / Shanghai

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Three distinct renewable energy projects utilizing cutting edge technology in far-flung corners of the globe sharing one uniting characteristic: Chinese finance. Over the past five years, Chinese bankrolling of green energy projects overseas has soared as the world’s number two economy and number one polluter rebrands itself as an environmental champion.

Not only is China today the world’s largest producer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles, but it has also been the top investor in clean energy for nine out of the last ten years, according to the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Since 2014, Chinese equity investment has supported a total of 12,622 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar projects in South and Southeast Asia alone, according to new research by Greenpeace. That’s the equivalent of 21 standard coal plants or enough to power New York City. The shift from simply exporting to bankrolling green tech—driven by both a drying up of domestic subsidies in China and new incentives to invest abroad—is a boon since “it means China really cares about the future profitability of each project,” says Greenpeace campaigner Liu Junyan.

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Chinese export of renewable energy technology around the globe is set to boost Beijing’s clout as the influence of major oil exporters like Russia and Saudi Arabia wanes. China has by far the most renewable energy patents with the U.S., Japan and Europe lagging behind. “No country has put itself in a better position to become the world’s renewable energy superpower than China,” says a recent report by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, chaired by former Iceland President Olafur Grimsson.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords under President Donald Trump provided China an opening to seize. America’s abandonment of global leadership on the issue was thrown into sharper focus by Trump’s empty chair during a climate change discussion at August’s G7 meeting in France. “The U.S. administration is not particularly interested in renewables at home let alone overseas,” says Simon Nicholas, an analyst for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Now, China has firmly established its leading position in renewable energy output, as well as in related technologies such as electric vehicles, transmission lines and battery storage, and Beijing is managing to weaponize green technology in a way that strategic rivals like the U.S. may struggle to counter.

rboyd

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Currently China is producing about 75% of new clean energy patents per year, plus as Ken points out they are implementing that knowledge in many other nations (and yes also a whole lot of coal fired power stations!).

With their lead in the production and patenting of clean energy technologies (wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, EV's, batteries etc.) China can present a much more "climate friendly" face to the world than the US. This could be leveraged heavily with respect to its "soft" power, and added to its positive image in many of the Belt and Road countries that it is building infrastructure in.

The US could easily be seen as a bullying pariah (the attempt to bully Germany into not doing the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia is an example of really stupid bullying of allies) while China brings infrastructure development and trade deals with relatively little bullying. Outside of the US/European mainstream media bubble China could well gain the upper hand.

rboyd

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Geopolitical Strategic Sourcing of Oil During The Energy Transition

These dynamics look really interesting, so I am looking to write a paper on them:

If/When an actual transition from fossil fuels (especially oil) starts in earnest there could be a number of considerations that concentrate the negative impacts upon a limited set of exporters:

1. In the face of a known long-term transition, net importers that have their own production will tend to want to take advantage of their own reserves "whilst they can", this means that the reduction in consumption will be taken by imports. This is very much the case with China, where domestic production provides for about 30% of consumption.

2. Many of the exporters are heavily dependent upon fossil fuel rents for the elite's survival, and therefore may become unstable as those rents fall, an issue which will be exacerbated by the relative inelasticity of oil supply to demand - i.e. a relatively small drop in demand creates a big drop in price as supply does not drop significantly.

- This means that importers may look to more stable providers, especially if/when one or more suppliers start to have domestic issues. This should benefit suppliers such as Norway, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Russia (the latter also has/will have extensive natural gas exports through in place pipelines to Europe and China that the importers rely upon for space heating as well as electricity peaker plants and fertilizers etc.). I am assuming that Europe generally will resist pressures from the US with respect to Russian fossil fuels as Germany has with Nordstream 2 (especially with the Dutch Groningen gas field being closed in 2022)

- With an increasingly negative international environment, China will look to make sure that it helps out its allies, Russia and possibly Iran, by sourcing oil and gas from them. The US will want to continue to punish exporters that it sees as "enemies" - Russia and Iran (offset by China) and Venezuela.

So the domestic suppliers and "safe" and allied exporters may maintain/increase their export volumes but at a lower price. The rest get the lower price plus much lower volumes. Who could this unlucky bunch be?
- The African suppliers with offshore deposits may be ok, as its relatively easy to protect far offshore platforms. That does not include Libya.
- The Middle East: Saudi Arabia (which needs $80+/barrel to balance its budget at current export levels), Iraq, Kuwait etc. Perhaps the world will then simply end up not caring about such countries. Given the massive population growth in these nations, plus the highly volatile domestic politics (e.g. the Shia crescent where most of the oil and gas is located) things could get bad relatively quickly - especially if China focuses its souring on Iran.

An unrelated dynamic will be on the demand for US$ in the case where the cut in oil usage is focused on exporters and a significant portion of those exports are paid for in local currencies (e.g. between China, Russia and Iran or between Europe and Russia). This would remove a big reason for  countries having to hold US$ reserves and reduce the power of the US/IMF as "lender of last resort".

We live in interesting times ....
« Last Edit: November 06, 2019, 10:49:27 PM by rboyd »