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Windfall, by Meghan O’Sullivan
Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power, by Meghan L O’Sullivan, Simon and Schuster $29.00

the shale revolution has meant the US has become a leading global oil producer and net exporter of natural gas. Extraction from shale rock has upended global oil and gas markets, but could also have geopolitical ramifications. For most of the 20th century, western powers were locked in a scramble for oil across the globe. So what happens when technology unlocks substantial supply on home turf?

According to Meghan O’Sullivan, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, the answer is a geopolitical shift that should benefit the US. She provides a powerful argument for how America should capitalize on the “New Energy Abundance”. Having a domestic supply of oil and gas not only strengthens the US economy, it can also provide leverage globally......US gas has transferred low prices to Europe and also offers an alternative source of supply. That “has helped make Europe less vulnerable to one of Russia’s longstanding foreign policy tools — the political manipulation of natural gas markets”, O’Sullivan writes......the book details the benefits to US “hard” as well as “soft” power,....It will not lead to reduced US involvement in the Middle East, .....Nor can the US ever be self-sufficient to provide all the oil it needs,.....The book points out that energy is likely to be a major future determinant of geopolitics....China’s One Belt One Road project shows Xi Jinping’s intent to change the strategic orientation of the Eurasian landmass......a challenge to O’Sullivan’s thesis is that renewables and electric vehicles could drive seismic shifts. If China becomes the Saudi Arabia of batteries, will this give it greater influence? What about those who control the raw materials needed, from lithium to cobalt? O’Sullivan hints at this in her introduction, saying we should expect renewables “eventually to have major repercussions for global politics”. These could include cartels around lithium or the state collapse of some oil producers.
nonfiction  books  fracking  energy  natural_gas  soft_power  policy_tools  shale_oil  hydraulic_fracturing  pipelines  oil_industry  geopolitics  renewable  electric_cars  batteries  One_Belt_One_Road  Xi_Jinping 
december 2017 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Mariana Mazzucato - FT.com
August 14, 2015 12:07 pm
Lunch with the FT: Mariana Mazzucato
John Thornhill

* Mazzucato’s book The Entrepreneurial State

As Mazzucato explains it, the traditional way of framing the debate about wealth creation is to picture the private sector as a magnificent lion caged by the public sector. Remove the bars, and the lion roams and roars. In fact, she argues, private sector companies are rarely lions; far more often they are kittens. Managers tend to be more concerned with cutting costs, buying back their shares and maximising their share prices (and stock options) than they are in investing in research and development and boosting long-term growth.
“As soon as I started looking at these issues, I started realising how much language matters. If you just talk about the state as a facilitator, as a de-risker, as an incentiviser, as a fixer of market failures, it ends up structuring what you do,” she says. But the state plays a far more creative role, she insists, in terms of declaring grand missions (the US ambition to go to the moon, or the German goal of creating nuclear-free energy), and investing in the early-stage development of many industries, including semiconductors, the internet and fracking. “You always require the state to roar.”
... Some tech and pharmaceuticals companies are going to extravagant lengths to reduce their taxes, one of the ways in which they pay back the state. The more libertarian wing of Silicon Valley is even talking of secession from California so they can pay no tax at all. “Won’t it be nice when there’s the next tsunami and these guys call the coastguard,” she says....
One criticism of Mazzucato’s work is that she fetishises the public sector in much the same way that rightwing commentators idolise the private sector. She appears stung by the suggestion: “I’m from Italy, believe me, I don’t romanticise the state.” The challenge, she says, is to rebalance the relationship between the private sector, which is all too often overly financialised and parasitic, and the public sector, which is frequently unimaginative and fearful. “When you have a courageous, mission-oriented public sector, it affects not just investment but the relationships and the deals it does with the private sector,” she says. Europe’s left-wing parties could have run with this agenda. Instead, she says, they have “absolutely failed” to change the political discourse by obsessing about value extraction rather than value creation, by focusing more on taxing big business than fostering innovation.

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The Chinese get the state to do that risky and costly, research and the development to keep them ahead.

The US does the same, but just keeps quiet about it so it doesn’t spoil the narrative.
“The parts of the smart phone that make it smart—GPS, touch screens, the Internet—were advanced by the Defense Department. Tesla’s battery technologies and solar panels came out of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Google’s search engine algorithm was boosted by a National Science Foundation innovation. Many innovative new drugs have come out of NIH research.!” http://time.com/4089171/mariana-mazzucato/
activism  books  breakthroughs  DARPA  de-risking  Department_of_Energy  early-stage  economists  fracking  free-riding  innovation  Mariana_Mazzucato  mission-driven  moonshots  NIH  NSF  private_sector  public_sector  semiconductors  Silicon_Valley  sovereign-risk  state-as-facilitator  value_creation  value_extraction  women 
august 2015 by jerryking
It’s a big fracking world out there, and people are getting angry - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | By Shawn McCarthy who reviews The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity and the Battle for America’s Future
by Author Michael Levi.

Levi suggests a grand bargain: Environmentalists should focus less on “stopping things” and more on building support for legislation that will create incentives to cut consumption of coal, oil and, eventually, natural gas. Industry should encourage market-based incentives to reduce carbon emissions and accept reasonable regulation, even as they pursue greater domestic oil and gas production.


Published Friday, , 12:00 AM EDT

Last updated Friday, Jun. 21 2013,
energy  book_reviews  books  natural_gas  natural_resources  fracking  shale_oil  hydraulic_fracturing  pipelines  oil_industry 
june 2013 by jerryking
True innovation doesn’t flow from a pipeline
Feb. 22 2013 | The Globe and Mail |Konrad Yakabuski.

... If the oil companies can’t ship raw Canadian resources using that 150-year-old technology, they will rely on an even older one – rail. And if not rail, they might just float their bitumen on barges down the Mississippi.

Huckleberry Finn might have marvelled at this inventiveness, but it doesn’t quite cut it as a 21st-century national strategy for wealth creation. Yet our frantic obsession with exporting minimally processed bitumen is sucking up all the oxygen in the national conversation. Getting Alberta’s oil to market is “the most important economic issue” facing the country, says former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice. There is “no more critical issue facing Canada today,” adds Enbridge chief executive Al Monaco.

In fact, the most critical issue facing Canada today may just be figuring out why we find ourselves in this situation. Raw resources can be a tremendous source of income, but they are volatile, and we’ve always known that overreliance on them is a recipe for economic stuntedness. As Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney says: “Real wealth is built through innovation.”

Innovation is not wholly absent from Canada’s oil patch. But it’s hardly a first line of business. You’d think it would be a top priority, given the vexatious characteristics of Alberta bitumen, the oil sands’ distressing environmental footprint and the Canadian industry’s growing global image problem. Even in boom times, however, the Canadian oil and gas industry spends a piddling proportion of its revenues on research and development......Last week, PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted that the coming boom in global shale oil production could slash the price of crude by $50 (U.S.) a barrel over the next two decades. “One effect will be to cut the need for expensive, environmentally destructive extraction techniques like the Arctic and tar sands,” the head of PwC’s oil and gas team told Reuters.... the real issue facing Ontario is its failure to make the shift from making low-tech goods to advanced manufacturing, the only kind that can support middle-class wages. Governments have showered the industry with tens of billions of dollars trying to make Canadian firms more innovative, to little avail. Cash-strapped and fed up, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty slashed R&D tax credits in last year’s budget. The result will be even less innovation, as domestic companies cut back and foreign-owned firms shift R&D elsewhere.

“Canada’s problem,” says Robert Atkinson, the author of Innovation Economics, “is that it’s not Germany, which has a much better engineering innovation system, and it’s not the U.S., which has a very good system of science-based entrepreneurship. You’re mediocre in both.”
Keystone_XL  pipelines  crossborder  oil_industry  Mark_Carney  Ontario  innovation  oil_patch  wealth_creation  books  natural_gas  natural_resources  fracking  shale_oil  hydraulic_fracturing  Konrad_Yakabuski  oil_sands  complacency  mediocrity  commodities  volatility  cash-strapped  national_strategies  environmental_footprint  science-based 
march 2013 by jerryking

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