The Forward on Climate Rally organised by 350.org attracted 40,000 people on 17 February and received wide publicity. This prompted a lively discussion as to whether direct protests make a difference to potential climate change outcomes or not. I think I fall into the camp of David Roberts at Grist who believes that street activism has a strong part to play in countering climate change. An excellent piece by him arguing against the more wonkish incrementalist approach of the NYT’s Andrew Revkin is here, and a follow-up piece on where the movement should go post the Keystone XL pipeline decision is here. The U.S. climate change movement now appears to have last gained some grass roots activist momentum in the U.S. I wish the same were true in the U.K.
Stuart Staniford has an update on “All Liquids” volume output and OECD consumption trends at his Early Warning blog. Output appears to have been on a bumpy plateau for about a year now. Not surprisingly, oil prices have been creeping up again. As I always say, if the cornucopian belief in technology is to be proved right, and previously inaccessible hydrocarbons can be easily unlocked, we need to see rising oil volumes and falling prices. We are currently seeing flat volumes and flat to rising prices.
Given what is happening in the oil markets, I recommend peak oil observers keep abreast of the work of Michael Kumhof, a senior economic modeller at the IMF. I previously blogged on the IMF’s incorporation of geological constraints into its forecasts here. To get a direct insight into Kumhof’s work, take a look at an easily accessible 20-minute presentation he gave here. A more technical IMF paper covering these issues was published in October 2012 here.
Via Barry Ritholtz’s The Big Picture, this article in the English edition of Le Monde diplomatique charts the surge in financial investment into agriculture. The article is a bit messy in its arguments but the key, and I think basically correct, point is that more and more people will be shut out of food markets via price. Everyone should think hard about how they can hedge against this.