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Triple Crunch Log                                                                                                            

Peak coal may be as close as 2011, a University of Texas study suggests. Tad Patzek, chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, leads a team predicting that by mid-century, the world's coal mining will supply only half as much energy as today. National Geographic: “the World Coal Institute, an industry group including the largest international coal producers, says "the use of coal will rise 60 percent over the next 20 years," and that "coal will last us for at least 119 years." And the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in its most recent international outlook, projects that coal consumption for electricity will grow more than 50 percent by 2035 unless policies are put in place to stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. However, the Patzek study paints a far different picture—and not because people will use up the last of the coal in the ground. Rather, the world will finish off the coal that is easy to reach and high-quality—the coal that produces a large amount of energy per ton, the new study says. What remains will often be of lower quality, and progressively harder to dig up and bring to where it is used. … The main thrust of the study is stark: “We are near or at the peak right now,” he said.804

“The greenest government ever? Only if the Treasury can be tamed,” writes Michael Jacobs in the Guardian. The test will come with three decisions in the next few weeks. The first is on the Green Investment Bank. … amajor argument between the DECC and the Treasury is under way on whether the bank will have any significant public funding – without which the bank will be stillborn, as the Tories' own commission on the subject has argued. Its whole point is to leverage private sector finance through public investment, so it will be critical that Huhne can persuade Osborne and Cable to back such funds. Second, the government must decide on the development of carbon capture and storage technology. … A third plank of the last government's low-carbon industrial strategy is also up for decision: the push to stimulate a British wind-turbine manufacturing sector, with four global firms announcing plans to invest in the UK. These were dependent on improving the facilities of east coast ports where the companies want to site their factories. So the government announced a £60m port development scheme. The coalition has yet to confirm whether this will go ahead; a decision is set for the comprehensive spending review next month.”805

“Big bank bloodbath fears. They're back!” Paul LaMonica n CNNMoney.com: “Have you looked at how big bank stocks have done in the past few months? If so, you can be forgiven if you break into a cold sweat and start worrying about a repeat of the fall of 2008. Shares of the top four U.S. commercial banks, JPMorgan Chase (JPM,Fortune 500), Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500), have all taken a sharp plunge since mid-April. They have dropped 25% on average compared to a decline of 10% for the S&P 500. JPMorgan, BofA and Wells are now trading only about 10% above their 52-week lows. … It's easy to understand why investors are worried that history may be repeating itself only two years after the banking sector spectacularly imploded.”806

9.9.10. German military braces for scarcity after ‘peak oil’ AP: A study by a German military think tank leaked to the Internet warns of the potential for a dire global economic crisis in as little as 15 years as a result of a peak and an irreversible decline in world oil supplies. The study was produced by the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a branch of the German military. It was leaked in August, and its authenticity was confirmed last week by the German newspaper Der Spiegel. The study states that there is “some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later.” … “In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse,” the study continues. The lead author of the study, Lt. Col. Thomas Will, declined to comment to Der Speigel, as did the German Defense Ministry. According to Der Speigel, the report was in draft form and not intended for release to the public and had yet to be vetted by the German military leadership and other government agencies.807

10.9.10. Warning on target for green energy targets from UK Committee on Climate Change. FT “Drastic new measures will be needed if the UK is to meet its target of generating 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, the government’s climate change watchdog has warned. The UK generates only 3 per cent of its energy from such sources, despite more than a decade of policy measures intended to raise that figure substantially.”808

EU emissions trading scheme on course to make miniscule carbon savings, says Sandbag report. Guardian: “The entire five-year period of the European Union's emissions trading scheme (ETS) that ends in 2012 is set to deliver carbon savings of less than a third of 1% of total emissions, according to a new report. The analysis by emissions trading campaign group Sandbag predicts that only 32m tonnes of pollution permits will need to be surrendered to meet the cap on greenhouse gas emissions – a tiny fraction of the 1.9bn tonnes of carbon emissions covered by the ETS each year. The "miniscule" saving is the result of the economic crisis having driven down industrial activity while the caps remain at the same level.”809

Fireball tragedy in California suburb brings gas industry under scrutiny. Guardian: “The natural gas industry is coming under intense scrutiny today, after a massive fireball ripped through a ruptured pipeline in a suburban town near San Francisco, killing at least four people, injuring dozens more, and burning more than 50 homes to the ground. The cause of the fire, traced to a pipeline operated by the Pacific Gas & Electric company in the town of San Bruno, was under investigation today. But it ramps up public pressure for the Obama administration to take a hard look at one of the fastest growing sources of American energy.”810

Banks appoint heads of investment banking as CEOs: “two fingers up” at government, say LibDems.

FT: “The big risks that bankers had taken in the boom years, and the big bonuses they had been paid on the back of that, had come back to haunt us all. For a while, a few signs of moderation were evident on Wall Street and in the City of London. But the show of humility appears to have been short-lived. This week, hackles rose among British politicians as one of the world’s highest-paid investment bankers, Barclays’ Bob Diamond was named as the UK group’s next chief executive, and it emerged that the rival HSBC was also considering elevating Stuart Gulliver, its investment banking chief, to CEO.” Politicans have made some advances. Banks  “mostly lost the fight to overturn the “Volcker rule”, named after Paul Volcker, a former chairman of the Fed, which will force publicly insured institutions to close their proprietary trading desks, which deal in the bank’s own money. Other battles, such as a tussle over which kind of derivatives should be put through clearing houses, have yet to be settled in the rulemaking that follows the passage of the bill in July. The same applies to the nature of a new consumer financial products regulatory agency. Some fear it will become a lightning rod for continuing negative public sentiment towards Wall Street. …. Britain’s political moves against the banks have,

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