FMI’s commentary on high oil prices and their effects -- positive and negative -- on the U.S. economy.
Key points: - Court decision ordering shutdown of two nuclear reactors will likely just delay, rather than prevent, restarting many of Japan’s reactors - High courts will likely maintain their past rulings that lower courts must defer to the expertise of the nuclear regulators - Still, the decision could lead to other court cases causing further delays and more costs for the utilities - If the courts make the utilities add additional safety measures, that could lead the utilities to lessen the number of reactors they find financially viable - Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of the march 2011 Fukushima disaster, and only two nuclear reactors are back in operation, far less than any pro-nuclear policymaker to whom we spoke expected by this time - The Abe administration policy is to have nuclear power supply 20-22% of all electricity in Japan by 2030; this goal is unlikely to be met
Richard Katz's December issue of the Oriental Economist includes reports of Getting to 2% Real Growth Productivity Revolution, How Much Productivity Growth is Needed? Talk with MOF’s Top Official, Japan's Software Industry - What Went Wrong? Taking the Lead on Climate Change - New Energy Model for PRC, Development Aids Climate Goals, and Cheap Yen, Lots of Buying - Tourism Explodes.
Reserves must be seen as a co-production of nature and man-made technology. Except for wood and dung that pre-industrial populations could burn on the spot, there is no such thing as a ‘natural resource’. Our advanced energy system is fueled by a combination of stuff-in-place and human skills. Terms like ‘gas to Liquids’ (GTL) or ‘cracking’ capture the manufacturing element; the evolution underway will not stop there—to the point possibly of ‘oil’ being someday manufactured from CO2 and water. As John and Beth Mitchell and Valerie Marcel and put it in their report for Chatham House in London: “The foreseeable problem is not finite resources but the rate at which these very large resources can be converted into reserves for potential production. Reserves of oil and gas have each more than doubled since 1980–faster than the increase in production. Technologies are developing which are creating new reserves of ‘unconventional’ oil, as they already have for gas.”