Stranded Assets

Forum for general discussion of Peak Oil / Oil depletion; also covering related subjects

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biffvernon
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Stranded Assets

Post by biffvernon »

Copying this to a new thread because I think it's such an important topic it deserves a life of its own:
emordnilap wrote:
biffvernon wrote:Here’s my reply to The Big Debate: Is there a 'Transition position' on fracking?: https://transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob ... ment-16577
Just found this.
"There is a global limit on a safe level of emissions. That means major fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground. That has huge implications for economic and social development."
She's OK is our Mary.
That was an article from a few weeks ago and this was from last May in the NY Times: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ ... bble/?_r=0

but today Damion Carrington has this in the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... el-growing

It follows the release of the report from Oxford University's Smith School of Enterprise and Environment (SSEE): Stranded assets and the fossil fuel divestment campaign: what does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets:
http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/researc ... -final.pdf

And Carbon Tracker (Jeremy Leggett and friends) has this: http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital# and their report Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets http://carbontracker.live.kiln.it/Unbur ... ersion.pdf

And then there's my blog at http://biffvernon.blogspot.co.uk/
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

And this, which I started a thread about that was lost to either the ether or something other. It's primarily an American site though they don't want it to be.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

The big one is getting noticed.
Craig Mackenzie of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership wrote:But one message comes across loud and clear: hydrocarbon demand is unusually uncertain and this places risk firmly on the investment agenda.
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable- ... ent-agenda
marknorthfield
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Post by marknorthfield »

biffvernon wrote:The big one is getting noticed.
Craig Mackenzie of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership wrote:But one message comes across loud and clear: hydrocarbon demand is unusually uncertain and this places risk firmly on the investment agenda.
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable- ... ent-agenda
I read 'The Burning Question' recently, from the point of view of wanting to be able to recommend a decent overview of the climate change predicament to people (and yes, I will be recommending it). It's clear the issue of a 'carbon bubble' being ripe for pricking is a hugely important economic question. However, whether it will lead to a stock market crash on a similar scale to the crash the banking sector enjoyed in 2007/8, I'm not so sure. I suspect the process is likely to be more drawn out as coal is gradually vilified (in the absence of CCS), other fossil fuels are portrayed as sort-of-OK-for-now (as the article above tries to make out) and people very reluctantly get dragged toward reality. The 'politically doable', in other words.

The trouble is, there is a little graph in chapter 4 of TBQ which shows how, even with just 'proven' reserves alone, oil and gas together can take us beyond 1000 billion tonnes of CO2, far past what we can safely burn to have a 75% chance of staying below 2ºC. Allowing for uncertainty, they go on to say that recent estimates from the IEA suggest a total recoverable oil and gas resource 3.5 times greater than the proven reserves (and 20 times greater for recoverable coal). That puts oil and gas alone up to over 3500 billion tonnes of CO2, more than double the amount for even a 50% chance of staying below 2ºC. (And that's presuming we stop burning coal yesterday, stop all deforestation etc)

It is no wonder that keeping below the 2ºC target is now considered by many as nigh on impossible, though the Tyndall Centre's 'Radical Emission Reduction Conference' next month is aiming to counter the pessimism. I do wonder whether any non Green Party political representatives will be attending.


On a slightly related note, my main employer is in the process of rolling out the government mandated pension thang for us all, unless we choose to opt out every three years. My employer has decided to use Scottish Widows to manage their auto-enrollment process, and a little bit of research left me distinctly underwhelmed about this from an ethical point of view, with SW coming bottom of Ethical Consumer's list (admittedly from 2008). Nor do they seem to be very highly regarded by ethical investment advisers Barchester Green. From what I have gleaned elsewhere, SW seem to think that investing in the banking sector is environmentally sound. Haha. (Well, they are part of Lloyds.)

So, I'm almost certainly going to have to forgo considerable pension contributions from my employer in order to avoid being drawn into this, something which I guess would be a step too far for most of my colleagues even if they did have ethical tendencies. Luckily, there will be a meeting with representatives from Scottish Widows next year ahead of the scheme starting up. I may make an appearance in order to ask a few awkward questions.

I note that the writer of the Guardian article Biff linked to (Craig MacKenzie) is head of sustainability at Scottish Widows. I'm not sure what his definition of 'sustainability' is, but I think it may not quite tally with mine.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

marknorthfield wrote: the Tyndall Centre's 'Radical Emission Reduction Conference' next month
looks jolly interesting.
woodburner
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Post by woodburner »

So interesting no members of the cabinet will be there.
To become an extremist, hang around with people you agree with. Cass Sunstein
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

More here re: unburnable oil from University College London.
To conclude, a large disconnect appears to exist between policies permitting exploration in new areas, particularly in Arctic and deepwater areas, and pledges to restrict temperature rises to 2 °C. The continued licensing of new areas for oil exploration is only consistent with declared intentions to limit CO2 emissions and climate change if the majority of fields that are discovered remain undeveloped, which fatally undermines the economic rationale for their discovery in the first place.
The paper is available as a downloadable pdf.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

There is no contradiction. The world is run by the banks. The banks will demand maximum growth of the economy and resource extraction or they will declare governments and entire countries bankrupt, starting with the weakest. The governments will cave in, ignore all warnings, or simply revoke rules and treaties as necessary. The resources will be extracted . this will continue until we physically cant.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

PS_RalphW wrote:There is no contradiction. The world is run by the banks. The banks will demand maximum growth of the economy and resource extraction or they will declare governments and entire countries bankrupt, starting with the weakest. The governments will cave in, ignore all warnings, or simply revoke rules and treaties as necessary. The resources will be extracted . this will continue until we physically cant.
This is true. The power to preserve the system will crush - is crushing - any efforts favouring the 99% and the biosphere. The paper quoted is welcome but in the end only underlines this.

The normalcy bias is working well.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

Here's an important paper:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 151300966X

Un-burnable oil: An examination of oil resource utilisation in a decarbonised energy system
Highlights

We examine volumes of oil that cannot be used up to 2035 in a low CO2 energy system.

500–600 billion barrels of current 2P reserves remain unused.

At least 40–55% of yet to be found deepwater resources must not be developed.

Arctic oil and most light tight oil resources remain undeveloped.

Unconventional oil production is generally incompatible with a low CO2 energy system
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

A particularly important article about carbon bubble and climate change with both the House of Commons environmental audit committee and Christiana Figueres spelling out the facts on stranded assets. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... -fuels-mps


It's all about this worthy tome: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... /19102.htm
Responding to climate change is perhaps the biggest global challenge of the 21st Century, and the transition to a low-carbon economy will require investors to take account of the reality of a carbon-constrained world. This shift is happening, but there are obstacles to overcome—stock markets are currently over-valuing companies that produce and use carbon (a 'carbon bubble' consisting of fossil fuel assets which will have to be left unburned in order to cut emissions to the levels required to limit climate change)
Probably not welcomed by George Osborne.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Not before time.
"If corporations continue to invest in new fossil fuels, they are really in blatant breach of their fiduciary duty, as the science [of climate change] is abundantly clear," she said. "Understanding the science, the fact is that we have to move to low-carbon no matter what, with or without policy."
Strong stuff, but not as strong as it needs to be.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Post by vtsnowedin »

Those advocating leaving enough fossil fuels in place unburned to prevent a >+2C rise talk about it as if it could be accomplished without collapsing economies and precipitating the beginning of human population die off. The evidence from Egypt shows that the loss of adequate supplies of fossil fuel to burn or sell leads to immediate chaos with no good end in sight.
I fail to see any country volunteering to be the first to attempt a carbon restricted economy as long as any supply exists so I expect the supply to proceed to the downside of the production curve for all types of carbon and a combination of climate change caused famines and resource wars fighting over the dwindling supplies will reduce the world population back down to below one billion where modern technology will be able to sustain it in a post fossil fuel world.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

vtsnowedin wrote:Those advocating leaving enough fossil fuels in place unburned to prevent a >+2C rise talk about it as if it could be accomplished without collapsing economies and precipitating the beginning of human population die off.
And those advocating continuance of fossil fuel burning?
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

And more:
This report is intended to inform investors of the specific risks facing Shell as it maintains a public commitment to offshore Arctic.

It presents a summary of Shell’s setbacks in 2012 and assesses the company’s attempts to address the underlying issues. We suggest a number of questions investors should ask Shell, to enable them to understand whether the company has adequately assessed the various risks it faces and is taking appropriate steps to mitigate and manage them.
Source pdf
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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