Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wandering through the news

Back in October, I made a brief comment on Mr Abbott's rhetoric in regard to Russian President Putin (Defining shirtfronting).Mr Abbott has been has been in a somewhat more conciliatory mood  since arriving in Beijing, given his desire to speak to the Russian President (here, here, here and here). 

If you are going to talk tough, it helps to have some form of stick. Or at least know why you are doing it. The reports in this morning's paper suggests that Mr Abbott wished to deliver a message. The audience is unclear. I would, however, be careful about interpreting Russian naval movements as a response!

Meantime, both the rouble and the Russian economy continue to weaken. Sanctions haven't helped, but the decline in global oil prices is probably more important. With additional Russian support reportedly rolling into the Ukraine, I can't help the uncomfortable feeling that external adventures are often seen as an anodyne for domestic troubles. I note here reports that Russia appears to be gearing up for a propaganda war.  

The fall in global oil prices is interesting. Remember the concept of peak oil? Nobody forecast that increased supplies of unconventional oil would have such a dramatic impact on oil supply, creating a new pattern of economic winners and losers. 

The decision by China and the US to strike a deal on capping green house gas emissions has understandably been greeted with some joy in Australia by the Labor Party and Greens.I have the perhaps unworthy suspicion that the joy is due more to the politics of it than to any emission cuts as such.  


O'Rourke In Canberra said...

"Nobody forecast that increased supplies of unconventional oil would have such a dramatic impact on oil supply... "

JIm - Au contraire, many did. Perhaps the best known being Julian Simon (d.1998) - passed away these 16 years.

I might even be cheeky enough to include myself. I spent 10 years (2011-11) vainly arguing to fellow members of the Canberra Skeptics politburo that the world will never run out of oil. ...

I often quoted ?Sheik Yamani? - "The stone age did not come to and end because the world ran out of stone."


Jim Belshaw said...

Liked the Yamani quote, Michael. I was more inclined than you to accept the peak oil argument. It wasn't so much that the world would run out of oil, more than the extraction costs would price oil out of the market with consequent economic and social effects.

Evan said...

Imagine: using military operations to distract from domestic difficulty.

Jim Belshaw said...

Imagine indeed, Evan!