One Step Closer - Un pas de plus

(Moncton, Oct 27, 2010) Post Carbon Greater Moncton had an excellent meeting with the local SPCA last night. We are one step closer to a pro-chicken by-law in Moncton. We will now be finalizing our Urban Farm Pilot Project Report, which will be filed with the City of Moncton in December.

Keep chicken our blog. It is updated on a regular basis with leading-edge articles on the post carbon world.


(Moncton, 21 octobre 2010) Grand Moncton Post Carbone a eu une très bonne réunion avec la SPCA hier soir. Nous avons fait un pas de plus vers un arrêté municipal permettant l’élevage de poules en ville. Nous allons maintenant finir de préparer le rapport du projet pilote qui sera déposé à la ville de Moncton en décembre.

Pour les derniers articles de pointe sur le monde post carbone, veuillez consulter notre blog régulièrement.


Engine trouble

Source: The Economist, October 21, 2010

MANY factors were responsible for the industrial revolution. But the use of fossil fuels was clearly vital in driving a step change in rates of economic and population growth. So the current rise in the cost of extracting such fuels should be the subject of considerable concern.

Until the 18th century mankind’s output had been restricted by the amount of physical force that humans (and domesticated animals) could exert and by the amount of wood that people could chop down. Fossil fuels delivered a massive productivity boost.

In a recent article for the Cato Institute, Matt Ridley, a former journalist at The Economist, argues for the importance of coal in allowing the industrial revolution to be sustained. “Fossil fuels were the only power source that did not show diminishing returns,” he writes. “In sharp contrast to wood, water and wind, the more you mined them the cheaper they became.” A further advantage was that coal supplies were so large. By 1830, Mr Ridley estimates, Britain was consuming coal with an annual energy output equivalent to 15m acres of forest, about three times the size of Wales.

In the 20th century oil replaced coal as the cheap fuel of choice. It has had an enormous impact, most noticeably in transport. Think about how much of your daily activity depends on energy—the commute to work, the heating and lighting for home and office, the steel and bricks needed to construct both properties, the transport costs involved in delivering your food to supermarkets (and the energy used to cook it), and so on.



"Pas de carburant à des kilomètres à la ronde"

Source : Le Monde, 17 octobre 2010

Alors que le gouvernement affirme qu'il n'y a pas de pénuries de carburant en raison des grèves dans les raffineries et des blocages de dépôts pétroliers, plusieurs centaines d'internautes du Monde.fr ont témoigné des difficultés d'approvisionnement qu'ils ont rencontrées dans leur région, dimanche 17 octobre.

Nombre d'entre eux ont ainsi dû parcourir plusieurs dizaines de kilomètres avant de trouver une station-service ouverte. Les approvisionnements en gazole semblent plus touchés que ceux en essence. Les principales régions touchées sont l'Ile-de-France, le Centre et la Normandie.

"Au Havre, depuis vendredi, les stations Auchan sont fermées ainsi que celles du centre ville et celles de la route d'Etretat. J'ai trouvé ce matin en bord de mer une station qui avait un peu de gazole, mais pas de super", témoigne Francis Wirth. Plusieurs stations-service ont choisi de mettre en place des restrictions, comme à Troarn, près de Caen. "Samedi matin j'ai dû faire la queue pendant 35 minutes pour pouvoir mettre 20 euros d'essence", témoigne Jérôme Lion.


Pénurie d'essence : il n'y a «pas de quoi paniquer»

Source : Le Figaro, 16 octobre 2010

La ministre de l'Économie Christine Lagarde assure qu'«il n'y a pas de pénurie d'essence, il y a des stocks pour plusieurs semaines». Mais des Français, inquiets, se ruent vers les pompes.

Les tensions montent en France. Et les grévistes du secteur pétrolier sont remontés. Ce samedi, alors que les douze raffineries françaises sont en grève et que les routiers entrent dans la danse en aidant aux blocages des dépôts pétroliers, environ 350 stations-essence en France sont «à sec».

Le spectre d'une pénurie d'essence s'étend. Certaines personnes remplissent des bidons, en prévoyance. Dans certaines villes, on parle de ruée vers les pompes ce samedi. Sur la N7 à Ris-Orangis (Essonne), deux véhicules de police surveillent la file d'une vingtaine de voitures après que deux automobilistes ont manqué à en venir aux mains.

Il faut dire que le ton est particulièrement tendu du côté des syndicats dans le secteur pétrolier. «On est parti et on ne s'arrêtera pas. On n'a pas arrêté 12 raffineries pour faire un baroud d'honneur jusqu'à la journée du 19. On va continuer jusqu'à ce que le gouvernement retire son projet de loi», a lancé Charles Foulard, coordonnateur CGT du groupe Total. «Les routiers vont nous rejoindre.Les aéroports disposent de 48 heures de stocks. On ira jusqu'au bout», a-t-il ajouté.



Wal-Mart to Buy More Local Produce

Source: NY Times, Oct 14, 2010

Wal-Mart Stores announced a program on Thursday that would focus on sustainable agriculture among its suppliers, as it tries to expand its efforts to improve environmental efficiency among its suppliers.

The program is intended to put more locally grown food in Wal-Mart stores in the United States, invest in training and infrastructure for small and medium-size farmers, particularly in emerging markets, and begin to measure the efficiency of large suppliers in growing and getting their produce to market.

Given that Wal-Mart is the world’s largest grocer, with one of the biggest supply chains, any changes that it makes would have wide implications. Wal-Mart’s decision five years ago to set sustainability goals that, among other things, increased its reliance on renewable energy and reduced packaging waste among its supplies, sent broad ripples through product manufacturers. Large companies like Procter & Gamble redesigned packages that are now carried by other retailers, while Wal-Mart’s measurements of environmental efficiency among its suppliers helped define how they needed to change.



Food shock: Market volatility a bigger threat than the shortage of grain

Source: Globe & Mail, Oct 7, 2010

The global food crisis that has been looming for years has arrived: Only it’s not the one we’ve been expecting.

Fears about the food supply have been high since prices spiked with oil in 2008. When a third of the Russian wheat crop fell to drought this summer and the country slammed its borders to exports, a new panic was triggered: Wheat prices soared 50 per cent, pushing up other cereals. Food riots broke out in Mozambique. The United Nations convened an emergency meeting of experts. Just this week, drought-stricken Ukraine announced export quotas on wheat pegged to last through December.

But for all of this, there is no real shortage of food in the world. Instead of a supply crisis, what has dawned is a new era of increased volatility. Unpredictable spikes and tumbles in some of the world’s most vital food commodities, most of them grains, are becoming more frequent.

The shocks are provoking anxiety from the farm gate to government offices and the trading floors that lie in between. More critically, they are prompting governments to take steps to tame jittery markets, steps that experts say are fuelling the volatility rather than dampening it.



Oil sands should be left in the ground: NASA scientist

Source: Globe & Mail, Oct 5, 2010

One of NASA's top scientists has told a panel reviewing a proposed oil sands mine in northern Alberta that the resource should simply be left in the ground.

James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies says allowing new developments such as Total E&P Canada's $9-billion plan to build the Joslyn North mine would make it too hard to manage the impact of climate change.

“The simple message is the oil sands may appear to be gold. We do need energy and there's a lot of potential energy in the oil sands,” Mr. Hansen said Tuesday during a break from public hearings in Sherwood Park, Alta.

“But it is fool's gold because it's going to be clear and understood within a reasonably brief period of time that we cannot exploit unconventional fossil fuels like tar sands and tar shale. If we do, we're going to have to suck the CO2 back out of the atmosphere and the estimated cost of doing that is $200 to $500 a tonne of carbon.”

Hollywood director James Cameron came to a similar conclusion when he toured the oil sands last week. He said the resource could be a gift to Alberta and Canada in an energy-starved world, but could become a curse if not handled properly.

But Mr. Hansen, sometimes dubbed the godfather of climate-change science, goes even further. He said that burning the Earth's conventional oil has already contributed to a dangerous level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Adding oil sands crude and new coal supplies to the mix would be too much for the atmosphere to bear.



Things Will Unravel Faster Than You Think

Source: huffingtonpost.com (Chris Martensen Ph.D.)

By my analysis, we are not yet on the final path to recovery, and there are one or more financial 'breaks' coming in the future. Underlying structural weaknesses have not been resolved, and the kick-the-can-down-the-road plan is going to encounter a hard wall in the not-too-distant future. When the next moment of discontinuity finally arrives, events will unfold much more rapidly than most people expect.

My work centers on figuring out which macro trends are in play and then helping people to adjust accordingly. Based on trends in fiscal and monetary policy, I began advising accumulation of gold and silver in 2003 and 2004. I shorted homebuilder stocks beginning in 2006 and ending in 2008. These were not 'great' calls; they were simply spotting trends in play, one beginning and one certain to end, and then taking appropriate actions based on those trends.

We happen to live in a non-linear world; a core concept of the Crash Course. But far too many people expect events to unfold in a more or less orderly manner, with plenty of time to adjust along the way. In other words, linearly. The world does not always cooperate, and my concern rests on the observation that we still face the convergence of multiple trends, each of which alone has the power to permanently transform our economic landscape and standards of living.

Three such trends (out of the many I track) that will shape our immediate future are:

* Peak Oil
* Sovereign insolvency
* Currency debasement

Individually, these worry me quite a bit; collectively, they have my full attention.