Christopher Wilson & Assoc.

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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Monday, January 23, 2012

Good news, bad news

Good news! Global oil consumption fell 300,000 barrels/day in the fourth quarter of 2011. The bad news is that it did so on the back of growing economic weakness. However, the price of oil remained “stable” (meaning high) because of supply risks associated with civil unrest in Nigeria and Iraq as well as the impending oil embargo on Iran. So don’t expect help from a soft energy sector to stimulate world economies.

As ODAC reported last week of greater importance may be the longer term prospects associated with our window for action on climate beginning to close. For instance, they report on BP’s Energy Outlook to 2030. In it BP projects energy demand increasing 36% by 2030. Consumption of oil, gas and coal all continue to grow despite steady growth in renewables and increased energy efficiency. Oil's overall proportion of market share is set to decrease, owing to growth in other liquid fuel supplies. However, the report anticipates that CO2 emissions will increase 28% over the period — from 382ppm today to approximately 500ppm, well above the 450 ppm cap advocated to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius and avoid run away climate change. This is definitely not so good news.