Category: Seeing Patterns

Pattern – Higher Global Temperatures, Earlier Impacts and the Shale Fuels Bounty

We most probably need to get ready for a 2C global temperatures’ increase and its harsh impact on the world relatively rapidly, as a temperatures’ rise of 6C – and above – by the end of the century is increasingly probable. Indeed, interests and current challenges and tensions are most likely to favour shale fuels’ production and policies and adversely affect “green efforts”. Other adverse ecological impacts on global security issues such as water and biodiversity may be enhanced and must be monitored. Citizens’ mobilization on those issues may evolve as trade-offs will be done, and as impacts will be felt.


climate change, greenland, melt, World BankOn 18 November, the World Bank published a new report warning about the dire impacts of temperatures rising over 2C or worse over 4C, and admonishes staying below the 2C target.

However, if you remember last week’s news, PricewaterhouseCoopers has published another report that underlines that warming of at least 6C by the end of the century is possible, if the current efforts, or lack thereof, at tackling the problem are not considerably stepped up.

Meanwhile, the IEA has hailed, again last week, what had been discussed for a few months in various energy related fora, a new position for the “United States [that] will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer by 2017″, thanks to tight light oil (shale oil) and shale gas.

Despite controversies on the reality of this forecast, it is almost certain that the U.S., as well as all other countries who could see their oil and gas production boosted by use of shale oil and gas will promote this “new” fossil fuel policy, as pointed out in this article:

U.S. the New Saudi Arabia? Peak Oilers Scoff: The U.S. is set to increase oil production so much that it will overtake Saudi Arabia and become the world’s biggest producer by around 2… (by Peter CoyBusinessweek)

The very tense – and increasingly so – international situation and its effect on energy prices, when energy is crucial in terms of defence, notably for power projection, may only enhance the desire to get hold of black gold. Meanwhile, the sovereign debt, financial and economic crises, the related domestic unrest and ongoing polarisation are likely to surround the possibility of new revenues and reduced energy imports with the aura of a miraculous solution.

Oil rises as Israel-Hamas fight continues – BANGKOK (AP): The price of oil rose to nearly $88 a barrel Monday in Asia as the conflict between Israel and Hamas showed no signs… (SFGate)

If we add the lobbying by oil interests and related industries and the currently very powerful position of a financial establishment looking for growth of profits – one pole of the polarization – then the likelihood to see governments ruling over countries with shale deposits “putting oil subsidies into green infrastructure” is close to zero or even nil… unless a miracle happens.

Put oil subsidies into green infrastructure: World Bank – Times LIVE: The initiative was one of several it promoted in releasing its latest report on global warming, “Turn Down the Heat.” World Bank President…

But then, this means that we do have to get ready for the fateful 6C increase or more by the end of the century. This means that the timeline for the increase in temperature is changing and thus that the 2C and then 4C increase will be reached much earlier. We must thus re-evaluate current and near future impacts of climate change without forgetting other ecosystemic effects, such as, for example, the consequences of fracking on water, when water is another global security concern.

However, citizens also mobilize around those issues, as is not lost on the IEA (see last slide).

Thus, shall we see an increased mobilization and tension, or will citizens, too, have to face the difficult choice of issues and problems prioritization? What will result from the trade-offs? How those trade-offs will then evolve as adverse impacts are felt earlier? How will other players, with other interests alter the chessboard?


The World Bank – Climate Change – Climate Change Report Warns of Dramatically Warmer World This Century

PwC Report States that Global Temperatures will Increase by 6°C by 2100,

U.S. to overtake Saudi as top oil producer: IEA, Reuters, Peg Mackey.

U.S. the New Saudi Arabia? Peak Oilers Scoff by Peter Coy, Businessweek

Put oil subsidies into green infrastructure: World Bank – Times LIVE

Oil rises as Israel-Hamas fight continues – BANGKOK (AP), SFGate

Light Tight Oil and Unconventional Gas: ‘Golden Rules’ to Stay On-track (slides), INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY

Pattern – Towards Polarization in the Western World?

Following the 14 November 2012 strikes, the likely pattern that is emerging is a rising polarization within Western society – or societies – with more demonstrations and protests in the near future, which will probably expand in terms of participation, geographical scope and content of demands. Dismissal – easily interpreted as despise – absence of satisfying answer and feeling of unfairness will most likely enhance tension, opening the door to violence under various forms.


As a consequence of the responses given by governments to the financial institutions and sovereign debt crisis, austerity policies, protests have spread throughout the Western world since March 2011. On 14 November 2012 a Europe-wide strike was organised and saw millions of demonstrators taking to the streets with variations according to countries. The demonstration shows a rising coordination across countries and mobilization of citizens. It is however still mainly peaceful despite sporadic violence.

#14N: millions join largest European strike ever, Jerome Roos, Reflections on a Revolution ROAR: Street battles break out and large parts of Europe are paralyzed as millions of workers walk off their jobs in the biggest coordinated EU…

The general demonstration occurred as the Euro zone was not yet considered as being in recession. However, as now recession is official and expected to last, then the causes for the mobilization remain, letting us expect more protests to come.

Euro zone seen sinking into recession as Germany struggles, Robin Emmot,  BRUSSELS, Nov 15 (Reuters): French economy seen stagnating; Germany to grow just 0.2 pct; The euro zone likely slipped in…

If peaceful protests are, however, considered as useless, notably by the conservative and liberal financial establishment, then it is most likely that demands will not be heard, and worse, that peaceful demonstrations will be dismissed. It may be seen as the real response to the demonstration, actually a hardened position. As recession may also increase the fear of diminishing profits, then a softening posture is unlikely. Furthermore, one may also imagine that a continuing recession added to failed efforts by demonstrators to bring about change would be an opportunity to actually increase profits – and power – on the short and medium term by breaking any opposition, thus by changing the second half of the 20th century related balance of power. This would also imply a tendency towards a harsher position.

Big Europe Strikes Have Little Effect, Wall Street Journal: General strikes and sporadic violence against government austerity programs racked Spain, Portugal and Greece, but they appeared unlikely…

Featured image: Madrid Demonstration on 14 November 2012 from #14N: millions join largest European strike ever by Jerome Roos.