Vem aí a Grande Depressão !
TAP cancela 2190 voos nos dois primeiros meses e meio de 2009, e apresenta prejuízos de 280 milhões euros em 2008. Para quem o novo aeroporto?
Durante o ano de 2008 circularam menos 20 mil veículos por dia na Ponte 25 de Abril. Para quem a nova ponte sobre o Tejo?
Se a carga movimentada nos cinco principais portos portugueses diminuiu 1,8% em 2008 e cairá a pique em 2009, para que querem a Mota-Engil e a tríade de Macau estuporar o Cais de Alcântara e enterrar a Linha do Estoril (um dos percursos ferroviários mais bonitos do mundo)?
Os níveis de desemprego nos EUA e na Europa (a caminho dos dois dígitos), tal como as quedas bolsistas, nomeadamente em Wall Street, apresentam um padrão cada vez mais semelhante ao do colapso de 1929. Para quem as novas autoestradas e as novas barragens?
Michelle Obama planta alfaces, tomate, cebolas, brócolos e ervas aromáticas nos jardins da Casa Branca (ver plano). Isto não vos diz nada?
A Cimeira do G20, que terá lugar em Londres no próximo dia 2 de Abril, ou abre campo para a substituição do dólar americano como moeda internacional de troca, hipótese em cima da mesa da próxima reunião de especialistas da ONU para a reforma financeira mundial, partilhada pela China, Rússia, alguns países árabes, parte da União Europeia e até um ex-alto funcionário do J P Morgan — prevendo-se que tal decisão possa travar o rumo vertiginoso e perigoso da economia mundial na sequência do colapso do castelo de cartas do endividamento compulsivo do Ocidente —, ou deixa ingleses e americanos imporem a sua vontade, exigindo ao resto do mundo que continue a suportar a falência patente desta aliança, e então as probabilidades de tumultos generalizados, guerras civis, secessões e até de uma 3ª Guerra Mundial passarão a estar em cima da mesa das probabilidades.
O Pico Petrolífero e o fim do paradigma energético que possibilitou até agora os nossos estilos afluentes de vida tem muito mais que ver com a presente crise financeira e económica do que à primeira vista parece. 85% da energia industrial produzida e consumida pela humanidade tem origem no carvão, petróleo e gás natural. Apenas 15% provêm de outras fontes energéticas, como as centrais hídricas e nucleares, os biocombustíveis, os geradores eólicos, os painéis solares, etc. As energias alternativas exploradas nos EUA em 2007 não iam além de 1% do mix energético que move a economia americana, e até 2015 pouco ultrapassarão 4% das necessidades energéticas de um país que consome 25% do petróleo mundial. As possibilidades de substituição das energias dominantes nos últimos 200 anos por energias alternativas e renováveis antes de o Pico Petrolífero provocar danos virtualmente irreparáveis à economia mundial parecem pois escassas.
Assim, até 2015, 2020, 2030, dificilmente nos safaremos de uma depressão permanente, com altíssimos níveis de desemprego, inflação, agravamento contínuo dos impostos, implosão de sistemas sociais e regimes de pensões, colapso de empresas, falências de muitas cidades, luta de classes sob várias formas e uma permanente instabilidade política, que nalguns casos poderão desembocar em guerras civis e revoluções.
Diante deste cenário realista não faz qualquer sentido continuarmos a discutir filosoficamente as vantagens de uma Terceira Travessia do Tejo, o Novo Aeroporto de Alcochete, mais autoestradas, barragens assassinas e até a rede de Alta Velocidade. Portugal está pura e simplesmente à beira da falência. E se os seus cidadãos não tomarem rapidamente consciência deste simples facto, irão todos pagar muitíssimo caro a indolência, o oportunismo ou a falta de coragem demonstradas. As soluções deixaram definitivamente de passar pelo endividamento contínuo em nome da criação de infraestruturas para uma economia que, em boa verdade, já não existe!
Precisamos, isso sim, de nos organizar de outra forma, estabelecendo uma estratégia firme de eficiência energética, de protecção dos recursos públicos, de distribuição solidária do trabalho disponível, de adaptação forçada das cidades ao fim do paradigma energético dos últimos cem anos, de mitigação do impacto extremamente negativo do transporte automóvel, e da instauração de uma democracia directa em rede — alternativa ao irremediavelmente corrupto sistema político actual.
Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House
WASHINGTON (20-03-2009) — Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets — the president does not like them — but arugula will make the cut.
While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.
“My hope,” the first lady said in an interview in her East Wing office, “is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.” — in New York Times.
Shell dumps wind, solar and hydro power in favour of biofuels
Shell will no longer invest in renewable technologies such as wind, solar and hydro power because they are not economic, the Anglo-Dutch oil company said today. It plans to invest more in biofuels which environmental groups blame for driving up food prices and deforestation.
Executives at its annual strategy presentation said Shell, already the world’s largest buyer and blender of crop-based biofuels, would also invest an unspecified amount in developing a new generation of biofuels which do not use food-based crops and are less harmful to the environment.
The company said it would concentrate on developing other cleaner ways of using fossil fuels, such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. It hoped to use CCS to reduce emissions from Shell’s controversial and energy-intensive oil sands projects in northern Canada.
The company said that many alternative technologies did not offer attractive investment opportunities. Linda Cook, Shell’s executive director of gas and power, said: “If there aren’t investment opportunities which compete with other projects we won’t put money into it. We are businessmen and women. If there were renewables [which made money] we would put money into it.” — guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 17 March 2009 19.04 GMT.
The Real Unemployment Rate, by Lee Adler
Let’s stop kidding ourselves. The sugar coated headline unemployment rate reported by the government is completely bogus. The real unemployment rate buried in the Federal Government’s data tables, including discouraged workers and those who are considered marginally attached or working part-time because they cannot find full time work, is now 12.2%, the highest it has been in 15 years. This number is up 33% over the past 12 months.
For those egonomists who claim that this is nothing like the Great Depression, because then the unemployment rate was 25%, stick this in your pipe and smoke it. Where was the unemployment rate in 1930, the year after the market crashed? According to the BLS, the unemployment rate for all of 1930 was 8.9%. Admittedly, there’s no information on how that statistic was calculated, but those economists who say that today’s recession is nothing like the Great Depression. By this one measure at least, given the timing. Today’s deterioration is at least as rapid, and probably more rapid, than the beginning of the Great Depression. — in Wall Street Examiner (5-12-2008.)
The peak oil economic depression has arrived, by Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D.
The best advice for individuals and organization is to prepare for Peak Oil impacts. No federal or state agencies are studying Peak Oil impacts and contingency planning. A few local governments and organizations are beginning to make plans.
This is what we must plan for. With increasing costs for gasoline and diesel, along with declining taxes and declining gasoline tax revenues, states and local governments will eventually have to cut staff and curtail highway maintenance. Eventually, gasoline stations will close, and state and local highway workers won’t be able to get to work. We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel and gasoline powered trucks for bridge maintenance, culvert cleaning to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, and roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, large transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables from great distances. With the highways out, there will be no food coming from far away, and without the power grid virtually nothing modern works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, water distribution systems, waster water treatment, and automated building systems. — in Energy Bulletin.
Peak oil – keep your eye on the donut and not the hole, by Chris Shaw
You see, to find and exploit an oil deposit, we need to expend quite a lot of oil energy. Oil is the supreme example of compact energy, so we have all enjoyed the abundance of “spare” energy left over. As the easy stuff is used up, we arrive at the point where we must finally expend a whole barrel of oil to produce a barrel of oil. Approaching this point, rising oil prices simply express the diminishing proportion of “spare” energy left over for distribution.
Once the net energy return is zero, it’s over … no matter how much oil is tantalisingly “still down there”. For the same reasons, less accessible or poor quality oil deposits can be very short-lived. At the finish, the price of oil is immaterial. One cent or one million dollars a barrel – it’s over.
…Would you think me a jester if I said that the one true currency is energy? It always was and always will be. Economics is the game of Tiddlywinks that we can afford to play only in the midst of easy, abundant energy. Energy is the donut, economics is the hole. — in Online Opinion.
Leading climate scientist: ‘democratic process isn’t working’
Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said.
James Hansen, a climate modeller with Nasa, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working,” he said.
Speaking on the eve of joining a protest against the headquarters of power firm E.ON in Coventry, Hansen said: “The first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.
“The democratic process is supposed to be one person one vote, but it turns out that money is talking louder than the votes. So, I’m not surprised that people are getting frustrated. I think that peaceful demonstration is not out of order, because we’re running out of time.” — guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 18 March 2009 18.31 GMT.
Crude Oil: Uncertainty about the Future Oil Supply Makes it Important to Develop a Strategy for Addressing a Peak and Decline in Oil Production (2007)
“Because development and widespread adoption of technologies to displace oil will take time and effort, an imminent peak and sharp decline in oil production could have severe consequences. The technologies we examined [ethanol, biodiesel, biomass gas-to-liquid, coal gas-to-liquid, and hydrogen] currently supply the equivalent of only about 1% of U.S. annual consumption of petroleum products, and DOE [U.S. Department of Energy] projects that even under optimistic scenarios, these technologies could displace only the equivalent of about 4% of annual projected U.S. consumption by around 2015. If the decline in oil production exceeded the ability of alternative technologies to displace oil, energy consumption would be constricted, and as consumers competed for increasingly scarce oil resources, oil prices would sharply increase. In this respect, the consequences could initially resemble those of past oil supply shocks, which have been associated with significant economic damage. For example, disruptions in oil supply associated with the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74 and the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 caused unprecedented increases in oil prices and were associated with worldwide recessions. In addition, a number of studies we reviewed indicate that most of the U.S. recessions in the post-World War II era were preceded by oil supply shocks and the associated sudden rise in oil prices. Ultimately, however, the consequences of a peak and permanent decline in oil production could be even more prolonged and severe than those of past oil supply shocks. Because the decline would be neither temporary nor reversible, the effects would continue until alternative transportation technologies to displace oil became available in sufficient quantities at comparable costs. Furthermore, because oil production could decline even more each year following a peak, the amount that would have to be replaced by alternatives could also increase year by year.” — (PDF)
OAM 558 21-03-2009 02:54 (última actualização: 22-03-2009 02:09)