Chinese companies targeting lucrative markets

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Research Paper “On the Threshold to a New Energy Age” and Survey Results

http://www.whatmattersweblog.com/2010/02/06/survey-results/

As part of the research for my research paper “On the Threshold to a New Energy Age“, I conducted a survey in order to find out how “prepared” people are for the transition to a new age of energy generation and use as well as to gather opinions on current trends in energy issues.

In the coming days I will publish the results of the question-by-question analysis. The questionnaire contained 14 questions. 73 people took part in my survey. More than three quarters of participants came from the United States. I interviewed the remaining quarter in Japan, Singapore, Germany and Portugal.

All questionnaires had been distributed and returned between April 2009 and September 2009.

You can find the survey results on the Main Menu page “Energy Survey”:

http://www.whatmattersweblog.com/energy-survey/

Check out the  ‘RP: New Energy Age’ Category for the downloadable version of my 50-page research paper and further commentary on the survey results:

http://www.whatmattersweblog.com/category/rp-new-energy-age/

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The Pace of Globalization

Series: “The Pace of Globalization” by Maximilian Staedtler

-> www.whatmattersweblog.com

The Pace of Globalization I

The pace of globalization is increasing. And that is good for all of us. Today, we are more inter-connected than at any other date in history. More people communicate, collaborate and compete with each other than ever before.

Globalization is the driving force behind the progress of the human race. Globalization brings peace and prosperity. Globalization is spreading smart ideas at the speed of light and pushing innovations forward. Due to globalization, authoritarian regimes around the world feel pressure to abide by the rules of the international community. The most pressing issues of our time, i.e. overpopulation, resource scarcity (water, food, oil) and climate change, demand a global solution. No country in the world is powerful enough to solve any of these problems on its own. A lack of cooperation between nations in different parts of the world makes measures implemented by one country useless. A great example that demonstrates how prone to failure one-sided attempts are is the climate policy of the European Union. By forcing up prices for emitting carbon dioxide in Europe, the EU might achieve a reduction in European CO2 emissions by lowering demand for fossil fuels, but this has zero effect on global CO2 emissions. Lower demand for oil in Europe for instance achieved through artificially high prices in the EU, is decreasing the pace at which international oil prices would increase otherwise, therefore allowing the rest of the world to consume more (and emit more CO2 emissions) at a lower price. The bottom line is that European efforts to reduce carbon emissions only reduce the pressure on emerging economies to become more efficient and consume less oil. This is what German economist Hans-Werner Sinn calls the “Green Paradox”. (For more on the Green Paradox: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_paradox )

 

The Pace of Globalization II

In his bestselling book “The World is Flat”, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman – one of my favorite authors – analyzes globalization and divides it into three eras:

continued on www.whatmattersweblog.com

 

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The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Saudi Arabian Oil and the Role of November 9th in German History

Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Do you want to know what roles the U.S. and Saudi Arabian oil played in the collapse of the Soviet Union?

Learn more about this highly interesting story and the the important events that happened on November 9th in Germany during the 20th century.

11/9: turning points

http://www.whatmattersweblog.com/2009/11/09/119-turning-points/

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Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City

This video features photos from my trip to the U.S. in summer 2009:

In mid-July I spent one week in Barcelona, Spain, before I headed to Washington D.C. and New York City for a two-week conference. During the conference I visited several international institutions such as the Worldbank in D.C. and the United Nations headquarters in New York, as well as the U.S. State Department, the Saudi Arabian embassy and American University amongst others. After the conference I stayed in NYC for two and a half more weeks before heading to Hawaii in mid-August where I spent one month. Before returning home I made brief stops in San Francisco and New York.

check out my new blog: www.whatmattersweblog.com

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debt, oil and renewables [by Maximilian Staedtler]

download U.S. debt chart: http://www.whatmattersweblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/us-gross-debt-1910-2010.pdf

In recent years, the U.S. turned to cash-rich China to finance its enormous budget deficit. Few believe that China made a good investment. And yet, China keeps lending money to America for one simple reason: if it refused to do so, the U.S. dollar would nosedive and wipe out the value of Chinese currency reserves. Moreover, the U.S. consumer is vital to China’s economic growth. Therefore, China will continue to lend America billions of dollars until the Chinese consumer is ready to step in and drive domestic consumption. But that will take quite some time. The Chinese have the world’s highest personal savings rate and this won’t change unless the Chinese government manages to establish a reliable social security and insurance system.

The obvious reason why the U.S. will never pay back its debt to China is that it’d be impossible for a U.S. president to explain to Americans why he wouldn’t use the money to invest in the American education system, rebuild the ailing infrastructure or prop up the broken health care system.
As I said before, reducing the total amount of debt is illusory, but that doesn’t mean that debt as percentage of GDP can’t be reduced. As you can see on the chart above, gross national debt accounted for roughly 94% of gross domestic product in 1950, but while the total amount of debt more than tripled from $257.4 billion in 1950 to $909 billion in 1980, the percentage of GDP went down to 33.3%. How come this is possible?
Well, GDP was growing  faster than debt.
Rather than worrying about how to pay back mounting debt, we should think about how to grow the U.S. economy.
To achieve the growth rates we need to get the debt level under control again, we need a new key industry, something similar to the IT revolution.
 
Fortunately there is an industry which has the potential of becoming the driver of a new period of high growth rates: clean energy technologies.
Energy is the biggest business in the world. According to Fortune magazine, America’s five largest corporations are ExxonMobil (1), Wal Mart (2), Chevron (3), Conoco Phillips (4) and General Electric (5). 
Have you noticed something? Yes, 3 of the top 5 largest corporations in the U.S. are oil companies. Probably that doesn’t come as a surprise for you.
Since global oil production is close to its peak, western oil companies are falling behind state-run oil giants from the Middle East and South America and because of the harmful effects on the environment, the U.S. will be forced to shift to alternative sources of energy. This should be reason enough for Big Oil to invest in alternatives, even if just to remain a big player in the energy business.
Gradually we’re becoming more sensitive to the true cost of oil. America’s addiction to oil is not only harmful for Mother Earth but also for our security and the well-being of our economy. Domestically produced energy from both conventional and new sources of energy are keeping money locally and creating jobs instead of funding petro dictators and global jihad.
Too often I hear concerns about whether renewable energies can be scaled up fast enough to replace ever more expensive and dirty fossil fuels. The point is that once the development and production of clean energy and energy-efficient cars, homes, etc.. is getting kicked off, the American market will take charge of growing that business to a scale we need and at the same time bringing down costs.
The great thing about a green energy revolution is that it will help the U.S. economy regain strength (and solve our problem number one) and at the same time counteract climate change which is our second major problem. 
In addition, once the U.S. and much of the developed and developing world can effectively reduce oil consumption, this will reduce the threat of terrorism and radical religious groups which depend primarily on Saudi and Iranian oil income. As oil revenues go down, populist leaders from Venezuela to Iran will be forced to become more humble and reform their countries rather than distribute oil wealth.
Contrary to James Quinn’s predictions, I am convinced that there are reasons to be optimistic. As bleak as the outlook may be, one may not underestimate the innovative potential of the American market. Since there are enormous opportunities for profit, it won’t take long until creative entrepreneurs come up with countless ideas of how to generate energy more sustainably and how to use it more efficiently and earn a fortune along the way. The next Google or Microsoft will likely come from the energy tech sector. Let’s do everything we can to make sure that this  industry takes off and sparks a revolution that puts America back on track.
The profit potential in that market will be unprecedented. A strong energy tech sector is bound to drive up exports as global demand will be mind-boggling. Especially energy-thirsty China which is struggling with its spoiled environment will import whatever technologies it can get to satisfy its economy’s energy demand while keeping the impact on its environment as small as possible. Remember, this is not about CO2 emissions, it is about meeting future energy demand at a reasonable price without jeopardizing security and the environment.
Last but not least, alternative energies will not just be needed to replace fossil fuels but also to make up for unavoidable oil supply shortages. The availability and the cost of renewable energies will be increasing forever while at the same time the availability of crude oil is falling and the cost will be sky-rocketing.
Energy tech is America’s and the world’s best bet for the future. It is America’s turn to take action for two reasons:
#1: the U.S. consumes one quarter of the world’s oil though it just has 4% of the world’s population.
#2: America is the only country that can invent the technologies needed and bring them to the market quickly enough with its unequaled network of research universities, venture capitalist industry and millions of creative entrepreneurs willing to take on these challenges.
This article was originally published on www.whatmattersweblog.com on October 22nd 2009.
 
(C) 2009 by Maximilian Staedtler – WHAT MATTERS WEBLOG
(C) 2009 by Maximilian Städtler – www.whatmattersweblog.com
 
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the next oil price spike is ahead…

from my new blog:

and again, oil prices are heading up…. updated oil price chart (WHAT MATTERS WEBLOG)

(http://www.whatmattersweblog.com/2009/10/16/and-again-oil-prices-are-heading-up-updated-oil-price-chart/)

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