Saturday, August 6, 2016

British Columbia LNG Industry, The Last Gas(P)....A Straight Goods Special

(The below was originally posted August 21st/2015...Thought June 12th/2016 would be good time to revisit this post....Grant G 

British Columbia LNG Industry, The Last Gas(P)......A Straight Goods Special

Written by Grant G

"A fool and their money soon part ways".....

Seems to me that every time devastating news on the world LNG front rears its head out comes a British Columbia made LNG spin story, yesterday was no different, articles and newscasts came out blazing, ...The proponent,...Steelhead LNG

Steelhead`s proposal, a floating LNG operation near Mill Bay on Vancouver Island and a $30 billion dollar LNG liquefaction plant in Port Alberni..

This proposal will never happen, never be built, a foolish pipedream, ...Steelhead LNG is not an energy company, they have no assets, they own no LNG facilities, they own no upstream drill properties, Steelhead LNG is a group of people, including BC Liberal Geoff Plant and some other people with expertise in the energy game, but to be clear they have no financial means to back up their silly proposal..

I feel bad for Vancouver Island First Nations who have drank the LNG koolaid...

Steelhead LNG proposes a pipeline from northeast British Columbia to our southern B.C. coastline, from there another pipeline on the bottom of the Georgia Straight, from there a pipeline to cross Vancouver Island to BC`s wild west coast, (Sarita Bay)...In Sarita Bay Steelhead LNG proposes building a $30 billion dollar liquefaction plant, ..Thus having massive LNG tankers traversing the wind-swept Alberni canal, a waterway that is winding, very narrow, where winds whip up to 100 miles per hour on a regular basis, winds that come out of nowhere, regardless of the weather, the Port Alberni canal is a natural wind tunnel, winds race through the canal without a cloud in the sky, winds in the canal are thermal dynamic driven...The canal is also full of fishing vessels, both sport and commercial, the canal is also a tourist destination with fishing lodges and camp-sites from end to end...

This project will never happen, for two reason, the first being the risk to tourism, to salmon, to life itself, the canal is too small and too windy to ever have that kind of operation approved..

The second reason why the project will never happen is money, Steelhead has no financial means and no bank or money lender will ever sanction such an expense on an industry gone/going bust.

Breaking News...Japan has restarted their first nuclear plant(Sendai #1) ..Japan is also on pace to restart 11 more nuclear plants in the next year...

Remember this during BC`s 2013 election ...Christy Clark said this about LNG and I quote..

"British Columbia can receive five to six times the price for BC LNG in Japan"

"British Columbia will create hundreds of thousands of high-paying LNG jobs"

"British Columbia will create a $100 billion dollar prosperity fund"

"British Columbia through LNG will retire our provincial debt, pay off all crown debt, eliminate bridge tolls, British Columbia could even eliminate our provincial sales tax" 

This section updated January 1st 2016...Japan is ramping up their nuclear restarts, so...Don`t look to Asia, as in Japan to buy any B.C. LNG...Nuclear power has NO GHG emissions...

Read this all you LNG spindoctors....And, it`s not just Japan ramping up nuclear power, South Korea is ramping up nuclear too...China has 50 nuclear plants under construction as I write this, however, for now let`s peruse Japan`s latest strides towards restarting the nuclear power grid..

Japan Nuclear Update

Sendai 1 and 2 Generated 1.3 Million MWh in November

Dec. 17, 2015–Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co. generated a combined 1,346,924 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity at its Sendai 1 and 2 reactors in November, the Federation of Electric Power Cos. of Japan (FEPC) said Dec. 11.

FEPC said Japan’s nuclear generating capacity factor for November was 4.4 percent, up from 2.7 in October, 2.2 in September and 0.9 in August. The latest generating figure means that Kyushu operated its two 890-megawatt pressurized water reactors at 105 percent capacity on average in November. Sendai 1 and 2 began full commercial operations Sept. 10 and Nov. 17.

Takahama Restart Gets Local Approval

Dec. 10, 2015–Kansai Electric Power Co. received approval from the town of Takahama on Dec. 3 for the restart of its Takahama 3 and 4 reactors, a local government official said. Kansai Electric also needs approval from Fukui Prefecture to resume operations of the reactors.

Kansai Electric said Nov. 25 that it expects the restart of Takahama 3 and 4 to be delayed to late January and late February 2016, because of a delay in its preparations for final on-site checks by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Kansai Electric also is waiting for Fukui District Court to decide on its appeal against an injunction preventing the restart. A court hearing ended Nov. 13.


Takahama Restart Delayed by a Month

Dec. 3, 2015—Kansai Electric Power Co. said Nov. 25 it expects the restart of its Takahama 3 and 4 reactors to be delayed by one month, to late January and late February 2016.

Kansai EPC said the postponement is due to a delay in its preparations for final on-site checks to be conducted by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority. The company also is awaiting a court decision following a Nov. 13 hearing on its appeal to lift an April injunction preventing the restart.

Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai 1 and 2, the first Japanese power reactors to restart, resumed normal operations in September and November. All 41 other operable reactors in the country are shut pending confirmation they meet NRA safety requirements, obtain permission from local authorities and complete required pre-operational inspections.

The NRA on Nov. 18 granted full 40-year operating licenses for Takahama 3 and 4 and for Sendai 2. Under Japanese regulations, nuclear power plant operators receive a 40-year operating license, subject to a review of the operator’s maintenance plan at the 30-year mark. All three reactors are now licensed to operate until 2025.

Meanwhile, Kansai EPC filed an application Nov. 26 for a 20-year license renewal for Mihama 3, the first reactor to request a total 60 years of operation. NRA inspections required for the application included age-related assessments, ultrasonic testing of the reactor pressure vessel’s base metal and welds, and confirmation of the concrete containment’s strength, and found “no abnormality.”

Sendai 2 Begins Commercial Operations

Nov. 19, 2015—Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s 846-megawatt Sendai 2 pressurized water reactor in Kagoshima prefecture has attained full commercial operation. The reactor is the second reactor to restart in the country since the introduction of post-Fukushima regulatory standards. Power generation began last month, and operators have been gradually increasing output and carrying out tests.

The electricity output from Sendai 1 and 2 in October was about 840,000 megawatt-hours, according to the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan. Japan’s nuclear generating capacity factor in October was 2.7 percent, up from 2.2 percent in September.

The rest of Japan’s 43 operable reactors are shut pending confirmation by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority that they meet post-Fukushima safety requirements. On Nov. 18, NRA commissioners approved 10-year life extensions for Sendai 2 and Kansai EPC’s Takahama 3 and 4, both of which are undergoing pre-operational inspections prior to restart.

JAPC Files for Examination of Tsuruga 2

Nov. 12, 2015—Japan Atomic Power Co. has filed for the Nuclear Regulation Authority to examine its 1,100-megawatt Tsuruga 2 pressurized water reactor for compatibility with post-Fukushima regulatory standards. NRA earlier approved an evaluation report by its expert panel concluding that a fault zone beneath Tsuruga 2 was active. JAPC will have to convince NRA to overturn that evaluation if the reactor is to pass the compatibility examination, without which an early restart of the reactor is unlikely.

Various Japanese power companies have filed with NRA to restart 26 Japanese reactors, five of which have shown they comply with the new standards.


Sendai 2 Attains Full Power Operations

Nov. 5, 2015—Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co. expects to begin commercial operation of its 890-megawatt Sendai 2 nuclear power reactor as early as Nov. 17, once the Nuclear Regulatory Authority completes final checks. The reactor started running at full capacity Nov. 1.

Sister plant Sendai 1 returned to regular commercial operations Sept. 10. Kyushu EPC said the two reactors’ return to commercial operation will enable it to cut monthly losses of $99 million, returning the company to profitability this fiscal year.

Shikoku EPC to File for Ikata 3 Restart Oct. 30

Nov. 5, 2015—Japan’s Shikoku Electric Power Co. will file with the NRA a document on tornado impact countermeasures for its 890-megawatt Ikata 3 nuclear reactor that could move it closer to restarting.

The tornado measures are the last issue needed to complete Ikata 3’s engineering work program. NRA’s approval of the engineering program will allow Shikoku EPC to submit an application for pre-operational inspections, the last regulatory requirement prior to restart. Local authorities approved the restart Oct. 26.

Takahama Engineering Work to Be Completed February

Nov. 5, 2015—Completion of safety engineering work at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s 870-megawatt Takahama 3 and 4 reactors will be delayed past the original December deadline until February 2016.

Kansai EPC also hopes the Nuclear Regulation Authority will simultaneously complete its fifth and final set of pre-operational inspections at the two units by then. The inspections began at the two reactors Aug. 17 and Oct. 21.

Ikata 3 Restart Gets Final Local Approvals

Oct. 29, 2015—The governor of Ehime Prefecture, Tokihiro Nakamura, has approved the restart of Shikoku Electric Power Co.'s Ikata 3 nuclear reactor. The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum said the restart is scheduled for early 2016. Local authorities from the town of Ikata already have approved the restart and all procedures to obtain agreements from local communities have been completed.

In July the 846-megawatt pressurized water reactor cleared examinations to confirm its compatibility with new post-Fukushima regulatory safety standards imposed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Shikoku EPC will file with NRA by Oct. 30 a plan for tornado countermeasures, the last document required before it applies for pre-operational inspections.


Christy Clark said all those things and more, including Christy Clark saying this, and I quote...

"We can sell British Columbia LNG to japan for five to six times the North American price" snip

Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and other LNG spindoctors are too stupid to realize why Japan is returning to nuclear power, because of money, profitability, in order to compete with other countries in manufacturing/heavy industry...Japan was not going to sit there and do nothing, Japan was not prepared to be held hostage by big energy companies and mouthy governments..Christy Clark literally told our Japanese neighbours that British Columbia was going to get rich off gouging them..Christy Clark, the mouth that roared empty words....Pretty safe to say now that Japan won`t need a lick of BC LNG...And who can forget what the painted lady Pamela Martin said about LNG..!

Christy Clark`s communication director Pamela Martin stated, and tweeted to British Columbia`s public, and I quote..

"What would you do with a $trillion Dollars"

Where to even begin, there is so much bad news out there for British Columbia`s LNG industry..

Najib Razak, Malaysia`s prime minister and Petronas head is in survival mode, the proposed Petronas Prince Rupert project has been put on the back-burner, in fact I and many others believe the project is about to be officially cancelled altogether...Yes Petronas has some contracted obligations to deliver LNG in the future, many BC LNG spindoctors ( Brad Zubyk, Resources Works, BCLNGA) and others have blathered about Petronas and the LNG they were contracted to deliver by 2019...

Petronas has solved that problem with this acquisition..


Sarawak Shell Berhad, a unit of Shell, has handed over its 50 percent stake of MLNG Dua to Malaysia’s Petronas.

Previously, MLNG Dua was operated by Shell via a production sharing contract signed with Petronas in 1993.
With this handover, Petronas subsidiaries PCSB and EPMV now own 90 percent and 10 percent equity respectively as PSC operators. The previous PSC expired August 20, Petronas said in a statement on Friday.
“Petronas is committed to ensure that there will be no interruption to the supply and demand of gas and achieve stability in the operations of MLNG Dua,” said Petronas Senior VP Upstream Malaysia, Mohd Anuar Taib.


Petronas has just secured supply, with that acquisition they can meet their deliverable contracts without their Prince Rupert LNG liquefaction facility......An acquisition and major news story that BC`s lamestream media ignored....They were too busy spinning Steelhead LNG`s uneconomical and unattainable pie in the sky proposal.

The world LNG market today, in 2015 is already in a structural glut, and that`s before the 60 million tonnes of new capacity comes online in the next four years, the world LNG market is in a structural glut before Japan restarted their first nuclear plant, with 11 more nuclear plants slated to come online in the next year, and I remind you that at present Japan is the largest by volume consumer of LNG..NOT FOR LONG..

The news gets worse, existing LNG operations have seen their profits plunge year over year and anyone paying attention to world economies, China is in recession, manufacturing in free-fall, energy stocks are low, oil hovering at $40 dollars per barrel and forecasted to reach lows not seen in decades, possibly dropping as low as $20 dollars per barrel, expert forecasters are predicting oil to remain low for at least another decade..


Australia’s Santos, operator of the GLNG project, reported a half-year net profit of $37 million after tax, 82 per cent lower than the previous first half, reflecting significantly lower oil prices and a higher exploration expense.

The half-year results were also highlighted by improvements in production and significant cost reductions across the business, Santos said in its results report on Monday.
Strong operational performance – particularly from PNG LNG and Darwin LNG – saw Santos record production growth of 13 per cent compared to last year. However, the lower realised oil prices resulted in sales revenue declining by 15 per cent.


Japan, even before they restarted their first nuclear plant have seen LNG imports decline precipitously ...
And as for South Korea...Here`s more bad news for British Columbia`s LNG aspirations..

"Yoo Sang-Hee told Platts that high prices of LNG compared to coal and nuclear push the demand for the liquefied natural gas further down in the power generation sector as more gas-fired power plants remain idle.

Operating rates of gas-fired power plants went from 61.3% in 2013 to 50.8% in 2014, and as Yoo said, it is expected that these rates will slip to 23.7% by 2019 and even lower to 16.8% in 2022."


Kogas of South Korea, the world’s largest corporate buyer of LNG, said its sales volume totaled 1.90 million mt in July, a drop of 20 percent as compared to the same month last year.

Gas sales into the power sector were at 1.01 million mt, down 26.8 percent when compared to July in 2014, Kogas said in a filling to the stock exchange.
The company’s city gas sales dropped 10.6 percent on year to 887,000 mt.
Kogas imported 16.54 million mt of LNG in the first half of 2015, down 17.1 percent as compared to the previous year.

Kiss Japan as a B.C. LNG buying market can add South Korea to the not interested in BC LNG camp too....

And what about China?.....Well, China has lost nothing but money on Canadian energy projects and now China is getting the hell out of Canada..

"After a string of bad investments, China Investment Corp. (CIC) has shut down its Toronto office and is opening a new one in New York, part of a quiet retreat from Canadian natural resources by China’s state-controlled entities......

CIC was founded in 2007 by the Chinese government to help the country earn a higher return on its pool of foreign exchange reserves, worth US$3.44 trillion at the end of November. CIC manages US$747 billion......

Some of that money flowed into Canada at the height of the commodity boom. CIC committed US$500 million in 2009 to SouthGobi Resources Ltd., the Vancouver-based company with operations in Mongolia, then invested $1.7 billion in Teck Resources Ltd...

All Canadian positions became big money losers. In some cases CIC is now the largest shareholder after others bailed. The move to New York may signal CIC will cut its Canadian holdings"


I don`t believe China will be too interested in losing more money on unprofitable LNG export terminals

The bad news on the LNG front is staggering, the prospect for British Columbia to get any LNG projects is very, very grim indeed...Petronas, the company the BC Liberals bent over backwards for and sold out British Columbia to is in a world of hurt...Firstly...Petronas`s LNG sales are in steep decline,....And even the head honchos at Petronas see no relief in the near to long term..


Malaysia’s oil and gas giant Petronas said it has sold 8 percent less LNG in the second quarter of 2015, as compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The company’s LNG sales were at 6.92 million tonnes, down by 0.6 million tonnes on year due to lower production at its LNG complex in Bintulu, Petronas said on Friday.
In the first half of this year, Petronas sold 14.96 million tonnes of LNG, down from 15.15 million tonnes a year ago.

Petronas President and Group CEO Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said that the company does not foresee a reprieve from the low oil prices in the near future
“I do not expect our cash flow from operations this year to meet our CAPEX and dividend commitments. This means that we will have to persevere through with more austerity measures, and will have to draw on our cash reserves,” he said.


The news for Petronas`s Najib Razak and the people of Malaysia gets even worse....Petronas which supplies the government of Malaysia upwards of 30% to 40% of their national budget...Petronas will not be able to meet their dividend obligations to Malaysia...Meaning the entire population of Malaysia are about to feel the pain, cutbacks and worse..


Petronas cuts dividend payment to RM26b in 2015

Summary of the news presented in point form:

  • Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), is trimming the national oil firm’s dividend paid to the government this year, in view of weaker earnings.
  • Revenue dropped 21% to RM66.2 billion for 1QFY15, from RM84 billion a year ago.
  • Oil firm has allocated a full year dividend of RM26 billion for the government, as compared to the RM29 billion last year. In 2013, Petronas paid a dividend of RM27 billion.
  • Petronas saw a 39% decline in its net profit to RM11.4 billion for the first financial quarter ended March 31 (1QFY15), compared with RM18.8 billion in the previous corresponding period. 

Christy Clark and Rich Coleman blather about a generational opportunity with LNG, all the promised riches, a $trillion dollars was hyped a few short years ago and now those numbers slashed by a factor of 20 today, and now Petronas can`t even honour commitments to their own country...

The LNG industry is oversupplied, in structural over-supply with 60 million tonnes of capacity under construction coming online in the next few years, even American brownfield LNG projects are in doubt as to profitability...A brownfield operation is where most of the LNG infrastructure was already in place, in the USA a decade ago $billions were spent to gear up for LNG imports, regasification plants and pipeline networks were built, but along came the fracking revolution and the USA found themselve awash in natural gas, those facilities have been, are being converted to LNG export facilities...In British Columbia LNG would be a greenfield industry, meaning nothing is in place, no existing facilities available for conversion, no pipeline networks, everything has to be built from scratch, also, BC`s gas supplies are hundreds of miles and a rugged mountain range away from the coastline....Making BC LNG very expensive indeed, not counting First Nations needing equity deals and protecting a very diverse rich river and salmon environment...Nothing easy, not without destroying our forever sustainable wild salmon..

PIRA, they have recently come out with data implying the USA`s brownfield LNG exports plants are going to struggle to make financial returns...


YC-based PIRA Energy Group believes that the return of Japanese nuclear capacity, surging Asian LNG supply, and the weakness of crude prices does not bode well for Atlantic Basin flows to Asia.

The broader compression of Asian spot prices at the high end against Henry Hub at the low end strongly implies shorter haul LNG trade and lower prices, PIRA said in its report.

The North American natural gas supply curve continues to look flatter. PIRA still believes that there will be an uptick in price as the US passes through its demand surge and LNG and industrial projects start up, but the extent of the inflation adjusted run-up post-2020 has been reduced as the resource base expands and productivity improves.
PIRA also sees an increasing concern that U.S. LNG projects will find it difficult to recover full costs plus a return in an increasingly competitive market.


Let me be perfectly clear, if USA brownfield LNG export projects are now looking very iffy as to profitability and return on investment than British Columbia greenfield proposals are money sinkholes that will never see a profit...Unless British Columbia gives Petronas free gas, tax free and royalty free the proposed projects aren`t viable and what is even more scary...The LNG obsessed BC Liberal Government is ramming forward with a $10 billion dollar plus Site C dam project to supply electricity for an LNG industry that ISN`T going to happen!..

Over $10 billion dollars flushed down the toilet, $10 billion plus taxpayer dollars flushed away...Petronas can`t even pay themselves let alone pay British Columbia..

This information has been available here at The Straight Goods for some time, only now are the world energy experts and forecasters coming to terms with this new LNG reality, unfortunately Christy Clark and the BC Liberals put all their eggs in one basket and our domestic media sold out the people of British Columbia...Here a simple blogger with little means, no research staff, no money, a one person operation has put the Vancouver Sun, The Province, Global BC, CTV, CKNW, Vaughn Palmer, Michael Smyth, Les Leyne, Keith Baldrey and others to shame....

Those entities have the resources and the information but unfortunately they have been corrupted, sold out to the BC Liberals and to big industry..

I have saved the best for last...From Bloomberg....Nothing new that hasn`t already been reported here for several years, but confirmation..


Gas Golden Age Fades as Supply Boom Meets Japan Nuclear Rebirth

The golden age of natural gas lost some of its luster this month.

Japan, the world’s biggest buyer of the fuel in liquid form, restarted a nuclear reactor on the island of Kyushu Aug. 11, re-embracing atomic power to shrink energy-import costs.

 A week later, a production milestone was marked at Santos Ltd.’s Curtis Island plant in Australia, a new liquefied natural gas project that’s part of a record annual capacity increase.

Japan’s return to nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster and China’s economic slowdown are undermining the demand that prompted the International Energy Agency to envision a golden age four years ago. Companies including Chevron Corp. and BG Group Plc were counting on Asia’s consumption as they sank hundreds of billions of dollars into new supply. A glut will cap LNG prices for years, according to Citigroup Inc.

Japan is going to do very well out of this,” Christopher Haines, a senior oil and gas analyst at BMI Research in London, said by phone Aug. 20. “Australia will probably be hit the hardest, there is a lot of new capacity coming online.”

The fossil-fuel import bill for Japan, once Asia’s biggest nuclear power producer, surged after Fukushima as the nation turned to other energy sources including LNG to plug the gap. This contributed to four years of trade deficits that hit a record 12.8 trillion yen ($103 billion) in 2014.

Sendai Restart

Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s No. 1 reactor at the Sendai facility is the first to come back online under new post-Fukushima safety rules as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to revive the atomic fleet. While Kyushu plans to resume operations at a second unit in October, the timing on further restarts is uncertain due to tougher procedures set by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, legal challenges and public opposition.

Utilities have applied to resume operations at 25 of Japan’s 43 reactors. Next year, 11 units may restart, according to Polina Diyachkina, an analyst who has covered the nation’s power providers for three years at Macquarie Group Ltd.

Australian Supply

Demand for LNG will slow as the nuclear restarts continue, Citigroup analysts including Ed Morse said in an Aug. 12 research note. The price of the fuel shipped to northeast Asia has slipped about 60 percent since climbing to a record $19.70 per million British thermal units in February 2014.
“There will be a glut of spot cargoes which will put further downward price pressure to spot prices” as Australia starts up 13 LNG units over the next three years, David Hewitt, the co-head of global oil and gas equity research at Credit Suisse Group AG, said by e-mail. “We would not be surprised to see some very low headline spot price deals in the next few years.”
LNG producers are forecast to add 50 million metric tons of new capacity next year, the largest single annual increase in history and equivalent to a fifth of current global demand, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

$150 Billion

The bulk of the supply is coming from Australia, where companies including ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Inpex Corp. are spending more than $150 billion on ventures due to start in the next two years.
On Curtis Island in Queensland, the $18.5 billion Santos development sent gas into the first processing unit of its LNG plant, a key step on the path toward starting production, the company said Aug. 18. There are two other projects on the island, including Origin Energy’s A$24.7 billion gas-export venture with ConocoPhillips.

The next wave of exports will come from North America, where only six of the roughly 40 proposals so far will be built, according to a Bernstein report last month. Those facilities -- from Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass project in Louisiana to Dominion Resources Inc.’s Cove Point project in Maryland -- are scheduled to construct more than 60 million tons of capacity by 2021, according to the researcher.


Meanwhile, British Columbia doesn`t have a single final investment decision, not one shovel in the ground, all that Australian and American capacity coming online, already under construction, 60 million tonnes annually coming online from the USA alone....

Australia has downgraded government revenue forecasts from existing LNG operations...

The news get even worse, green technology, solar energy and roof-top applications will soon see electricity produced cheaper than gas or coal....clean green technology..

From an earlier Straight Goods posting..


 The renewable-energy boom is here. Trillions of dollars will be invested over the next 25 years, driving some of the most profound changes yet in how humans get their electricity. That's according to a new forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets to 2040. 

Here are six massive shifts coming soon to power markets near you:

1. Solar Prices Keep Crashing

The price of solar power will continue to fall, until it becomes the cheapest form of power in a rapidly expanding number of national markets. By 2026, utility-scale solar will be competitive for the majority of the world, according to BNEF. The lifetime cost of a photovoltaic solar-power plant will drop by almost half over the next 25 years, even as the prices of fossil fuels creep higher.
Solar power will eventually get so cheap that it will outcompete new fossil-fuel plants and even start to supplant some existing coal and gas plants, potentially stranding billions in fossil-fuel infrastructure. The industrial age was built on coal. The next 25 years will be the end of its dominance. 

2. Solar Billions Become Solar Trillions

With solar power so cheap, investments will surge. Expect $3.7 trillion in solar investments between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Solar alone will account for more than a third of new power capacity worldwide. Here's how that looks on a chart, with solar appropriately dressed in yellow and fossil fuels in pernicious gray:

© BNEF Expect $3.7 trillion in solar investments between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Solar alone will account for more than a third of new power capacity worldwide.

3. The Revolution Will Be Decentralized

The biggest solar revolution will take place on rooftops. High electricity prices and cheap residential battery storage will make small-scale rooftop solar ever more attractive, driving a 17-fold increase in installations. By 2040, rooftop solar will be cheaper than electricity from the grid in every major economy, and almost 13 percent of electricity worldwide will be generated from small-scale solar systems.
4. Global Demand Slows

Yes, the world is inundated with mobile phones, flat screen TVs, and air conditioners. But growth in demand for electricity is slowing. The reason: efficiency. To cram huge amounts of processing power into pocket-sized gadgets, engineers have had to focus on how to keep those gadgets from overheating. That's meant huge advances in energy efficiency. Switching to an LED light bulb, for example, can reduce electricity consumption by more than 80 percent. 
So even as people rise from poverty to middle class faster than ever, BNEF predicts that global electricity consumption will remain relatively flat. In the next 25 years, global demand will grow about 1.8 percent a year, compared with 3 percent a year from 1990 to 2012. In wealthy OECD countries, power demand will actually decline.  

5. Natural Gas Burns Briefly

Natural gas won't become the oft-idealized "bridge fuel" that transitions the world from coal to renewable energy, according to BNEF. The U.S. fracking boom will help bring global prices down some, but few countries outside the U.S. will replace coal plants with natural gas. Instead, developing countries will often opt for some combination of coal, gas, and renewables.  
Even in the fracking-rich U.S., wind power will be cheaper than building new gas plants by 2023, and utility-scale solar will be cheaper than gas by 2036.
Fossil fuels aren't going to suddenly disappear. They'll retain a 44 percent share of total electricity generation in 2040 (down from two thirds today), much of which will come from legacy plants that are cheaper to run than shut down.


Petronas`s proposed Prince Rupert project is about to be cancelled, I suspect that`s why the political forces that be, the BC Liberal Government and a sold-out compliant BC Media ran guns a blazing with the Steelhead LNG proposal...What a waste of spin on a project so uneconomical, never going to happen...With green technology running over fossil fuels, with a world glut of LNG, with oil prices in the tank, with China`s economy just starting a 10 year economic slowdown, maybe even recession...

With Iran, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Russia, China all busy constructing natural gas direct pipelines to Asia, to Japan, to Pakistan, tonnes of natural gas not needing expensive liquefaction facilities on one end and regasification terminals on the other..

Now with Japan for domestic financial reasons proceeding with nuclear restarts..

LNG export industry is the new poster boy for fools rush in..

Lastly...Steelhead LNG is nothing but noise, no financial institution is going to bankroll that operation on slim margins, in an already saturated market, with LNG use on the decline, with Japan about to slash its LNG use, with China starting a longterm slowdown, with oil and energy stocks in the tank..

The time is ripe for the BC Liberals to present their plan B to pay off the massive $140 billion they added to BC`s debt..

I won`t hold my breath.

The Straight Goods

Cheers Eyes Wide Open



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mel Hurtig. 1932-2016. ......Robin Mathews and Company Say Goodbye

Mel Hurtig. 1932-2016. 

   Written By Robin Mathews

On Wednesday, August 3, 2016, Mel Hurtig shook off the chains of his mortality to find the place of peace that passeth understanding, and - as Shakespeare has it - ‘from whose bourn no traveller returns’. 

On Wednesday, August 3, 2016, Canada lost one of its finest citizens.  At once truculent, determined, irascible, warm, colourful, imaginative … and more, Mel Hurtig gave of his most intense energies to shape an honourable, independent, and self-respecting nation Canadians could own and cherish.  In that work he was indefatigable.

For much of his adult life, Mel Hurtig wrote books to inform Canadians of their loss of sovereignty and to urge them to action.  His last book, written for the October 2015 federal election, was a rich compendium of reasons Canadians should remove the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper … and Mel believed the book is, possibly, his most important one.  Inasmuch as it helped Canadians to take the action that changed government, it may well be his most important book. 

Mel Hurtig was a self-made man.  Raised in Edmonton, Alberta, he is said to have gone for a year to university, deciding that was not the route for him to take.  He created a bookstore in Edmonton that became famous.  Then he became a publisher – and Hurtig Publishers had an impressive and significant life.  He is remembered for creating the excellent Canadian Encyclopedia – enormously important in the years before the internet and its “research engines”, and still an on-going, important, research source.  

The story is told that he gave speeches in schools, and would visit the school library each time… shocked and disappointed at the absence of research materials on Canada.  Not only did he set about producing an Encyclopedia of the highest standard, but he also is said to have talked the Alberta government into supplying a copy for every school with a library in Canada!

A determined patriot, Mel Hurtig was early an important member of the Committee for an Independent Canada (1970). He was an admirer and friend of Walter Gordon who was the most important politician of the 1960s and 1970s working for the repatriation of Canadian economic sovereignty. The Committee disbanded in 1981, declaring (incorrectly) that its ends were mostly achieved.  Perhaps that was because the (returned) Trudeau Liberal government appeared determined to effect greater Canadian economic sovereignty.

Instead, the Trudeau Liberal government faded away, to be replaced by the intensely pro-U.S. Conservative government of “lyin Brian” Mulroney, pushing for closer ties and “deep integration” with the U.S.A.  The result was the founding in 1985 of the Council of Canadians – very largely the work of Mel Hurtig and Walter Gordon.

Many are the claims of those who declare themselves “founders” of the COC!!  But the man who secured the Four Seasons Hotel accommodation for the founding meeting, who invited (or had the word spread to) all who came to that meeting in Toronto, and then who led the Council as Chair for the first years … was Mel Hurtig.  Indeed, when (a year or so ago) a fantasy list of “founders” was published by COC, I was alarmed.  Mel Hurtig’s name was not even listed! ! In a telephone conversation with me, he remembered that a few months after the founding meeting (which she attended) he met Maud Barlow in Ottawa … and urged her to become involved with the Council….

But prickly as he was … Mel Hurtig would not speak publicly about the founding of the COC, refusing to discuss the subject.  If there were founders of the Council of Canadians, they were two: Mel Hurtig and Walter Gordon.  When I entered the meeting room in the Toronto Four Seasons Hotel, I recognized the dozens of people present as those who had a history of fighting for Canadian independence; it was almost a family reunion and - at least as ‘older brothers’ - Mel Hurtig and Walter Gordon knew all the family members.

A few days later I met Mel Hurtig and he told me that when the meeting finished, he returned to his hotel room to find it had been ransacked and left so he would know it had been ransacked.  The Mulroney RCMP, Mel surmised, leaving a calling card. Readers will remember that as prime minister Brian Mulroney was driven in a bullet-proof car – which, upon becoming prime minister, Jean Chretien laughed at … and removed.

Mel Hurtig received well-deserved honours during his lifetime of tireless work.  He will be sorely missed … and sorely needed in the coming years. If he could have a wish fulfilled involving his public life, it might well be that others, young Canadians, will materialize, will take up the task of gaining Canadian independence, and will fight on for it until it is won.

Rest in Peace.


Mel Hurtig...Thank you Mel...We need more real people like you in the world, not less...

I personally applaud your efforts..You will be missed Mel......#$^& damn.^%$#%^$ pendulum never stops...

See you soon Mel......Grant G

The Straight Goods

 Hearts Wide Open

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Justin Trudeau. Pierre Trudeau. Canada And Imperial Globalization. Part VI

Justin Trudeau. Pierre Trudeau.  Canada And Imperial Globalization..... Part VI

Written by Robin Mathews

Reading Justin Trudeau’s Election-time book, Common Ground (2015) is not a richly rewarding experience.  In the face of the Stephen Harper/Conservative Party incipient fascism, however, Justin Trudeau’s insistence upon democratic consultation and multi-racial equality in the book is important.  But his depiction of Pierre Trudeau seems … simply unreal. 

Did father and son never discuss politics, political philosophy, public service, Pierre Trudeau’s record?  Was it all about keeping physically fit and learning to paddle a canoe?  Doubtless Justin Trudeau’s writing hand was guided by Election Strategy and Party Advisors.  But … still ….

I thought back.  Pierre Trudeau became prime minister in 1968.  Justin was born in 1971. He was not sixteen years old until his father had been out of active politics for a few years.  Those of us who were politically active nationally at the time of Pierre Trudeau’s arrival as prime minister know much more about the political Pierre Trudeau than Justin ever can, no matter how many of Canada’s bad historians he reads, no matter how many close colleagues of his father Justin consults.  Those ones will be sure to clean their recollections for the sake of their own reputations.
Pierre Trudeau began his Liberal career as an internationalist – only one of the reasons he was determined to abort the ‘monster’ of Quebec independence. (That subject should be a column, and a book of its own.)

In 1969 he appeared at Carleton University in Ottawa to engage with students.  At that time Canadians were on a downward curve to becoming a minority holding university teaching positions in Canada.  A ‘Canadianization’ movement had begun and was gaining strength across the country – to provide justice for bright young Canadians, to assure them majority place in the operation of Canada’s universities, colleges, art galleries, museums, etc.
A student asked Pierre Trudeau what he thought of the work being done on the matter.  The student newspaper reported Trudeau replied that he didn’t care who taught in Canadian universities!
At about the same time word was abroad in porous Ottawa that Trudeau had said he didn’t care who owned Canada as long as they paid the taxes required to finance government of the country.  No source for that statement can be named.  But the man most effectively and determinedly working to repatriate ownership of the Canadian economy was Walter Gordon – and his relation to Trudeau tells much.

He began work on Canadian independence in the 1950s, became Lester Pearson’s minister of finance, and in a famous 1963 budget created a “takeover tax” and policy to begin regaining Canadian control of the economy.  The Stock Markets went berserk; Erik Kierans, head of the Montreal Stock Exchange, flew to Ottawa.  Lester Pearson crumpled and “accepted” Gordon’s resignation.  But not before Pearson agreed the government would set up a Task Force to examine foreign ownership.  It was created in 1967.
In his memoirs Gordon reports that Pierre Trudeau (campaigning to become Party Leader) seemed to convey sympathy for the work of the Task Force.  When Trudeau became prime minister, however, Gordon (in his gracious way) suggests he was double-crossed by Trudeau.

The Report of the Task Force on Foreign Ownership and the Structure of Canadian Investment, called “the Watkins Report” was published in 1968.  Pierre Trudeau was not sympathetic to it. That was so clear that following the creation of the Waffle Movement (“independence and socialism”) in the NDP (1969), Walter Gordon and others, less Left than Wafflers, created (1970) The Committee for an Independent Canada.  They did so, in fact, to push (as the Waffle was pushing) against Trudeau ‘internationalism’ and growing foreign ownership of the Canadian economy.  (They were largely Liberals trying to force Liberal Trudeau to pay attention to foreign takeover.)

Then – public interest being high – two more Reports on foreign ownership (from government ranks) appeared.  The first was The Wahn Report (1970) gaining modest attention.  In 1972 the (Herb) Gray Report caused much more discussion and did not please Trudeau (since the issue was insistently present).

Despite a large Committee For An Independent Canada petition and a gathering of members in the Chateau Laurier, followed by an 8 or 9 person delegation meeting with Trudeau, he refused to release the Gray Report to the public, saying (the delegates reported back to us) that to do so would upset the Markets.
Subsequently, the Report was leaked to the (Toronto) Canadian Forum which printed large parts of it.  Only then did Trudeau release the Gray Report.
That was the ambiance of the Trudeau prime ministership for some years.  For the 1970 Manitoba Centennial Celebration at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Trudeau arrived with Barbara Streisand (U.S. Movie Star) on his arm (probably the first time Ms. Streisand learned that a place called ‘Manitoba’ exists).

I wrote a letter about the inappropriateness of Trudeau’s companion, published in the Ottawa newspaper.  As if to heighten the symbolism of ‘imperial globalization’, it was answered by a particularly bombastic U.S. citizen, a professor in Ottawa, to “correct” my idea of appropriate Canadian protocol … to which I replied.  To cap the symbolism, our letters were featured in the Canadian edition of Time magazine. (Not in any Canadian publication.) A few years later, Trudeau didn’t like some of my lampooning (about his failure to resist takeover)… and said so.  The editor to whom he made his remarks (in porous Ottawa) relayed them to me shortly after their utterance.
It was in that “internationalist” (?) milieu that the Bank of Canada (1974) gave up powers to the Bank of International Settlements and ceased providing interest-free loans to Canadian governments for Infrastructure and related undertakings.

The sale in 1970 to U.S. McGraw Hill of Ryerson Press, Canada’s oldest text book publisher, and publisher in the twentieth century of major Canadian writers, brought people into the streets.
On one cold winter morning, demonstrating at a major Ottawa United Church (Ryerson Press was owned by the United Church), the demonstrators were surprised to see the arrival of Governor General Roland Michener for the religious service.
He had to wait outside for his welcomers to appear, and so I asked him if he had come to join the protest against the hateful sale of Ryerson Press.  He replied that he had come to worship at the Church where his parents worshipped before him.

The committee of the Church, arranging tea and biscuits for the worshippers after the service, were (strongly) not antagonistic to the demonstrators and invited all in after the service … for warmth and refreshments.
When the matter of the sale of Ryerson Press was brought up in the House of Commons and the government was urged to keep Ryerson Press Canadian (at really very little cost), Pierre Trudeau, like Atlas, shrugged, and he refused even to consider the idea.
His conversion to Canada came late … and slowly. The 1975 creation of Petro Canada as part of the National Energy Program was a response to world conditions, a desire to increase revenues for Ottawa, and (finally!) the intention to have a major Canadian presence in the Canadian Oil Patch!

Pierre Trudeau’s attitude to Canada didn’t fully change until he had been in office almost ten years. (People forget that.) His attitude is especially strange since a strong push from Canadians existed all through the late 1960s and the 1970s for ‘Canadian Independence’ and a Canadian Industrial Strategy. The Canadian population was willing to try new and controversial measures.  In fact, the Conventional Press and Media have created non-history concerning the National Energy Program.  It was hated by international capital, of course (and so the Right press says ‘Westerners’ hated it).  But a poll of Canadians at the time revealed 80% of Canadians supported the NEP – and 80% of Albertans did, too!

When Pierre Trudeau returned to the prime ministership (after the brief Joe Clark, Progressive Conservative interlude) in 1980, a move was talked of again … seriously … to create an Industrial Strategy for Canada.  “There was” … the Canadian Encyclopedia reports  “another attempt to formulate an industrial strategy, inspired by the government’s National Energy Program.  This attempt also failed, partly because of growing American objections….” (Vol. 2, 1988, p. 1063)

What the Encyclopedia doesn’t report is that U.S. pressure to keep Canada a Resource Colony was intense.  And threats almost certainly were made and kept secret.  For Alan MacEachen, minister of finance and deputy prime minister, flew to Washington to apologize and record Canada’s submission to U.S. will.  And almost at the same time Jean Chretien, minister of energy, mines, and resources, flew to New York to give a speech to assembled U.S. power merchants – the theme of his speech being.......

Canada is Open For Business’.

Until he left politics, Pierre Trudeau oversaw the growing dissolution of Canadian Independence.  Through many of Justin Trudeau’s growing years his father was an internationalist with contempt for independence seekers and for movements to unite Canadians around the idea of a Canadian-owned economy and culture.

We may not be surprised, then, that in his book, Common Ground, Justin concentrates on the domestic father urging his son to keep in good shape and learn to paddle a canoe through the wilderness of untamed nature – away from the wilderness of untamed political sell-out, betrayal, and colonial administration.

Written by Robin Mathews


Time to step up to the plate Justin Trudeau.....Petronas's Pacific Northwest LNG proposal is a carbon bomb located in prime wild juvenile salmon rearing grounds...Science has spoken, .....Petronas's location is problematic to say the least.....With all the other west coast LNG proposals that have fallen by the wayside...Clearly there is another British Columbia location available.....

Make me proud Justin Trudeau by making the right thing...Grant G

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Monday, July 11, 2016

China's Insurance Policy Against High-Priced LNG, COAL= Death of British Columbia's LNG Super-Power Fantasy!

Written by Grant G

Well well well...more bad news on the British Columbia LNG front....Shell Canada, which possessed a Federal environmental certificate, a 40 year export license, all the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission permits, a deal with First Nations has postponed their proposed LNG project until mid 2020s, or..never!

What a shocker eh, who knew?..actually, every reader and contributor to this site knew...Written August 21st/2015...

British Columbia LNG Industry, The Last Gas(P)....A Straight Goods Special

There are those who say that the Petronas proposal..PNW LNG in Prince Rupert is different..people like BC Liberal spin doctor Tom Cassada(Twitter @lotuslander1000)...He claims PNW LNG is different because the consortium are offtakers of the other words, partners, equity partners don't care what the price is...that according to Tom Cassada..

Shell Canada had as partners..PetroChina and Kogas..(China and Japan)..and they were offtakers of Shell's gas too..

What some people can't digest, and it is a very simple concept...Why spend $billions to ensure $10 dollar LNG when you can lock in longterm LNG buys for $4 to $5 dollars per MM BTU's...That way these companies keep their cash, and get cheaper LNG...

Funny stuff indeed...The latest announcement from Shell Canada LNG..their Christy Clark ball-busting announcement seems to be completely ignored by B.C. media..Global..nothing, Vancouver Sun?..A Vaughn Palmer article containing only Government quotes(lazy)...The Province newspaper, crickets..

I have been busy leaving Postmedia LNG bread crumbs, real easy to follow..bread crumbs ignored, I drew them a road map, put up flashing LNG lights and still Postmedia remains deaf, dumb and blind..

I wonder why?..Could it be that partnership CAPP has with Postmedia is the reason why they protect Corporate owned Christy Clark, other words masturbation?.."See no evil, hear no evil speak no evil.."

Postmedia raggedy newsprint...corporate propaganda...Christy Clark claims, as does Gordon Wilson that "British Columbia has a moral obligation to develop LNG"...because Chinese people are dying from air pollution, pollution from coal...Christy Clark has made the inane claim that BC LNG will clean up China's air....Postmedia's Michael Smyth and others have echoed Clark's inane blather..

China, hmm....China is building 50 nuclear plants, China has the most renewable solar and wind power, it's growing leaps and bounds...China is also building more coal-fired power plants ..and when I say more..a lot more..


If China Is So Committed To Renewable Energy, Why Are So Many New Coal Plants Being Built?

Responding to the air pollution crisis, China’s central government has made some monumental strides. It is estimated that by 2020, over 15 percent of China’s energy capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources, and the country is the clear global leader when it comes to renewable energy.

However, the most coal-fired energy capacity in the world is also in China.

Even as China adds mountains of renewable energy capacity and develops progressive government policies to improve air quality, the old incumbent coal is still maintaining its leading position — and its looking to do so for a long time yet.

China’s National Action Plan for Air Pollution Prevention and Control’s mid-term review, which was released on July 5th, shows that the eight provinces which make up their ‘key regions,’ added on a massive 50.8 GW of new coal-fired energy capacity between the years of 2013-15. For scale, the country’s total installed energy capacity in 1980 was 66 GW. On top of this, the report showed that 42 GW of additional coal-fired capacity is currently under construction, with 11 GW more being approved just last year. Meanwhile, just 10.8 GW of coal-fired capacity in these provinces was taken offline during this same period. Considering that each coal-fired power plant has a lifetime of thirty to fifty years, it seems as if China has hedged its biggest energy bet on coal for the foreseeable future.


So why, why hasn't Postmedia and our legislative scribes blasted Christy Clark on the coal issue..could it be that B.C. wants to export vast volumes of coal too..exactly, the corporate angle rears it's head again, resulting in a B.C. domestic mainstream media that for all intents and purposes are utterly useless!..

Time and time again, to get a detailed explanation as to what is really going must get the information from bloggers and alternative news sources..

So what the hell is China up to.... we go, China, with China over the last 15 years...the only number that mattered is GDP..Gross Domestic product/production..growing the economy regardless of the real cost..ghost cities abound..

China has right now, redundant power generation..China has many provinces, every local bigwig had orders to build infrastructure, whether it is needed or not...Building coal-fired powerplants employed Chinese workers, added to China's GDP...and more...So why would China build 50 nuclear plants, more renewable power than any other country, plus build not only more new coal-fired power plants, build more coal plants when the power grid already has too many power generators..redundant power generation..why?

More from that Forbes article....


“New power plants certainly have much more aggressive emission control technologies than older plants, although many older plants are being fitted with these control technologies as well,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, a researcher at Greenpeace. “China has managed to reduce SO2 and NOx emissions from the power sector very rapidly in the past few years, above all due to retrofitting and due to stagnating power generation from coal, which has allowed emission controls to catch up. Where the logic falls apart is that very little capacity is being retired.”

According to Myllyvirta, there are some very clear drivers behind China’s local governments’ hesitancy to sever ties from coal.

1) Coal power is an easy way to generate economic activity at a time of reduced growth, not only via the construction of coal plants but through supporting local miners, who are struggling;

2) The profit margins for coal-fired power plants are currently over-inflated, as the cost for coal is market driven, and has dropped significantly, but cost of electricity, which is government regulated, has remained unchanged;

3) Expectations of future energy demand have not yet been adjusted to take into account the vast amount of renewable energy coming online and slowing economic growth.

So while the contradiction of attempting to reduce carbon emissions on one hand while increasing coal-fired energy capacity on the other can be contextualized, it cannot be completely explained away. Increasing coal energy capacity so dramatically at the height of a national air-quality crisis mitigates some of the gains made in renewable energy.

However, just because China has X-amount of new coal-fired energy capacity doesn’t necessarily mean that all of this capacity is being utilized — not at all. By the numbers, China has upwards of 200 GW of redundant coal-fired power capacity and, ultimately, has little use for many of the new coal plants that are currently being built.


So what the heck is China up to?....Read it again, think about it...China is building vast amounts of renewable power..China is building GHG free nuclear power..and even more redundant coal-fired power plants..why..

Look to Japan for that answer..Japan relied on mainly one power source..NUCLEAR POWER...And when the tsunami wiped out Fukushima nuclear plant, when panic beset the Japanese public the Japanese Government as a precaution shuttered all Japan's nuclear power plants....

What happened next..That's the answer to why China is building all forms of power generation...

At Japan's time of need, desperate for power, nuclear plants shuttered and LNG imports ramped up to pick up the slack..How did the world's big energy companies react...They grabbed Japan by the balls and squeezed and squeezed and brought the Asian country to their knees..another word for it..blackmail, usury, almost like war-time profiteering..

Does China want to, and intend to use some LNG..indeed they do...But what China now possesses..China possesses an insurance policy against the world's big energy companies, if LNG gets too high-priced..China can say..get lost, we'll use coal, thus China can now control the price of LNG...

China will never put itself in a position of relying on big energy to power their country...China has excess redundant, brand new coal-fired power plants...

And it is this exact scenario that has spelled the death of B.C.'s LNG fantasy...

Remember what Christy Clark said about Japan and Japan's LNG need...I do..Christy Clark told the Japanese people and Asia that British Columbia was going to charge 5 and 6 times the North American natural gas rate(Henry Hub) to Japan and Christy Clark said more...Clark said British Columbia was going to become debt free, become filthy rich, the land of no sales tax, employ 100,000 s of thousand in the LNG industry...All the wealth to be shaken out of our Asian neighbour's pockets..

You do have a big-mouth Christy Clark.. unfortunately the only thing that comes out of your mouth is bafflegab, also known as word salad..

China does things different and they don't take too kindly to those countries that use energy blackmail against energy hungry Asia...

Thus...British Columbia's LNG fantasy is over, in fact, after the already under construction LNG terminals around the world come online.. I don't believe there will ever be a new-sudden need to build massive LNG terminals again, with renewables tumbling in price, with information on methane leakage finding it's way to the public, the enormous environmental footprint LNG leaves..

BC Liberals and Postmedia will attempt to ride the lame sparkle pony right up to election 2017...

Lastly.. look for a possible snap election call this Fall(before the shit hits the fan)..

As for that lame sparkle pony, it has a June 2017 reservation at the glue factory!


The Straight Goods

Cheers Eyes Wide Open

Sunday, July 10, 2016

European Union And Fascism. Imperial Globalization. Part V

European Union And Fascism.  Imperial Globalization. ....Part V 

Written by Robin Mathews

Canadians had a taste of incipient fascism with the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper.  Flagrant abuse of Parliament.  Vicious attacks on organized labour.  Deliberate destruction of pubic information and record.  Perversion of the National Police Force. Even (I claim) a false, fabricated court action (nationally celebrated) to destroy an enemy.  And … much, much more.
Fascism, we remember, is the merging of government and large private Corporations, turning Parliament, the law, the courts, the military and police, as well as conventional press and media (and, often, Opposition Parties) to the task of empowering and enriching the wealthiest, their friends and supporters, while suppressing  democratic and humane resistance.

The neo-liberal, neo-fascist face of politics has not been present in Canada only. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has taken place in the midst of a sharp division in Europe.  On the one side is a drive to create a sharing, democratic community.  On the other is a powerful drive by international capital, banks, and U.S. global policy to create a Gigantic European Market – intending the unimpeded rape of the European population to create a massive profit-centre for the super-rich.

On one side (at its best) is the European Parliament where (for instance) the so-called ‘racist’, Right Member of the European Parliament, Nigel Farage (just-resigned leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party) tangled with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.

Juncker represents international capital and imperial globalization, in fact.  Former prime minister of Luxemburg – a super, offshore Tax Haven – Juncker was revealed by ‘Lux Leaks’ to have benefitted from favours done for flagship international capitalist entities like Apple and Amazon.  (Le Monde diplomatique, July, 2016, p. 7) Fellow EU Commissioners are unperturbed by the revelations of ‘Lux Leaks’.  Jean-Claude Juncker presses on unscathed….
The vote by Britons to leave the European Union is a huge indication of the EU rift.

Take France.  For months its people have been in the streets fighting fascist government moves.  The French Socialist Party (in power) led by a bland neo-liberal Francois Hollande sells out everything democratic (in league with the European Commission) in order to bring down and oppress the French population.
To force through a punishing labour law, the Hollande forces didn’t have the proposed new legislation debated within their own Party (the Socialist Party!!) at all, anywhere, at any time (where real improvements to present labour/management problems might have been presented).  The punitive bill (in the face of huge public opposition) was pushed through the National Assembly without a word of debate. 

The European Commission (called by someEU government’) is strangely independent of the European Parliament. The Commission is a neo-liberal, austerity-supporting, employer-backing, worker-punishing ally of international capital and imperial globalization. It wants, in short, a precarious position for labouring people: to be hired in direct competition with one another, without overall ruling Labour Law, for low (or no!) starting wage, with no guarantee of employment, with easy firing available to employers, with no guarantee of working hours or overtime pay regardless of hours of work demanded, and with a minimum of social insurance.
When those principles are hardened into law - the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund say - unemployment will drop, Gross Domestic Product will rise, and the new laws will bring sunny days to the European population.
The fundamental conflict throughout Europe is between “austerity” and what might be called “infrastructure spending”.  Neo-liberalism pretends that removing spending power from the population will stabilize government debt and increase active enterprise.  It knows that is false.  But by bringing the population to its knees, neo-liberals can take over government and use it to enrich international capital. 

The opposition to neo-liberalism argues that fair wages, public spending on good infrastructure, and public involvement in new enterprise produces tax revenue and assures health for private enterprise and the overall economy.

In Italy, president Matteo Renzi has managed a coup that destabilizes and threatens the work force.  He has won increasing diminishments of labour’s rights and securities.  In 2010 the law severely restricted the possibility of cases of employer abuse.  In 2012 employers were given great freedom to fire at will for “economic reasons”.  Firing can go almost unexamined.  A clause was introduced allowing “positions” to be changed, meaning employees are, in effect, fired without recourse – the “position” is no longer there.  In effect, Italy now permits what are called contracts of indeterminate time rather than of determinate time.  Hiring and firing can be conducted profitably for employers – at the same time affecting (falsely) employment statistics.
Renzi’s so-called ‘Jobs Act’ falls on a working population in Italy so stripped of defenses that no worker reaction is expected that compares with resistance action in France.  In Italy the new laws smash labour.  Between 2014 and 2015 the instability of young Italians’ working life rose from 43% to 55%.  The rate of unemployment of youth between 15 and 24 years moved from 30% to 40%. [Andrea Fumagalli, “Jobs Act”, Le Monde diplomatique, July, 2016. P.8]

A total neo-liberal, Matteo Renzi has overseen the lowering of taxes for corporations and the very rich as well as the privatization of energy, transportation, and the postal services.  Those moves, neo-liberals vow, will increase investment, production, and employment.

At the same time a study done (February 2016) by the Transnational Institute on Industry and Privatization in Europe (Le Monde diplomatique, July 2016, p. 12) concludes “there is no proof to demonstrate that privatized industries provide better service”. Indeed, it records “the wave of privatizations has made salaries fall, has degraded working conditions, and has increased earning inequality”.

Some of the Italian young are now being asked to work for nothing as a way to build a record that will lead to a CDI – a contract of indeterminate time or – put another way, to a condition in which the employee may be fired at will, without examination of cause.
Meanwhile in the birthplace of democracy, Greece, a calamity deepens as a “troika” in (real) control of Greek affairs tears Greece to pieces.

Many agree Greek publicly-owned infrastructure entities need restructuring.  But the “informal group”(!) shaped by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (the troika”) to auction off Greece will hear of no reconstruction.  Everything (so far nineteen privatizations) is to be forcibly sold: ocean ports, airlines and fields, airports, gas, electricity, rail, etc.  And the Greek people are to lose (and have lost) wages, pensions, and social protections of all kinds.

A highly effective (and increasingly profitable) proposal for reconstruction was put forward to expand and improve airports and related facilities in public hands.  It “ran into categorical refusal by the troika” (Le Monde diplomatique, July 2016, p. 6).
Writing of the enormous, dishonest, manipulated Greek calamity, Niels Kadritzke reports that, repeatedly, single bidders appear, set their own terms for sale, and make huge acquisitions.  The “auction” has one person attending! Of the German winning bid for airport ownership and control Kadritzke described the three bidders involved as “an exceptional number for Greek privatizations”. 

Describing the German win in the airport matter as suspect,
Kadritzke suggests that sale after sale robs Greece of any on-going revenue as taxes are slashed or erased and terms of ownership allow unlimited freedom to exploit the Greek people.

Of the German airport acquisition, Kadritzke writes: “In sum, there is in this matter the ingredients of flagrant conflict of interest in violation of all European regulations concerning the process of calling for and receiving offers to purchase – without speaking of the most elementary violation of decency.” (No action on that questionable “sale” (or any other) has been taken by any authority.)
Greece is not going through anything like an auction. Nothing as honest as that.  It is being violently shredded and internationally privatized with the apparent hope on the part of the European Commission and imperial globalizers that NOTHING will be able to put it back together.

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who helped create and build the new Syriza Party to save Greece from what is, in fact, happening, appears to have joined the most destructive elements of the European Union.

Of the sell-off of the port of Piraeus to China (COSCO), Tsipras praises it as bringing closer ties between China and Greece. 
In the guise of building a cooperative European Community, international capital and imperial globalizers are slashing at the European population with the intention of bringing it to its knees.  So far, imperial globalization has had astonishing success. When the people of Europe awaken, take hold, and decide to change direction, the Brexit upheaval in Britain will look like a pleasant afternoon Garden Party on the lawn at Buckingham Palace.

Written by Robin Mathews


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