Friday, April 17, 2009
15 APR 2009 - Delegations from across the Western Hemisphere will descend upon the twin island Caribbean nation of Trinidad & Tobago this week for the fifth Summit of the Americas. A hemispheric agenda on energy figures prominently among the issues they will be addressing.
For months, the summit offered the hope of a new, more positive, approach to coordinated regional energy policy. But the array of financial challenges facing the global economy has since divided the attention of policymakers. Now, prospects for comprehensive dialogue on energy security in the Americas can only be described as diminished.
There is still a chance for the meeting to be relevant, even if scaling back expectations is required. For that to happen, the Summit of the Americas should focus its approach to the hemisphere's energy policy agenda on the following four goals. More >>>
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Washington - 02 April 2009 - Earlier this week the Obama administration, now the effective owner of the U.S. automobile industry, put Detroit on notice that it has 30-60 days to come up with a believable plan to "restructure" itself or it goes into bankruptcy.
This action makes it a good time to step back and ponder just where America's industrial base is going. With $2 gasoline and some incentives, recession-wracked American consumers seem willing and able to absorb another 8 or 9 million new gasoline and diesel powered cars and trucks this year --- but does this make any sense? The "restructuring" plan seems to be one of trimming overhead, shutting some factories, abrogating labor agreements, and stiffing shareholders, bondholders and debtors to the point where the manufacturers might be able to limp along with a minimal infusion of taxpayer dollars.
This plan might be fine except for one glaring fallacy. In the next few years, oil prices are going up so high that ownership and use of the automobiles and trucks in their present form will be a totally uneconomic proposition. How many of the current flavor of cars and trucks is Detroit going to sell with gasoline at $10 a gallon or higher? More >>>