The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) plans to issue a “revised” report on the role of speculation in the recently concluded oil price boom, reversing last year’s conclusion that such betting was not a major factor relative to underlying physical fundamentals. The CFTC’s interim report concluded last year that “current oil prices and the increase in oil prices between January 2003 and June 2008 are largely due to fundamental supply and demand factors.”
The reversal is said to reflect better data on who was actually in the market, including evidence that some traders had massive positions. But clearly the political bent of the leadership has changed as well, especially after the credit derivatives fiasco last year.
Political Risk As a Fundamental
Without question, commodity indices and other similar funds have allowed a lot of capital to flow into the market, and the fundamentals would not seem to justify prices reaching $147 per barrel.…
The American Clean Energy and Security Act, better known as the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill, has been shown to be completely ineffective at slowing the rise in global temperature that is projected by climate models to accompany mankind’s continued reliance on fossil fuels for energy production. And this, despite the bill’s mandated cut-back of U.S. greenhouse gases emissions by a whopping 83% below 2005’s levels by the year 2050. As the primary purpose of the bill is to mitigate “global warming” and any follow-on impacts, Waxman-Markey, on its own, would seem an abject failure.
If you need any more proof, consider the bill’s effect on projected sea level rise. Recall that the specter of rapid sea level rise is one of the pillars of alarmist claims for impending climate catastrophe and calls for immediate action.…
[Editor note: Michael Giberson , an instructor and research associate at the Center for Energy Commerce at Texas Tech University’s Rawls College of Business, blogs on energy economics (including wind power) and other topics at Knowledge Problem.]
Market-oriented policy analysts have not been shy about cataloguing the problems surrounding windpower development. But in the enthusiasm to oppose the government interventions accompanying wind generation, market-based analysts sometimes have strayed beyond principled defense of markets and unwittingly offered support to anti-market NIMBYism and other meddlesome sentiments. Policy analysts examining wind power issues should consider more carefully which issues ought to be pursued through the policy process.
Wind power has two images. In one view, wind power is glamorous, hi-tech, future oriented and almost sexy. Advertisements for products from automobiles to watches to banking services casually feature tall, slowly spinning wind turbines in the background, hoping to suggest that the advertised product, too, is glamorous, hi-tech, and future oriented, and maybe a bit sexy.…