Foreign Policy Magazine’s “A Kremlin Made of Sand” – MY COMMENT

Russian President Vlad Putin was the man who brought in 2-consecutive-term limits for the office of Russian President and without any complaining when the time arrived he did exactly as the Russian constitution required – he stepped down from Presidential office. All in all, pretty democratic of him.

Under his leadership and under the leadership of Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian economy has never been better – and yes, just like all economies these days a slip-up could prove costly. It’s the same everywhere it seems!

If the oil price happens to slip below $115. per barrel, I’m certain the Russian’s can simply defer some of their spending programs, until the oil price picks up again. Having hit ‘peak oil’ a few years back, I doubt prices will be dropping much, nor for long – as demand is still growing as the world economy returns to normal.

Paragraphs 3 and 4 (impressively and highly annotated) from Wikipedia — attest to Vlad Putin’s management successes during his first two terms as President and one term as Prime Minister. This information is widely accepted as factual and without contest.

“Putin has overseen a return of political stability and economic progress to Russia, ending the crisis of the 1990s.[4][5]
During his presidency, the Russian economy grew for nine straight years, seeing GDP increase by 72% in PPP (sixfold in nominal),[6][7] poverty decrease by more than 50%,[8][9] and average monthly salaries increase from $80 to $640.[6][10]
These achievements have been ascribed by analysts to strong macroeconomic management, important fiscal policy reforms, surging capital inflows, access to low-cost external financing and a several fold increase in price of oil and gas.[11][12][13]
The fast formation of the modern middle class in the country, the 2.3 times increase in real incomes between 2000-2011 as well as improvements in healthcare and public order allowed Russia to achieve the highest level of life expectancy in its history.[14]

As Russia’s President, Putin passed into law a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes.[12][15]

As Prime Minister, Putin oversaw large scale military reform and police reform. His energy policy has affirmed Russia’s position as an energy superpower.[16][17]
Putin established a number of national champions, i.e. state corporations which oversaw the restoration of high-tech industries in the country (such as nuclear industry and defence industry).
Significant rise in foreign investments[18] contributed to the boom in such sectors as automotive industry.

Economic megaprojects which Putin endorsed have included the construction of major export pipelines (notably ESPO, Nord Stream and BPS-2), the restoration of the global satellite navigation system GLONASS, and the building of infrastructure for top level international events held in Russia (2006 G8 Summit, APEC 2012, and multiple sporting events).”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Putin

As a person widely-known to not like surprises, he welcomes any opportunity for communication with world leaders, which makes them feel quite comfortable enough to pick up the phone to discuss any matter at all with him — oh, how unlike the Soviet era of leadership!

We in the West don’t fully appreciate how fortunate we are to have Vlad Putin holding the position of the President of Russia.

Follow John Brian Shannon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/@JBSCanada

B.C. Premier Plans Liquefied Natural Gas Exports – MY COMMENT

My comment on an article in The Huffington Post

Read the original article here

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Premier of BC, Christy Clark – hits a home-run!

Of course, it goes without saying that we should all wean ourselves off of fossil fuels, including natural gas which is (arguably) the cleanest of all the fossil fuels.

I’m hoping that one day, especially as solar, wind, geothermal and hydrogen, approach price parity with convention­al power plant fuels – that fossil fuel use will decline.

Until then, for each gigawatt of power produced by power plants in China, natural gas is many times cleaner that the fuels they are using at the moment.

Switching to natural gas benefits China’s environmen­t, but on account of the vast quantities of dirty fuel they presently burn for power, it has a world-wide (positive) effect when they switch to a much cleaner fuel.

One of the best things about LNG, in case of pipeline accident, LNG dissipates into the atmosphere instead of flowing into creeks, rivers, drinking water wells, onto pasture-la­nd and into the ocean as crude oil does during a spill event. No mass deaths of living animals such as was seen during the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Unless ignited, (high-pres­sure LNG does burn) merely shutting off the tap and waiting for the vapours to clear, is enough to solve the problem until the pipeline can be repaired.

So much better than a crude oil pipeline to our “tourist-m­agnet” BC coastline! There is really no comparison­.

Congratula­tions, Premier Clark.

johnbrianshannon@gmail.com

Obama Unveils Energy Initiatives In Las Vegas | MY COMMENT

Obama Unveils Energy Initiatives In Las Vegas
Lucia Graves in The Huffington Post | January 26, 2012

MY COMMENT — President Obama’s idea of linking natural gas pipelines is a good one.

As Wikipedia states: “Natural gas is often described as the cleanest fossil fuel, producing less carbon dioxide per joule delivered than either coal or oil and far fewer pollutants than other hydrocarbo­n fuels.”

The environmen­tal comparison between toxic crude oil pipelines and natural gas pipelines, favours natural gas pipelines by a substantia­l margin.

As for offshore drilling inside U.S. waters, the EPA should have the legal right to cancel the lease of any operator with poor safety or spill at that location and be required by law, to hand the platform over to another company in good standing with the EPA.

That would be one way to reduce spills attributed to drilling platforms and reduce injury or death to workers.

China is out-compet­ing the U.S. on solar panel and wind turbine manufactur­ing and exports. If the U.S. ramps up it can compete, make money at it – and regain lost market share.

It is a huge world-wide market. As Steve Bolze, the President and Chief Executive of GE Power and Water recently said; “Solar is a $100 million business. It’s not a big part of our portfolio, but when you look at it over the course of the next five to 10 years, this could easily be our next billion-do­llar business.” — The National