Thursday , January 18 2018
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Tim Watkins

UK government ‘not serious’ about Brexit

Customs post

Employing and training several thousand new customs officers is not something that can be done overnight.  According to the National Career Service the usual route to becoming a customs officer is to begin as an Administrative Assistant , Assistant Officer or Administrative Officer within the service and then to progress …

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Exxon to sue public bodies over climate denial

Exxon climate counterclaim

Last year saw public authorities and environmental groups heading for the courts in an attempt to hold oil companies accountable for climate change.  The law suits allege that – like big tobacco and big sugar – before it, big oil deliberately hid research that pointed to the impact of its …

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Brexit Britain to get a taste of peak oil

Truck stop

Britain may be about to get a flavour of what peak oil would be like if the UK’s Senior Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell’s concerns prove correct: “The British economy is facing a serious hit because of a dire shortage of lorry drivers.  The haulage industry is heavily reliant on overseas …

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Education, education, education is harming the economy

Graduate employment

I have a confession to make.  In the past, I have actively engaged in what is now known as “degree inflation.”  I ran the kind of organisation highlighted by Preston Cooper in Forbes: “Employers [that] increasingly require college degrees from job applicants, even when applying for positions that did not …

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The Potemkin economy

Potemkin economy

There is an old folk story concerning Grigory Potemkin, the governor of Russia’s southern provinces in 1774.  According to the tale, to hide high rates of poverty from the Russian Empress Catherine the Great, Potemkin ordered the construction of artificial villages along the banks of the Dnieper River as the Royal …

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Brexit home truths

Brexit down and out

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood took to social media over the weekend to criticise the UK Labour Party stance on Brexit: “Time and time again, Labour fail to stand up to the Tories and oppose their extreme version of Brexit. “In Wales, the Labour Welsh government signed up to a …

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Big Oil’s plastic problem

Plastic pollution

With new oil discoveries failing to keep pace with consumption, and the cost of recovering the oil that remains increasing dramatically, the big oil companies have turned away from their traditional role of fuelling the global economy.  Instead, they have turned to petrochemicals – especially plastics – as the best …

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The neglected side of peak oil

China Russia oil deal

The centre of balance in the global economy has shifted east.  While the USA (for the time being) consumes the most oil, China has emerged as the biggest importer.  It is also the world’s largest coal and renewable electricity consumer.  The reason, in short, is that since the 1980s, western …

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The year of the white swan

White Swan

Economists attempt to explain away the failure of their forecasts with the metaphor of the black swan – something so rare and unexpected that nobody can be held responsible for failing to notice it.  The Great Financial Accident of 2008, the DotCom bubble and the stock market crash of 1987, …

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Norwegian oil and gas decline is bad news for Britain

Norway gas

Supposedly hydrocarbon-rich Norway is not about to run out of oil and gas; far from it.  And that is a major headache for UK energy policymakers, because most of Norway’s remaining oil and gas is in small pockets beneath difficult geology and in inhospitable locations (where much of it is …

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