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Geopolitical Compass #20
Zelensky Curse claims another two victims. 'Low' inflation. EUSSR oil hypocrisy. Zomia, the nation you've never heard of.
TLDR: China still loves coal. EU’s oil hypocrisy - do as we say not as we do. The ‘Low’ inflation fairytale. Zelensky Curse claims another two victims. A US clusterf*ck. Zomia - the nation you’ve never heard of
China & Coal
A lot crosses my desk and sometimes I gloss over items too quickly. Going back to a report from March on China coal plant construction and it really puts in perspective both how much potential coal producers still have at current valuations, as well as how little the West understands China.
106 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power were permitted in 2022. This trend is continuing; in the first three months of 2023, China's regional governments have approved an additional 20 GW of coal-fired power.
While the West is busy tearing down coal power plants, the developing world including India, Indonesia and China are building more. Why? Coal is still one of the cheapest forms of energy when you factor in energy return on investment (solar and wind are horrific in this area) as well as the relatively little infrastructure coal requires; dig it out of the ground move it by barge, truck or train to a port and load it onto a ship to be taken anywhere in the world. Coal power plants are also less expensive to build than other types of power plants like natural gas or nuclear. There’s also no need for pipelines and other expensive infrastructure, and it’s inexpensive to store - dump it in a big pile next to the plant.
What’s not to love when trying to provide a cheap, reliable energy source for billions of people? You don’t care so much about ‘climate’ when your food is rotting, your babies medicine has gone bad, or the power at the hospital drops out. ‘Climate change’ is the wealthy world’s
made up problem.
So developing nations are happy to let ‘wealthy nations’ (that term is becoming more debatable each year) who are intent on energy suicide through renewable fantasies go for it. It doesn’t mean they need to follow suit, particularly if it presents them with an opportunity for mispriced energy supply from coal.
The report linked above copes hard, reasoning along the lines of “oh well, China is building the coal plants, but they may shut down others and electricity demand will slow, so emissions won’t rise.”
The massive additions of new coal-fired capacity donʼt necessarily mean that coal use or CO2 emissions from the power sector will increase in China. Provided that growth in non-fossil power generation from wind, solar and nuclear continues to accelerate, and electricity demand growth stabilizes or slows down, power generation from coal could peak and decline.
That’s some great mental gymnastics to keep the climate cult from crying into their cornflakes.
The report also questions why China is building more plants in the heavily populated southern and eastern regions where existing plants have spare capacity. Western experts cannot understand because they are looking through the Western lens modus operandi; we undertake projects by looking in the rear view mirror once situations become desperate and wonder why infrastructure and living standards are falling apart.
Yes I’m sure mistakes are made in China - we've all seen the videos showing demolition of some new apartment blocks. But Western bureaucrats have no comprehension of what planning and work it takes to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty into developed status. A feat successfully undertaken by China since the 1980’s.
It can take building 'ghost cities' ahead of their need for housing millions, and it also takes building much higher energy capacity (in this case coal) than is currently required in regions you know will continue to see massive influxes of newly affluent people.
This is the direct opposite of the Western model that imports millions of immigrants first - usually by bankrupting or destroying their homelands - then tries to fix the social problems that arise as a result. But that doesn’t stop the authors of the report from having the gall to provide policy recommendations to China.
I know which model I would opt for.
How many sanctions packages are currently in place? 😂
Watch what they do…
Not what they say…
Rules for thee and not for me.
Many headlines this week about the lower 3% CPI inflation print in the United States. Bear in mind this is still an increase on already increased prices. Secondly, realise that this lower figure was basically only due to a fall in oil price. Drill down and you’ll see prices are still increasing more across the board outside of energy; food up 5.7%, housing up 7.8%, transport up 8.2%.
The Zelensky curse continues. Out of office next, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte as his government falls apart.
Also this week, the UK’s chief warmonger Ben Wallace is resigning as Defence Secretary - likely a little tempter tantrum after being passed over for the top position at NATO. But I’m sure he’ll walk right into a cushy position at BAE Systems or another UK arms contractor. Sadly, the UK being as Russophobic as it is will likely install someone equally as bad to further the agenda.
With the announcement this week that the United States has sent cluster munitions to Ukraine (past tense - they only announce an action once it’s already been taken), let’s ask the question; why? By the state-compliant New York Time’s own admission, cluster munitions are dangerous for civilians:
Since cluster munitions spread over a large area and often explode long after they are deployed, they can indiscriminately harm civilians, which Mr. Castner said was a violation of international humanitarian law and a potential war crime.
Cluster munitions banned by over 100 countries who have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Fortunately the US never signed this agreement. But why have they sent them now?
We’re told it’s because “Ukraine is running out of ammunition”, Biden said exactly this in his recent bumbling CNN interview if you want to waste a few minutes of your life. Here’s a shorter off the cuff version when asked again:
Got that? “We’ve run out of ammunition.” Whether you take that to mean Ukraine has run out of ammunition or the US has run out makes no difference. Ukraine does not produce any munitions. So if Ukraine is running out, it means the United States is running out of 155mm munitions and are providing whatever they have left lying around just so Ukraine can fire something.
Yet the United States and it’s lap dogs continue to assert Russia is losing and it’s only a matter of time before glorious Ukrainian victory? Gaslighting ad extremus.
Also on Ukraine this week, it appears Russia will no longer extend the grain deal to allow maritime traffic in and out of Odessa. Have you wondered how Ukraine - which doesn’t produce any munitions - keeps getting stockpiles to fire when a large portion of the weapons brought via land are destroyed by Russia?
The grain deal has been a major source of weapons into Ukraine - you can get a lot more weapons in via ship than via road/rail which is more easily observable (and destroyed) by Russia.
The Western media will paint this as purely a move to bring on world hunger by Russia, of course there are no weapons - Ukraine and the West never lie do they?
If the deal is not extended, we can expect a much more rapid decline in the prospects of the Ukrainian army and potentially a willingness for Kiev to finally negotiate. Sadly the other option is panic from the West and a stupid move like sending Polish and Lithuanian ‘peace keeper’s’ onto Ukrainian soil.
For those with anarchist leanings such as myself, I have a question for you. Have you heard of Zomia?
It spans a land mass about the size of Europe - over 2.5 billion square kilometers - and has a population of around 130 million people.
The Zomians made the decision to stay out of the states and civilizations surrounding them in order to remain free. They weren't left behind passively by the state-making process, nor failed to develop out of a lack of capacity. Zomia was created by those who preferred freedom over the material or cultural advantages that states and ‘civilizations’ might have had to offer. It was an anarchist refuge for those who didn't want to pay taxes, or adopt a new religion, or get rid of their own customs. They weren't just eluding the state, but actively repelled it.
James C Scott wrote in 2009 on the region:
Zomia is the largest remaining region of the world whose peoples have not yet been fully incorporated into nation-states. Its days are numbered. Not so very long ago, however, such self-governing peoples were the great majority of humankind.
His book is titled ‘The Art of Not Being Governed’ for anyone interested in diving deeper.
While the space and number of people still outside encroaching government systems is shrinking, this is yet more proof societies can function without big government overreach, large
theft taxes and an overbearing nanny state dictating how you should live your life.
How was the meal on your last flight? Probably not quite up to the standard offered on Scandinavian Airlines in 1969:
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