The suffering of animals due to climate change is, and will be, immense.
Of course, for climate deniers, that calls for high fives all around.

Evening Standard UK:

Around 480 million animals are feared to have died in the bushfires sweeping Australia, including nearly a third of the koalas in New South Wales‘s main habitat.

Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate around 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been killed, directly or indirectly, by the devastating blazes since they began in September, The Times reported.

This includes almost 8,000 koalas, which are believed to have burnt to death on the state’s mid-north coast.

The region, which lies around 240 miles north of Sydney, is home to the largest number of Australia’s koalas, with a population of up to 28,000.

Federal environment minister Sussan Ley told ABC “up to 30 per cent of the population in that region” may have been killed, because around 30 per cent of their habitat has been destroyed.

“We’ll know more when the fires have calmed down and a proper assessment can be made,” she added.

More than 100 fires continue to rage across the country, having so far consumed more than five million hectares of land.

Reposting: Mars Attacks!

December 28, 2019

From 2009.

Investors hate uncertainty, but the number of moving parts in the energy picture make fossil fuel’s future cloudier than ever.

Sydney Morning Herald:

The sale of the century has ended in farce. The modest sums raised from the “privatisation” of Saudi Aramco will barely cover the kingdom’s fiscal deficit for six months. The $US25 billion ($37 billion) haul will not make any impact on Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, his theatrical plan to break oil addiction and diversify into everything from car plants to weapons production. Nor will it go far to launch NEOM, his robotic half-trillion dollar white elephant on the Red Sea.

At least there was doubt before about the predicament facing the House of Saud. Now there can be none. The regime resorted to tricks just to sell just 1.5 per cent of the shares on the local Tadawul exchange: a “Ritz Carlton” shake-down of princes; doubling the bank leverage limit for Saudi retail customers so that they can buy the stock; and calling in diplomatic chips from the Gulf alliance.

Other foreigners will not touch Aramco, even after the prestige valuation of $US2 trillion was trimmed to $US1.6 trillion – $US1.7 trillion. Theoretical oil reserves are not worth much these days as the climate backlash gathers force, and Aramco carries a special discount as the opaque political instrument of a headstrong master.

Riyadh needs every dollar of current revenue to pay for its cradle-to-grave welfare system, to cover the world’s fourth biggest military budget and the war in Yemen, as well as bankrolling Egypt. This is an extraordinary cost edifice for a middle-income country like Saudi Arabia, with a per capita income similar to Greece.

The regime requires a crude price of $US85 a barrel to balance the books (IMF data) even without losing the dividend stream from Aramco. It has not been that high for five years. Brent is at $US62.

Standard and Poor’s says the fiscal deficit will be 8.1 per cent of GDP this year and stay near these levels into the early 2020s. While the Saudis are no longer running down reserves to cover the shortfall, they are racking up debt instead at a brisk pace. “It’s a fact that Saudi Arabia is gradually running out of money,” said former CIA chief General David Petraeus last week.

To buy shares in a state monopoly that also serves as the regime’s fiscal lifeline is to court fate. If push came to shove, would Prince Mohammed resist siphoning off Aramco revenues through taxes and leave nothing for dividends?

Aramco’s flop is a sobering moment for Opec. The historical window may be closing on the cartel even sooner than they feared. These countries built a spending structure on assumptions of $US100 oil and an eternal Chinese boom. But five years after the 2014 crash, there is no sustained recovery in sight.

Whenever crude prices top $US50 US shale companies lock in forward sales and drill. They nip every cyclical rally in the bud. It is an Opec mantra that frackers are exhausting their sweet spots, but the shale downturn keeps refusing to arrive. The US Energy Department says output from US tight oil will reach a record 9.1 million barrels a day (b/d) in December. Opec and Russia face a “low for longer” price landscape that could last deep into the next decade. By then electric vehicles (EV) will have reached purchase cost parity with petrol and diesel engines.

It is going to be a grim winter for the Opec-Russia alliance. They again face the risk of a price slide unless ministers agree to yet further output cuts at their Vienna meeting in December. The International Energy Agency says they are being squeezed by rivals: global oil demand is expected to grow by 1.2 million b/d next year; but supply from Brazil, Norway, Guyana, and above all the US Permian Basin will rise by 2.3 million b/d.

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Glaciologist Jason Box is founder of Dark Snow Project, and has been my guide and mentor, now, in a half dozen crowd-funded expeditions on and around the Greenland ice sheet.

Bill Maher interviewed Dr. Box in summer 2014, and discussed some of the first uses of (still somewhat primitive by today’s standards) drones to observe the ice sheet.

From 2010.