Unfortunately, the problems look set to get worse rather than better. And the oil price rise caused by the Israel/Gaza crisis adds to the problems caused by the Ukraine invasion. A difficult winter, and 2024, lie ahead.
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The Ukraine war highlights how the real world can often be a very messy place. Issues such as geopolitics and demographics aren’t easy to understand. It can be hard to understand the detail of how key industries and markets are operating.
So it’s no surprise that most policymakers have preferred to stay in the world of theory.
As the photos from New York in 1900 and 1913 remind us, transitions happen very quickly once they get underway. One day, we are saying “it will never happen”. The next, we are telling our friends “I can’t understand why it took so long”. So it seems safe to assume that the auto industry will see major change in the next few years.
Energy and financial markets are exacerbating the risks ahead. Oil prices at current levels – as the chart confirms, they now account for more than 3% of global GDP – have historically led to recession as the chart shows. The reason is that consumers have to cut back on their discretionary spending, which drives economic growth, in order to heat their homes and travel to work and school. Today’s high levels of natural gas prices add to this risk.
Automakers are ahead of the game in terms of strategic planning. They soon realised the move to EVs meant their traditional business model, based on proprietary engine technology, would inevitably become obsolete. And so they quickly realised they need to pivot to focus on AVs and become software-driven. The rest of us need to catch up.
Flooding in China and Europe, record temperatures in the USA, wild fires – all these are signs that climate change is accelerating. After all, the world has gone from 2.5bn people in 1950 to 7.9bn today. That must have an …
Governments have failed to properly protect their populations from the pandemic. Some have actively encouraged it, the rest have simply been incompetent. Today, their failure to vaccinate the world means poorer countries are now acting as a petri-dish – enabling …
The blog has now been running for 14 years since the first post was written from Thailand at the end of June 2007. And quite a lot has happened since then: There was the 2008 financial crisis, one of the …
My Dutch colleague, Daniël de Blocq van Scheltinga, is a graduate of Leiden University in the Netherlands, with a Master of Law degree and a specialty in International law. Here he gives his expert view on the Dutch court’s decision to order Shell to reduce its CO2 emissions by at least 45% , relative to