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What We Read Today 30 December 2014

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

Missing AirAsia Flight: Indonesian Officials Spot Several Bodies Floating In Waters (Associated Press, The World Post)  Indonesian officials on Tuesday spotted debris and six bodies from the AirAsia flight that disappeared two days earlier, and recovered three of them, in a painful end to the aviation mystery off the coast of Borneo Island.  More articles on reading list below.

Stakes are high as US plays the oil card against Iran and Russia (Larry Elliott, The Guardian)  Hat tip to Dig Deep. This article is nearly two months old but remains a valuable part of the debate about who is driving the oil price collapse.  Elliott thinks it is the U.S. trying to establish improved positions vis a vis Iran and Russia.  Some others have expressed a similar opinion, but a larger cohort suggests it is Saudi Arabia trying to reduce U.S. fracking.  Still another group thinks the price decline is against Russia and Iran but is instigated by Saudi Arabia rather than the U.S.  Not seen anywhere by us would be the argument that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are in a secret alliance.  And if we are going to open conspiracy theories what about the U.S. government somehow getting money to the oil patch to keep unprofitable drilling underway at some level to try to keep the price of oil below $60 in a price war aimed at all of the above.  With ideas like these maybe we should write a novel. :-)

The Oil Price Opportunity (Kemal Dervis, Project Syndicate)  The author is former Minister of Economic Affairs of Turkey and former Administrator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is a vice president of the Brookings Institution.  He says, If fossil fuels are becoming cheaper, tax them more.  See also next article.

Please Steal Our Fossil Fuels (Adair Turner, Project Syndicate)  Based on Econintersect review of research, The Lord Turner of Ecchinswell is understating the position of the optimists, some of whom say solar is already the cheapest in many utility markets and will be so virtually everywhere within two years.  See also preceding article.

Turner concludes:
Optimists say that solar energy will become economical without subsidies later this decade, while pessimists put the break-even point in the 2020s. The question is when – not whether – this will occur.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

AirAsia 8501

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