Latest Articles

Published on Friday, 27 February 2015 23:41
Massive Gas Craters Caused By Global Warming?   As difficult as it is for Americans to believe that their ongoing severe winter and the almost continual snow storms could be coexisting with global warming, the massive craters that have been increasingly discovered in Siberia are thought to be also caused by global warming. The Washington Post has reported that the massive gas craters found in increasing numbers in Siberia may have been created by global warming.  A member of an expedition group at the edge of a newly formed crater on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia on Nov. 9, 2014. A German scientist has noted last year that "Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlaying layers in a powerful injection , forming the crater. But now it turns out that Russian scientists have located seven craters, five of which are on the Yamal Peninsula. Two of these craters have been turned into lakes. The Russian scientists are speculating that dozens more of these craters are probably out there and they need to be studied and confirmed as to their origin. However that would appear to be a very risky project and one that will be approached with a great deal of caution given extensive leaks of methane from the bottom of the craters.       
Published on Friday, 27 February 2015 23:35
Plastics have become increasingly dominant in the consumer marketplace since their commercial development in the 1930s and 1940s. Global plastic resin production reached 288 million metric tons in 2012, up over sixfold since 1975 according to a recent study in Science (Jenna Jambeck, et.al., Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean, Science, February 2015, pp 768-771). The largest market for plastics is for packaging, that is for materials that are designed for immediate disposal once the package is opened. While plastics made up for less than 1% of municipal solid waste in 1960, by 2005, they constituted at least 10% and were rising rapidly.
Published on Friday, 27 February 2015 23:33
Baoding, home to Yingli Solar, the world’s second-largest solar panel maker, was the most polluted among the 74 cities on an environment ministry list published this past week.   The Financial Times points out that In 2010, Baoding, 150km southwest of Beijing, was designated a low-carbon pilot, targeting urban growth without reliance on coal-fuelled heavy industry. Its roads are lined with solar-powered street lights, reflecting the importance to the local economy of the panel manufacturing industry.  
Published on Friday, 27 February 2015 21:57
  Summary: Extreme weather has been ranked as the second most likely serious danger by the World Economic Forum's Global risk Report.  This timely report by the Davos international forum of 900 experts is timely in the midst of the ongoing droughts and the never-ending snowstorms in the United States. While interstate conflict was rated as the most likely threat, extreme weather was just behind in number two spot. As such the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East just barely outranked extreme weather as a global threat, Natural catastrophes came in at number six and the failure of climate change adaptations came in at seventh spot. As this year progresses, climate change adaptations will no doubt move up towards the top of the list. The other two articles this week are on the droughts in Brazil and the United States in line with this ranking of extreme weather.     

Latest Portfolio News

Published on Friday, 27 February 2015 21:35
The RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio has been liquidated this past week as US benchmarks for the small, medium and S&P 500 reached record highs. Price earnings ratios are stretched and while it is always possible that further equity gains are available,  there is a real risk that equities will hit a downdraft given the still pending political and debt issues in Europe and the slowing economic growth in Asia. Debt markets are also under stress as interest rates will no doubt begin to rise in the United States in the coming months so that capital values will suffer. As a result it is felt prudent for the RRE portfolio to go into 100% cash for the foreseeable future and this section will be suspended over this time frame.   
Published on Monday, 02 February 2015 04:13
Equity markets were down last week taking levels back to the mid December levels reflecting the weak earnings reports in the US and the problematic Greek election outturns. Apple was an exception with its great iPhone 6 sales, notably in China. The RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio was up 2.31% from the end of the year 2014 (see below).
Published on Monday, 19 January 2015 03:30
The markets are very volatile with the pending European Central Bank decisions on quantitative easing against the backdrop of the unlinking of the Swiss Franc form the Euro and those major disruptions. Fortunately the RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio is not exposed to Europe and while it has fallen during the past week, the declines have been relatively modest as the RRE portfolio has only given up the previous week's 1%  gains since December 31.The portfolio position so far in 2015 is now relatively unchanged. See below.
Published on Monday, 12 January 2015 03:30
The RealReturnEnvironment (RRE) portfolio on January 11, 2015 stood at $197.9 thousand compared with an end-December 2014 valuation of $195.34 thousand for a gain of 1.3% over the first week of 2015.