We have secured several consulting projects during the last few weeks, so I will not have time to post stories for the next two months or so. When I do come back, the Blog will be less active. The audience for Paper and Other Absolute Truths has remained, for the most part, those individuals who work in the paper and related industries. Readership is almost always highest when reports cover paper or paper/environmental topics. When we begin again in October, the plan is to post 2-5... Read more
The following story, NaturalResilience, is a great short report! It covers several items that I wanted you to see, but did not have time to write about. The author does it better than I would have anyway. A few teasers follow but please read this report.
…BP, a company that spent the last decade and a half burnishing its reputation as an environmental paragon, apparently to the detriment of its capacity to manage old-fashioned oil production safely.
…All this, just when things were going so well in the oil-spill business. The number and collective size of oil spills (over 7,000 tonnes) has declined in each of the last four decades.
Speaking of microbes, do not underestimate nature’s powers of recovery. After most big oil spills, scientists are pleasantly surprised by how quickly the oil disappears and the marine life reappears….Indeed, the sea floor in the Gulf is rich in `cold seeps’ — communities of tube worms and other organisms that live off oil naturally seeping from beneath the seabed. (The annual flow of oil through such seeps is about half the total spill.) Hundreds of these clusters of clams and tube worms have been found since the 1980s in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, living off the microbes that eat the oil.
The final lesson is that the environmental threats that matter are the slow, continuous ones, not the telegenic sensations like oil spills. BP’s spill is known to have killed just over 1,300 birds so far. Just one wind farm, at Altamont Pass in California, was until recently known to kill perhaps 1,300 birds of prey every year. [The wind] industry kills far more rare birds per joule of energy produced than oil does.
This post is our Blog’s first “commercial”. We hope it will be of interest to our primary group of readers - pulp and paper professionals.
Two years ago Kevin Mason (Equity Research Associates) and I offered a special multi-client report in which we provided a long-term perspective on the publication paper grades. We analyzed the markets and made both supply and demand forecasts for the key grades (newsprint, SC-A, coated groundwood, and coated free sheet). A number of the companies that purchased the report two years ago have asked for an updated long term forecast.
We are going to provide a new report this September, but not exactly a sequel. A key emphasis will be on the impact of electronic communication. In order to gain expertise on the new technologies, we brought a third partner into the mix. We are very pleased to be working with mediaIDEAS, a leading publishing technology and research firm, which investigates and reports on the development of the e-reader, electronic tablets, smart phones, etc.
The special report we are preparing will review how electronic communication has impacted paper demand over the last two decades, and more importantly, what can be expected over the next 10 years. We will also cover, of course, all the traditional factors that relate to paper demand as well – including environmental issues, recycling, international trade, consolidation, economic and energy issues, etc.
A two-page promotion that provides more specifics can be found by clicking on the following link: The Impact of Digital Media and E-reading Platforms on Paper Demand 2010-2020. There is a reduced cost for those who order before July 31, so get your orders in soon.
Thanks very much for your support.
Helium, an environmental Blog, writes of a pending methane gas explosion in the gulf that could wipe out mankind. This item is posted for fun, not because I believe our extinction is eminent. No matter what happens, however, Helium should cease publication soon – either because we are all dead, or because they are puplishing nonsense that has no credibility. Continue Reading
Coated Groundwood Marketing Mismanagement- Is it just me, or is the sales management of coated groundwood grades in the current bull market the worst ever? What happened to paper allocations? Lead times are out three months for many coated producers, and over two months for just about everyone. All companies are not equally culpable, of course. I have not heard any complaints about Kruger, or FutureMark for example, but the better managed backlogs are the minority. (By the way, I would be happy to publish any rebuttal to my criticisms – and would do so without identifying the source if that is preferred.) Continue Reading
The letter that will follow below is a fascinating historical snapshot of the Nixon White House, and of early global warming hysteria. It is written by John Erlichman and provides Nixon with an overview of this new potential problem. I am not being critical of Nixon (on the global warming matter that will follow); the idea was new at the time. But still, for Erlichman to suggest going to Hugh Heffner for advice shows that the man was not thinking clearly. Continue Reading
Political corruption has always existed in the U.S., but our country has enjoyed relative protection from the kind of institutionalized corruption that is common in many parts of the world – mostly the developing world. Rule of law has been a significant competitive advantage for us.
But that legacy is rapidly changing. The Black Liquor scandal and other similar government initiatives, have demonstrated that the current Congress and President have stooped to levels of corruption and political favoritism that would have been intolerable during previous administrations – during times when the mainstream media actually served a purpose.
But, in regard to corruption, we haven’t seen anything yet. The government takeover of our health care system, in combination with energy subsidies and other proposed climate change legislation, will lead to an explosion of fraud and political corruption. The opportunities for cheating, and the lack of oversight, will be extraordinary.
Corruption associated with climate change legislation will, however, be an international activity. It is interesting that the United Nations, known for its own out-of-control corruption, has blown the whistle on its key climate change program Continue Reading
The Black Liquor travesty continues to mock us, rather than slink away and die from embarrassment – as it should. The Dead Tree Blog has posted an important update, IRS Brings Son of Black Liquor Back From the Dead; Ruling May Be Worth Billions to U.S. Pulp Makers . Continue Reading
Carl Sagan and Charles Darwin were wrong about just about everything and yet both men continue to be worshipped by the scientific community. Sagan was a great showman; charismatic and committed. He was perhaps most famous for how he spoke passionately about the “billions and billions” of stars and the inevitability of millions of earth-like planets – many that must contain intelligent life. For Sagan, we live in an ordinary galaxy, a non-descript solar system, and a hum-drum planet. It was called The Principle of Mediocrity. Evolution of life on earth was just an accident, but an accident that must have been repeated in some form on many other hum-drum planets. Continue Reading
The black liquor fiasco provided an example to those of us in the pulp and paper industries of just how blatantly corrupt the current Congress is, with the support of the President. (If you are new to the Blog, see Less Than Free Enterprise for a fascinating story that was missed by the mainstream media.)
Jim McTague wrote an insightful story in Barron’s over the week-end that demonstrated the failure of solar energy to earn its own way. Even with hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and loan guarantees, some companies will still not be viable.
McTague also pointed out that the recipients of these huge solar energy grants were “connected” to (not the Mafia but to its more dangerous counterpart) Congress and the President. Passages from Our Tough Luck President follow. Continue Reading