Highlights of the 2008 ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference, Part 1

October 18, 2008 at 12:21 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I wrote up some highlights from the recent peak oil conference.


Notes from the 2008 ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference

October 13, 2008 at 4:50 pm
Contributed by: Chris

Here are my notes from the 2008 ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference, September 21-23, 2008 in Sacramento, California. Length: 57 pages.
View the Web version below the fold, or download the PDF.

Redemption Song

October 8, 2008 at 10:34 am
Contributed by: Chris

In my article for Energy and Capital this week, I survey the carnage in the stock markets and adopt a solidly defensive stance (with a tip of the hat to Bob Marley). If anybody thinks they can call the bottom of this market, I think they’re just kidding themselves. It ain’t over till it’s over…

Good luck everybody.


My Latest Book: Investing in Renewable Energy

October 6, 2008 at 5:12 pm
Contributed by: Chris

I’m pleased to announce that my second book is now out:
Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks

with Jeff Siegel and Nick Hodge

Unlike my first book Profit from the Peak, this book was a true collaboration. I wrote about half of it, including material that I borrowed and rewrote from PFTP. For example, the roughly four chapters on peak oil from the first book were condensed into one chapter in this book.

The timing of this book was, unfortunately, terrible. Whereas PFTP came out just as the world woke up to the possibility of peak oil, and oil prices were hitting new highs every week (and kept on hitting them for months more), this book comes out just as the markets are experiencing their worst selloff in decades. That’s too bad for us as authors, but there were very few people who would have said we’d be in this situation a year and a half ago, when we were writing the book. Certainly not us.

Although this is a tough time to be an investor in stocks, let alone the energy sector, I firmly believe that once the market has truly wrung out the toxins and assets have once again become properly valued, the energy sector will take off again. That point could be months or even a year or more in the future, but when it does happen, those who have invested wisely in renewables should make a bundle.

Check it out, and let me know what you think of it!


Bailout Bungle

October 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm
Contributed by: Chris

Just a few quick words about the bailout bill today and the markets. But before I get into that, if you wanted to catch my live online TV interview yesterday but were unable to tune in, it is now available in their archives. See https://www.getreallist.com/live-interview-on-cleanskies-tv-today.html for instructions on how to find it.

I think almost everybody expected that if the bailout bill passed the House today, the markets would rally and the good times would start rolling again. It was a tense morning as we watched the debate. The major indexes rose about 3%. And then the vote came.

The bill passed. And then, a couple of very unexpected things happened.

First, the credit markets didn’t move, and the LIBOR spread shot to a new high. That means that the Street considered the bailout to be inadequate to solve the problem at hand–which is liquidity, not just the solvency of a few institutions. In reaction, stocks sold off sharply, and the major indexes all ended the day about 1.5% down, marking the end to a wicked week.

Second, although the bill contained an 8-year extension to the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar installations, which was widely ancitipated and should have meant a banner day for the whole sector, solar shares sold sharply with the rest of the market, ending the day down as much as 8% after rising as much as 10% earlier in the day. Woof, how’s that for volatility, and counterintutive moves?

Meanwhile there were reports of widespread bloodletting in the hedge fund world, leading to more forced redemptions, indiscriminate selling to meet margin requirements, etc. See http://tinyurl.com/4uxdph. In short, the selling is continuing to feed on itself.

The take-home? Passing a bailout bill is one thing; unfreezing the credit markets is another. It ain’t over till it’s over, and we’re nowhere near done with this mess. Monday could be brutal, unless we have a new round of Sunday night shenanigans.

For a good summary of what happened today, check out my buddy Aaron Task’s end of day post:

Roubini: ‘Much More Radical’ Action Needed as Bailout Fails to Lift Confidence

I also recommend poking around at the archives there on Tech Ticker for some excellent insights from Howard Lindzon and Nouriel Roubini in particular.

Finally, for those who somehow missed everything I’ve been saying for the last month or more: get out, stay in cash, keep yer head down and good luck!

Now let’s try to have a nice weekend and forget this week ever happened, if only for a little while.

Live interview on Cleanskies TV today

October 2, 2008 at 9:37 am
Contributed by: Chris

I will be on http://www.cleanskies.tv live today at 1 pm PST, if you’d like to tune in.

The show will be re-broadcast on ABC TV this weekend (“Clean Skies Sunday,” after Stephanopoulos) and CBS radio…

UPDATE: The clip is now available online. I couldn’t get RealPlayer to work and make it a downloadable clip, nor does the pig of a Flash application that runs their entire site let you find links anywhere. But if you really want to see it, I suggest you shut down other applications, then follow these breadcrumbs:

1. Go to http://www.cleanskies.tv/#app=6609&b7d2-selectedIndex=3

2. In the center column of buttons, click on “The Energy Report with Susan McGinnis”

3. On the right, scroll down to the 10/2/08 segment, with the blurb “House members ar…” and click on it.

My bit runs from 3:00 to about 10:10.

Safe Plays for Dangerous Days

October 1, 2008 at 4:59 pm
Contributed by: Chris

In my Energy and Capital article for this week, I considered some insight from my Depression era daddy, and devised a “Depression Portfolio” to help weather the stormy markets.


Market Meltdown Musings

September 29, 2008 at 9:34 pm
Contributed by: Chris

Just a few quick observations tonight, after the worst point loss in Dow history.

First, I gotta point you to my new hero, Rick Santelli, who is for my money the straight-talkin’est man on the Street. His take on the bailout failure today was typically clear-headed: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=872162980&play=1  His segment starts around 5:50 in. Santelli for prez!

Second, I should explain why I posted John Mauldin’s essay yesterday.  As long as we are working with conventional rules of the game and inside-the-box thinking, then I think his assessment was correct.

But for whatever reason, the voters rejected it about 30-to-1 and made their displeasure known loudly to their Congressmen, who caved to the pressure.

To be clear, I think the bailout proposal submitted was bad, and that the voters were right to reject it. It would have done nothing for the little guy and would have amounted to a huge bailout for the banks and their out-of-control leadership. This truly is a situation that calls for outside-the-box, unconventional thinking and conservative solutions, but those are complex issues beyond the ken of most laymen (and Congressmen) and I honestly didn’t think that the wishes of the masters of Wall Street could be overridden.  So it was a mixed, but pleasant suprise to see the proposal fail.

But that means we are now faced with the prospect of having to “go back to the drawing board,” as McCain put it today, and it will take days or weeks more to come up with an alternative proposal. We may not have that kind of time before another mega-meltdown on the Street. Due to the Jewish New Year holiday, no major votes are expected until Thursday. The next two days could feel like an eternity for investors.

I continue to advise that people remain in cash. Don’t buy anything, unless it’s a small short side position or gold. Unless you’re willing to ride out another wicked down-leg or three, selling might be the prudent course of action, even with many stocks dragging the bottom already. Because while they’re still changing the rules in the middle of the game, the safe move is not to play at all.

These are extremely dangerous times in the markets, and although many voters had the good sense to reject this bailout plan, I doubt that many of them understand the risk they took in doing so. We could have a long way to fall yet, and few appreciate how the pain on Wall Street can quickly trickle down to Main Street. Bailing out the “fat cats” may have been the wise choice after all, but we have turned our back on that option. I can only wonder what will happen next.

Good luck everybody–and keep yer fool head down.

Sign of the times

September 28, 2008 at 12:08 pm
Contributed by: Chris

Who’s Afraid of a Big, Bad Bailout?

September 28, 2008 at 10:27 am
Contributed by: Chris

Folks, amid the endless stream of commentary about the market meltdown and the impending $700 billion bailout of toxic mortgage debt, I thought this article from respected investor John Mauldin really hit the nail on the head, so I decided to repost it.

Whatever happens in Congress by tonight will have far-reaching consequences, and tomorrow (Monday) should be a most interesting day in the market.

Good luck out there…keep yer powder dry.

Reflections on the 2008 ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference

September 24, 2008 at 9:15 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For my Energy and Capital article this week, I offered some quick observations about the just-concluded ASPO-USA peak oil conference.


The New, Improved GetRealList!

September 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm
Contributed by: Chris

I switched over to a new ISP today, and a new blog platform (WordPress, replacing the old GeekLog).  All of the old articles, and the look of the blog, have been retained, but the back end is totally different.

Among other things, GRL will no longer be sending out email updates directly. Many subscribers, particularly those with Yahoo email, stopped receiving email updates months ago because GRL was improperly “blacklisted” as a spammer. Even though all GRL subscribers opted-in to receive email, there is no easy way to dispute being improperly blacklisted by dozens of email systems, and it is next to impossible to get whitelisted again unless you are a large company with a large support staff to throw at the problem. For an individual like me, it’s basically hopeless.

As an alternative, readers can re-subscribe to receive GRL email updates via Feedburer on this new blog platform. Just enter your email address in the box in the upper left part of the page and hit the Subscribe button.

I hope you like the new, improved GRL! Please email me if you find anything amiss, at chris [at] getreallist [dot] com.

Surviving the Financial Tsunami

September 17, 2008 at 7:20 pm
Contributed by: Chris

In my article for Energy and Capital for the week of Sept 15, I take a good look at the worst carnage on Wall Street since the Great Depression, and conclude that sometimes just sitting it out is the best course of action. ..


Of Bailouts, Hedge Funds and Energy

September 10, 2008 at 7:09 pm
Contributed by: Chris

My Energy and Capital article for this week takes a closer look at the health of the US economy, taking the Fannie and Freddie bailout into account.



Rumors of the Demise of the Commodity Boom

September 10, 2008 at 7:05 pm
Contributed by: Chris

Here’s my article this week for Energy and Capital, discussing the huge selloff in commodities & energy after the Labor Day weekend.


Good reading

September 10, 2008 at 7:04 pm
Contributed by: Chris

I came across some good pieces today and thought it was about time I did a post to the blog just to pass some things along…so here you go.



Coal Stocks Set to Soar

August 29, 2008 at 7:02 pm
Contributed by: Chris

As promised, I’m posting both parts of my new article on China and coal today as a single piece. Part 2 went out yesterday on Energy and Capital.


Important news about GRL

August 29, 2008 at 7:00 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For those of you who tried to check in to my blog in the last 24 hours or so, my apologies. Apparently my blowing ISP’s database server went down and corrupted some of my blog’s tables, which they refused to help me correct, and it was only with the help of a friend that I got it going again today.

Because my current ISP is going out of business as of November, I’m in the process of transitioning to a new host and, at the same time, switching over to WordPress from Geeklog as my blog platform. Hopefully we’ll have that done some time next week. In the meantime, “please excuse the dust” and don’t give up on GRL!

Important note about email delivery of GRL: Email delivery of GRL will also be changing after the move. Instead of emailing blog updates to you directly–which has resulted in over half of my subscribers getting blacklisted by dumb email services like Yahoo which make it impossible for me to get whitelisted again, even though everyone opted in voluntarily–blog updates can be mailed to you via Feedburner. On the plus side, many subscribers will once again be able to get GRL emailed to them, but unfortunately everyone will have to sign up again to get it. More details to come when I have them.

Interview with Venture Beat in The Industry Standard

August 22, 2008 at 6:56 pm
Contributed by: Chris

I recently did an interview with Chris Morrison of Venture Beat, which was published today there and elsewhere (including The Industry Standard). I’m reposting it here.
It’s a condensed summary of what was a pretty long (and technically challenged) interview by cellphone, and all the words are his, not mine. But I think he did a good job of representing what I said, and I always appreciate the additional coverage.

We are really running out of time to get moving on the inevitable transitions ahead. We need to get the story of energy transition out there into the public a lot more than we are. I just heard today that at a recent convention in Norway of some 6,000 geologists from 170 countries, the presentations by peak oil gurus Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere had paltry audiences, and it appeared that a large part of the conference attendees had no clue about peak oil. I could say the same, by the way, for some of the cleantech and renewable energy conferences I’ve been to. If that doesn’t tell you we’re in trouble, I don’t know what will…



Chris Martenson’s “Crash Course”

August 21, 2008 at 6:11 pm
Contributed by: Chris

I have to give a shout out to Chris Martenson for his Crash Course. It’s an outstanding online video presentation telling you all you need to know about money, the economy, where we’re going, and how we got here. Rarely does such a complex subject get such a simple and accurate treatment. The next chapter (still to come) is about peak oil, and I’m looking forward to seeing it!

It will take you about 2.5 hours to get through the 16 short segments, so you can watch a new segment whenever you’ve got about five minutes to spare if you like. But I highly recommend it–I’d call it must-see material. Watch it, grok it, blog it, digg it, send it to your friends!


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